The legendary Pete Rock was greeted with open arms on today’s episode of ESPN’s First Take. There the renowned producer had an opportunity to weigh in on Kobe Bryant’s role in the Lakers’ recent win streak and how allegations of Ray Lewis using performance enhancing drugs could further taint his legacy.
Host Cari Champion and co-host Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were very respectful to the legacy of the New York producer. “He’s a bad boy. He’s worked with every Hip-Hop artist in the business,” said Stephen A. “Not just Hip-Hop, but the Mary J. Blige(s) of the world, obviously Run-DMC, my homeboys from Hollis, Queens. We all know what he’s done.”
Champion quickly quieted the music banter, directing the conversation back to sports. Here the Chocolate Boy Wonder kept his dialogue with the host strangely short-winded, leaving Smith and Bayless to do most of the talking. He was most engaged when discussing the Lakers, who are 14-3 this season when Kobe Bryant takes 20 or fewer shots.
“I think if he becomes that distributor for his teammates, passing the ball getting everyone involved, I think they can keep it up and make that run,” said Pete Rock, who believes Kobe will continue facilitating. Stephen A. Smith wasn’t buying in, though he admits that “Kobe can do what he wants to do.”
Later in the telecast, the touchy subject of Ray Lewis allegedly using PED arose. Knowing how far the Ravens frontman has come since being exonerated for a 2000 double murder, the hosts questioned what this will do to the linebacker’s legacy. Viewers will see a clearly conflicted Pete Rock, who was sparing in his response on the matter, but hopes the accusations aren’t true.
See both portions of First Take below.