Max Kellerman: 18 Things You Never Knew About The ESPN Host!

Max Kellerman

American sports television personality, Max Killerman is a renowned face in the boxing world and has done a lot of commentaries on HBO World Championship Boxing and HBO Boxing After Dark. As of now, he works as the co-host of ESPN talk show First Take. Here are some things you never knew about the popular host!

Max Kellerman: 18 Impressive Facts About The ESPN Host! 

1. He is Yiddish and a secular Jew: 

The 47 year old said that Yiddish was the tradition most important to his Bubba, his father, and therefore, to him in terms of how he wants his children to be like him in some way is to carry on the tradition of Yiddish. While the concerns of Jewish identity are nebulous, he said that Yiddish is more about the tradition that comes before you and which you can carry on in some way is Yiddish. 

Max also stated that it is at the core of Jewish identity, regardless of which Jewish community you belong to. 

The ESPN host was interviewed as part of the Wexler Oral History Project with the Yiddish Book Center when he understood and expressed what it meant to him to grow up in a home that was conservative, committed to leftist causes, and focused on transmitting the values which secular Jews share through generations in their families.

2. Childhood and education: 

Kellerman came into this world on 6th August 1973 and is currently 47 years old as of 2021. 

Born and raised in The Bronx, he grew up in Greenwich Village with his family. Max was the eldest among the 4 brothers in the Kellerman family. As a child, he went to PS 41 in Greenwich Village as a preschooler. Later in 1991, as a teenager, he joined Hunter College High School. After graduating from high school, he joined Columbia University to pursue a degree in History.

3. As a teenager, Kellerman was already on a broadcasting journey: 

Max hosted a television program called Max on Boxing on a New York City public-access television cable. The now 47 year old’s s first job was ESPN right out of school; doing Friday night fights. 

The ESPN anchor said that as he was graduating school, he glanced around at his friends from New York and realized that he had peers in every different career imaginable. He looked at the ones who were successful, and he was already beginning to analyze what they did. He concluded that the successful ones were the ones who sent out 50 resumes, followed by 50 letters, 50 phone calls, and they took their job hunts seriously. A young Max was doing the public access show at the time and concluded that he should do the same. His three younger brothers, Sam, Harry, and Jack assisted him in  putting together a press kit and promotional video for a potential “Max on Boxing” show. He sent these out to a lot of spots, and very quickly, he had an offer from ESPN.

However, his professional journey went to another after graduation. Right after graduation, he was the first to mention that he “took seven years to get ‘outta’ college.” The future media personality said that “lots of guys take seven years to get out of college- they’re called doctors.” 

By the late 90s, ESPN booked Kellerman as an analyst on its boxing series Friday Night Fights. After working as an analyst for a few years, he got his own show Around the Horn in November 2002. Even though the TV show was an incredible hit, Killman and ESPN could not reach a mutual agreement. Consequently, he left the network in 2004.

From there he went on to host I, Max on Fox Sports Net alongside Michael Holley and Bill Wolff. Even though he got the highest ranking, the show was canceled in the following year. Later he signed with MSNBC as a permanent contributor on its show Tucker. 

4. He bumped into Steve Lott (the CEO of Boxing Hall of fame) on the streets of New York:

Max was on his way to a showing of the RFK documentary that Jack Newfield had created. Steve Lott told Max that Friday Night Fights was up for relaunch, and that the production was ready for a new voice. Steve asked Max if he had a tape. Max had the promotional materials his brothers made with him, and he offered to send it to Lott. Once the materials came through, ESPN sent Max Kellerman to audition, and that’s how he ended up with Friday Night Fights. 

He rose up the ranks very quickly and became one of the most successful boxing analysts despite a seemingly youthful face!

5. He is a dad of three:

Kellerman is married to his wife Erin who serves as an attorney. The couple met while they were in high school and started getting serious about their relationship during their college years. However, their wedding details are not too public.  The couple has three daughters together namely, Esther Kellerman, Sam Kellerman, and Mira Kellerman. The family lives happily together.  

Interviewing on Hot 97, Max spoke of the complexity of his schedule, which involved juggling three jobs as a sports commentator – not to mention his fourth job as a father. As his children grew up and were already in school, he wasn’t at home from 8:30 to 7:30 every day, and that made it hard to connect with his children.

In 2016, when he was involved with HBO Boxing, the daily ESPN TV show, and the daily ESPN radio show, the career oriented host said it was tough being married with three kids and pairing that with his three-show career. 

He said he loved his wife dearly and that she felt the same way about their focus on their three children. His wife sent him a video of his youngest child, Mira, walking for the first time. She was about 1 year old at the time, and Max was forced to accept seeing a video of the cherished event because he was on the road with his work. 

His children were 7, 4, and 1 that year. 

6. Awards, nomination, and net worth:

The Sports Emmy Awards nominated the ESPN host Max Kellerman in the category of Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Analyst in the year 2002.  

Being nominated is great but he  couldn’t take home the award.

Being amazing at his work, dedicating most of his life to sports broadcasting and boxing commenting, Kellerman has earned him a net worth of $8 million. That being said, online sources say his annual salary under the ESPN contract is still under review.

7. Acting:

In 2006, the ESPN host made his debut in the acting career by being cast in the film Rocky Balboa alongside Lampley and Merchant. 

The popular sports personality even continued appearing in movies like Creed as a reporter and The Wedding Bout and Real Husbands of Hollywood as himself.

8. Rap career: 

Before he became well known for his eloquently worded takes on sports, Max Kellerman was in a rap band with his brother Sam Kellerman. The group’s name was Max and Sam (their first names) and they even shot a music video for its biggest hit, Young Man Rumble in 1994! Boy does he look so young back here! 

9. Max Kellerman is a proponent of sabermetrics:

Max Kellerman has opened up about his support of sabermetrics on numerous occasions. 

Sabermetrics or SABRmetrics is the empirical analysis of baseball, especially baseball statistics that measure in-game activity. Sabermetricians garner and conclude the relevant data from this in-game activity to answer specific questions. The jargon is derived from the acronym SABR, which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research, founded in 1971.

10. He supports the Ring Magazine’s championship rankings: 

Max Kellerman is a passionate proponent of using the Ring Magazine championship rankings exclusively. He has spoken against magazines of other boxing sanctioning organizations because of their corruption. To prevent financial conflicts, Max Kellerman used euphemisms to name drop The Ring magazine while broadcasting for HBO. 

Max would use the term “the true world champion” to talk about the fighter who held The Ring Magazine Championship.

11. He doesn’t support MLB’s steroid era:

Max Kellerman said that the single season home run record should be returned to Roger Maris who hit 61 of them. The reason behind that is the fact that hitters like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire were on steroids when they had their record setting seasons.

12. He LOVES Roy Jones Jr.: 

Roy Jones Jr. is the greatest pound for pound fighter ever according to Max. Among his all-time boxers are Pernell Whitaker, Jerry Quarry, Willie Pep, and Roy Jones Junior. The latter is someone who Max Kellerman spoke of in glowing terms and said that he was the greatest fighter he ever saw in his life to have won titles in different weight classes.

13. His brother was brutally murdered:

Kellerman said that it’s a terrible group to be in along with others who have lost siblings. He said that everyone who grieves one’s closest family member, or anyone in the family first faces what he terms subjective loss. The host said there is also objective loss. He perceived his brother Sam as a genius and they were always together. 

His flesh and blood was killed by James Butler, a former boxer and manic-depressive nicked-named The Hammer. Butler used a hammer to pound Sam’s head 32 times. The saddest thing is that Sam was trying to help Butler. Butler had even been part of the cast in Max and Sam’s rap video “Young Man Rumble”. 

Max Kellerman said nothing will erase his memories of Sam, and it took him 5 years before he could function like a regular human being. Years later, he still can’t cope with the loss of his elder brother Sam Kellerman who was born on November 24th, 1974, 15 months after Max Kellerman, the second of the four brothers of the Kellerman family. 

It was always talented Sam always showed promise as a writer and at a very young age, wrote a play called The Man Who Hated Shakespeare and hosted a public-access cable-television show. In a tragic turn of events, his brother’s body was found inside his apartment in the 1400 block of Vista Street in Los Angeles on October 17th, 2004. In the ensuing investigation, James Butler confessed to the murder and was sentenced to almost 30 years in prison.

At the time of his murder, Sam Kellerman was only 29 years old, resulting in Max saying the following about his brother:

“[Sam] was a creative genius… He was the best writer for his age I’ve ever read. I used to tell him, ‘I’ll always be able to get someone to pay me for talking, and you’ll always be able to get someone to pay you for writing.’ When it came to writing, I felt like Salieri to Sam’s Mozart. Sam wanted to direct film, but I think he was fated to write and be in front of the camera. He was starting to get work as an actor. He was in several national commercials. And acting wasn’t even what he did best. Sam was a sure thing. It was just a matter of time before he made it big.”

14. He got suspended by ESPN for domestic violence:

The step down occurred after he admitted that he had hit his wife. It happened before they were married and at a college party. His then-girlfriend-now-wife slapped him and he slapped her back. His co-host Stephen A. Smith was also suspended for a time after he made remarks about domestic violence.

15. Max Kellerman does pilates to overcome his back issues:

As a middle-aged man, Max said that he was “at the beginning of old” at just 42 years old. He didn’t consider himself to be in the 30s “sweet spot” but emerged into the more difficult part of mid life with issues such as back pain. 

16. He once bit off a clock wire and electrocuted his lips:

Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Max Kellerman admitted the truth about the scar on his mouth. He said that it was a result of an electrical outlet that he and his brother Sam were playing Batman and Robin. The duo started the game when Max was three and Sam was two and kept up the Dynamic Duo for years. 

The clock was their father’s present to their mother and Max, as Batman, lied and told a story to Sam, who was Robin, that the clock was the enemy. 

Max somehow told Sam to bite the wire first, but nothing happened until Max bit it, too. The wire zapped Max’s skin, and he needed three full on medical surgeries to separate the left side of his lips. The sports host confirmed this incident on his radio show as well.

17. He received his first boxing lesson at the age of eight:

He had watched Muhammad Ali on TV one night and decided to recited Ali’s poetry. Perhaps this started his love for boxing but his lessons didn’t last long. That being said, because his mother and grandmother took him out of lessons one year later when Boom Boom Mancini killed Duk Koo Kim on national TV.

18. He was so successful even before the big networks picked him up:

When his own boxing classes ended, Max satisfied his passion for boxing by understanding everything about it that he could. 

His dad took him to the Manhattan Neighborhood Network studio and spent money on a half-hour recording slot. His first studio session was a hit, as people from all over phoned the studio. Max’s weekly show, Max on Boxing, ended up continuing for nine years. Max was even invited to be a guest on the David Letterman Show, and Dustin Hoffman invited him to his home for dinner – a star was born!

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