As Skip Bayless makes his exit from ESPN, he leaves behind a legacy of fan rage and controversy. From his hot-take tweets to his televised morning rants, Bayless has made a living riling up sports fans on topics ranging from his worship of Tim Tebow and the Spurs to his constant needling of LeBron James.
Turns out it's not just fans who are annoyed with him. As he says farewell to the Worldwide Leader, we look back at the times when the athletes and media with whom Bayless shared the sports world bit back.
Several guests who dropped in on"First Take" for an interview ended up going after Bayless. In 2012, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spent a whole segment attacking Bayless' hot takes on the NBA. "You guys like to talk in complete generalities where no one can question you," Cuban said to Bayless' face. "You don’t ever use facts. You don’t ever use substance."
Earlier in 2012, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs called in to the show and quickly got fed up with Bayless' leading questions, eventually demanding he "be an analyst, don’t be a douchebag."
In 2013, Seattle Seahawks star Richard Sherman, registered his irritation with Bayless' claims that the cornerback's skills weren't in the same league as those of Darrelle Revis. When Bayless tried to bait Sherman into talking about Revis, Sherman called him "ignorant, pompous, and egotistical," and said when Bayless suggests Sherman is nowhere near Revis' level that loses credibility. "No, I don't,I gain it," responded Bayless in sports media's most unmerited mic drop.
Immediately after LeBron James won his third NBA championship, against Steph Curry's Golden State Warriors, Bayless wrote a series of tweets declaring that his favorite team, the Spurs, would have beaten James and his Cavaliers. This was too much for even fellow ESPN pundit Danny Kanell to take, as he responded to Bayless' tweet with a simple message: "Bye, Felicia."
Danny Kanell's ESPN Radio partner Ryen Russillo spoke at length on Bayless' last day about how no one at ESPN was allowed to openly disagree with him on any topic, and that Bayless got mad at other pundits at the network who challenged him. "When you disagree with Skip, it’s handled a different way," Russillo said. "A lot of us are just like, whatever. So that’s why we never bring it up."
Other sports media figures joined in on the Bayless pile-on. NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen tweeted that the best part of LeBron James' NBA Finals victory was that the basketball star "ends [Bayless'] career at ESPN that he built by trolling on him by shutting him the F up."
Also following Lebron James' NBA Finals win, ESPN NFL analyst Mark Schlereth retweeted a hot take from Bayless made in 2014, declaring that the now unemployed Johnny Manziel "will one day be bigger in Cleveland than his buddy LeBron ever was." "Good call!" Schlereth quipped.
The biggest swipe against Bayless came on SportsCenter, during which Scott Van Pelt dedicated his take on the Cavs' NBA Finals win to calling out LeBron critics who "have made your living ripping him." It didn't take much between-the-lines reading to see that Van Pelt was referring to Bayless. "Find a new ax to grind," the anchor said.