Stephen A. Smith Picks His Top 3 X-Men

ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith names Wolverine, Beast and Storm as his Top 3 X-Men.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reveals who he'd pick as his Top 3 members of the X-Men. The vocal sports personality helped ring in the era of "Embrace Debate" that has overtaken sports talk radio and TV. It feels like you can find Stephen A. Smith on just about every ESPN broadcast, from First Take to NBA Countdown. He also hosts his titular The Stephen A. Smith Show on YouTube, which allows Smith more room to freely talk about subjects without a filter, something that he can't always do on an ESPN program. But who knew Stephen A. Smith was a fan of the X-Men, or could even name some of the characters? You may be curious to find out who makes his Mount Rushmore of X-Men.

Stephen A. Smith shared a segment from his YouTube show where he answered an X-Men question from his ESPN colleague Mina Kimes. She sent Smith a post on Twitter that read, "Who are your top three draft picks here," with the cover to Marvel's X-Men '97 comic that's coming out ahead of the X-Men '97 Disney+ animated series, which is a sequel to X-Men: The Animated Series. Smith then names all the X-Men on the cover (Wolverine, Cyclops, Gambit, Beast, Jubilee, Rogue, Storm, Jean Grey, and Bishop) before revealing his first pick. "First off, Wolverine. Let's get that out of the way. We're definitely going Wolverine," Smith says. "I'm going to do that. I'm going to tell you Beast. I can do that. And how can I go against Storm? I mean Halle Berry, what do you want me to say?"

X-Men '97 gets a release window

The X-Men may be making a return to television sets this spring. Originally announced in November 2021 and slated for a fall 2023 premiere on Disney+, the first season of X-Men '97 — which has already greenlit Season 2 — was pushed to 2024 with animated shows Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (formerly Spider-Man: Freshman Year) and Black Panther spinoff Eyes of Wakanda. A new report has the 10-episode season coming up fairly soon.

According to Cosmic CircusX-Men '97 will be available to stream on Disney+ in "mid to late March." Marvel Studios has not confirmed this news, however.

Details remain scarce, but the series picks up where X-Men: The Animated Series left off when its original five-season, 76-episode run ended in 1997 on Fox Kids Network. Per the official synopsis: "Storm and Wolverine try to continue the X-Men. Magneto comes in and wants to step up for Charles Xavier. Sinister comes in to try to end the X-Men once and for all." 

Original X-Men: TAS cast members Cal Dodd (Wolverine), Lenore Zann (Rogue), George Buza (Beast), Alison Sealy-Smith (Storm), and Christopher Britton (Mister Sinister) reprise their roles from the '90s series, while returning cast members Catherine Disher (Jean Grey), Chris Potter (Gambit), Alyson Court (Jubilee), and Adrian Hough (Nightcrawler) voice new characters. Newcomers include Ray Chase as Cyclops (replacing the late Norm Spencer), Jennifer Hale as Jean Grey, Holly Chou as Jubilee, A.J. LoCascio as Gambit, Gui Agustini as Sunspot, and Matthew Waterson as Magneto (taking over from the late David Hemblen).

Bishop, Cable, Morph, Forge, and Nightcrawler are also set to appear in the series, which will also feature Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club; Boliver Trask, creator of the mutant-hunting Sentinels; the costumed villain X-Cutioner; and Jean Grey's clone Madelyn Pryor, a.k.a. the Goblin Queen.

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