Stephen A. Smith is one of the defining takesmen of our time. Smith, as has long been evident, takes a quantity over quality approach to dishing out his beliefs on a given subject, as the longtime ESPN personality has the breathtaking ability to come up with something for literally every subject. They’re not always good — in fact, some of them are quite bad — but they are consistent in their ability to exist.
The sheer volume of takes Smith has doled out was revealed during a recent appearance on Ebro in the Morning. Smith, while discussing the end of Max Kellerman’s time on First Take, said that while the pair have a good relationship, sometimes, chemistry between two people can begin to grow stale. He slipped in his sheer output as a takesman and good LORD.
"The rumors are accurate in terms of me wanting him off the show… A lot of people don't realize not just the work that goes into it, but it's a chemistry you have and sometimes it just stalls."
Stephen A. Smith on wanting Max Kellerman off First Takepic.twitter.com/hqZmms2kJC
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 10, 2021
“What a lot of people don’t realize is the work that goes into doing the show every single day,” Smith said. “And the reality is that we have 15 segments a day, 75 segments a week, over 3,000 takes a year. In the nine years that I’ve been on First Take, I’ve given over 33,000 takes.”
That is a lot of takes! The wild thing is this does not include Smith’s take output on, say, his radio show, or SportsCenter, or Stephen A’s World, or any of the other shows he appears on, or that time he went onto Fox News and no one on set had any idea how to respond to the fact that Stephen A. Smith is a master takesman who was unfazed by the general weirdness of being on Fox News (link here, but be warned that you’re going to Fox’s YouTube page and it might totally mess your YouTube algorithm up, so maybe go Incognito for this one).
Anyway, I would love to know exactly how this number is kept. Does Smith do it himself? Does someone on First Take keep count like they’re watching a pitcher on a strict pitch limit? Is there a big board that has a number that goes up with every new take? Is this just unique takes, or does this include ones that are constantly repeated? What happens when he hits 50,000? Or 100,000? More questions than answers exist, surely.