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#pounditWednesday, June 29, 2022

Kevin Durant hops in middle of Stephen A. Smith-Skip Bayless beef

Kevin Durant with a hood on

May 8, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) warms up before game against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to this week’s feud between two of the highest-profile sports media figures, Kevin Durant wouldn’t miss it for the world.

ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith created controversy this week with some comments he made on “The Old Man and the Three” podcast with JJ Redick. Smith spoke on former ESPN co-host Skip Bayless, claiming Bayless was struggling with ratings on “First Take” before Smith joined the show. He even went so far as to say that Bayless approached him in the parking lot of ESPN headquarters and essentially begged him to join “First Take,” telling Smith that “I need you.”

Bayless fired back in a video message Thursday. He said Smith’s comments were “recklessly inaccurate” and a “shocking fabrication.” Bayless claimed that the ratings of “First Take” were already excellent before Smith joined and expressed disappointment over “my brother” Smith “turn[ing] on me.”

Enter the Brooklyn Nets star Durant. He responded to Bayless’ tweet about Smith, writing, “Sources say somebody is lyin. Stay tuned.”

Bayless hosted “First Take” from its inception in 2007 and was eventually joined by Smith in 2012. The two enjoyed a very successful partnership, as the show was one of ESPN’s most popular throughout their time together. Bayless then left in 2016 for a new network (FOX Sports 1) and a new co-host (Shannon Sharpe) while Smith remains on “First Take” to this day.

Smith did issue another statement after Bayless responded. Smith said that Bayless “made ‘First Take'” and that he owed his success at ESPN to Bayless. Still, Smith was adamant that he did not lie about anything and that Bayless had asked him to become the permanent co-host on “First Take.”

As for Durant, he is probably just enjoying the fireworks here. He does not really care for either Smith or Bayless, having called the both of them out in a recent tweet.


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