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Skip Bayless: 'I'm shy by nature.' No, really, he said that

ESPN's controversial "First Take" show featuring Skip Bayless

ESPN's controversial "First Take" show featuring Skip Bayless at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manhattan. (April 1, 2013) Credit: Uli Seit

Skip Bayless of ESPN’s “First Take’’ is one of the most strident gabbers in sports media, but he insisted he does not come by it naturally.

“It’s funny, but I’m shy by nature,’’ he said after a live edition of the show at the Hard Rock Café in Manhattan Monday. “But from my mom I inherited a dynamic audience personality. My mom was a great public speaker and she took me at age 8 to speech lessons, which I despised because I wanted to play every sport.

“She forced me every Wednesday to go and recite poems for a woman who taught elocution, public speaking. It was the greatest thing she ever did for me, because I’m comfortable with it. I’m more shy talking to you than I am talking to a house full of people.’’

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