Shannon Sharpe bizarrely claims relationship status should be a requirement to be the face of the NBA like LeBron James and wife Savannah as he likens players to ‘presidential candidates’ on First Take

  • ESPN’s First Take panel were debating who could take over from LeBron James 
  • Sharpe listed Magic Johnson and Larry Bird as married faced of the NBA
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Shannon Sharpe left First Take host Stephen A. Smith stunned by his claims relationships should play a role in who becomes the face of the NBA. 

The ESPN panel were debating who could take up the mantle after LeBron James, who is in his 21st season in the league, eventually decides to bring the curtain down on his career. 

Sharpe raised eyebrows by suggesting that a player’s marital status should be included in the criteria, naming Magic Johnson and Larry Bird as past examples.

‘What about relationship status?’ he questioned on Tuesday’s show. 

‘Magic [Johnson] and [Larry] Bird was married. LeBron was in a relationship with Savannah. How do we look at it? Because when we look at presidential candidates, we look at candidates, we want them to be secure. We want them to be foundational pieces.’

Shannon Sharpe claimed relationships should play a role in who becomes the face of the NBA 

LeBron James (L) with wife Savannah

Magic Johnson (R) and wife Cookie

The former NFL star listed LeBron James (L) and Magic Johnson (R) as examples 

But his relationship take left co-hosts Smith and JJ Redick confounded with the former responding: ‘I’m not gonna lie, I don’t know what the hell you’re asking.’ 

However, host Molly Qerim came to Sharpe’s defense, expanding on the former NFL star’s argument. 

‘I know what you’re saying like the “First Lady of Basketball,”‘ she said.

‘They would say Steph Curry and Ayesha Curry, and we know them. The example, the role models. I get what you’re saying.’

Yet, former-NBA-star-turned-analyst Redick still wasn’t having any of it, bringing up Sharpe and Smith’s respective podcasts and claiming they go off into ‘really strange directions.’

He went on to argue that relationship status should have no part in who is worthy of being the face of the NBA. 

‘Let’s not act like some of the faces of the league have been perfect with their off-court behavior,’ he said. 

Host Molly Qerim came to Sharpe's defense, also naming Steph Curry and his wife Ayesha

Host Molly Qerim came to Sharpe’s defense, also naming Steph Curry and his wife Ayesha 

‘I don’t necessarily think that’s a precursor, and you’re obviously using Steph and LeBron in sort of the present sense. By and large, those guys are scandal-free. But let’s not act like the past faces of the league have been perfect.’ 

To Redick’s point, Shaquille O’Neal was once one of the most popular and influential players in the league but has been very vocal about his decisions away from the court and how they unraveled his relationship with ex-wife, Shaunie Nelson. 

Meanwhile, the Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant had once appeared heir apparent as one of the league’s brightest rising star but his statues took a hit following his suspension last year. 

Stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic could be lined up as replacements for LeBron but with the Lakers icon’s goal still to play in the NBA with his son Bronny it might be a while until the throne is empty.