Folks, I think you know where I’m going with this, so I’ll just jump right into it.
First Take ended today. It’s a sad day in the world of debate. After howevermany years it’s been on, Stephen A Smith finally came out on top.
As I’m writing this, Skip Bayless is walking off set for the final time. Despite bringing hotter takes than Stephen A the last few years, ESPN decided to cut the cord with Skip and give Stephen A the reigns. Despite all the evidence and common sense, Stephen A managed to come out on top. Sure, some might say he needed susperstar help to finally win, but I’m not here to be bitter. I’ll give him his due. Congrats to him. Even for the biggest Stephen A haters out there, you have to tip your cap. He came back against previously insurmountable odds, and he won.
Good for him.
He’s still not better than Johnnie.
Ever since Stephen A claimed he would’ve won the OJ trial over Johnnie Cochran, I’ve seen everyone bring back this debate of who the GOAT debater is.
Does 6 and 0 in national cases mean nothing to you people anymore? SIX AND ZERO. Zero losses. And yes I know he technically lost some smaller cases in his early career. But once he made it to the national level, he never lost. And at the end of the day, it all goes back to national cases.
Look, I’m not an irrational Stephen A. Smith hater. I can acknowledge his greatness. What he just did, to win the battle of First Take, that was impressive as hell.
But to think that Stephen A could handle the physicality of 90’s debates? Please… that’s preposterous. I don’t care how much bigger or faster or stronger his takes are than anyone else. None of that makes a difference in the 90’s when defenders could still fact check.
And when it comes down to it, do you think Johnnie would lose to Skip in 2011? Or again in 2014? Fuck no. He’d fight his own teammates to win that debate. He’d die on the floor before he let his team lose. Johnnie Cochran wasn’t friends with his rivals… he wanted to destroy them. He didn’t join forces with Chris Darden on the prosecution, he beat him in the courtroom. He didn’t buddy-buddy with his opponents, he verbally decapitated them. Because that’s the kind of DNA he had. That’s that KILLER INSTINCT.
And that’s something I just don’t see from Stephen A Smith. Despite all his talent, and all his natural abilities. Stephen A will never have the killer instinct that Johnnie had, and that’s what separates the two. Stephen A Smith shares the spotlight with his teammates? Johnnie Cochran takes control of the case from Bob Shapiro. Stephen A suggests Chip Kelly might be racist? Johnnie Cochran compared Mark Fuhrman to Hitler. THAT… That is Killer Instinct. And that is why Johnnie is and forever will be The GOAT.
Because folks, as great as Stephen A is — and he might well be top five debater of all time — there’s just no way he’d be able to play in another era. Some just just have the mental fortitude, and some don’t. And those old school guys would’ve knocked Stephen A around the debate like a rag doll, no matter how much bigger his takes were. I see no toughness, no killer instinct, no clutch gene from Stephen A. And if we’re being honest, Molly Qerim should have won the MVP for First Take anyway. Stephen A is lucky she bailed him out so many times.
#RIP First Take.