Shannon Sharpe made his debut on ESPN's First Take, and almost immediately committed the biggest faux pas he could have possibly made on the new job. Within the opening minutes of his first episode, Sharpe referred to his new co-host Stephen A. Smith by the first name of his former screen partner, ex-ESPN pundit Skip Bayless. After it happened for a second time in the episode, fans had all sorts of jokes for Sharpe, Smith, and Bayless in light of this hilarious situation.
Sports fans can be hilariously brutal on social media, and given the high-profile nature of Shannon Sharpe leaving Undisputed for First Take, there were many looking to pounce at the first sign of any issues. Now, they have the ammunition they need after the clips hit the web and opened the floodgates:
how skip is going to be in shannon’s dms after seeing this pic.twitter.com/Bwfqld5ybISeptember 4, 2023
It would appear that Shannon Sharpe might need some time to shake off his years on Undisputed as he forges ahead on ESPN's First Take. While Stephen A. Smith played off the moment casually both times, fans couldn't help but wonder what was going through co-host Molly Qerim's head through all of this:
Molly When Shannon Keep Calling Stephen A "Skip" On First Take 😂 pic.twitter.com/o6bzYBKkLQSeptember 4, 2023
There are also people who want to know Skip Bayless' thoughts, especially considering he was name-checked on First Take after being the rival show on Undisputed for years. Did the shoutout give him the smug satisfaction of knowing that Shannon Sharpe still can't stop mentioning him on his new show, or is he missing his former partner after he left Undisputed?:
Skip Bayless watching First Take right now pic.twitter.com/o0hhoRDzPZSeptember 4, 2023
Jokes and on-air mixups aside, there are plenty of people thrilled about the new lineup of First Take. Shannon Sharpe was beloved on Undisputed, and it's of little surprise there are already people loving his new dynamic with Stephen A. Smith. Some even went so far as to suggest they're as iconic of a pairing as Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, which is about the biggest compliment one can give if we're talking about playing together on the court:
shannon sharpe and stephen a smith on first take pic.twitter.com/3oQh6bY3tOSeptember 4, 2023
In fairness, we're in the honeymoon phase of this pairing. Shannon Sharpe has only spent one day on First Take, and who knows how gracious Stephen A. Smith will continue to be if, two months down the road, he's still being called Skip Bayless by his co-host. I think it's also fair to say that sports fans can be fickle, especially when it comes to their opinions of pundits.
Time will ultimately tell how beloved this duo will grow to be. Until then, I'm going to continue enjoying all the memes about the mistake, as well as the ones alleging Skip Bayless is seething while watching his ex-co-host thriving over on ESPN years after Bayless left his job there:
Skip watching Shannon and Steven A on first take rn pic.twitter.com/7uNSYqOIjHSeptember 4, 2023
Shannon Sharpe has yet to publicly joke online about referring to Stephen A. Smith by the wrong name, but I'm sure whatever reference he'd make would be good-natured. As funny as the goof-up was, I can't imagine there's any actual malice on Smith's side for what happened, and the rest of First Take went off without a hitch.
Catch Shannon Sharpe on ESPN's First Take on weekdays at 10:00 a.m. ET. There will undoubtedly be more funny moments as Sharpe settles into the role, so be on the lookout for more funny clips and possibly an apology by Stephen A. Smith when he gets too deep into criticizing stars like Kim Kardashian.