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ESPN Daily

English, Sports, 1 season, 501 episodes, 4 days, 8 hours, 18 minutes
About
Wake up to the best sports story you'll hear all day. Monday through Friday, host Pablo Torre brings you an inside look at the most interesting stories at ESPN, as told by the top reporters and insiders on the planet. Dive deep on the biggest sports headlines. Get hooked on the wildest stories. It's the very best of ESPN. Daily.
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Can Anything Keep the Celtics from Raising Banner 18?

Two games into the NBA Finals, and it looks like nothing can keep the Boston Celtics away from lifting an 18th championship banner to the rafters. They’ve been able to limit the Dallas attack to just Luka Doncic, and everything seems to be going their way. ESPN NBA reporter Tim Bontemps has been at both games of the series, and he joins the show to explain just how Boston is keeping the Dallas attack in check. And explore if a shift in venue to the Lone Star state will be enough to give the Mavs a fighting chance. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/12/202429 minutes, 37 seconds
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America Shocks the World in… Cricket?!

For Americans who’ve never watched a cricket match before, now may be the best time to start. Because for the first time ever, Team USA has drawn global attention, after shocking the world in an upset over Pakistan last Thursday. And that feat looks all the more improbable when you learn who exactly is on this roster.  So today, ESPN’s own Aishwarya Kumar explains how they pulled it off, and why this Men’s T20 World Cup tournament looks like a watershed moment for American cricket.  You can stream Team USA’s Wednesday and Friday matches against India and Ireland at 10:30 AM Eastern Time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/11/202428 minutes, 53 seconds
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How Maya Brady Carried the Family Name into the Next Generation

With all of the energy surrounding women’s basketball these days, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the interest in women’s sports is growing beyond just the hardwood. We’ve seen a professional women’s hockey league return to the ice this season, stars continue to shine on the tennis courts and the track. And interest in the Women’s College World Series has steadily increased year over year leading to an average of two million fans tuning in to the most watched title series ever. So today, Jake Trotter, who covers college sports at ESPN, introduces us to Maya Brady, a prolific shortstop at UCLA, who just completed a decorated college career on the softball field. And Jake tells us why Maya’s rise is about more than just her shared family lineage with her uncle, one Tom Brady. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/10/202424 minutes, 26 seconds
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Who Will Get Over the Hump? Emily Kaplan Previews the Stanley Cup Final

The teams meeting in the Stanley Cup Final this season, the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers, are both trying to get over the hump. For the Panthers, this is year three in their recent turnaround. Having the best record in the NHL two seasons ago didn’t get it done, and last year they fell a step short of lifting Lord Stanley’s trophy into the air for the first time as a franchise. Up in Edmonton, the Oilers haven’t won it all since 1990, when a guy named Wayne Gretzky was still lacing them up. And after falling short in the playoffs themselves over the past few seasons, they are looking to bring home the cup not just for their city, but for the entirety of the nation. So today, ESPN NHL reporter Emily Kaplan tells us what to watch for ahead of Saturday’s game one. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/7/202428 minutes, 49 seconds
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How a City Sponsorship Could Signal Change in the WNBA

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the WNBA continues to be a hot topic, showing fans and the world that excitement around women's basketball is expanding beyond a “moment.”  With all the chatter about aggression towards rookies, vet players, crazy record stats, and even team mascots dominating the floor, there is one thing that has been looming top of mind for many over the last few weeks: money. The two-time reigning WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces are again at the forefront, as all twelve of the players on the team are negotiating with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) on a $100,000 sponsorship deal. A number even higher than the league salary minimum. The news came as a welcome surprise to many, but also sparked an investigation from the league. So today Aces beat reporter, Callie Lawson-Freeman of the Las Vegas Review-Journal is here to share what she has been able to find out on the ground about this sponsorship and what it could mean for the league.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/6/202428 minutes, 41 seconds
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Brian Windhorst Previews a Fascinating NBA Finals Matchup

This year’s NBA finals feature one team everyone saw coming and, according to Brian Windhorst, another we probably should have seen coming.  The Boston Celtics have been on a hot streak all season long –– easily claiming the league’s best record –– while the Dallas Mavericks have been pushing their way towards the mountaintop week by week. Game 1 of the NBA Finals tips off Thursday night and there’s so much to think about, including how Dallas might actually have the two best players on the court, whether or not Kyrie Irving can shake his Celtics curse, and why it’s win now or maybe never for this iteration of the Celtics. Brian Windhorst has been in the building with both teams as they’ve made their run through the playoffs and joins us to share what we can expect as the Finals begin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/5/202429 minutes, 13 seconds
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What the Negro Leagues' Statistical Integration Really Means

For years, names like Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, and Satchel Paige were well known as legends in the Negro Leagues, but unrecognized in the record books alongside their white contemporaries. Last week that changed, as a nearly quarter-century long endeavor to collect and verify decades of statistics was unveiled for the first time. The news seems to have been met with every emotion under the sun: confusion, anger, disdain, but not joy. And part of that is because many are confused as to what’s actually happening. This story was never about Josh Gibson unseating Ty Cobb as the single season batting average leader. It was about presenting the statistics of major professional baseball leagues as evidence to support the legends that played. So Today, our host Clinton Yates sits on the other side of the table and joins our very own Alex Hyacinthe to break down what this process undertook, and what this really means for baseball. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/4/202429 minutes, 54 seconds
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One Pitcher May Have Secretly Changed the Balance of Power in MLB

Major League Baseball teams have developed a habit of manipulating contract rules so as to prevent a player from realizing his true financial value. Many contend it’s all part of a player exploitation system perpetrated by the league under the guise of “maximizing efficiency.” But five years ago, while pitching for the Brewers, reliever Josh Hader and his agent employed an unprecedented strategy to fight back. Today, Buster Olney joins us as we explore Hader’s story, the greater context of how MLB uses and abuses pitchers, and the impact this new tactic could have not only on their contracts, but also their long-term health. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/3/202430 minutes, 29 seconds
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Will a Shuttered School Win a College World Series Title?

Birmingham Southern College sits on a lovely campus three miles from downtown Birmingham, Alabama. But today, that college is officially ceasing operations.  Nonetheless, the school’s baseball team will play on, as they take the field this afternoon in the Division III college world series.  So our Kyle Bonagura is here to explain how the school’s looming closure actually inspired the Panthers to turn their season around. And how the team’s final run may turn out to be its best ever. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/31/202426 minutes, 47 seconds
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Is Bronny James Good Enough for the NBA?

Bronny James has been in the public spotlight his whole life. Being the son of all-time great LeBron James has set expectations that would be too high for most NBA Draft prospects, let alone one with a less-than-guaranteed shot in the NBA. Bronny James won’t be a lottery pick, and probably won’t be picked in the first round either.  What makes this more complicated than your average draft prospect analysis is LeBron has the opportunity to opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, and has stated publicly that he would like to play with his son. So today, ESPN’s resident NBA Front Office expert Bobby Marks joins the show to break down Bronny’s value as a player, and how his father plays a part in where and when Bronny gets drafted. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/30/202424 minutes, 34 seconds
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Inside the Mind of Bill Walton

On Memorial Day the world lost one of the gems of the sports world –– the one and only Bill Walton. He was a two-time NBA champion and won two NCAA titles as a young man at UCLA. But his reputation as the most cheerful, colorful, and contemplative personality in sports, especially in his many decades as a broadcaster, has extended his legacy beyond the generations who first watched him on the court.  In tribute to Walton, today we revisit our January 2021 conversation with the man himself, and revel in the joy he brought into our lives. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/29/202423 minutes, 37 seconds
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Has Shohei Ohtani Pitched His Last Game?

Over the previous six seasons, Shohei Ohtani’s prowess as a hitter and a pitcher made him the most talked about player in baseball. But when the Dodgers signed him to a record-setting $700 million contract in December, they knew an elbow injury would prevent him from pitching in 2024.  Now, after 53 games this season, we’re seeing Ohtani reach new heights at the plate. Which begs the question: Do he and the Dodgers really want to mess with that?  Today, our Bradford Doolittle explains why, like Babe Ruth before him, Ohtani’s bat skills may keep him off the mound forever. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/28/202427 minutes, 52 seconds
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One Racial Slur Tore a Baseball Team Apart

On April 6th, 2023, a startling scene played out on a baseball field in Fort Myers, Florida. Shortly after the start of the annual rivalry game against nearby Estero High School, nearly the entire roster for Fort Myers High School, along with the coaching staff, walked off the field, leaving two teammates of color behind. According to witnesses on the scene, chaos ensued, as parents on both sides of the divide began trading insults.  That incident was the latest manifestation of racial tensions that have existed in Fort Myers for decades. And the direct result of an assistant coach being dismissed for using a racial slur in a team group chat on Valentine’s Day of that year.  Today, our Howard Bryant takes us inside this story, unpacks a chain of smoldering racial resentments, and provides a new understanding of what it means to be outnumbered.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/24/202435 minutes, 36 seconds
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How Men, Moonshine, and the Need for Speed Birthed NASCAR

We know that the roots of NASCAR can be traced back to the American South in states like North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Tennessee. But what you might not realize is that particular motorsport was conceived through the hills of those very same states by bootleggers running moonshine while racing for bragging rights.  So when a sinkhole was recently discovered under the famous North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina, there was no surprise to find more than just mud and dirt down there. Ryan McGee joins us to explain how one of the sport's oldest tracks might just have been the site of one of America’s oldest vices. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/23/202429 minutes, 2 seconds
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Are We Seeing the Next Kobe Bean Bryant in Anthony Edwards?

For the first time in 20 years, the Minnesota Timberwolves will make their way into the Western Conference Finals, and they couldn't have made it there without their star shooting guard Anthony Edwards. He has become a leader for this Timberwolves team at only 22 years old and has forged great relationships with teammates like Karl-Anthony Towns. So today, our Ramona Shelburne takes us into the mind of the ANT-man and breaks down his progress from starting at the top of a COVID season rookie class up until leading his team to the Western Conference Finals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/22/202429 minutes, 50 seconds
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The Link Between Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and Europe’s First Basketball Star

Basketball has grown into a worldwide sport over the past several decades. Just look at the past six NBA MVPs: Giannis Antetokounmpo from Greece, Nikola Jokic from Serbia, and Joel Embiid from Cameroon.  Waiting in the wings are Slovenia’s Luka Doncic and Canada’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. But this worldwide explosion of talent did not happen overnight. Like any other explosion, it starts with a single spark.  In Europe that spark was named Radivoj Korac.  Korac played for the Yugoslavian national basketball team in the 1950’s and 60s, and quickly gained acclaim after winning The Best Athlete of Yugoslavia (Zlatna značka), and Yugoslav Sportsman of the Year (Sportske novosti award). He laid the path for future European superstars to follow in the years to come. Sadly, Korac never got to see his true peak or join the NBA after passing away in a tragic car accident at the age of 30.  Today, Baxter Holmes joins the show to tell us the story of the legendary Radivoj Korac, and how his stardom spawned the European dominance we see today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/21/202430 minutes, 16 seconds
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How We Got to the NBA Conference Finals

The NBA’s conference finals are set after two game sevens on Sunday. In the east the Boston Celtics will take on the Indiana Pacers, while out west, we’ve got the Minnesota Timberwolves against the Dallas Mavericks. It’s a star-studded affair, and frankly a window into the next chapter in the NBA. And the most important question is, who’s going on to the finals? So today ESPN NBA writer Tim Bontemps says goodnight to the Knicks, and explains how the Pacers, Celtics, Mavs, and TWolves got to the final four. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/20/202436 minutes, 49 seconds
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Can Jalen Brunson Will the Knicks Past the Pacers?

After a 30 point win over the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, the New York Knicks are knocking on the door to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since the year 2000. But we’ve already seen locale shift the momentum in this series, and with Game Six set to tip off tonight in Indianapolis, it could be a tall order for Tom Thibodeau and company to put the Pacers down in six games. So today, ESPN senior writer Chris Herring explains how the Knicks got to this point despite so many injuries, and tells us who has to do what to lock in a date with the Boston Celtics, and a shot at an NBA Finals appearance. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/17/202429 minutes, 14 seconds
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How Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets Got Their Groove Back

The Nuggets and Timberwolves Western Conference Semifinals is truly a tale of two series. Just about a week ago, it looked like young phenom Anthony Edwards was going to lead the Timberwolves past the defending champion Nuggets to the promised land after starting the postseason with six-straight wins. But then, the inevitable happened. And it came in the form of 6-foot-11 three-time MVP, Nikola Jokic reminding everyone in the league who the defending champions are. With all these ups and downs we turn to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and he shares what he’s seeing and hearing behind the scenes in this roller coaster of a series. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/16/202430 minutes, 27 seconds
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Kids are Signing Their Likeness Away to Youth Baseball Giant Perfect Game

The latest move for Perfect Game, the world’s largest youth baseball tournament and scouting service, is an expected multi-year memorabilia deal with Fanatics. While on the surface, the deal means Fanatics would produce and distribute trading cards and collectibles for Perfect Game athletes, it also raises agents’ concerns about amateur players’ rights, especially if they end up playing professionally.  Brittany Ghiroli’s reporting on the impending deal for The Athletic revealed that young baseball players have already been signing their rights away to Perfect Game. She joins us today to discuss why Perfect Game and Fanatics’ marriage is potentially harmful for players and how these companies’ machinations impact amateur baseball more largely. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/15/202426 minutes, 54 seconds
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Has Women's Basketball’s “Moment” Exploded into a New Era?

The 2024 WNBA season begins tonight, and you’ve probably heard that women’s basketball is having a moment. But with ratings and excitement skyrocketing around the college game, and an incoming rookie class stepping into the W, bringing along more social media followers than ever, the question is: has that moment turned into an era? Hall of Famer and ESPN basketball analyst Rebecca Lobo is here to tell us how the game is evolving right before our eyes, and what Caitlin Clark and the rest of this rookie class has in store for them. Plus, she breaks down whether or not we’re heading for a rematch of super teams from New York and Las Vegas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/14/202428 minutes, 7 seconds
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When Will We See a Female F1 Champion?

Formula 1 races seem to have everything – the pomp of an A-list party, exotic locations, excited fans, and global superstars on the grid. So what’s missing from this scene? Women behind the wheel. Formula 1 hasn’t had a female driver qualify for a race in almost 50 years and as women’s sports continues to make great strides, the world of elite racing seems to be falling behind. Today, ESPN’s Alyssa Roenigk brings the story of two drivers working together to break barriers in the world of motorsports one race at a time. For more on this story, watch Roenigk in a new documentary that spotlights the women breaking barriers in motorsports for the Emmy-winning "In Real Life" series, premiering Sunday, June 2 at 8 p.m. Eastern, 7p.m. Central on Scripps News. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/13/202429 minutes, 59 seconds
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Will Black WNBA Superstars Get What They're Due?

Last month, news broke about Caitlin Clark’s $28 million shoe deal with Nike. It’s undoubtedly a great business decision for both Nike and Clark as she transitions into becoming the most hyped WNBA rookie of all time, but the announcement begets a conversation about equity in the WNBA. In a league that is nearly 64% Black, the most marketed, endorsed, and featured players are mostly white. ESPN’s Sean Hurd wrote about this for Andscape and ESPN’s Katie Barnes has extensively covered women’s basketball and its intersection with issues of race and gender. They’re both here today to discuss how Caitlin’s Nike deal will affect other superstars in the league like A’ja Wilson, Jonquel Jones and Angel Reese, and to provide context for how not only race, but also queerness and gender expression impact WNBA players’ access to capital. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/10/202437 minutes, 40 seconds
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Will the Falcons Survive Their Self-Inflicted QB Chaos?

The Atlanta Falcons selection of Michael Penix Jr. in the first round was the biggest surprise of the 2024 NFL Draft. Especially when you consider that they had inked veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins to a massive deal just weeks before. So today ESPN NFL Draft and college football analyst Jordan Reid explains the plan to guest host David Dennis Jr. and tells us why there’s a chance that this leaves a huge mess down in Atlanta. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/9/202427 minutes, 12 seconds
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Inside the Peculiar Deal Bringing the NHL to Utah

The Arizona Coyotes have been a struggling franchise for most of their history. They have faced turmoil both on and off the ice –– a bankruptcy in 2009 and, as of late, a years-long failure to secure a new arena. This winter, with the Coyotes in the midst of a second season in a college hockey barn, the NHL finally had enough.  Enter Ryan Smith, owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz. In an abnormal arrangement, Smith is taking over ownership and moving the team to Utah. But they won’t be called the Coyotes. Control of that brand, as well as its logos, records, and history remains in the hands of former owner Alex Meruelo, who intends to restore the Arizona club in the coming years.  Today, ESPN senior NHL writer Greg Wyshynski breaks down how we got here, how this sale works, and what the future holds for hockey in both Utah and Arizona.  Greg’s article is Inside the Coyotes' stunning move from Arizona to Utah. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/8/202427 minutes, 42 seconds
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Will Coach Prime Live Up to the Hype in Year Two?

After coming off of a 4-8 season and losing more than two dozen players to the transfer portal, Coach Prime remains more optimistic and blunt than ever, promising long-time fan Miss Peggy and the world that the Buffaloes will make a bowl game this year. Today our Andrea Adelson recaps the Buffaloes’ spring game that got more than 20,000 fans excited for what’s to come and previews players to look out for and the future of Dieon Sanders in the chilling mountain tops of Colorado. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/7/202430 minutes, 31 seconds
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Is Jalen Brunson The Quiet King of New York?

Frank Sinatra, Derek Jeter, Christopher Walken, and The Notorious B.I.G. They have all been considered the King of New York at some point in time. And now it appears the time has come to place the crown atop the head of Jalen Brunson. But what kind of king would Brunson be? And where does this idea come from in the first place? There’s no king of Baltimore, or Tulsa, so why does this title exist for that city? Andscape’s Justin Tinsley has explored this concept in his book It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World That Made Him. So today he explains it all, and tells us why Brunson is perfectly suited to rule the five boroughs right now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/6/202430 minutes, 45 seconds
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How Bryce Harper Taught Philadelphia to Love Again

Phillies star Bryce Harper has always been about blue collar hard work – and the spotlight. From his Sports Illustrated cover story at 16 years old to being the number one pick in the MLB Draft to his record-setting contract, Harper’s headlines have followed him wherever he went. It’s that worth ethic and willingness to take everything notoriety brings with it that made his arrival in Philadelphia a match made in heaven. And in a town notorious for wearing their hearts – and hate – on their sleeve, Harper has become one with the City of Brotherly Love. Today, ahead of the Phillies’ Sunday Night Baseball matchup with the Giants, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers joins us to break down how this all happened and why the Harper Effect isn’t going anywhere. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/3/202424 minutes, 56 seconds
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How Reggie Bush's Heisman Reveals New Landscape of NIL, NCAA

The world watched as Reggie Bush's Heisman Trophy was revoked in 2010 after an NCAA investigation that uncovered improper gifts to Bush. Now, 14 years later, we watched him finally get it back.  The Heisman Trust announced last week the formal reinstatement of Bush's trophy, citing "enormous changes in the college football landscape" as the reason. So today, ESPN's Ryan McGee is here to tell the story of where we once were and how the NCAA evolved to allow for Reggie Bush to get his trophy back, and what will come next as college athletes’ power continues to grow. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/2/202432 minutes, 58 seconds
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Candace Parker: The OG Women's Phenom

​​From the suburbs of Chicago to the University of Tennessee, and onto WNBA courts. At every stage of her career, Candace Parker has left an indelible mark on the hoops world. But her influence extends well beyond basketball. So today, in the wake of Parker’s retirement announcement, Shakeia Taylor of the Chicago Tribune joins us to assess a career crucial to the sport's dynamic evolution and explores a legacy poised to resonate for generations. Shakeia’s Tuesday column for the Chicago Tribune examined Candace Parker’s impact. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/1/202432 minutes, 11 seconds
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How a Family’s Bond Saved the Jazz GM

The life of a successful NBA executive requires you to fix everything, everywhere all at once. So when Utah Jazz general manager Justin Zanik found himself in a fight for his life, he was suddenly in the unfamiliar position of needing to be fixed himself. But this is nothing new to the resilient Zanick family who have been at the forefront of fighting diseases for their entire lives.  ESPN senior insider Adrian Wojnarowski spent time with the Zanicks and tells the story of this inspirational family and explains how they have been able to rally themselves, and others, to their cause. You can learn more about RUN - the Rare and Undiagnosed Network at https://rareundiagnosed.org/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/30/202426 minutes, 42 seconds
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Getting to Know the Real Caleb Williams

We’ve been waiting for Caleb Williams to be the number one overall pick in the NFL draft for what seems like years. And this past weekend, it finally happened. But with all of the hype around Williams the football player, and the focus on how his unique sense of style will fit into the NFL, there’s been little conversation about who this guy is in the locker room and off the field. So today, ESPN Chicago reporter and host Courtney Cronin tells us who Caleb Williams really is. By talking to the people who know him best: his friends, coaches, and teammates. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/29/202434 minutes, 7 seconds
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Is the NFL in the Golden Age of Mr. Irrelevant?

As the last pick of the 2022 NFL draft, Brock Purdy accepted the title of Mr. Irrelevant as he entered the league for the San Francisco 49ers. He’s already gone 17-4 as a starter, with 44 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He’s had a Pro Bowl appearance and of course, ended the season with an appearance in the Super Bowl. With the NFL draft continuing through the weekend, we will know who our next Mr. Irrelevant is on Saturday night. So today, ESPN writer Ryan Hockensmith joins us to explore Purdy’s relationship to the Mr. Irrelevant title and tells us the history of Paul Salata, the former NFL underdog who turned the final pick of the draft into an event in itself. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/26/202431 minutes, 25 seconds
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Mina Kimes Previews the NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is one of the most anticipated events on the NFL calendar. Fans of losing franchises wait to see who will be their next savior, and fans of winning franchises look to see who will bolster their Super Bowl hopes. While first round picks get all the buzz, it's the later picks that make or break a teams’ fortunes.  So today ESPN’s resident football expert Mina Kimes joins the show to break down who will be drafted where, and which teams’ futures will be determined this weekend. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/25/202424 minutes, 29 seconds
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How Respect and Dedication to the Craft Saved Ron Washington

Los Angeles Angels manager Ron Washington is the definition of a baseball lifer. The 71 year old has been a scrappy utility player, a pennant winning manager, and a coach with a knack for unlocking his players full potential. But there have also been downs in Washington’s career: a failed drug test, an extramarital affair, and a decade of thinking he would never manage again. Through it all Washington has done what he’s best at. Teaching the game.  Today, senior ESPN journalist Howard Bryant, who has known and covered Washington for 30 years, tells us the story of his career. And explains why this current job could be his greatest achievement yet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/24/202429 minutes, 9 seconds
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Why does everyone hate Rudy Gobert?

No one was surprised to learn that Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert experienced the same darkness retreat that Jets QB Aaron Rodgers made famous, or maybe infamous. And no one was surprised that the reaction was just as polarizing for Gobert, as it was for Rodgers. But what is it about the Timberwolves center that makes the Frenchman so dislikable to his peers? What exactly is it about his specific je ne sais quoi that has the man who’s won three Defensive Player of the Years awards, and a bank account to match, viewed as such a problem? ESPN NBA writer Tim McMahon actually knows Gobert quite well from his time reporting on him and breaks down the many things that sets Rudy apart from his peers in the NBA and the one thing that might be the key to his continued dominance. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/23/202428 minutes, 21 seconds
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Ramona Shelburne Remembers the Sterling Affairs 10 Years Later

10 years ago this week, TMZ published bombshell recordings of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s private conversation with his mistress, V. Stiviano. Sterling’s racist and sexist dialogue captured the world’s attention, and less than a week later, new commissioner Adam Silver had banned him from the NBA for life, forcing a sale of the Clippers. Today ESPN senior NBA writer, Ramona Shelburne, who covered the story and hosted the 30 for 30 podcast, The Sterling Affairs: Takes us back through the events of the scandal, explains how it was a seminal moment in the NBA, and ahead of the release of the FX mini-series Clipped, and tells us what it was like transitioning from a reporter to a producer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/22/202430 minutes, 57 seconds
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Fallout From an NBA Betting Scandal + Playoff Preview

As the playoffs are about to start, all eyes are on the NBA. Instead of the focus being on the court, the attention is all on former Raptor’s reserve Jontay Porter. Porter was caught manipulating his time and performance on the court that tilted multiple prop bets in a specific direction and, shockingly, resulted in one bettor taking home a $1 million payday. It was later found that Porter had also placed bets himself, breaking the leagues sports betting bylaws.  So today, Brian Windhorst joins the show to break down the dangers of Jontay Porter’s story, where this saga heads next, and gives a NBA Playoff preview along the way.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/19/202433 minutes
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Bo, Elway & Eli: Leveraging the NFL Draft

Since the 2023 CFB season came to a close, USC’s Caleb Williams has been penciled in as the presumptive No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The team holding that pick is the Chicago Bears, who are well known for their inability to draft and develop quarterbacks to their potential.  A couple of times throughout history, top prospects have used their leverage to force their ways out of unfavorable landing spots. The stories of John Elway, Bo Jackson, and most recently Eli Manning all come to mind.  Even though Caleb Williams does not look to be joining their ranks, there is still a conversation to be had about how these “can’t miss’ players can and have used their standing to buck the system and how NIL adds new leverage to that dynamic.  So today, Liz Merril tells us the story of those players who manipulated their landing spots, and why you never know what will happen until “the pick is in”.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/18/202427 minutes, 23 seconds
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Ohtani, Arm Injuries, and Availability with Jeff Passan

So ESPN MLB expert Jeff Passan updates us on: the latest happenings in the Shohei Ohtani sports betting case, discusses how now isn’t the time for the league and the player’s association to go to battle over who is responsible for the slew of elbow injuries costing pitchers their season, and explains how players approach trying to be on the field for a full 162 games. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/17/202432 minutes, 2 seconds
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Can Canada or New York End Their Stanley Cup Droughts?

Technically, the NHL regular season does not finish until Thursday, with a few teams still fighting for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. But the true contenders to raise Lord Stanley’s Cup have already become pretty clear. So with the playoffs officially starting this weekend, we find ourselves filled with pressing questions. Is Canada finally poised to end its three decade title drought? Can Connor McDavid get over the hump? Are the New York Rangers for real? Our NHL expert Emily Kaplan tells us what to watch for and why this year’s race looks as wide open and unpredictable as ever. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/16/202426 minutes, 52 seconds
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What Happened to Jackie Robinson’s Statue?

When a six-foot tall, 265-pound bronze statue of Jackie Robinson went missing from McAdams Park in Wichita, Kansas, it felt like a hate crime. An ugly echo of America’s unjust past and a crime leveled not just at the man who broke Major League’s color barrier in 1947 but also at an urban community within the city. But as Bob Lutz, the founder of League 42, a youth organization geared towards exposing the city’s black and brown youth to baseball and more, learned, Jackie Robinson was more of an accidental victim than a target. So ESPN’s Anthony Olivieri, who spent weeks trying to understand what happened, joins the show to tell us how the people of Wichita reacted to the theft and how in the aftermath, the community could be made whole. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/15/202425 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Limitless Potential of Marathoner Kelvin Kiptum

When the starter’s gun goes off on Monday for the 128th Boston Marathon, sadly Kelvin Kiptum will not be among the runners. The Kenyan running superstar lost his life earlier this year and that tragedy has been compounded by what appeared to be limitless potential. In a brief three year marathon career, Kiptum had built a Hall of Fame resume that seemed to push the boundaries of what a human can accomplish. So today, ultramarathoner Kelaine Conochan joins us to explain just how much the world lost with Kiptum’s death and breaks down the possibility of the elusive record he was chasing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/12/202428 minutes, 11 seconds
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Does Anyone Want to Coach at Kentucky?

John Calipari’s tenure at Kentucky included a national championship and four Final Fours. At most other programs, that kind of resume would have guaranteed him a job for life. But things are different in Lexington, as the Wildcats’ five year streak of no Sweet 16 appearances made Calipari’s recent decision to jump to Arkansas shocking but not surprising. So today, SportsCenter anchor and lifelong Kentucky fan Michael Eaves gives us the view inside the Big Blue fanbase and explains why picking the next head coach is an unenviable challenge. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/11/202425 minutes, 1 second
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America’s Caddie Untangles the Golf World at the Masters

On the eve of the Masters, it’s no secret that the world of men’s professional golf is currently in chaos. And there is nobody more in tune with anything and everything going on in that universe than Michael Collins, America’s Caddy. So as this year’s Masters gets ready to tee off down in Augusta, Collins delivers everything from the latest on the PGA/LIV cold war, who to watch on the course and why Tiger Woods isn’t ready to walk away just yet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/10/202429 minutes, 40 seconds
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Louis Vuitton, Pumps, and Feathers. The Fashion Behind Women's College Basketball

This past Sunday, 18.7 million sets of eyes were on the women's NCAA Basketball National Championship game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the South Carolina Gamecocks.  But beyond the meteoric rise in the game’s popularity, there was another underlying story unfolding on the sidelines. That was the coaches, rocking all types of exciting fashion, from bold prints, to designer pieces worth thousands of dollars. The ladies leading these teams are setting a trend for how a coach can look.  So today, Andscape writer Mia Berry breaks down the looks she's been watching, and explains how the styles mean so much more than just looking good. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/9/202430 minutes, 17 seconds
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Myron Medcalf Previews the NCAA Men’s Championship

The finale of the men’s NCAA tournament is tonight, and features a matchup of the best two teams in the nation, UConn and Purdue, and the best big men in the country, Purdue’s Zach Edey and UConn’s Donovan Clingan. ESPN basketball writer and host Myron Medcalf breaks down the battle between the two behemoths, and explains how each side can come out on top. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/8/202429 minutes, 9 seconds
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Men's Final Four Preview with Myron Medcalf

We spent much of the men’s college basketball season lamenting the lack of buzz and star power on the court. But few sporting events are as good at building stars and storylines as the NCAA tournament. And despite fewer upsets and no true buzzer-beaters, the 2024 edition has still delivered.  It all comes to a head in Saturday’s Final Four as DJ Burns and NC State face Zach Edey and Purdue, followed by Mark Sears and Alabama taking on Donovan Clingan and Connecticut.   So today, our Myron Medcalf shares everything you need to know about Saturday’s slate and gives his take on who’s on the verge of a history-making moment, as the tournament nears its end. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/5/202429 minutes, 7 seconds
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Women's Final Four Preview with Alexa Philippou

If you need any more evidence of the explosive growth of women’s basketball, look no further than Monday night, when Iowa’s elite eight victory over LSU drew 12.3 million viewers. It’s not just the most ever for a women’s college game, it also eclipsed average viewers for last year’s World Series and NBA Finals. So as the Final Four gets ready to tip off in Cleveland Friday night, our expert Alexa Philippou reads between the now-officially measured lines to tell us everything we need to know. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/4/202428 minutes, 15 seconds
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Could Max Verstappen Leave Red Bull?

As expected, Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team are off to a strong start in the 2024 Formula 1 season. But despite Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez finishing first and second in two of the season’s first three races, the focus has been on things happening off the track. Team principle Christian Horner has had a complaint of sexual harassment, coercion, and abusive behavior lodged against him by a female employee of the team, leading to questions about whether Verstappen’s future is with Red Bull. So today, ESPN F1 Editor & co-host of the Unlapped podcast, Laurence Edmondson explains how this allegation opened the door to a power struggle at the top of Red Bull, that could ultimately lead to Verstappen switching lanes in the future. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/3/202427 minutes, 43 seconds
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How Will Shohei Ohtani Assimilate into Dodger Blue?

Ippei Mizuhara was more than a friend and interpreter for Shohei Ohtani. He was the man that held the door shut between Ohtani and the outside world. With Mizuhara gone in the wake of this massive sports betting scandal, Ohtani is now a man alone. Tim Keown spent time watching the Dodgers’ newest star up close and personal recently, and he explains to us how Ohtani’s newfound isolation might actually be the key to him opening up to the Dodgers, and maybe eventually the rest of us all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/2/202431 minutes, 8 seconds
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Is a Major Sports Betting Scandal Inevitable?

He may have been the biggest such star to become entangled in a gambling drama, but Dodgers’ star Shohei Ohtani was not the first. Days after the scandal surrounding the global baseball star’s interpreter came to light, a different set of suspicious bets emerged. Last Monday, news broke of an investigation into Toronto Raptors reserve center Jontay Porter. As more and more states have legalized sports betting, we’ve seen more and more athletes, many of them lesser known players, drawing headlines for potential betting violations.  So today, David Purdum joins us to explain this latest case out of the NBA and how it suggests that an even bigger scandal, somewhere down the road, is more likely than you may think.   Note: ESPN launched ESPN Bet in partnership with Penn Entertainment in November 2023. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/1/202424 minutes, 16 seconds
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Women's March Madness Check-in with Alexa Philippou

The women’s NCAA Tournament is back in action tonight with a slate of Sweet 16 games that could set the stage for an unforgettable weekend. Will Iowa and LSU renew their championship rivalry? Can UConn make a triumphant return to the Final Four? And can anyone even come close to stopping the South Carolina juggernaut?  ESPN women’s basketball expert Alexa Philippou joins us from Portland, to answer our questions, tell us what she’s seen so far in the tournament and predict what’s to come. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/29/202429 minutes, 16 seconds
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Men's March Madness Check-in with Myron Medcalf

March Madness returns tonight with the Sweet 16, and the storylines are just getting good. Following a pair of stunning losses by blue bloods Kentucky and Kansas, and a return to form by Gonzaga, we’re asking ourselves if UConn can be villainous enough to capture the first two-peat since the 2007 Florida Gators? Whether Zach Edey can get Purdue over the top? And if NC State can be the Cinderella story to sweep through this tournament? ESPN host and college basketball writer Myron Medcalf gives us his take on that and more as the tournament action gets back underway. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/28/202429 minutes, 9 seconds
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Jeff Passan Details a Failed Coup at the MLBPA

Even as the Shohei Ohtani sports betting scandal dominates the headlines, there are other off-the-field stories bouncing around Major League Baseball.  Just last week, for example, following an offseason that saw free agent spending decline by nearly a billion dollars, there was a battle for control within the MLB Players Association. So today, ESPN MLB writer Jeff Passan details a story full of palace intrigue, conniving characters, and breaks down a battle for the future of the MLBPA more suited to a Hulu drama than a SportsCenter segment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/27/202427 minutes, 43 seconds
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The Conflict Inside Caitlin Clark

For any star, the path to greatness is paved with pitfalls most of us will never encounter. The burden of being the best person on the court. The challenges of trusting teammates who’s physical gifts and talents are so far removed from your own. The responsibility of setting the tone for everyone around you. That is the road Iowa’s Caitlin Clark walks.   So today, in the wake of the Hawkeyes’ second Sweet 16 birth in as many years, our Wright Thompson brings us closer to Clark’s inner circle and reveals the personal conflict she copes with everyday.  Wright’s ESPN.com article is titled ‘Being Cailtin Clark: Inside the world of the player who redefined the game.’ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/26/202427 minutes, 31 seconds
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Can Palestine’s Soccer Team Make Its First-Ever World Cup?

The escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas has been the biggest story in the world for months. And it’s been devastating for Palestinians in Gaza, where more than 30,000 people have been killed. But through it all, the Palestine national football team has continued to compete, as it seeks a World Cup bid for the first time ever.  So with their fourth of six qualifying matches scheduled for Tuesday, ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn tells us what he’s learned about the team, and how in the player's eyes, just being on the pitch sends a powerful message to their people and the world. T.J. Quinn's Report: Palestinian men's soccer team unites amid Israel-Hamas conflict Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/25/202429 minutes, 13 seconds
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Ohtani’s Interpreter Fired for Sports Betting - What We Know

This isn’t the kind of attention that Major League Baseball was looking for to open the season.  Almost as soon as the league got to celebrate Shohei Ohtani leading his new Dodgers teammates to victory in South Korea, news broke that Ohtani’s name was being dragged into a sports betting scandal involving his longtime friend and interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara. ESPN investigative journalist Tisha Thompson takes us through her reporting to tell us what happened, and how baseball's biggest unicorn finds himself embroiled in a massive controversy.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/22/202424 minutes, 9 seconds
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Women’s March Madness Preview with Alexa Philippou

There’s a new level of excitement surrounding the women’s college basketball game as the NCAA Tournament approaches. That’s because the rivalries are tougher, the game is faster, and the stars are shining brighter than maybe ever before. So today, ESPN women’s basketball reporter, Alexa Philippou, takes us through the teams, matchups, and players she has her eyes on, as the madness gets ready to begin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/21/202427 minutes, 8 seconds
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Men’s March Madness Preview with Myron Medcalf

This season of men's college basketball has lacked the buzz and attention we're used to seeing, but now that the tournament is here and bracket bets are rolling in, that is sure to change. We already saw the drama ramp up last weekend as several “bid-thieves” won their conference tournaments and stole slots from a handful of bubble teams.  So can UConn become the first back-to-back champ in 17-years? Can Purdue overcome the stigma of last year's first-round upset? And what’s the deal with Long Beach State? Our college basketball guide Myron Medcalf is here to explore it all and more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/20/202426 minutes, 37 seconds
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The Impossible Return of USC’s Aliyah Gayles

For the first time in 38 years, the University of Southern California has earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. It’s the culmination of coach Lindsey Gottlieb’s three-year rehabilitation project for the once proud program.  But for former high school phenom Aaliyah Gayles, who’d committed to the Trojans before Gottlieb took over, injuries from a shooting in 2022 had her wondering if she’d ever be able to play basketball again.  ESPN Writer Katie Barnes started reporting on Gayles shortly after the shooting and over several months got intimate access to her family and the USC program. Today, Katie takes us inside Gayles’ long and courageous effort to return to the court. Katie’s E60 documentary on Aaliyah Gayles, titled “Only the Strong Survive,” premieres this Saturday at 11am ET on ESPN2 and will be available afterward on ESPN+. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/19/202431 minutes, 9 seconds
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The Mystery Behind the Greatest Bracket in History

In 2019, Dr. Gregg Nigl, a neuropsychologist in Columbus, Ohio put forth what many consider the best bracket in history, correctly picking the first 49 games of the tournament while briefly bedridden with an illness. But the exact details of how he pulled it off have remained a secret for years.  So today, with this year’s bracket now revealed and fans everywhere entertaining their own dreams of perfection (looking at you dear listener), our Ryan Hockensmith gets to the bottom of the greatest run of tourney picks ever seen. And uncovers the method, or maybe lack thereof, behind the madness.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/18/202429 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Wizards Want to Leave Downtown –– They're Not Alone

In December, Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Wizards and Capitals, announced the teams were leaving their downtown home of 26 years and building a new arena south of the city in the Virginia suburbs. For many longtime fans of the team, moving to a community they didn’t feel welcome was seen as a betrayal. But it’s also a trend we’re seeing throughout sports, as owners increasingly use new venue projects as a tool to expand their real estate empires.  So today, Clinton Yates and Martenzie Johnson unpack the relationship between a downtown neighborhood, a fan base, and a team. And the charming state senator who’s made it her mission to stop Leonsis’ Potomac Yard project in its tracks.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/15/202430 minutes, 51 seconds
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Are the 2024 Playoffs Make or Break for the Celtics?

It’s hard not to notice that championships are often the end all, be all in sports discourse. But in the case of the 2023-24 Boston Celtics, it may just be true. Boston has been one of the most successful franchises in the NBA in recent seasons, but the Celtics have not yet captured a ring in 16 years. Today, ESPN NBA writer Tim Bontemps explains why this Celtics team has been as good as almost any other squad in basketball history. But he also tells us that without a title at the end of the day, that doesn’t matter at all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/14/202426 minutes, 57 seconds
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Is Dartmouth's Unionization a Watershed Moment for College Athletics?

The day that college administrators have long dreaded has finally arrived.  Last week, the Dartmouth men's basketball team officially formed the first-ever labor union in college sports. And though it may prove to be a union-in-name-only, it is a watershed moment for student athletes, schools, conferences, and the NCAA itself. So today, ESPN senior writer Dan Murphy explains what it all means and why the professionalization of college athletes looks ready to go into hyperdrive. You can watch Dan Murphy’s interview with NCAA President Charlie Baker at the ESPN YouTube Channel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/13/202427 minutes, 23 seconds
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Can DeMar DeRozan Change Our Views on Mental Health?

Six years ago, a simple 3am tweet from All-star DeMar DeRozan inadvertently kicked off a new conversation about mental health in the NBA. And in the years since, he's embraced his role as a mental health advocate.  Now, DeMar has launched a new web series, titled Dinners with DeMar featuring some of the likes of Draymond Green, Dwyane Wade, and Damian Lillard opening up about their own internal struggles. So today, our Jamal Collier takes us inside DeMar DeRozan's mental health journey, and how he's helping players around the league to up their game by elevating and advancing their minds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/12/202429 minutes, 47 seconds
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Mina Kimes Previews NFL Free Agency

NFL free agency is set to start this week, meaning teams are looking to add talent, and players are looking to get paid. So today, Mina Kimes helps us understand who is available, and which teams will be looking to buy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/11/202422 minutes, 49 seconds
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Hanif Abdurraqib’s Timberwolves Are Out of the Wilderness

The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the NBA’s top contenders right now, battling for the #1 seed in the West. But it hasn’t always been this way. As a lifelong T-Wolves fan: author, critic, and poet Hanif Abdurraqib is a historian of the many eras of this franchise, from the Kevin Garnett era in the early 2000s through some dismal seasons in the 2010s.  Throughout it all, Abdurraqib has nurtured a love for the team and its key players.  Today he joins the show to tell the story of how the T-Wolves found their way back to the top of the rankings, and where they could go from here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/8/202432 minutes, 32 seconds
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Did Open Tryouts and Four Walk-Ons Save a Season?

The Big 12 Women’s basketball tournament starts today, but of all the teams in attendance, none have had a season of ups and downs like the Texas Christian University. After starting out the year surprisingly strong and entering the top 25, a series of injuries sidelined several players, including stars Sedona Price and Madison Connor. By mid-January, the Horned Frogs had only six players available.  So head coach Mark Campbell put an emergency plan into effect: hold open tryouts.   Today, Dave Wilson, who wrote about the team for ESPN, joins the show to explain how things got so dire for TCU, what it was like to walk-on to this team midseason, and why this real-life-sports-movie-in-the-making may still have a crazy final act.  The bracket for the Big 12 Tournament can be found here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/7/202430 minutes, 11 seconds
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Are the Oklahoma City Thunder Inevitable?

The Oklahoma City Thunder are currently sitting at the top of the Western Conference, which is not bad for a team that’s also one of the youngest in the NBA. But how are they dominating the league the way that they are so quickly? ESPN Senior Writer Chris Herring recently wrote about how the Thunder’s on-court presence is starting to resemble a 2014 Golden State Warriors team preparing to make a dynastic, four-championship run. With an emerging big three featuring an MVP candidate in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a standout rookie in Chet Holmgren, and a fast rising second-year star in Jalen Williams. Oklahoma City is playing at a high level, despite barely having played together. But the results speak for themselves. So today, Herring breaks down the numbers and tells us how the Thunder’s rise just might be inevitable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/6/202425 minutes, 54 seconds
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The Chicago Bears' QB Conundrum

The Chicago Bears are facing a critical decision as the NFL off-season kicks into gear. Do they stick with their incumbent quarterback, Justin Fields, who the Bears have spent a couple of seasons surrounding with talent. Or, do they draft Caleb Williams with the first pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, a player that some see as a generational prospect. It’s not as simple a decision as it might seem from the outside, especially when you look at how little Fields had around him early in his career, and how much he has grown alongside an improving roster. ESPN Chicago Bears reporter Courtney Cronin takes us through the most important off-season in recent memory for the Bears. And reminds us that this is a position the Bears haven’t gotten right since they drafted Sid Luckman…in 1939. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/5/202429 minutes, 41 seconds
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How Men’s College Basketball is Looking to Connect with Fans

March is a month synonymous with college basketball. The NCAA Tournament is just a few weeks away, but with the Super Bowl, the NBA, Spring Training, and the stars of women’s college basketball shining a spotlight on the sport like never before, it’s been a difficult men’s season to get a firm grasp on. ESPN Senior Basketball Reporter Myron Medcalf explains how schools are looking to draw fans in during a period of declining attendance, and then explains how the men’s side is facing more trouble than ever in connecting with casual fans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/4/202428 minutes, 4 seconds
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Javon “Wanna” Walton’s Euphoric Boxing Dreams

Long before stealing scenes, as Ashtray, in HBO’s hit drama “Euphoria”, Javon Walton was making waves as a young boxing prodigy. And this weekend, he goes back to his roots…. heading to Puerto Rico to make his global professional boxing debut, alongside Jake Paul and featherweight champion Amanda Serrano. So today, ESPN staff writer Marc Raimondi explores the potential of Javon “Wanna” Walton in the ring, and tells us why this fresh-faced 17 year old appears ready to conquer the fight game. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/1/202423 minutes, 1 second
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Drama and Diesel: Formula 1 is back

All eyes are on the circuit as the Bahrain Grand Prix gets set to kick off Formula 1’s 2024 season this Saturday, on ESPN. It's not just the sexy cars and extreme speed driving the growth of the planet’s fastest sport, there's plenty of drama to go around as well. Today ESPN F1 editor Laurence Edmundson takes us through Lewis Hamilton’s bombshell decision to leave Mercedes, where he's been for more than a decade, at the end of 2024, to fulfill a childhood dream and drive for Ferrari, who haven't won a title since 2007.  Defending champion Max Verstappen is coming off his third straight title with Red Bull, but questions are starting to emerge about whether his teammate Sergio Perez can keep up.  So Edmondson, on the ground in Bahrain, breaks down what to watch for on Saturday, and all season long. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/29/202429 minutes, 46 seconds
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Has the Clippers’ Moment Finally Arrived?

Tonight, the Clippers and Lakers will play for the final time as co-tenants of Crypto.com arena, as Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is set to open the team’s shiny new arena next fall. It’s a big moment for the team as they continue to seek a path out of the Lakers shadow.  But on the court, that emergence may be even closer. After a disastrous start to the James Harden era in November, the Clippers went on an 8-game win streak in December, have won nearly 70% of their games since, and now have the third-best odds to win the title, per ESPN Bet.  So today, our resident Clippers reporter Ohm Youngmisuk explains how the four-year-old bet on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George is finally paying off, how Russell Westbrook found his place, and how this squad is set to be a force in this year’s playoffs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/28/202425 minutes, 44 seconds
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Tim Bontemps Handicaps the NBA MVP Race

The second half of the NBA season is underway, and the MVP picture is starting to take focus. ESPN NBA writer Tim Bontemps conducts several straw polls every season, getting input from 100 media members across the country to get a sense of where the race sits at various points on the calendar. And with Joel Embiid ineligible for the award due to injury, Bontemps walks us through who the front runners are, and tells us what to make of the recent international flavor of the NBA’s most prestigious regular season award. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/27/202428 minutes, 5 seconds
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Jeff Passan Explains MLB’s Off the Field Challenges

As ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan tells us, spring training should be about hope and new beginnings. Relaying the smell of freshly cut grass, enjoying the Florida or Arizona sunlight, hearing the crack of the bat and the slap of the leather. But for Major League Baseball, there are still a number of issues that have caught people’s attention, and none of them relate to position battles, or players making debuts with new teams. The Athletics are still trying to find their way to Las Vegas, and with the city of Oakland less than enamored with them, they don’t even have a clear home beyond this season. Commissioner Rob Manfred has announced that he wants to retire in five years time, but first he wants to make sure that the league is ready to grow through expansion. And there are concerns about the new uniforms that players will be sporting this season, and how much they - ahem - reveal. So today, Passan tells us where the league is on all of these issues, and helps us clear the way for talk about baseball, on the field. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/26/202430 minutes, 1 second
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USC’s JuJu Watkins is Inevitable

There are more household names in women’s basketball than ever before, and another star is shooting her way to the top of the list. USC’s freshman phenom JuJu Watkins has been turning heads since the moment the season tipped off, dropping 32 points in her first collegiate game to upset current No. 2 Ohio State. And since then, she hasn’t let up, posting 30 or more points in 9 other games, culminating in a 51-point explosion in another upset over Stanford. So as the No. 7 Trojans stare down two top 20 matchups this weekend, Alexa Philippou is here to explain what has fueled the rise of JuJu. And how, despite the stiff competition, she may ultimately go down as the best of her generation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/23/202425 minutes, 59 seconds
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Bing Bong: Jason Concepcion Deciphers the Knicks Fan Base

It’s been a long time since the New York Knicks have been one of the NBA’s premier franchises. And even names like Pat Riley, Patrick Ewing, and Allan Houston, weren’t able to deliver a championship to New York City’s rabid basketball fans. But according to writer, host, and displaced New Yorker Jason Concepcion, that all may be starting to change. After decades of being the joke in many basketball circles, this Knicks team is suddenly loaded with talent and depth, and being run as competently as any franchise in the sport. And Knicks fans are getting excited again, something they’ll gladly tell you all about. Concepcion, a Knicks fanatic himself, joins the show to break down the culture shift at Madison Square Garden, decipher a lingo and fan base that you needed to grow up around to understand, and explain why New York City will always belong to the Knicks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/22/202430 minutes, 20 seconds
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How the Edmonton Oilers Found Their Way

Despite huge expectations and two of the top five players in the world the Edmonton Oilers got off to a disastrous start, finding themselves near the bottom of the standings. But after a coaching change, suddenly they started winning … and winning … and winning.  So today, our NHL expert Emily Kaplan explains how the Oilers found their way – and gauges whether they’re ready to get where they always intended to be. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/21/202421 minutes, 19 seconds
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Steve McNair’s Senior Season & The HBCU Legacy Bowl

In 1994, Steve McNair turned in one of the greatest seasons in college football history. He put his alma mater Alcorn State on the map, and finished third in the Heisman Trophy race. But nearly 30 years later, players at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) face a difficult path to the NFL. Jay “Sky” Walker, one of the great quarterbacks in black college football history, and a contemporary of McNair, helps us remember that amazing performance. And then explains how the HBCU Legacy Bowl is one attempt to help level the playing field for prospects coming from HBCUs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/20/202433 minutes, 32 seconds
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Windhorst Explains How the NBA Broke the All-Star Game

The 2023 NBA All-Star Game marked a new low for the event. A lack of effort (and defense) from the players prompted “Team LeBron” head coach Michael Malone to call it “the worst basketball game ever played.” And after years of declining competitive spirt, the contest saw its lowest television ratings on record.  So today, our NBA oracle Brian Windhorst explains what’s gone wrong, why the players no longer care to win this thing, and why it will be a hard problem to fix.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/16/202424 minutes, 18 seconds
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Get Your Engines Ready… NASCAR is Back!

NASCAR season is back, America. And it's time to tune in or, well … you’ll be missing out. Because where else in the sports world are you going to find drama, crashes, hugs, fights, confetti cannons, fireworks, oh and not to mention, Michael Jordan. And all of this is happening at 200 miles per hour.   So today, just ahead of the 2024 Daytona 500 – and the start of the NASCAR season – our resident motorsport savant Ryan McGee enlightens everyone on everything we are missing and why you should tune in. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/15/202433 minutes, 33 seconds
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Greg Wyshynski Explains Why the PWHL Will Stick Around

The puck dropped on the inaugural season of the Professional Women’s Hockey League, or PWHL, in January 2024, and fans have been excited so far. The nascent league has attracted eyes, and dazzled with its play, while big names like Hilary Knight, Marie-Philip Poulin, Alex Carpenter and Natalie Spooner have packed fans into arenas, proving that there’s room in North America for women to take the ice. But this is the fourth swing at establishing a professional women’s league since 2007, leaving some to ask, what makes the PWHL different from its predecessors? Today ESPN Senior NHL Writer Greg Wyshynski takes us through the PWHL’s inception, explores the history of women’s professional hockey in North America, and explains why there’s optimism that this time, it’ll stick. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/14/202433 minutes, 33 seconds
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The Toll of Trades on NBA Players

Everyone hopes that the NBA Trade Deadline is filled with thermonuclear Woj Bombs that stop us in our tracks. But this year it all ended with a whimper. Still, there were enough players on the move and that leads us to ask some questions: What happens next? What do you do with your family, your pets … and most importantly, your sneakers? As the NBA is past the midpoint of the season, with trades that did and didn't happen, the big question circling around is what’s next? Are there new title contenders in our midst? So today, our Ohm Youngmisuk joins us to break down what’s next and the realities of life in the league when you suddenly find yourself shipped out of town. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/13/202429 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Birth of a Dynasty - Super Bowl LVIII Recap

It’s official. The Kansas City Chiefs are the NFL’s newest dynasty following their 25-22 overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII. Becoming the first repeat champions in the NFL since the 2003-2004 New England Patriots. That’s three titles, and three Super Bowl MVP awards for Patrick Mahomes. And if the most flawed team of the Mahomes-Andy Reid era Chiefs can bring home a ring, what does that mean for the future? ESPN Senior NFL writer Jason Reid joins us from the press box at Allegiant Stadium to tell us what he saw, as the Chiefs won it all, again. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/12/202425 minutes, 31 seconds
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Bad Blood? The Rift Between (Some) NFL Fans and Taylor Swift

Are you Ready for It? We should have known all along that the Travis Kelce - Taylor Swift romance was destined for the Super Bowl stage. And while many can’t wait to see how it all plays out, others are just asking Is It Over Now? Through it all, as the gossip columns, social media Swiftie commentary, and song lyric puns add up, diehard football fans are wondering if this will damage the game’s Reputation. So today, sports writer Louisa Thomas helps us understand why so many people are so angry about Taylor Swift. And why understanding it really might be The Story of Us all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/9/202428 minutes, 54 seconds
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Kevin Clark Previews Super Bowl LVIII

Super Bowl LVIII kicks off in just a few days, marking the first time in history that the NFL’s biggest game will be played in Las Vegas. It’s a Super Bowl rematch, as the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs face off for the second time in less than five years, with the Lombardi Trophy on the line. But these aren’t the same teams now, and in some ways roles have switched. It’s the Chiefs who have featured the fierce defense lately, while the 49ers offense has paced the NFL basically all season long. Kevin Clark, host of This is Football, tells us what each team has to do to emerge victorious at the end of the day on Sunday. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/8/202429 minutes, 6 seconds
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Can Kyle Shanahan Get Over the Hump?

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is one of the best and brightest minds in the NFL. He’s overseen great success in the past five years, leading the 49ers to four NFC Championship Games, three divisional titles, and two Super Bowl appearances, one in 2019 in Super Bowl LIV and this year's Super Bowl LVIII.  But as he prepares to face a familiar foe on Sunday, the same Kansas City Chiefs team that beat him in Super Bowl LIV, the question is can he close out the game and finally claim a Super Bowl victory?  ESPN Senior writer, Seth Wickersham joins the show to explain how Shanahan’s mind is one that many in the league are inspired by, how he’s able to connect to his players, and how his offense took over the league. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/7/202429 minutes, 59 seconds
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Frank Gore: The NFL’s Last Running Back

Frank Gore Sr. ran for exactly 16,000 yards in his prolific 16 year career in the NFL. Most likely, that longevity and endurance will never be replicated again, meaning Gore is more than worthy of the title, “The Last Running Back”. As the running backs' role in the NFL has dramatically shifted over the years, the Frank Gore archetype is fading into history. With his son Frank Gore Jr.’s impending selection in this year's NFL draft, has the game changed too much for him to pass down everything he knows? Today, Tom Junod joins the show to explain Frank Gore Sr.’s legacy, and how he plans to pass the baton to the next generation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/6/202431 minutes, 36 seconds
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Is This the Best Coaching Job of Andy Reid’s Career?

There were two big questions about the Kansas City Chiefs throughout much of the 2023 NFL season. What was wrong with their offense? And was 2023 going to be a lost year? Now, with Super Bowl LVIII less than a week away, Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and company, are poised to face the San Francisco 49ers, in what will be the Chiefs fourth Super Bowl appearance in five years. ESPN’s Adam Teicher has been covering the Chiefs from inside the locker room for more than a decade, and he’s seen how the season has played out in-person. Today he tells us: how a second round wide receiver stabilized the passing game, how this could be the best coaching job of Andy Reid’s career, and what the game means for the legacy of Andy Reid. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/5/202428 minutes, 30 seconds
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Super Bowl in Sin City: The NFL Bets on Vegas

In 2003, a team of marketers for the city of Las Vegas were ready to debut their soon-to-be iconic “What Happens Here, Stays Here” advertising campaign. And they turned to a natural platform for the launch — the Super Bowl. But the NFL, seeking to distance itself from the capital of and only legal outlet for sports betting, said no way.  Fast forward 21 years and sports betting is legal in 38 states, the NFL has countless partnerships with sports books, and the Super Bowl is coming to Vegas.  So how did we get here?  ESPN’s John Barr has been working with his colleagues at Outside the Lines to gauge the state of American sports betting in 2024. And today, as billions of dollars in Super Bowl bets roll in, he tracks how sports books have become a bigger and bigger part of the fan experience and whether or not we truly understand the costs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/2/202426 minutes, 17 seconds
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Inside Hockey Canada’s Sexual Assault Allegations

ESPN NHL reporter Kristen Shilton explains how in the summer of 2018, members of Canada’s gold medal winning Junior Hockey team were in London Ontario, being celebrated as heroes for winning that year’s World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. But after a night of heavy drinking by some, then, underaged players on the team, sexual assault allegations emerged, allegations that would quickly be dismissed by the London Police Service. Over the last week, more than five years after the night in question, five former players, now professionals, took leaves of absence from their respective teams after being told to surrender to that same London police department. So today, Shilton: takes us through the timeline as first reported by The Athletic, explains the latest developments, describes the fallout for Hockey Canada – the governing body for amateur hockey in the country, and tells us why it has taken so long to arrive at this moment. https://theathletic.com/3441414/2022/07/22/hockey-canada-2018-sexual-assault/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/1/202437 minutes, 15 seconds
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Can Doc Rivers Cure the Bucks?

ESPN NBA writer Jamal Collier has been following the Milwaukee Bucks all season long. Today he explains to us how Adrian Griffin’s tenure with the team ended after only 43-games.  With transcendent stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard on their roster, the Bucks entered the season with sky-high expectations. A 30-13 record had them near the top of the Eastern Conference. But cracks were forming both on and off the court.  Collier takes us inside the Bucks organization to pinpoint the moment the first-year head coach lost his grip on the locker room, and gauges whether new head coach Doc Rivers can right the ship and get this team back in the Finals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/31/202426 minutes, 50 seconds
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Is the Knicks’ Buzz for Real?

There’s one phrase in the NBA that reflects as crying wolf; The Knicks are back. Different shades of mediocrity have inhabited Madison Square Garden over the last 20-plus years, but this time it may actually be different.  Led by emerging NBA superstar point guard Jalen Brunson, the Knicks are the team that no one wants to play. Following the addition of OG Anunoby, the Knicks look as good as they have in years, but will the shoulder injury of Julius Randle put their playoff hopes in jeopardy? Chris Herring joins the show today to talk about how this team came together and why fans in New York have their sights set on a deep playoff run. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/30/202426 minutes, 51 seconds
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Chiefs Triumph and 49ers Survive: Jason Reid on Championship Sunday

All that’s left is Super Bowl LVIII. The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs will meet in a rematch of Super Bowl LIV at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on February 11th. The Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes proved that they were not, in fact, dead - as much of the media tried to pronounce them throughout the season. As they went into Baltimore and bottled up Lamar Jackson and the Ravens all afternoon. Meanwhile, in the NFC Championship, the 49ers were down 17 to the Lions at halftime, before they came roaring back to life in the second half, on the shoulders of a quarterback, in Brock Purdy, who looked to do more than manage the game. But before we turn our sights on whether or not Patrick Mahomes can win four titles in five years, or if this third try at adding a sixth Lombardi Trophy to the case will work in San Francisco, Jason Reid tells us how these two teams got it done on Sunday. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/29/202427 minutes, 16 seconds
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Tim Keown Dives Inside the Mind of Dan Campbell

The Detroit Lions are usually considered one of the most hapless franchises in the NFL. They have never been to a Super Bowl, and are preparing to make just their second trip to the NFC Championship in the Super Bowl era. But most of that history predates their current head coach, Dan Campbell. He’s led an overhaul over his first three seasons that have the Lions on the cusp of their first Super Bowl appearance, and it’s safe to say that he’s got everyone in the Lions’ wake fired up. Televised tears of joy, fans dying their hair blue, even General Motors and the Ford Motor Company have joined in - issuing Lions themed logos in a show of support. Tim Keown took a trip to Detroit to witness firsthand just how much the culture has evolved under Campbell. And reports on a team, a fanbase, and a city ready to usher in a new era in Detroit Lions football. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/26/202430 minutes, 2 seconds
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Kevin Clark Previews NFL Championship Sunday

It’s time to get ready for championship Sunday in the NFL. In Baltimore, the Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs, in the first playoff ever matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, with a trip to Super Bowl LVIII on the line. Charm City hasn’t hosted the AFC Championship game since the Baltimore Colts beat the Oakland Raiders in 1971, the first season of the NFL/AFL merger! Meanwhile out west at Levi’s Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers have to be feeling all the pressure as they host a Detroit Lions team coming into town playing with house money, and carrying all of Motor City behind them. Today, Kevin Clark, host of the This is Football podcast, tells us how each of these teams can punch their ticket to Las Vegas for a chance to lift the Lombardi Trophy as NFL champion. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/25/202432 minutes, 1 second
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Wembanyama vs. Holmgren: The NBA’s Future Starts Now

NBA fans have had Wednesday’s matchup between the Spurs and Thunder circled on the calendar for months. Because when rookies Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren face off in San Antonio, it will be the latest battle of what is expected to be a long and historic rivalry.  And thanks to the likes of Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Karl Anthony Towns, it’s all happening in an era where the big man has been reinvigorated.  So today, ESPN’s Brian Windorst takes us from Holmgren’s Minnehaha High School all the way to an epic battle against Wembanyama in the Under 19 FIBA World Cup to where we are now – the courts of the NBA where these two unicorns are battling it out for Rookie of the Year and where the future of the NBA looks brighter than ever. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/24/202427 minutes, 58 seconds
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The Enduring Mystery of Kim Mulkey, Angel Reese, and LSU

It’s been a season of scrutiny for the LSU women’s basketball team. First, the NCAA Division I reigning champions lost their season opener to the Colorado Buffaloes. Then, their most famous player, Angel Reese, mysteriously didn’t play for four games in November, igniting much speculation among fans and media. But under Kim Mulkey’s leadership, they’ve come back strong, earning an 18-2 record and a No. 9 ranking.  Now comes their biggest test versus undefeated, number-one-ranked South Carolina on Thursday night. So today, ESPN Feature Writer Katie Barnes previews one of the most-anticipated games of the season and considers whether the Tigers’ rocky start is truly in the rear-view mirror.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/23/202427 minutes, 48 seconds
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Chiefs Triumph, Lions Roar, Ravens Roll, and the 49ers Escape - NFL Divisional Round Recap

The final four matchups are set: In Baltimore, the presumed MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, who also boast the best defense in the NFL, will welcome in Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, who looked like they remembered who they were, Sunday night in Buffalo. Across the country, the San Francisco 49ers, fresh off a sloppy victory over the Green Bay Packers, will host the Detroit Lions, a team and a city, with dreams of reaching heights the team hasn’t achieved in the Super Bowl era. So today, Jason Reid joins us from Highmark Stadium in Buffalo, where he tells us what he saw at the ballpark in a frigid Orchard Park as the Bills and Chiefs clashed. And then walks us through the rest of the divisional round action from the warmth of his hotel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/22/202425 minutes, 20 seconds
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NBA Mid-Season Roundup with Ramona Shelburne

The midpoint of the NBA season is here, meaning that the trade deadline is around the corner. That often raises more questions than answers.  Should the Sixers make a move in a wide open Eastern Conference? Is Chicago’s Zach Levine the answer for another franchise? And is there another blockbuster trade looming on the horizon? So today, Ramona Shelburne joins the show to break down all the possibilities and also honor the tragic loss of a beloved Warriors coach. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/19/202426 minutes, 59 seconds
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NFL Divisional Round Preview with Kevin Clark

This weekend, the divisional round of the NFL playoffs begin, and eight teams are still alive in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy. Kevin Clark, host of the This is Football podcast, shares his analysis of this weekend’s matchups, and tells how each team got here, and predicts what they have to do to win.  He also looks at some of the hottest news from the NFL coaching carousel where names like: Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh and Mike Vrabel are waiting in the wings. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/18/202432 minutes, 18 seconds
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The Unraveling of Bill Belichick’s 'Patriot Way'

It only became official last Thursday, but the writing had been on the wall for weeks, if not months. Bill Belichick’s reign in New England, the greatest run by any coach in NFL history, was ending. A 13-loss season, the worst of his career, and growing dysfunction in the organization were the ultimate undoing. But the seeds of his decline go back much, much further –– long before Tom Brady’s departure, in fact. So today, our Patriots whisperer, Seth Wickersham, helps pinpoint when Belichick’s fall started and how much of his so-called 'Patriot Way' was illusion and how much was real. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/17/202430 minutes, 59 seconds
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Is MLS Ready for A Full Season of Lionel Messi?

Lionel Messi's MLS debut last summer with Inter Miami was spectacular with dramatic goals and record-setting ticket prices. But now Messi faces a tougher test with a somewhat aging super team getting prepared for a nine-month marathon of a season.  So today, Luis Miguel Echegaray checks in with us to talk about the evolution of the Messi brand and why, when it comes to The Beautiful Game, Lionel Messi is always the most important guy in the room… even when he’s not actually in it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/16/202428 minutes, 21 seconds
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Cowboys Humiliated Again… And Other Postseason Observations

We’re halfway through the NFL Super Wild Card weekend, and for some teams, the playoffs have been like kryptonite. The Dallas Cowboys were routed by the Green Bay Packers and the Miami Dolphins couldn't overcome a slew of injuries and temperatures so low in Kansas City that even Taylor Swift couldn’t bring the heat.  We also saw history as the Detroit Lions won their first playoff game in 32 years over the LA Rams, who couldn’t muster a strong finish. And the Texans brought Joe Flacco and the Cleveland Browns’ storybook season to a screeching halt.  ESPN Senior NFL writer Jason Reid puts these wins and losses into context and gives us a peek at what’s coming in tonight’s final wild card games. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/15/202431 minutes, 33 seconds
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Is Naomi Osaka Ready for a Return to Greatness?

Naomi Osaka burst onto the tennis scene with a 2018 US Open championship win over Serena Williams. After winning four major titles in as many years, Osaka was anointed the next face of the game, on and off the court.  But in the years since, the superstar of Japanese and Haitian descent stepped away from the game twice –– first in 2021 to prioritize her mental health, and then again early last year to welcome her first child.  So today, on the eve of Osaka’s first grand slam match in 17 months, ESPN tennis writer D’arcy Maine brings us exclusive access inside Osaka’s comeback, examines how motherhood has changed her relationship with the sport, and discerns whether this Australian Open will see a return to greatness.  D'arcy's full conversation with Naomi Osaka is available on ESPN's YouTube channel, and Clinton Yates' commentary on Osaka's withdrawal from the 2021 French Open is on Andscape. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/12/202433 minutes, 39 seconds
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Mina Kimes Previews Super Wild Card Weekend

The NFL postseason is upon us, with six games spread over three days, and a myriad of storylines so juicy, you’ve got to call it Super Wild Card weekend. So Mina Kimes drops by to take us inside the matchups. She tells us what to look for in “you can’t go home again” games, like Matthew Stafford’s return to the city of Detroit, as the Lions host their first playoff game since 1993. And Tyreek Hill’s return to Kansas City, where he’s hoping to send the Chiefs plenty of shivers at a frigid Arrowhead Stadium. Then there’s the “revenge games,” like the one Jared Goff hopes to deliver to the Los Angeles Rams, who sent him out of town as an afterthought a few years back. And for Mike McCarthy, who is looking to lead his Dallas Cowboys to victory over the Green Bay Packers, a team McCarthy once led to the promised land. There's also the matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills. Two teams who changed their seasons by firing their offensive coordinators. And you can't forget the two young quarterbacks C.J Stroud and Jordan Love making their own playoff debuts, with Stroud and the Texans facing the Cleveland Browns who had their season saved by Joe Flacco, who was literally throwing balls to his family on a pee wee football field a couple of months ago. It’s all here ahead of the wild card round kicking off on Saturday. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/11/202429 minutes, 6 seconds
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How Joe Flacco Went from Stay-at-Home Dad to Playoff Bound QB

This NFL season, we saw an alarming number of teams unravel after losing starting quarterbacks to injury, including the Jets (Aaron Rodgers), the Bengals (Joe Burrow), and the Vikings (Kirk Cousins), just to name a few. But week after week, Joe Flacco, the Super Bowl winning 38-year old veteran, remained stuck at home without a place to play. Mystified by the league-wide snub, Flacco held out hope. So, with help from the best NFL-wideout-impersonation his dad could muster, and the good fortune of an unlocked pee wee field near his home, Flacco kept his arm fresh and his body ready. And by mid-November he was rewarded. The Browns had just lost Deshaun Watson to a shoulder fracture and wanted to give the former Baltimore Ravens star a workout.  Now, more than seven weeks and five starts later, Joe Flacco is the hottest quarterback in the league, has led the Browns to the playoffs, and is setting records in the process.  So today, our Browns reporter Jake Trotter takes us inside one of the NFL’s great comeback stories, explaining why the Browns were excited from the moment their new QB showed up and why Flacco and this team are no fluke.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/10/202429 minutes, 8 seconds
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What’s Next for Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick is thought of by many as the greatest coach in NFL history. His tenure as the head coach of the New England Patriots has produced nine AFC Championships, six Super Bowl rings, and put Belichick within striking distance of catching Don Shula for the most wins of any coach ever. But after two decades of dominance, and a little bit of controversy, the past few years have been anything but what we’ve come to expect from the Patriots. Instead of being “onto Cincinnati,” they’ve fallen onto hard times, ultimately ending up with their worst record since 1992, landing at 4-13.  And so now, with the season now over, we wait for the answer to the question people have been asking since midway through the 2023 season. Will Bill Belichick be the Patriots coach come next season? Or is it time for his career to move to a new city? Would the grass be greener in Atlanta, or Washington, or Los Angeles? Field Yates, host of the Fantasy Focus podcast, joins the show to tell us how this all looks to a lifelong New Englander. And explore what comes next for both Belichick and the Patriots. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/9/202428 minutes, 36 seconds
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CFP National Championship: Two Legacies at Stake

When Michigan and Washington meet tonight in the College Football Playoff National Championship, there’s more at stake than who can claim the top spot in the 2023 college football season. That’s because Michigan head coach, Jim Harbaugh, has accomplished nearly everything a high level coach can. He’s taken the 49ers to the Super Bowl, and appeared in the College Football Playoff multiple years in a row with the Wolverines. And Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., has gone from overperforming in Indiana, to becoming Heisman runner-up with the Huskies. Setting his sights on the first round of the NFL draft in the process. But neither has done one thing…win a championship. So today, Kyle Bonagura reports on what he’s learned about both men, and how their paths led them to this moment, a national title matchup, tonight on ESPN. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/8/202427 minutes, 40 seconds
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Can Ja Morant Reclaim his Megastar Status?

Last month Ja Morant returned to his Memphis Grizzlies after a 25-game suspension for repeated gun related incidents and accusations. Now his every move is being watched closely. While his presence on the court has been an electrifying boon to his team, off the court, it’s unclear what the league expects out of his “rehabilitation.” So ESPN’s Senior NBA Writer Chris Herring joins the show to explore the complexities of Ja Morant this season and beyond. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/5/202428 minutes, 12 seconds
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Kevin Clark Previews the End of the NFL Regular Season

The NFL regular season comes to a close this weekend, and while some of the questions have been answered, plenty still remain. With playoff seeding still undecided in some cases – to say nothing of the AFC East – and other questions that will slide to the back burner until after the postseason, Kevin Clark joins the show to help guide us through the finale of America’s favorite TV show … the NFL. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/4/202427 minutes, 56 seconds
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College Football Playoff Semifinal Recap with Bill Connelly

There’s nothing quite like the tradition of the college football postseason. Whether it's the tradition of the Rose Bowl or newer, more eclectic offerings like the Pop-Tarts Bowl, there’s something for everyone. Games that decide the National Championship juxtaposed with pomp, circumstance, and edible mascots.  So today, Bill Connelly joins the show to recap what he saw on New Year's Day, as Michigan and Washington advanced to the College Football Playoff National Championship, and to explain how bowl season stands to change, in the 12-team playoff era. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/3/202427 minutes, 12 seconds
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Black Power Salute at the 1968 Olympics: A Conversation with John Carlos (ENCORE)

You’ve probably seen the image: Tommie Smith and John Carlos standing on an Olympic podium in Mexico City in 1968, accepting their medals, heads bowed, with a gloved fist raised in the air. It’s one of the most enduring moments not just from that Olympics, but in all of American history. It was a representation of the Black Power and Civil Rights Movements on a global stage…and you probably don’t know the full story. So today, 55 years after his iconic act of defiance, we revisit one of our favorite moments of the year, when Dr. John Carlos sat down with David Dennis, Jr. to discuss the impact it had on himself and those around him…and we delve into the mind of a 23-year-old who was ready to change the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/2/202431 minutes, 32 seconds
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The Story Behind the Super Bowl’s Most Famous Phrase (ENCORE)

For years, Super Bowl winners have used a four-word phrase to commemorate their iconic victory: “I’m going to Disney World!” (or alternately, “I’m going to Disneyland!”) In all its simplicity, this phrase has stretched across many generations of winners….all the way up to the most recent champion, Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes. Sam Borden tracked down the origin of this famous sentence for SC Featured, and he explains how this “magic” phrase became an institution unto itself. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/29/202326 minutes, 51 seconds
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“I Can’t Speak!”: The Craziest Game in Darts History, Explained (ENCORE)

If you live in the United Kingdom, you probably know the voice of Wayne Mardle. But at the beginning of the year, millions of people around the world suddenly got a taste of him calling the World Darts Championship final – a genuinely historic duel between Michael van Gerwen of the Netherlands and Michael Smith of England. And Wayne’s commentary helped make it the most globally viral thing that’s pretty much ever happened to this admittedly strange game. So, today, for everyone who watched that clip with awe (and maybe a little confusion too) we once again bring you Wayne Mardle himself, as he tells the glorious story of the darts game that was heard around the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/28/202335 minutes, 11 seconds
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The Birth of Bills Mafia: How a Divine Blunder Branded the NFL’s Most Devoted Fanbase (ENCORE)

Why are Buffalo Bills fans called “Bills Mafia?” It’s a story that’s become legend within Buffalo. But outside of Bills fandom, the story is less well known, even for the individuals involved with the creation of Bills Mafia themselves. Twelve years ago, Stevie Johnson dropped a potential game-winning touchdown pass in overtime, and seemingly blamed God on Twitter, in the aftermath. That moment sparked a movement among Bills fans, and inspired Bills Mafia as we know it now. So today, we revisit one of our favorite ESPN Daily investigations: hear Adam Schefter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson, Ryan Clark, and more explain their roles in how a divine blunder branded the NFL’s most devoted fanbase, Bills Mafia. Buffalo Bills beat reporter Alaina Getzenberg and Bills Mafia co-founder Del Reid also share the other side of Bills Mafia: the force for charity, as the community rallied around Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s recovery. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/27/202352 minutes, 24 seconds
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When Eagles Fans Booed Santa: The Notorious True Story (ENCORE)

It’s one of the most infamous fan stories in sports history: when Eagles fans booed Santa at halftime of a game played at Franklin Field. But who was the Santa in question - and why was he booed and pelted with snowballs? It’s ESPN Daily’s Christmas tradition to bring you this episode, so hear an encore with Jeremy Schaap and Mina Kimes as they reflect on the enduring legacy of the Philadelphia Santa. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/26/202321 minutes, 35 seconds
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ESPN Daily 2023 Year in Review Quiz

2023 was another banner year in sports…there were so many stories that kept us glued to our screens all year long. Over at ESPN.com there is a year end quiz on the biggest sports stories each month, as identified by Google Trends data team. And so we figured, why not copy our teammates' homework?  So today, Israel Gutierrez and Emily Kaplan join our host, Clinton Yates, in a quiz show episode to find out who retained the most information about this year’s biggest sports stories. It’s the inaugural ESPN Daily Year in Review Quiz Show! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/22/202340 minutes, 27 seconds
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Tiger Woods and Golf’s Uncertain Future

Tiger Woods and golf are synonymous. Tiger was the face of the PGA Tour for decades, taking the tour to unparalleled heights. But now, the future of professional golf is in question, as the controversial LIV Golf – backed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia – has shaken the sport to its core.  As this new era of golf begins, Woods leads the charge to protect the tour in which his legend was born, while helping to reimagine the game he loves. Today, ESPN’s resident Tiger Woods expert Michael Collins joins the show to break down what Tiger’s future in golf looks like, and why the sport might need him now more than ever. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/21/202329 minutes, 42 seconds
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Getting Griner Out Part 2: Behind the Scenes of the Deal that Brought Brittney Home

The question following Brittney Griner’s arrest at a Moscow airport in February of 2022 was always, what it would take to get her back home safely. What it took was a prisoner exchange between the United States and Russia, one that included Viktor Bout, an arms dealer nicknamed, The Merchant of Death. From the beginning, ESPN’s T.J. Quinn followed the story closely, reporting the names, places, and events that we needed to know. Earlier this month, one year after Griner returned home, he published an exhaustive account, on ESPN.com, of the entire ordeal, including parts of his conversation with Bout. Today, in part two of our deep dive into the story behind Griner’s imprisonment, Quinn details the negotiations that got Griner home and we hear from Viktor Bout himself. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/20/202332 minutes, 8 seconds
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Getting Griner Out Part 1: Inside Brittney’s Russian Detainment

After Brittney Griner’s arrest at a Moscow airport in February of 2022, few, if any reporters tracked her case as closely as ESPN’s TJ Quinn. Throughout her ten-month confinement, he collected countless behind the scenes details and accounts from dozens of sources who worked tirelessly to win her release from a Russian jail cell. But out of concern for Griner’s safety, much of that information could not be reported.  Earlier this month, to mark one year since Griner returned home, TJ was finally able to write an exhaustive accounting of the entire ordeal.  Today, we focus on one part of that reporting –– the long months Griner spent detained, including new specifics on her experience inside a Soviet-era prison colony, the affection she earned from guards and fellow prisoners, and her courageous display of perseverance and psychological endurance.    Tomorrow, we’ll be back with part two –– inside the painstaking negotiations to get Griner home. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/19/202329 minutes, 12 seconds
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Ravens Clinch a Playoff Spot + Can the Bills Circle the Wagons on Their Season?: Kevin Clark Recaps NFL Week 15

Fifteen weeks are now in the books of this NFL season, and while we wish we had more answers about the playoff race…we just don’t. The Buffalo Bills, whose season looked over a few weeks ago, all of a sudden have back-to-back wins over the Chiefs and Cowboys to get back into the hunt…and made Dallas look nothing like the contenders we’ve seen in recent weeks in the process. And can the Eagles, who we thought were the best team in the NFL, stop their downward spiral with a win on Monday night?  Today, Kevin Clark joins the show to share his thoughts from another week of NFL drama..and explain how it sets up an action-packed final few weeks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/18/202331 minutes, 40 seconds
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Victor Wembanyama Progress Report with Andrew Lopez

We’re just over a quarter of the way into Victor Wembanyama’s rookie season, and it’s going just about as well as anyone could’ve hoped. He’s looked every part of the generational talent – or alien, as anointed by LeBron James – he was touted to be through his first 22 games, averaging more than 19 points and nearly 11 rebounds per game.  So today, with a rematch against the Lakers coming tonight on ESPN, we figured now was as good a time as any to check in with Andrew Lopez, our resident young basketball phenom reporter, and he tells us what he’s seen from Wemby on and off the court. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/15/202329 minutes, 18 seconds
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The Bottom 10: Ryan McGee’s Unique View of College Football

When it comes to lists, we’re obsessed with the Top 10. It feels like there’s a Top 10 for everything these days –– from highlights, to pizza toppings, to Netflix shows. But what about the Bottom 10? That’s right, we’re eschewing tradition and turning the college football world upside down, with the help of ESPN’s ‘Bottom 10’ columnist Ryan McGee. One year removed from his ode to oddball bowl games, McGee gives us his bottom-up view of the FBS landscape. And we look back on some big programs who, for one week at least, may have felt like bottom dwellers themselves. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/14/202327 minutes, 38 seconds
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How the Air Raid Changed Football Forever

Ground and pound. That’s what defined college football offenses for the first 100 years the game was played. But then a coach named Hal Mumme hooked up with some lawyer from LA named Mike Leach … and everything changed. Playbooks were tossed. Passes were thrown. Records were broken. And the Air Raid offense was born.  Now everyone from your local high school QB to Patrick Mahomes is executing some version of this on Game Day. And when it’s done right … man, it is fun to watch. So today, Dave Wilson delivers the origin story of this innovative offense and tells us how this once taboo concept changed the game of football forever. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/13/202321 minutes, 3 seconds
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How the Dodgers Won the Shohei Sweepstakes

While the whole baseball world collectively held their breath in anticipation of any update on Shohei Ohtani’s free agency, one thing became clear: this was not going to be MLB’s version of LeBron James’ The Decision. There was complete radio silence from both Ohtani’s camp and the teams rumored to be in the running for his services…well, most of them at least.  But when the dust settled on Saturday, the numbers were still staggering, shattering even the most ambitious expectations: Ohtani is heading to the Los Angeles Dodgers on a 10-year, $700 million deal…oh and by the way, $680 million of those dollars will be deferred until 2034. So today, Alden Gonzalez explains how this union between the sport’s best player and one of its most marketable teams came together, what the price tag tells us about both sides…and what the fallout might be across the Big Leagues. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/12/202332 minutes, 18 seconds
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Cowboys Avenge Loss to Eagles, Chiefs Shoot Themselves in the Foot, and the MVP Case for Lamar Jackson: Jason Reid Recaps NFL Week 14

As the NFL plows through December, the one thing we have learned is that there are no gimmes in this league.  Take the AFC, where Baltimore had their top spot in the conference put to the test through wind, rain and an OT scare from the Rams. Meanwhile, the Chiefs and Bills battled in yet another classic that saw Patrick Mahomes fall at home and put Buffalo back on the right side of .500. And in the NFC, the Cowboys let the Eagles know there’s a new king in the East, while the Lions, who not so long ago looked like they could beat everyone, now look like they would struggle to beat just about anyone. So today, Jason Reid joins us to remind everyone that at this time of year, the road to the playoffs starts now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/11/202325 minutes, 43 seconds
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How Shohei Ohtani Spoiled Baseball’s Offseason

The first big domino from MLB’s Winter Meetings fell on Wednesday night as the New York Yankees traded for slugger Juan Soto. But there’s another, bigger move that we have no information about: who will Shohei Ohtani sign with? Ohtani is the biggest free agent baseball has had in recent memory –– and possibly ever –– yet his camp has managed to keep the rumor mill to an absolute minimum, with teams across the Big Leagues swearing to an oath of secrecy if they want a chance to court him. Clinton Yates was at the Winter Meetings, and he takes us behind the curtain to explain why Ohtani and his reps have been so lowkey, and why it’s bad for the sport. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/8/202326 minutes, 39 seconds
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Breaking Down the Surprising Success of the NBA’s In-Season Tournament

The NBA In-Season Tournament has had its fair share of criticism ever since the idea was first floated by Adam Silver. Everything from its merits, the timing and even the bold, colorful court designs drew the ire of basketball purists across the nation. But now, as the tournament heats up in its final stretch, people seem to get it. Four teams are left standing as the setting shifts to Las Vegas for the semifinals tonight. The Lakers have a chance to add more hardware to the Lakers’ trophy case, but first they’ll have to get past the finally healthy New Orleans Pelicans. And in the East, it’s a clash of two red-hot offenses in the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers. So today, our friend Ramona Shelburne joins the show to tell us what her biggest takeaways from the tournament are, who she thinks has the best chance to bring home the inaugural In-Season Tournament title and how this is exactly what the league wanted all along. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/7/202323 minutes, 36 seconds
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Why Mark Cuban Sold the Mavericks

No owner in sports has his identity as closely tied to a team like Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks. When he bought the Mavs in 2000, he was an unknown, newly-minted billionaire. But his outspoken, passionate, and innovative approach shook up the NBA and helped him become one of the most well-known businessmen in America.  So the news last week that Cuban was selling a majority stake in the team to the Adelson and Dumont families shocked the basketball world. So why did he do it? Longtime Mavericks reporter Tim MacMahon explains Cuban’s thinking, how he was able to keep control of basketball operations, and why the move could have major implications throughout all of Texas. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/6/202322 minutes, 19 seconds
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What Makes a Player a ‘Bust’? Brian Windhorst Explains

For fans of teams who didn’t have much to play for in the previous season, the NBA Draft represents a hopeful outlook towards the future; the chance to find their franchise cornerstone who can change their misfortunes and lead them to glory in the years to come. Or at least, that’s the ideal. Now, six weeks into the NBA season, we’ve reached the point in the calendar where certain rookies start to get called the B-word: busts. But do some players earn this moniker unfairly? Recent chatter around rookie Scoot Henderson, who is a mere ten games into his NBA career, got us wondering why fans and commentators can be so quick to trot out this label. So what is the actual definition of a bust? Who qualifies and who doesn’t? And how often are players, eventually, able to shed this unfortunate distinction? Brian Windhorst joins the show to explain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/5/202332 minutes, 21 seconds
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49ers Ground Eagles, Jordan Love Arrives in Lambeau: Andrew Hawkins Recaps NFL Week 13

There are just five weeks left in the regular season, but the playoff picture only seems to be getting more muddied at this stage. There are teams like the Green Bay Packers, young and led by an inexperienced QB in Jordan Love, who are finding their stride and clawing into the wild card hunt after knocking off Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Lambeau on Sunday night.  At the top of the NFC, the 49ers came into Philadelphia, and left no doubt that they are the favorite, regardless of where they are playing. And over in the AFC wild card picture, the Texans continue to impress behind rookie signal caller CJ Stroud. So today, Andrew Hawkins explains what he was looking for on the field on Sunday, and tells us why the margins in the NFL are razor thin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/4/202329 minutes, 38 seconds
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Jeff Passan Previews Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings

The winter meetings mark the traditional beginning to Major League Baseball’s offseason. And this year, with three huge names on the market, including Shohei Ohtani, the best baseball player on the planet, the hot stove is sure to heat up. So today, Jeff Passan tells us who is available, who is buying, and how smart teams should approach the free agent market this winter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/1/202332 minutes, 58 seconds
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Bill Barnwell Explains the NFL Playoff Picture

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and that means the playoff push is here. After 12 weeks of competition, the wheat is separating itself from the chaff. Some teams that got off to slow starts have turned their season around, and others with strong starts have fallen down the pecking order. Over the next six weeks, the field will narrow more and more as each team fights for a shot to win Super Bowl LVIII. Our NFL expert Bill Barnwell joins the show to tell us who he thinks clinches their spots in this year’s playoffs.. and who gets sent home come December. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/30/202333 minutes, 46 seconds
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Ryan McGee Breaks Down a Chaotic Conference Championship Weekend

While the College Football Playoff technically doesn’t start for another month, if you look closely you can see that in many ways it already has. Look no further than the fireworks of Rivalry Week: while appearing to keep up with decades old traditions, they are actually setting the table for the win-or-go-home repercussions of this weekend's conference championships. So today, Ryan McGee joins us to talk about the chaos of this unofficial bracket, and then dares to take a look at the unpredictable future of college football – our favorite Saturday pastime. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/29/202328 minutes, 45 seconds
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Is Draymond Ready to Change? Taking Stock of His Latest Suspension

The past two seasons have been tumultuous, to say the least, for Draymond Green. Throughout the Warriors dynasty of the past decade, Green has been the enforcer of the team, playing a crucial role in bringing four NBA championships to the Bay Area, pushing the envelope on league rules in the process. But now, Green’s latest suspension – for putting Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert in a chokehold – has everyone questioning where he currently stands with the team.  Marc J. Spears has covered the NBA and Bay Area sports for decades, so he takes us inside the mind of Draymond Green – and inside the Warriors franchise – as all parties figure out how to move forward. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/28/202323 minutes, 43 seconds
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A Mother’s Vow, a Worldwide Search, and the Mystery of the Dallas Mavericks Barbie (ENCORE)

Throughout human history, the allure of rare and mysterious artifacts has always summoned our bravest and most intrepid explorers to scour the ends of the earth. The Ark of the Covenant. The Holy Grail. And now, the Dallas Mavericks Barbie.   The ultra-rare Mavs Barbie, the product of a late 90’s collaboration between Mattel and the NBA, has given collectors everywhere headaches for years as the missing piece to their Barbie collections. She is so hard to find, in fact, that some collectors have even questioned her existence. So today, as the holiday gift-giving season kicks into full gear, we revisit a conversation between Jeremy Schaap and Dave Fleming on his quest for Mavericks Barbie, why she’s so hard to find…and how Dave helped put an end to one collector’s 25-year pursuit. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/27/202339 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Lions Look to Flip Their Thanksgiving Day Script

It’s that time of year, America. It’s time to grab a plate and have a seat for Thanksgiving dinner. And while we may not have the same foods on our table, there is one dish we all get to dive into: the Detroit Lions playing on Thanksgiving day. If you’re a Lions fan, most of those Thanksgiving games this century have sat in your stomach like leftovers gone bad…but as a quick look at the standings show, it’s a new day in Motown. So today, Eric Woodyard, our Michigan native and Lions insider, shares his experience growing up around this tradition, tells us where this first-place team is going and what you can expect to eat if you stop by Mama Woodyard’s house. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/22/202322 minutes, 21 seconds
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How ‘One Glove’ and the UFC Changed Everything We Knew About Fighting

Earlier this month, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, more commonly known as UFC, celebrated its 30th anniversary. The company’s explosive growth is unprecedented in the history of sports, recently earning a $12 billion valuation. But the UFC didn't just create a new kind of sports entertainment. It brought a relatively unknown fighting style out of the underground and into the mainstream, upending our understanding of human combat. So today, Ryan Hockensmith tells the tale of the first-ever UFC event, through the eyes of one fighter who had no idea what he was getting into. Back in 2017, our friends at 30 for 30 Podcasts went even deeper on the origins of UFC. Check out their episode No Rules: The Birth of UFC. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/21/202335 minutes, 55 seconds
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Eagles vs Chiefs: A Super Bowl Rematch on Monday Night Football

After more than a few lackluster primetime games over the first half of the NFL season, tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs is sure to deliver a feast to kick off Thanksgiving Week.  Not only is it the two best teams from each conference, with two presumptive MVP candidates at quarterback on each side, it’s also only the second time we’ve seen a rematch from the previous year’s Super Bowl on Monday Night Football. So today, Andrew Hawkins joins the show to break down every major aspect ahead of tonight’s game, and gives his take on one…well actually two… of the most anticipated meetings of the season. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/20/202320 minutes, 44 seconds
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Inside CJ Stroud’s Rise to Superstardom

Nine games into CJ Stroud’s NFL career, and he’s already taking the league by storm. He resurrected a lifeless Houston Texans organization, and etched his name in the record books. Forget Rookie of the Year, he might be the NFL’s Most Valuable Player this season. Period. But there is so much more to Stroud than his heroics on the field…so today, ESPN’s Liz Merrill joins the show to tell us about where he comes from, who shaped him…and what sets him apart, as a quarterback, and as a person. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/17/202329 minutes
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Inside Paige Bueckers’ Return

Even if you don’t follow basketball, odds are that you heard of Paige Bueckers. Even before she stepped foot on the floor at the University of Connecticut, clips of her getting buckets had gone viral as far back as when she was in middle school. And she arrived at UConn in 2020 as the next big thing; the next superstar that would lead the storied Huskies program to another national championship.  But for the past couple of years, injuries have plagued Bueckers, turning her charmed tale into a story about adversity, struggle, and mental fortitude.  So today, ESPN’s Alexa Philippou takes us inside Bueckers’ road back to the court, and shows us how time away has changed her approach to the game, all while keeping a national championship run in her sights. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/16/202330 minutes, 47 seconds
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Was Coach Prime’s First Year in Colorado a Success?

Colorado’s final home game of the 2023 season ended in agony last Saturday, a heart-wrenching 34-31 defeat — their fourth in a row — at the paws of the Arizona Wildcats. The prime time games and celebrities on the sidelines are gone for now, and with their record now sitting at 4-6, the Buffaloes need to win out just to be bowl eligible. But with Deion Sanders taking over a program that won one game a year ago, what does a successful season really look like for them? So today, as the sun sets on Coach Prime’s first year with the Buffs, ESPN’s Spencer Hall joins the show to give us his review on year one of the Deion Sanders Experience in Boulder. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/15/202329 minutes, 20 seconds
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The Bag Game: How Billy Preston’s NBA Dream Died

Billy Preston was thought to be the next one-and-done player when he signed with the University of Kansas basketball team back in 2017. But before he could make that leap, a minor fender bender opened the door into a world of illegal corporate payouts that unraveled his future in an instant. So today as Kansas, and their coach Bill Self – the highest paid coach in the sport – prepare to take on Kentucky, Paula Lavigne joins us to talk about how corporate America, the Federal Government, and the NCAA extinguished a hoop dream before it even began. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/14/202332 minutes, 5 seconds
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AFC North Insanity, Lions Win a Shootout, and CJ Stroud for MVP?: NFL Week 10 Recap with Kevin Clark

Week 10 gave us some of the craziest finishes of the NFL season. The Houston Texans pulled off a last second victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, where rookie QB CJ Stroud basically “out-Burrowed” Joe Burrow himself, inserting himself into the MVP conversation in the process. Elsewhere in the AFC North, the Browns came from behind to steal a win from the Baltimore Ravens, who had been gaining momentum as a Super Bowl contender in recent weeks. The 49ers offense is back at full strength with the returns of Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel, and they look like the world beaters we saw back in Week 1 again. And in Los Angeles, the Detroit Lions had maybe their biggest win of the season over the Chargers in a shootout…which might make Brandon Staley’s seat a little bit warmer. So today, Kevin Clark, host of This is Football, joins the show to discuss his biggest takeaways from Week 10. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/13/202331 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Michigan Sign-Stealing Scandal, Explained

Michigan has been one of the top teams in college football for the past few seasons. Ever since head coach Jim Harbaugh stepped on campus, they’ve stayed in the headlines, for better or worse. And now, In the midst of their undefeated season, allegations of sign stealing have taken over the narrative surrounding the team. The near-daily developments have been unexpected, and sometimes downright odd, making this situation feel as if it was pulled right from the silver screen. Sunglasses with spy cameras, fake play call signs, and 600-page manifestos have put Michigan’s run to the National Championship in jeopardy.   So today, Mark Schlabach joins the show to explain how this all has unfurled, the difficult choices facing the Big Ten, and what the consequences for Michigan and Harbaugh might be. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/10/202326 minutes, 44 seconds
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Why Caitlin Clark is So Much More Than a Local Legend

Caitlin Clark is one of the greatest college basketball players we have ever seen. She’s the reigning NCAA women’s basketball Player of the Year after leading Iowa to the Final Four; and now in her senior season, she’s poised to set or break several more records. But regardless of what Clark accomplishes, she’ll do it all while holding her favorite title: Being just another kid from Des Moines. So today, Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Voepel joins the show to tell us all about Clark’s connection with her roots, and why it could continue to shape Iowa’s basketball program and Clark’s career, for years to come. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/9/202324 minutes, 14 seconds
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How Laila Edwards Became the First Black Hockey Player on the US Women’s National Team

University of Wisconsin’s star sophomore Laila Edwards is the first Black woman to make the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team. After an incredible freshman season that ended with Wisconsin’s record seventh national title, she now adds representing the U.S. to her resume.  Inspired by a chance meeting with Blake Bolden, the first Black woman to play professional hockey, Laila is showing a new generation that they can not only play hockey, but thrive in the sport.  Ahead of tonight’s Team USA vs Team Canada matchup, Andscape’s Branson Wright shares Laila’s story, how crucial her family was to her journey to the U.S. National Team, and what her future holds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/8/202324 minutes, 49 seconds
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Battlefields to Ballfields: How Veterans are Helping Solve the Sports Officiating Crisis (ENCORE)

Few jobs are more thankless than that of the referee. At best, your existence is completely invisible. No one notices when you do a terrific job. At worst, you become enemy #1 for fans or coaches or in lower levels, angry parents. Combine that with low pay and high pressure, and it's no wonder why officiating is undergoing a crisis at the moment. Not enough people are willing to do the job –– a job without which, the games quite literally cannot go on. But, today, ahead of Veteran’s Day weekend, we revisit the story of Battlefields to Ballfields, an organization working to make military vets part of the solution. And in many cases, it’s the kind of opportunity some struggling former soldiers have dreamed of. For more on Battlefields to Ballfields, you can read McGee’s story here. This episode first ran on November 11, 2022. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/7/202329 minutes, 38 seconds
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Bengals Roll, Eagles Escape, Ravens Dominate: Jason Reid on NFL Week 9

The playoff picture is slowly starting to take shape as we get deeper into the NFL season. Teams like the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens, who got off to slow starts, are finally hitting their stride.  Meanwhile, other teams are starting to raise more questions than answers. Can the Kansas City Chiefs defense carry a lackluster offense to the Super Bowl? How far can the Dallas Cowboys really go with Dak Prescott under center? And will the real Miami Dolphins please stand up? So today, ESPN NFL senior writer Jason Reid joins the show to break down four of Sunday’s biggest matchups, and he helps us make sense of what they mean at this point of the season. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/6/202332 minutes, 28 seconds
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The NHL, Pride Nights, and Sports as Catalyst for Social Change

Across the American sporting landscape, Pride Nights have become a popular way to reach out to the LGBTQIA+ community, a simple show of support meant to signify that sports are for everyone. In the NHL, teams have worn themed warm up jerseys that were later auctioned off for charity. But last year, Pride Nights became the epicenter of a public relations disaster for the league.  A small handful of players publicly refused to participate in their team’s respective Pride Night, citing their religion or fear of retribution in their home countries, and some teams opted out of wearing the warmups entirely.  Backlash and debate ensued, and the NHL banned all specialty jerseys ahead of this season. They also banned the use of Pride Tape, a rainbow-patterned wrap that players would use on their sticks. But rather than make the issue go away like the league had hoped, it blew up in their faces and created even more of a PR firestorm.  The ban was eventually rescinded, but the initial decision itself was a damning tell of the state of LGBTQIA+ support, or lack thereof, in society at large. So today, Emily Kaplan joins us for a candid discussion about what happened in hockey, how we can learn from it…and who’s really affected when we talk about this subject. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/3/202343 minutes, 27 seconds
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Fire Canada: The Story Behind the NFL’s New Favorite Meme

There are few professions with a shorter leash than the job of an NFL coach. The league is a results-based business with 32 teams all vying for a Super Bowl ring. So if you can’t build a perennial contender, you can pretty much expect to be looking for other work sooner rather than later, with the fans all too eager to see you go.  That’s what’s going on right now in Pittsburgh, where offensive coordinator Matt Canada has drawn the ire of so many fans that the calls for his job have now transcended outside of the Acrisure Stadium walls. The chants and signs and memes have spread to Penguins games, wrestling matches, and NFL stadiums everywhere.  So today, Steelers beat reporter Brooke Pryor joins the show to explain how the “Fire Canada” phenomenon started in the first place, how the unique psychology of Steelers fans catapulted it into the mainstream, and if the fun and games have gone too far. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/2/202328 minutes, 41 seconds
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Men’s College Basketball Looks a Lot Different This Year. Here’s Why

Another season of men’s college basketball is upon us…and we really don’t know what to make of it. The usual teams adorn the top of the preseason polls: Kansas, Duke, and Michigan State, but there’s really no clear frontrunner that looks primed to stand above the crowd. Add to the wide-open field a whole crop of familiar faces in new places, as NIL deals and the transfer portal continue to dominate the sport.  So today, Myron Medcalf returns to give us some clarity as the marathon towards March Madness starts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/1/202330 minutes, 2 seconds
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Zach Lowe Explains the New NBA Tournament

The rhythms of the NBA regular season have been remarkably consistent since the 82-game schedule was introduced in the 1960s –– a grueling six-month march toward the playoffs, where, from night to night, the importance of any one game can often feel pretty negligible.  But this year, the league is shaking things up. Enter the In-Season Tournament, a five-week-long competition running alongside the regular season, and tipping off this Friday. The World Cup-style format starts with group play and culminates with the top eight teams facing off in a single elimination tournament and the champion winning the new NBA Cup.  So today, Zach Lowe explains everything you need to know about the entire event –– how it’s more than a gimmick, why the players actually will care, and all the components that should make the entire affair pretty fun. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/31/202322 minutes, 43 seconds
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First Place Teams Stumble: Andrew Hawkins on a Spooky NFL Week 8

Week 8 had some scares in store for teams around the league. We saw the Kansas City Chiefs lose to the Denver Broncos for the first time in eight years, and the San Francisco 49ers drop their third straight game, and out of first place in the NFC West in the process. On the other side of the coin, the Cincinnati Bengals are finding their stride coming out of their bye week, while the Philadelphia Eagles survived a fright against the Commanders. Meanwhile, quarterbacks went down all around the league, and the Vikings might be facing a horrifying rest of the season without their starting quarterback.  So today, Andrew Hawkins tells us who should be able to overcome their fears…and who might be in trouble. Halloween, Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Andy Reid, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, Deebo Samuel, Trent Williams, Brock Purdy, Cincinnati Bengals, Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, Kyle Shanahan, Seattle Seahawks, Geno Smith, Philadelphia Eagles, AJ Brown, Jalen Hurts, Will Levis, Tennessee Titans, DeAndre Hopkins, Minnesota Vikings, Kirk Cousins, New York Giants, Saquon Barkley, New York Jets, Zach Wilson Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/30/202326 minutes, 56 seconds
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Jeff Passan’s 2023 World Series Preview

When the baseball season got underway, the World Series favorites were: big market juggernauts like the Yankees, Dodgers, Padres, and Mets; annual contenders like the Braves, and Astros; and plucky dark horses like the Phillies and Blue Jays. But fast forward to the end of October, and none of those front runners remain standing.  The Texas Rangers and the Arizona Diamondbacks — who had a combined 2% chance to lift the trophy — are ready to face off in a battle of underdogs. So Jeff Passan tells David Dennis Jr. how they got here, and how he thinks this series will unfold. Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Corbin Carroll, Jordan Montgomery, Max Scherzer, Zac Gallen, Evan Longoria, Christian Walker, Tommy Pham, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Adolis Garcia, Brandon Pfaadt, MLB Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/27/202330 minutes, 6 seconds
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Why Women’s Basketball Is Bigger and Better Than Ever

Women’s basketball is having a moment in 2023. Attendance records have been broken not only at the WNBA Finals, but also at the University of Iowa’s outdoor scrimmage featuring the NCAAW’s biggest star: Caitlin Clark…which took place on a football field. With the Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty establishing themselves as the WNBA’s superteams and the W’s recent expansion announcement, it begs the question: Is the league entering a new era? Alexa Philippou joins the show to answer the burning questions about the present and future of women’s basketball. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/26/202329 minutes, 8 seconds
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Brian Windhorst Sizes up the Two Beasts in the NBA’s East

The NBA’s Eastern Conference looks very, very different than it did just a few weeks ago. The Milwaukee Bucks rocked the basketball universe by shipping off Jrue Holiday to Portland in exchange for Damian Lillard, who everyone assumed would eventually end up on the Miami Heat. Holiday, meanwhile, found his way to Boston after the Celtics had already added Kristaps Porzingis. The result is two Eastern Conference powers who seem to be on a collision course. But is the NBA ever really that simple? And Philadelphia is still hoping to crash the party, though they’ll have to solve their James Harden problem first. Can they actually contend without him?  Brian Windhorst returns for day two of our NBA season preview, and this time he tells us everything we need to know about the East. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/25/202325 minutes, 9 seconds
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Brian Windhorst Breaks Down the NBA’s Wild Western Conference

Everyone’s favorite real-life soap opera, the NBA, is officially back tonight! And the moves this offseason have shaken up the league. Out west we’ve seen: Bradley Beal force his way to Phoenix to form a brand new big three with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, the Lakers double down on the defense-first roster that saved their season last year, and the Warriors bring in Chris Paul to share the load with Steph Curry. But the question remains, is any of that enough to topple the defending champion Denver Nuggets? Brian Windhorst joins the show to give us a full breakdown of the Western Conference…and tell us how familiar this Victor Wembanyama arrival feels. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/24/202322 minutes, 21 seconds
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Eagles Wear Down Dolphins, Patriots Upset Bills, Ravens Tame Lions: Louis Riddick on NFL Week 7

Week 7 in the NFL was headlined by the Sunday Night matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles, two teams at the top of their respective conferences. Jalen Hurts and the Birds triumphed, and the Philly defense shut down Tua and the Dolphins, soaring to victory 31-17. And in the early slate of games, Lamar Jackson reminded us all that he’s that guy as the Ravens finally put it all together in a blowout of the Detroit Lions, while the Patriots pulled off an upset over the struggling Bills. So today, ESPN’s Louis Riddick breaks down some of the most noteworthy moments from around the league this week…and he lets us know if it’s time to panic in Buffalo. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/23/202330 minutes, 39 seconds
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Ryan McGee’s Mid-Season College Football Check-In

This college football season has been full of excitement, and not always from the places we’ve grown to expect. Because for every Georgia and Michigan and Ohio State sitting at the top of the rankings, we’ve also got rebounding powers making noise, like Florida State and Texas. And unexpected teams like North Carolina pushing their way into the conversation. Not to mention a Pac-12 conference insisting on making its final season a memorable one. So today, Ryan McGee drops by to tell us what he’s been looking at as the first college football playoff rankings of the season loom on the horizon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/20/202332 minutes, 6 seconds
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Bill Barnwell on Why The NFL Trade Market Is Heating Up

Throughout the sports world, trade deadlines tend to be one of the most reliable generators of storylines and intrigue. A star player stuck on a bad team can create months of speculation and headlines. And in other leagues such as the NBA and MLB, the trade deadline serves as the most dramatic point of the season of the midseason. But historically, the NFL had kept major player movement to the offseason, making for a largely inactive deadline — until recently, that is. Last year, we saw the 49ers trade for Christian McCaffrey, who took their offense from stagnant to one of the best in the league. And the year before that, the Rams added Von Miller to a defensive line that already featured Aaron Donald, a move that would ultimately help them win the Super Bowl. So today, Bill Barnwell makes his triumphant return to ESPN Daily –– helping us understand how the football trade market has changed over time, and giving us a full breakdown of this year’s possible movers and shakers, including a few surprises. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/19/202328 minutes, 27 seconds
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What’s Behind Ja Morant’s Off-Court Struggles?

Ja Morant has been an NBA superstar since pretty much the night he was drafted. A young, overlooked, and under recruited point guard that drew Damian Lillard comparisons when he was the No. 2 pick coming out of Murray State, the expectations for Morant were high and he has exceeded every single one of them … on the court. But despite his limitless basketball potential, Morant’s behavior off the court has become not just a distraction, but problematic.  So today, a week ahead of the Grizzlies season opener — which Morant won’t be a part of due to a 25-game suspension — ESPN’s Tim McMahon joins the show to tell us how Morant’s issues might be putting his basketball career in jeopardy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/18/202329 minutes, 30 seconds
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Inside the NFL Turf Debate

Stop us if you’ve seen this before: a star NFL player falls down on a turf field –– sometimes without contact –– and clutches his knee or calf before being helped off the field. He’s diagnosed with a significant injury, his season ends, and then social media sounds off, calling on the league to move away from artificial turf.  That cycle played out most recently when Aaron Rodgers’ tore his achilles just four plays into his Jets debut. But just how much is turf really to blame for these injuries? And can anything actually be done about it? The answers and solutions aren’t as simple as you might think. Today, Kevin Seifert joins the show to help us survey the field, literally, as we dive into the high-stakes debate between the NFL Players Association, the league, and the local officials that maintain the fields. For more on the NFL’s turf debate, you can read ESPN’s story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/17/202324 minutes, 38 seconds
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49ers, Eagles Fall, and a Logjam Emerges in the AFC North: Kevin Clark on NFL Week 6

There are no unbeaten teams left six weeks into the 2023 NFL season. But there are still plenty of questions about every team in the league.  Will the Eagles ever look like they are in high gear? Is Brock Purdy really good enough to win with the 49ers? When will Joe Burrow be healthy enough to deliver? Why doesn’t Lamar Jackson look like he used to? Is this really what the Patriots season is going to be? Kevin Clark, host of This is Football, joins the show to provide answers to these questions and more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/16/202331 minutes, 21 seconds
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Black Power Salute at the 1968 Olympics: A Conversation with John Carlos

You’ve probably seen the image: Tommie Smith and John Carlos standing on an Olympic podium in Mexico City in 1968, accepting their medals, heads bowed, with a gloved fist raised in the air. It’s one of the most enduring moments not just from that Olympics, but in all of American history. It was a representation of the Black Power and Civil Rights Movements on a global stage…and you probably don’t know the full story. So today, nearly 55 years after his iconic act of defiance, Dr. John Carlos sits down with David Dennis, Jr. to discuss the impact it had on himself and those around him…and we delve into the mind of a 23-year-old who was ready to change the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/13/202331 minutes, 40 seconds
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LeBron’s Fall, International Dominance, and More: NBArank 2023, Explained

There is probably no sport susceptible to more debate in the American consciousness than the NBA. It feels inescapable; the discussions comparing player’s legacies, the debates about who’s the best, and the chatter around who’s got next.  But today, ESPN’s NBArank returns for another installment, hoping to settle all questions once and for all (well, for this upcoming season at least). Kevin Pelton takes us inside this exercise: one that includes more than 150 journalists working to decide who the top 100 players in the league are…and some of the results may surprise you. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/12/202327 minutes, 29 seconds
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Why Oregon vs. Washington Could Decide the Pac-12, CFB Playoffs, and Heisman Trophy

When you think of college football rivalries, images immediately come to mind of longtime powerhouses, schools with a deep rooted hatred of each other like Alabama and Auburn, or Oklahoma and Texas, or even USC and UCLA. There’s one rivalry that’s just as strong, even if it doesn’t come to you off the top of your head: Oregon vs Washington. It’s a battle of Pacific Northwest supremacy, and this year especially, two of the best teams in the country featuring two quarterbacks with Heisman aspirations.  So today, Kyle Bonagura tells you why you should be a little more invested in this clash of Pac-12 leaders, and what to expect when Saturday’s game kicks off. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/11/202324 minutes, 4 seconds
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Crosby, McDavid, & Bedard: NHL Season Preview with Greg Wyshynski

If there’s anything last season proved, it’s how unpredictable the NHL can be. The Boston Bruins had a historic regular season, setting league records for wins and points, only to get eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. But tonight, a new year of hockey begins, and with it, a new face that you need to know about. Connor Bedard is set to take the ice for the Chicago Blackhawks, with his debut being the most anticipated since the likes of Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby.  So today, ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski joins the show to tell us all about Bedard’s maiden voyage, McDavid’s hunt for his first Stanley Cup, Crosby’s hunt for his last, and everything else you need to know about the NHL in 2023. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/10/202325 minutes
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49ers Roll, Jets Get Revenge, Steelers Steal a Win: Andrew Hawkins on NFL Week 5

NFL Week 5 is in the books, and this week was certainly a page-turner. The Jets defended the honor of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett in Denver, as Gang Green beat Sean Payton and the Broncos after an offseason of back-and-forths. At Foxborough, it’s starting to look like the final chapter for Bill Belichick and the Patriots could be an ugly one. Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, things turned into an Edgar Allan Poe-esque nightmare for the Ravens as turnovers doomed their lead, gifting a win to the Steelers. And then in San Francisco, the 49ers closed the book on the night with an utterly dominant performance, obliterating the Cowboys 42-10. So today, Andrew Hawkins gives us the SparkNotes on Week 5, and summarizes the story of what we’ve seen so far across the league. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/9/202327 minutes, 43 seconds
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What We’re Made Of: A Vaccine Pioneer and Her Olympian Daughter (ENCORE)

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Susan Francia's mother, Dr. Kate Karikó, has seen her lifelong work come to fruition with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. An accomplishment that has led to her being the recipient of the 2023 Nobel Prize in medicine.  Dr. Karikó’s dedication to her research over the decades inspired her daughter to become an Olympian rower. In a re-air of one of our favorite episodes, ESPN’s Julie Foudy takes us through the story of Dr. Karikó’s perseverance, her mRNA breakthroughs behind the vaccine, and the mother-daughter relationship at the center of the E:60 feature “What We’re Made Of.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/6/202337 minutes, 36 seconds
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Is This the Biggest WNBA Finals Matchup Ever?

As much as we love an underdog story, there’s nothing quite like a clash of titans. Two heavyweights, slugging it out until only one is left standing. And that’s exactly what we have in this year’s WNBA Finals. In the first year of the W’s superteam era, we get the championship matchup we’ve been dreaming about since the offseason: the Las Vegas Aces vs the New York Liberty. Both teams are stacked with MVPs, All-Stars, and championship experience all around…but will it all live up to the hype? ESPN WNBA analyst LaChina Robinson joins us to break down this unprecedented Finals matchup…and tell us what it means for the league writ large. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/5/202328 minutes, 31 seconds
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Ramona Shelburne Decodes NBA Media Day

NBA Media Day is the unofficial start to the NBA season, and in a lot of ways it’s like the first day of school.  You’ve got your new kids, like Damian Lillard, popping up with their new teams. And your returning stalwarts, like Giannis Antentokounmpo, holding court in front of reporters. Meanwhile, the media, serving as the teachers in this tortured metaphor, are quizzing everyone about their summer reading, trying to get a take on the season to come. And oftentimes, the answers we get are anything but straightforward. So we turned to our friend and NBA Insider Ramona Shelburne, to help us read between the lines and decode the most intriguing comments we heard on Media Day. Did the Celtics actually land on the winning side of the Bucks’ Damian Lillard trade? What is James Harden’s next move in Philly? Is this LeBron James’ last ride? And what on earth is going on with emo-Jimmy Butler? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/4/202330 minutes, 39 seconds
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Jeff Passan Previews the MLB Postseason

As the weather starts to cool down and summer comes to an end, it can only mean one thing for baseball fans: October is here. Twelve teams from around the league are left standing, all with a World Series trophy in their sights. Can the Baltimore Orioles continue their newfound success and capture America’s hearts? Will we see yet another chapter in the heated Dodgers-Braves postseason rivalry? Are the Houston Astros truly inevitable? Our good friend, Jeff Passan, surveys the bountiful harvest of playoff baseball upon which we now get to feast…and he tells us who he thinks will emerge victorious come November. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/3/202329 minutes, 47 seconds
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Kevin Clark Recaps the NFL Week 4

We're about a quarter of the way through the 2023 NFL season. And in some cases, It's going about as you'd expect. The problem with those expectations? Sometimes you're the Chicago Bears.  So for teams like Dallas, Buffalo, and Miami, they are who we thought they were. But then you get a surprise like the Jets almost gave the Chiefs and Taylor Swift, nearly leaving us all looking like the foolish one. So today, Kevin Clark, host of the This Is Football podcast, tells us who's living up to their potential, and who's already fallen short of the mark around the league. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/2/202327 minutes, 45 seconds
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The (Mostly True) Legend of Lane Kiffin’s USC Firing

It’s one of the most infamous legends in recent college football history: how Lane Kiffin was fired from USC…in the dead of night…on a tarmac, at LAX. You might have heard that version of the story: but today, David Hale joins the show to tell us what actually happened to Kiffin that night, how Kiffin ended up at USC in the first place, and what his many junctures in college and pro football coaching have taught him so far. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/29/202328 minutes, 56 seconds
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Woj on the Damian Lillard Blockbuster Trade

Damian Lillard is now a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. The former Portland superstar joins Giannis Antetokounmpo on a team that instantly jumped to the top of the NBA Championship betting odds. All offseason, it seemed Lillard was headed to South Beach, as the superstar made no secret of his desire to join the Miami Heat. But Wednesday’s shocking three team deal between Milwaukee, Portland and Phoenix has reshaped the NBA landscape with less than a month before the season tips off. Adrian Wojnarowski explains how the trade unfolded, what it means for each team…and how the rest of the league will try to keep up. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/28/202321 minutes, 22 seconds
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Dolphins-Bills: Inside the Battle for AFC East Supremacy

The Miami Dolphins are the NFL’s hottest team, after dropping an incredible 70 points against the Denver Broncos. But this week, they’ll face a familiar foe when they shuffle up to Buffalo to take on the Bills in an early battle for the AFC East lead. Has Miami’s offensive speed met its match in Buffalo’s stalwart defense? What kinds of QB heroics will be see from Tua Tagovailoa and Josh Allen? Is this going to be an AFC playoff preview? With the premiere matchup in the AFC East on deck with the Bills and the Dolphins, Marcel Louis-Jacques tells us what to expect from both teams on Sunday.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/27/202327 minutes, 3 seconds
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James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers: What Went Wrong

There’s never been an NBA player quite like James Harden. Whether he’s dominating the court at the highest level of play one night or turning nearly invisible the next, his presence and persona leaves fans asking a seemingly eternal question: what exactly is going on inside Harden’s head? And while his latest falling out with the Philadelphia 76ers might feel unsurprising, it’s also been unpredictable.  So today, just days before the start of Sixers training camp, Ramona Shelburne takes us inside the team and inside James Harden's mind to explain how this all unfolded, why things went south, how soon Harden will show up, and how this whole saga may finally come to an end.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/26/202330 minutes, 46 seconds
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NFL Week 3: Dolphins Hit Gold Rush, Charger-ing Hits Different, Cardinals Mastermind Win

Week 3 in the NFL went beyond some teams’ Wildest Dreams…like the Miami Dolphins, who racked up an astounding 70 points thanks to Tua Tagovailoa and the speed of the Fins’ offense. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Chargers nearly suffered Death By A Thousand Cuts by handing the ball back to the Vikings late in the 4th quarter, but the Bolts were the Lucky Ones and escaped with a win, 28-24. Then, the Arizona Cardinals had the Electric Touch and stunned the Cowboys 28-16…and no, it wasn’t a Glitch, Taylor Swift was cheering on Travis Kelce at the Kansas City Chiefs win over the Bears. So today, Andrew Hawkins brings his own Style and helps us navigate the Labyrinth of Sunday’s games…and he shares his thoughts on tonight’s Monday night matchups…are you Ready For It? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/25/202334 minutes, 20 seconds
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Coach Prime and Colorado Are For Real. But is That Enough to Beat Oregon?

When Deion Sanders was named head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes, everything in Boulder, Colorado changed. Suddenly, every game for the Buffs is primetime television – home or away – night or day. Their rivalry game, last Saturday against Colorado State, broke viewership records, and had the country glued to their screens well past 2 in the morning out east.  With each win, and each riveting quote, Coach Prime has quickly become the center of not only college football, but arguably, all of American sports. The stars dot the sidelines, and now, Colorado is 3-0 and facing their toughest test yet: a trip to Eugene to take on the Oregon Ducks.  So today, Kyle Bonagura shares his experiences in Boulder this season and explains how Deion Sanders has not only had an impact on the local community, but also captured the attention of the nation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/22/202324 minutes, 40 seconds
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Going Green: The History of Notre Dame's Special Jerseys, from Rockne to Today

Tradition is one of the most polarizing aspects of college football. One on hand, there are teams like Oregon, who seem to roll out a new uniform combo every week. And then there are schools like Notre Dame who seem to only stick with the iconic gold helmets and navy blue jerseys. It’s been their look for what feels like a century, and it seems like they never deviate from it. However, every few years Notre Dame will don green jerseys, and their reception is just as mixed as you might think. Some of the Irish’s signature victories have come in green…but so have some of their most humiliating defeats. So are the green jerseys a blessing, a curse, or just a piece of fabric? Our good friend, Ryan McGee, helps us find that out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/21/202324 minutes, 51 seconds
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Inside the A’s Messy Divorce from Oakland

Today marks five months exactly since Oakland fans had their worst fears confirmed: The Athletics were leaving town, having reached an agreement for a shiny new stadium in Las Vegas. Fans felt betrayed and most of all, blindsided by the news. Up to that point, there had been promising talks about building a stadium in Oakland’s Howard Terminal, and A’s owner John Fisher has never explained his reasoning for killing that deal…until now. So today, ESPN’s Tim Keown brings us his findings from his sit down with Fisher — a rarity in itself — and why there still might be a chance that the A’s stay put. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/20/202330 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Passan Awards: MLB’s Most Electrifying Players and Timeless Moments from 2023

Between the introduction of the pitch clock, the widening of the bases… and two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani being Shohei Ohtani…the 2023 MLB season has been one for the history books. And as the regular season winds down, what better way to honor history, than with baseball's newest and most coveted award…the first annual Passans! So Today, live from the ESPN Daily Red Carpet, our favorite baseball nerd recognizes his top players, moments and innovations — backed by completely legitimate science — from an unprecedented baseball season. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/19/202331 minutes, 34 seconds
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NFL Week 2: Dolphins Speed to 2-0, Giants Comeback, Bengals in Trouble?

Sunday’s slate of NFL games saw some teams continue their good fortunes, like Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins who survived a last minute drive from Mac Jones and the Patriots. Some teams bounced back from their Week 1 struggles, like the New York Giants, who completed a thrilling comeback over the Arizona Cardinals, and the Kansas City Chiefs and Travis Kelce, who celebrated his return from injury with a touchdown in KC’s win over the Jaguars. The San Francisco 49ers beat the Rams again, but LA isn’t quite looking like the bottom dwellers we expected. For other teams like the now 0-2 Cincinnati Bengals - it might be time to panic…especially since QB Joe Burrow admitted to reaggravating his calf injury.  So today, Kevin Clark, host of the podcast This is Football, helps us survey Sunday’s games and tells us everything we need to know about the biggest wins and losses of the week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/18/202333 minutes, 29 seconds
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How the Number 865 Changed Dolphins Coach Mike McDaniel’s Life

You could argue that the Miami Dolphins have the most exciting offense in the NFL right now. That can be backed up by Miami’s thrilling upset over the Los Angeles Chargers a week ago, where Tua Tagovailoa looked like he belonged in the conversation around the league’s most elite quarterbacks.  Much of the credit belongs to quirky head coach Mike McDaniel, who has reinvigorated this offense over the past two seasons and brought a level of excitement not seen in decades. We’ve previously covered his meteoric rise here on the show, but what if I told you it almost never happened? Today, ESPN’s Jeff Darlington brings a chapter of McDaniel’s life that is rarely discussed but essential to understanding how he operates, and how he’s redefining the paradigm of NFL coach. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/15/202337 minutes, 19 seconds
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Short Kings: Why NFL Teams are Ditching the Deep Ball and What's to Blame

There are few moments like it in sports. The quarterback takes a deep drop, steps up and unleashes a bomb. Time feels like it stops, 70,000 fans collectively hold their breath, waiting to see if it will be agony or ecstasy on the other end. The long passing game has long been the sizzle to the steak that is NFL football.  But today, ESPN’s Brooke Pryor takes us on a deep dive into the deep ball, and investigates whether it’s going the way of the single wing offense, destined for the graveyard of football past. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/14/202320 minutes, 54 seconds
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The WNBA’s Superteam Era Enters the Postseason

The first regular season of the WNBA’s superteam era has concluded, and we set our sights towards the playoffs. The two most talked about teams all season have been the Las Vegas Aces, who added the GOAT Candace Parker to their championship core of Aja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, and Kelsey Plum. Meanwhile in the Eastern Conference, the New York Liberty brought in Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones, and Courtney Vandersloot to complement Sabrina Ionescu. The investments seem to have paid off for both teams, as they’ve secured the top two seeds in the postseason and are in prime position to win it all, despite a season-ending knee injury to Parker for Las Vegas. Don’t sleep on the rest of the field, though. The Atlanta Dream are making their first playoff appearance in five years, led by top draft pick Aliyah Boston. The Minnesota Lynx, Dallas Wings, Washington Mystics, Connecticut Sun, and Chicago Sky are all in the mix this year. So today, ESPN’s LaChina Robinson joins us to break down everything you need to know about this year’s WNBA postseason…and reflect on the most important player who isn’t in it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/13/202327 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Crossover: 50 Years of Hip Hop and Sports

It has now been 50 years since a new genre of music was birthed out of the Bronx: Hip Hop. And over the last half century, it has grown and spread across the globe to become one of America’s greatest exports. And throughout its life, the genre has developed this symbiotic-like relationship with sports. They became two pillars of Black culture… empowering a community to be heard and celebrated against the backdrop of cultural oppression and political persecution. So today, ahead of the premiere of E:60’s “The Crossover”, our good friend, Justin Tinsley, joins the show to explain how hip hop, and sports, became the dominant voices of a generation. You can check out the latest E60 special, "The Crossover: 50 Years of Hip Hop and Sports" narrated by Busta Rhymes, tonight at 7:30 Eastern on ESPN or afterwards on ESPN plus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/12/202325 minutes, 52 seconds
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Aaron Rodgers. Josh Allen. Tonight on Monday Night Football.

The NFL is back, and Sunday’s action-packed slate of games didn’t disappoint: but tonight, it’s time for the most anticipated matchup of Week 1: Bills at Jets on Monday Night Football. After a hype-filled offseason, we’ll finally get to see if future Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers can deliver hope for a playoffs-starved Jets fanbase. And for Josh Allen and the Bills - who have claimed the AFC East crown for the past three seasons - questions are swirling around how much longer their championship window remains open. So before you tune in to Joe Buck and Troy Aikman tonight, we called up ESPN NFL Nation reporters Rich Cimini and Alaina Getzenberg – who each cover the Jets and Bills, respectively – to get a sense of where these two AFC East rivals are, and what we can expect to see from them after the kickoff. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/11/202323 minutes, 50 seconds
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Is It Time to Believe in Deion Sanders and Colorado?

When Deion Sanders first took the reins of a woeful Colorado program that went 1-11 last season, he wasted no time in shaking things up. Sanders told Buffalos’ holdovers to hit the transfer portal, because he was bringing his own “luggage” with him to Boulder.  That “luggage” turned out to be 86 new players, and an unprecedented 51 transfers to overhaul the Buffs roster. The reaction across the college football universe ranged from intrigue to skepticism…and last Saturday, the Coach Prime era began with a 45-42 win at TCU…a team that played in the National Championship a year before.  Shedeur Sanders, Deion’s son, broke the school record for passing yards in his first outing as the Buffaloes’ quarterback. Travis Hunter played over 120 snaps on both sides of the ball, making his presence felt at wide receiver and cornerback.  It was enough to silence the skeptics for at least one week. And so ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, who has been keeping tabs on the scene in Boulder since Primetime’s arrival, tells us if he himself is now a believer, or if it was just a case of beginner’s luck. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/8/202330 minutes, 36 seconds
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Sean Payton Doesn’t Forget Anything

The job of NFL head coach is notoriously brutal. It involves endless hours of grinding tape and scheming up gameplans, not to mention endless headaches from logistical challenges, personnel issues, and public relations battles. It’s not for the faint of heart. And yet, after a theoretically relaxing season away from the game of football, 59-year-old Sean Payton has elected to return to the grind as the new head coach of the Denver Broncos.  So today, with the NFL season upon us, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham explains how, in spite of the litany of grudges and grievances Payton has held against the league for many years, he just can’t quit this game. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/7/202335 minutes, 27 seconds
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Mina Kimes Previews the 2023 NFL Season

The wait is over: The NFL regular season is finally upon us, and there will be football every weekend from now until February. The season officially kicks off this Thursday when the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs take on the Detroit Lions, who have a lot to prove themselves. There’s also an abundance of young quarterbacks, gunning to be the new faces of the league as the new guard transitions in. But the old guard isn’t completely ready to hand over the reigns just yet, as the Aaron Rodgers experience has relocated to New York. And who’s title window is still open? Our favorite football nerd, Mina Kimes, helps us ring in the new season and returns to answer all the burning questions you might have looming. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/6/202328 minutes, 8 seconds
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Satchel Paige’s Legend and Legacy, 75 Years After His MLB Debut (ENCORE)

The Negro Leagues’ biggest star, pitcher Satchel Paige, is a figure who at times feels more myth… more legend than man: his fastball was supposedly clocked at 105 mph, he estimated that he threw more than 50 no-hitters throughout his career, and he claimed to have had such a command of the baseball that he could allegedly work both corners of a chewing gum wrapper…and even his age itself is a hotly debated topic still to this day.  So today, guest host Justin Tinsley explores the life and legacy of Satchel Paige, a man whose legendary feats may always be debated, but whose impact on the game is without question. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/5/202347 minutes, 20 seconds
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“Baseball is who I am.” The Unforgettable Story of Sarah Langs (ENCORE)

If you’re a baseball fan, odds are you’re probably familiar with the story of Lou Gehrig. The New York Yankees legend who left the game in 1939 after he was diagnosed with ALS and is honored around the Major Leagues on Lou Gehrig Day every June 2. And today, there’s someone else in baseball who is fighting the exact same fight Gehrig fought over 80 years ago: Sarah Langs. Sarah is a baseball researcher and analyst, and has worked for ESPN and MLB. She’s one of sports media’s brightest young voices, and Buster Olney joins us today to share her story…and how she remains unphased after life threw her a devastating curveball. For more information on Sarah’s “Fist Bumps for ALS” campaign, click here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/4/202335 minutes, 23 seconds
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How Sean Taylor’s Brother is Continuing His Legacy at Safety

Sean Taylor was one of the most gifted and respected defensive players of his generation, and his 2007 death during a burglary gone wrong rocked the NFL. But with a new college football season kicking off in earnest this weekend, another chapter in the Taylor family legacy is being written. Lisa Salters brings us the story of Sean’s younger brother, Gabriel Taylor, now a starting safety for Rice University. It’s the story of a young man learning to step out of his older brother’s shadow, and how nearly 15 years after Sean’s death, Gabriel keeps his spirit alive, one snap at a time.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
9/1/202335 minutes, 45 seconds
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A World Cup Victory, a Forced Kiss, and a Reckoning with Sexism in Spain

Spain are the Women’s World Cup champions for the first time ever. That should be the story. The moment should have been euphoric, a historic triumph for the best players in the world. But it all changed when Spanish Soccer Federation President Luis Rubiales grabbed and kissed forward Jenni Hermoso without her consent. Now, instead of celebrating, Spanish players have taken a stand and are refusing to play another game for Spain unless Rubiales is removed from his position, which he has refused to step away from voluntarily.  ESPN Soccer reporter Alex Kirkland is based in Madrid, and joins the show to take us inside this firestorm…which shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/31/202333 minutes, 5 seconds
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The Most Watched Women’s Sporting Event in History: Nebraska Women’s Volleyball?

Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska is the house that Tom Osborne built. It’s the hallowed place where so many Cornhusker fans of a certain age remember the football team dominating the 1990s, winning national championships, and breaking NCAA records. Memorial Stadium also holds the record for longest streak of sellout games…but there’s one game taking place there tonight that might set a whole nother record of its own. The Nebraska women’s volleyball team is set to play against the University of Nebraska, Omaha tonight at Memorial Stadium, and a crowd of over 91,000 is expected. That has the potential not just to set a new attendance record at the stadium…it can possibly be the most attended women’s sporting event in the world.  So today, ESPN’s Liz Merrill tells us how this all came together, why it’s such a big deal…and why it’s really not as much of a surprise as outsiders might think it is. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/30/202323 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Secret History of the Burpee: The One Exercise to Rule Them All

If you’ve ever played sports, or really, any physical activity, then you’re most likely familiar with the Burpee. We’ve all done them and from junior high gym class, to military boot camp, to the Crossfit Games, the burpee remains undefeated. This unique blend of strength training and cardio is often used to bring teams together – such as in the case of the Detroit Lions under head coach Dan Campbell – despite simultaneously tearing your insides apart. But where did this whole thing begin? And why? And where did that name come from? Today, ESPN’s Dave Fleming tells the tale of the secret history of the burpee. The humble calisthenic that became the one exercise to rule them all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/29/202323 minutes, 50 seconds
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2023 College Football Preview with Spencer Hall

This might be the most anticipated college football season in recent memory. USC looks ready to build off of last season and rally around the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in Caleb Williams, but can their defense keep up? Can Colorado, now led by Deion Sanders, be competitive after so many years as a Pac-12 cellar dweller? The Big 12 also prepares for its last season before realignment shakes up the entire conference as we know it, so how will Texas and Oklahoma do in their farewell tours before they bolt for the SEC? And speaking of the SEC, Georgia lost several key contributors from last year’s national championship team, but can their new faces do enough to help them run it back? And why does it feel so quiet over in Alabama? ESPN’s Spencer Hall surveys the college football landscape for us, and he tells us what to expect from this season. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/28/202326 minutes, 45 seconds
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Can Caleb Williams and USC Finish the Job?

The 2022 college football season was almost a dream for USC. Led by a flashy new coach in Lincoln Riley – who brought his star quarterback Caleb Williams with him – the Trojans finished with an 8-1 record in the Pac-12. Williams cemented himself as the best player in the nation throughout his Heisman-winning campaign, and there was an electricity surrounding the Coliseum that hadn’t been felt in a generation.  But the dream came to a sudden halt in the Pac-12 Championship Game, as the Trojans lost to Utah for the second time in 2022. Giving away a 15-point fourth quarter lead to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl only rubbed salt in the wounds, and the Achilles heel of this team became evident, as their defense ended the year one of the worst in the nation. So today, ahead of their season opener this weekend, ESPN’s Paolo Uggetti tells us how Williams has been prepping for the new season, what USC has done to address their glaring holes on the opposite side of the ball…and if it’s enough to get them to the College Football Playoff for the first time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/25/202324 minutes, 34 seconds
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Simone Biles is Back: What Are Her Paris 2024 Chances?

While we’ve hit a break in Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, Simone Biles’ leg has just begun. Biles returned to competition at the US Classic in early August, where she became an all around champion after a two-year hiatus from gymnastics. Back in 2021, Biles pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics due to mental health concerns - and many wondered if that was the last time we’d ever see her on the mat. But now, she intends to return to the Games at the 2024 Paris Olympics. So today, Alyssa Roenigk tells us why Simone Biles is ready to begin again…and how since Tokyo, everything has changed for US gymnastics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/24/202326 minutes, 23 seconds
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Bill Barnwell Predicts This Season’s NFL Risers and Fallers

As always the offseason brought a ton of change: In Chicago, the Bears doubled down on their franchise quarterback, Justin Fields, and surrounded him with talent. Head coach Sean Payton returns to the sidelines in hopes of fixing Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. The Minnesota Vikings decided that now is the time to look to the future, despite winning 13 games in 2022. So with the start of the NFL season right around the corner, fans throughout the league are filled with hope and anticipation that the beginning of a new year always brings. Those great expectations can end in playoff appearances and Super Bowl wins, or missed opportunities and overwhelming disappointment. Bill Barnwell delivers his annual dissertation on which teams are set to rise and which can expect a fall when all is said and done this NFL season. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/23/202329 minutes, 53 seconds
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Why J.J. Watt, Tom Brady, and Ryan Reynolds Are Investing In British Soccer

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: American football icon travels across the Atlantic to inspire a small market English football club and in the process, falls in love with the people and community. And while Ted Lasso might be finished (for now), there are some real life examples of American athletes and celebrities getting involved with English football: LeBron James has been a partial investor in Liverpool FC since 2011, Tom Brady is an investor of Birmingham City, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney own Wrexham FC, and as of May: J.J. Watt and his wife Kealia are minority owners in Burnley FC.  Connor O’Halloran toured the small town of Burnley with the Watt’s, and he talked to them about their experience with the team, the fans who love the club, and why they wanted to buy into English soccer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/22/202329 minutes, 24 seconds
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Why Jiu-Jitsu is the Key to Tua Tagovailoa’s 2023 Season

The 2022 season started off great for Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. After struggling in his first two seasons in the NFL, it looked like he had turned a corner alongside new head coach Mike McDaniel and star wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. But then Tua suffered an injury against the Bills that left almost everyone concerned for his health. The following week against Cincinnati, Tua suffered a concussion, in a horrifying scene on national television. And not too long after that, he suffered another, effectively ending his season and almost his career. But Tua ultimately decided to return, and may have found a way to protect himself on the field: by learning jiu-jitsu.  So today, ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques explains how Tua’s martial arts training can translate onto the field…and how it might be the key to him staying healthy and prolonging his career. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/21/202327 minutes, 11 seconds
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Is MLS Too Easy for Messi?

When we last talked about Lionel Messi on this show, ahead of his debut for Inter Miami, we talked about how he might find Major League Soccer tougher than expected. But as it turns out, we were very, very wrong. Messi continues to remind us why he is the GOAT, as he’s scored nine goals in his first six matches throughout the Leagues Cup, and he’s barely broken a sweat while doing so, even at the age of 36.  So today, ahead of the Leagues Cup final between Inter Miami and Nashville SC this weekend, ESPN’s Luis Miguel Echegaray tells us why Messi’s absolute dominance says more about Messi than it does about MLS…and how it will help the league in the long run. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/18/202330 minutes, 16 seconds
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‘The Blind Side’ Controversy: Sorting Fact from Fiction

In 2009, audiences flocked to the theater to see a heartwarming movie, ‘The Blind Side.’ Based on a true story, the film depicts a young, Black man named Michael Oher who came from an unstable background, getting adopted by a wealthy white family, who then helped propel him to NFL stardom as an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens. By the time its box office run ended, “The Blind Side” earned the moniker "highest-grossing sports movie of all time" and was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, where Sandra Bullock won Best Actress for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy.  But now, in real life, the sentimental story has gone sideways. Its central character, Michael Oher, claims the Tuohy family never adopted him at all, and instead took advantage of him. The Tuohy family strongly denies these claims. So today, Michael Fletcher, who first broke this story, digs into these stunning allegations and explains how the truth of Michael Oher’s story has become harder to find. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/17/202326 minutes, 13 seconds
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The 'Chargering' Phenomenon: How Real Is It?

The Chargers are a little different from some of the teams that have never won a Super Bowl. They seem to always find themselves in the playoff hunt. They’ve always had great names on the team: Dan Fouts, Junior Seau, LaDanian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates, Phillip Rivers. Even this current iteration of the team has premiere talent with quarterback Justin Herbert, running back Austin Ekeler, wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, edge rushers Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, and in the secondary with Derwin James and JC Jackson. But for some reason, regardless of talent, the Chargers have always come up short in the biggest spots. Often in spectacular fashion. According to Lindsey Thiry, there’s a name for that phenomenon: Chargering. She joins the show to explain how chargering has been around as long as the team has, how it’s the only logical explanation for some of the most spectacular collapses in the team’s history…and what this year’s team can do to put chargering behind them once and for all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/16/202326 minutes, 51 seconds
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The Hug Heard ‘Round the World, One Year Later

One year ago, a Little League qualifying game that should have been remembered as one team’s ticket to Williamsport, became known for so much more. One batter, Isaiah Jarvis, was hit in the head by a wayward pitch. He was able to take first base and stay in the game, however the opposing pitcher, Kaiden Shelton, was still visibly shaken up by what had transpired. Then, the world stopped when Jarvis walked to the mound with a gift that everyone could use a lot more of – compassion. He embraced Shelton, offered him some words of encouragement, and the game went on. So today, Liz Merrill tells us the story of that moment and how a couple of 12-year-olds reminded us all about the power of sportsmanship. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/15/202328 minutes, 25 seconds
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How the Opioid Epidemic Became Personal for Giants Pitcher Logan Webb

Life can change in an instant. For San Francisco Giants pitcher Logan Webb, that instant came on a December evening in 2021, when a national epidemic – opiate addiction – stopped being a statistic and became personal. In that moment of profound loss, he discovered a new purpose that would take him well beyond the baseball field, and mean more than throwing strikes or winning games ever could.  So today, ESPN’s Sam Borden tells the story of Webb’s new mission: raising awareness on the perils of addiction, while honoring the memory of a cousin…and a friend…gone too soon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/14/202328 minutes, 48 seconds
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The Jordan Love Era in Green Bay Kicks Off

The Green Bay Packers kick off their preseason schedule tonight, and for the first time in three decades, someone not named Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers will be under center. Jordan Love will finally get the nod as QB1 after three years as Rodgers’ understudy. And we may finally be getting closer to knowing if Love can fill some Hall of Fame-sized shoes and be Green Bay’s third consecutive franchise quarterback…or if we still have more unanswered questions.  ESPN’s Rob Demovsky has covered the Packers for 27 years, and he joins the show to tell us about this new era in Green Bay…and how familiar this transition feels. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/11/202324 minutes, 31 seconds
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Gregg Popovich and Chateau d’Yquem, the Ultimate Pairing

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has an unparalleled resume: head coach and GM of the Spurs for over 25 years, the all-time winningest coach in NBA history, and five championship rings to show for it. And after this weekend, Pop will finally be able to add “Hall of Famer” to that list of accomplishments. What will he do after his induction ceremony? Probably celebrate with his favorite wine: Château d’Yquem, which has its own extensive and sustained history of excellence. So today, ESPN’s Baxter Holmes tells you about the symbiotic relationship between one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time, and the drink that can possibly be his equal. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/10/202327 minutes, 17 seconds
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The Seattle Kraken BookTok Hockey Romance Controversy, Explained

The Seattle Kraken are the NHL’s newest expansion team, and from their inception, they’ve done things a little differently. Case in point: their social media approach. Back in the spring during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Kraken’s TikTok account was discovered by BookTok. If you’re now asking yourself, “what is BookTok?” – you’re not alone. BookTok is a community on TikTok which is comprised of creators and readers discussing all things books. BookTok embraced the Kraken, and the Kraken started posting videos that specifically targeted BookTok. The moment represented two niche fandoms coming together…and it seemed like the end of the story…until last week, when things took a bit of a turn.  If this story sounds a bit absurd so far, stay with us: it actually touches on some of the biggest issues in sports, social media, literature…and objectification. So today, Greg Wyshynski explains the Seattle Kraken BookTok hockey romance controversy, with the help of hockey romance author Emily Rath: and they tell us what happens when the worlds of fiction, online fandom…and real-life athletes…collide. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/9/202327 minutes, 44 seconds
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What the Collapse of the Pac-12 Means for the Future of College Football

The good news, if you're a Pac-12 Football fan, is that the 2023 season’s looking pretty good. Last year's Heisman Trophy winner, Caleb Williams, is returning to USC. And Five Pac-12 Teams are represented in the First Top 25 Coaches Poll The bad news… well…after 2023, the Pac-12 as we’ve traditionally known it is basically headed to the dustbin of history.   So today, college football insider Heather Dinich explains the sudden and stunning disintegration of a Power 5 conference…whether any of its peers should be worried about their own futures… and how different college football may look when the carousel finally stops turning. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/8/202330 minutes, 7 seconds
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What Does Damar Hamlin’s Football Future Look Like?

When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin went down on the field in the middle of a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football back on January 3rd, the last thing on anybody’s mind was his return to football…the number one question was if he would even survive. Now, seven months later, Hamlin has miraculously responded to both those questions with a resounding “yes.” He’s been a full participant at Bills training camp, and he’s slowly transitioning back to his identity as a young player trying to keep a roster spot. So today, ESPN Bills reporter Alaina Getzenberg gives us the latest on Hamlin’s comeback…and gauges how secure his roster spot really is. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/7/202326 minutes, 20 seconds
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Ali Krieger on USWNT’s Group Stage Woes + Round of 16 Preview

The US Women’s National Soccer Team have found themselves in an unfamiliar position going into the knockout stage of the World Cup: with their backs against the wall. The USWNT, who have historically dominated the tournament since its inception and have never finished worse than third place, struggled through the group stage…and it won’t get any easier, as a physical Sweden team awaits them in the round of 16.  ESPN’s Ali Krieger is a former member of the USWNT herself, and she tells us what she’s seen on the pitch from her old team, how expansion of women’s soccer around the world has elevated this edition of the World Cup…and why there’s still hope for a USA three-peat. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/4/202322 minutes, 55 seconds
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Will Aaron Rodgers and the Jets Live Up to the Hype?

The New York Jets might not have wanted to see themselves on HBO’s “Hard Knocks”, but they’re about the only people who felt that way. In ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini’s words, “everyone wants to see the Jets.” And for good reason: they have an exciting core of young talent and personalities on both sides of the ball such as Sauce Gardner and Garret Wilson, and they just traded for one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Aaron Rodgers, who had openly stated that his only desire was to play this year in a Jets uniform. On top of that, Rodgers recently agreed to restructure his contract, essentially giving back $35 million to give the front office some cap flexibility. It’s an unprecedented pay cut, and today Cimini tells us if it’s all enough to turn the Jets into legit Super Bowl contenders. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/3/202329 minutes, 54 seconds
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'You Ever Look at a Ninja?': The Untold Stories of Joe Thomas’ HoF Career

The life of an NFL Offensive Lineman isn’t an easy one. If you do your job well, you are pretty much invisible, taking all the punishment so that your teammates can get all the glory. It’s all about sacrifice for the greater good of the team. And then, there’s the curious case of Joe Thomas, who had one of the most prolific careers in NFL history, despite playing on some horrible Cleveland Browns teams. Thomas played over 10,000 consecutive snaps throughout his 11-year career, none of which came in the playoffs. In fact, the only time Thomas was on a winning team was in his rookie season. But he remained loyal to Cleveland, and will finally get his glory this weekend as he’s enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So today, ESPN Browns reporter Jake Trotter brings you Thomas’ story, and explains how he found joy in the least expected place. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/2/202325 minutes, 22 seconds
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Jonathan Taylor and the Colts: What Went Wrong?

The tension between NFL owners and running backs is continuing to escalate. In the latest development, Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts have come to a stalemate, with Taylor reportedly requesting a trade following a meeting with Colts owner Jim Irsay. Irsay has been vocal about not wanting to extend Taylor’s contract, which ends after this season…and about paying running backs in general. Irsay’s stance follows a recent trend among NFL executives: devaluing the running back position, signing them to less money, and selecting them later in the draft. What happens in the Taylor-Irsay saga has the potential to determine what path the NFL goes down at-large when it comes to their offensive backfields. So today, ESPN Colts reporter Stephen Holder brings us the latest from Colts training camp…and where this dispute might go next. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
8/1/202328 minutes, 39 seconds
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Inside the 49ers QB Room: 2023 Outlook for Brock Purdy, Trey Lance, and Sam Darnold

Every football season in San Francisco brings fans another chance to lose their minds over who is starting under center. QB1 for the Niners has become a gig that no one can seem to hold onto for more than a season or two: from Jimmy Garoppolo to Trey Lance, back to Jimmy Garoppolo, and then to Brock Purdy – it seems like you never know who’s going to be in the pocket for the 49ers. We’re not calling it a curse, or even a controversy, but it has been unpredictable.  So today, Nick Wagoner takes us through the QB room of 2023, where Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, is returning from elbow surgery. The Niner’s once-heir apparent, Trey Lance is battling with another former top draft pick, Sam Darnold, for the number two spot. And he tells us what this all means for a roster that’s ready to win now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/31/202329 minutes, 44 seconds
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Mallory Rubin on the Return of Orioles Magic

The Baltimore Orioles have the best record in the entire American League. Yes, you read that correctly. When you think of the best team in the AL East, you might think of the New York Yankees, or Boston Red Sox, or even the Tampa Bay Rays in recent years. But this year it’s the O’s who stand head and shoulders above the rest. The same team who lost 110 games two seasons ago is now led by two of the most exciting prospects in baseball in Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson…and they’ll be taking center stage this weekend, as they host the Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball, marking the first time the Orioles have done so in five years.  So today, long-suffering Orioles fan Mallory Rubin of The Ringer joins the show to break down what this run means for the O’s faithful…and how long this particular version of Orioles magic can last. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/28/202334 minutes, 37 seconds
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The Ballad of Gardner Minshew: The NFL's Most Interesting QB?

Journeymen quarterbacks don’t typically merit long, in-depth profiles from national reporters, nor, for that matter, from this show. But very little about Gardner Minshew is typical. With his handle-bar mustache, emotions all over his sleeves, and propensity to fashion unexpected magic off the bench, Minshew has become a walking NFL meme –– the internet always eager for another round of Minshew Mania.   So today, ESPN’s Ryan Hockensmith tells us about his lunch with Minshew, which unearthed even more surprising details about the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback, including the time he tried to break his own hand with a hammer. And then, there’s the video of a postgame hug with his dad from 2021, which explains the passion that drives – and defines – Gardner Minshew II. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/27/202331 minutes, 23 seconds
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Who’s on the Hot Seat in 2023? Bill Barnwell’s NFL All-Pressure Team

Training camp is officially underway and the dawn of a new NFL season is upon us. But with a new season, there are new questions: Who will live up to their expectations? Who will disappoint? Who will rise out of nowhere? And for some people around the league, the stakes are even higher. Can Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa return to his elite form? How will Kirk Cousins cement his legacy with the Minnesota Vikings? Will the Dallas Cowboys keep winning when head coach Mike McCarthy assumes playcalling duties? So today, Bill Barnwell explains who has everything to prove among both players and coaches. This is the 2023 NFL All-Pressure Team. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/26/202329 minutes, 11 seconds
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The Northwestern Hazing Scandal, Explained

For more than 150 years, Northwestern University has been known more for its academics than its prowess on the gridiron. The type of school that seems like the last place you would expect to find a scandal involving hazing and abuse in its football program. But over the last couple weeks, a growing list of accusations and alleged victims has come forward. Pat Fitzgerald, the Wildcats’ long time head coach and a decorated former player himself, has been fired, and the university is facing multiple lawsuits…with more likely coming. So today, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg explains this complex case from the beginning. What we know, what we don’t…and where it might be heading next. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/25/202332 minutes, 39 seconds
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SEC in 2023: Ryan McGee on Georgia Future, New Look Bama, and Vols Violations

The SEC sparks the conversation around college football at the start of seemingly every season: and it’s usually SEC teams we’re talking about at the end of the season, too. And after an offseason dominated by off the field tragedy at Georgia, violations at Tennessee, and the impending addition of both Texas and Oklahoma to the most powerful conference in college sports, 2023 promises to be no different. Ryan McGee was at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Nashville for SEC Media Days, so he stopped by to get us prepared for the new season of SEC football. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/24/202335 minutes, 44 seconds
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A Mother’s Vow, a Worldwide Search, and the Mystery of the Dallas Mavericks Barbie

Throughout human history, the allure of rare and mysterious artifacts has always summoned our bravest and most intrepid explorers to scour the ends of the earth. The Ark of the Covenant. The Holy Grail. And now, the Dallas Mavericks Barbie.   The ultra-rare Mavs Barbie, the product of a late 90’s collaboration between Mattel and the NBA, has given collectors everywhere headaches for years as the missing piece to their Barbie collections. She is so hard to find, in fact, that some collectors have even questioned her existence. So today, ESPN’s Dave Fleming takes us inside his quest for Mavericks Barbie, why she’s so hard to find…and how he helped put an end to one collector’s 25-year pursuit. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/21/202339 minutes, 11 seconds
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The Daniel Snyder Era Ends in Washington

Washington D.C. football fans rejoice: Today, NFL owners are expected to ratify the sale of the Commanders, ending Daniel Snyder’s tenure as owner. After nearly a quarter century of mediocrity, marked by scandal, accusation, ineptitude, and toxicity, an ownership group led by Josh Harris will take the reins.  So today, as Washington fans prepare to meet the new boss – whom they’re praying is anything but the same as the old boss – ESPN’s John Keim tells us how it all went so wrong during the Snyder years…and what hope now looks like in DC. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/20/202331 minutes, 54 seconds
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Life Lessons From the NBA’s Most Surprising Free Agent Deal

When you think of the most recognizable players in the NBA, forward Bruce Brown wouldn’t be very high on the list. We’re not even sure he’d crack the top 50. But after having a breakout postseason in 2022-23 and winning a title with the Denver Nuggets, Brown was considered one of the most coveted free agents among teams with championship aspirations…which ultimately led to his two-year, $45 million contract with the Indiana Pacers. Even then, understanding his value is a lot more complicated than simply pointing to a stat sheet.  So today, Ben Cohen of the Wall Street Journal is here to enlighten us and explain why Bruce Brown is cashing in, what he can teach all of us about being overlooked…and how being a good teammate can be its own super power. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/19/202325 minutes, 28 seconds
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On the Road with Shohei Ohtani

You aren’t nuts, we did just do a Shohei Ohtani episode two weeks ago. But when you’re dealing with MLB’s brightest star, a unicorn who can blow you away from the pitcher’s mound and then blow you out from the batter’s box, every day is something brand new. So, do a piece on Ohtani one day, and just a few hours after it’s published, he might have another historic moment.   ESPN’s Tim Keown took a different approach. He hung around the Los Angeles Angels’ clubhouse for an entire week, bookended by two Ohtani starts, to get to the bottom of who Ohtani really is, on and off the diamond. So today, Keown shares his findings…and gives us some insight into what the future might hold for Shohei Ohtani, at the trade deadline, and beyond. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/18/202331 minutes, 43 seconds
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2023 Women’s World Cup Preview: Can USWNT 3-Peat?

The United States Women’s National Soccer Team has established themselves as one of the most dominant powerhouses in sports - ever. In the eight Women’s World Cups played, USA has won four of them, reached the semifinals each tournament, and has never finished lower than third place. As this edition of the team takes the field for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, we’ll see the familiar faces of Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle, and Kristie Mewis among others – but there’s also 14 players on the roster making their World Cup debut. This year’s squad is no exception to the expectations on their shoulders - and are well aware of the additional pressure that comes with the prospect of winning three World Cups in a row - something no team, men’s or women’s, has ever accomplished. So today, with a three-peat on the line, Jeff Carlisle tells us what we can expect to see from a USWNT that continues to chase history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/17/202324 minutes, 50 seconds
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Messi Takes Miami: What Leo’s Arrival Means for Soccer in America

Lionel Messi, the best soccer player of the 21st century, perhaps of all time, is coming to America. And yes, Pele decamped to New York to join the Cosmos nearly half a century ago… and David Beckham bent the soccer universe by joining the LA Galaxy in 2007. But THIS is different…this is quite possibly even bigger.  So today, ahead of Messi’s official debut for Inter Miami in MLS, ESPN’s Luis Miguel Echegaray tells us what it all means…and why Miami, specifically, is the perfect landing spot for the one and only Leo Messi. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/14/202330 minutes, 39 seconds
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Chiefsaholic: Superfan, Twitter Personality…Bank Robber? (UPDATE)

Six months ago, ESPN’s Liz Merrill introduced us to the mystery of Chiefsaholic, the Kansas City Chiefs superfan who lived a lavish lifestyle, but also had been arrested for robbing an Oklahoma bank in December. So much has happened since we told that story: while awaiting his next court date, Chiefsaholic, whose real name is Xavier Babudar, reportedly cut off his ankle monitor, threw it in the woods, and skipped town. A manhunt spanning across multiple states ensued and finally came to an end last Friday, when Babudar was apprehended by the FBI. And only then did we learn that his arrest was just the tip of the iceberg. So today, Liz Merrill returns to expand on the mystery of Chiefsaholic, whose tale has somehow become even harder to believe. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/13/202344 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Enduring Mystery Behind Jon Gruden’s Email Scandal

It’s been 21 months since then-Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden announced his resignation. Gruden had faced mounting criticism after the Wall Street Journal and New York Times obtained emails he had written between 2011 and 2018, while Gruden was working at ESPN. Several messages contained racist, homophobic, and misogynistic language directed towards several people, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. The scandal ended Gruden’s coaching career, likely for good.  But to this day, a puzzling curiosity has remained: how did such an obscure set of emails get in the hands of the media? Don Van Natta, Jr. and Seth Wickersham have spent the last several months trying to answer that question, and now have an exclusive new report out for ESPN. As Gruden pursues a lawsuit against the NFL, Van Natta joins the show to help us pull at the threads of this mystery. He shares what might have motivated the leakers, and how the leaks triggered a chain of events that ultimately led to Dan Snyder’s pending sale of the Commanders. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/12/202332 minutes, 50 seconds
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30 Years Since Jimmy V’s ESPYs Speech: “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up”

When former national champion college basketball coach and ESPN analyst Jim Valvano accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his battle with cancer at the first ESPY Awards, no one was sure if he would have the strength to even take the stage. What followed was a rousing 11-minute long call to action that spurred a new chapter in the fight against cancer. Michael O’Connor, director of the SC Featured special, The Speech, shares the details of Jimmy V’s life that became encapsulated in one incredible moment of determination as his health failed, to deliver his message to the world and launch a foundation that continues working to achieve his final dream — finding a cure for cancer. To date, ESPN has helped the V Foundation raise more than $195 million for game-changing cancer research, accounting for more than half of the $310 million the V has granted to date. For more on how to donate, go to V.org/donate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/11/202329 minutes, 44 seconds
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Inside the Worst Team in NBA History

When you think of historically bad professional sports teams, there are the 1962 Mets, the 1976 Buccaneers. More recently, you’ve got the 2008 Detroit Lions or the 2017 Cleveland Browns or even this year’s Oakland Athletics…and then, there are the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers. The storied franchise that had recently parted with Wilt Chamberlain and three other Hall of Famers, and hired their new coach from a classified ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer. This was a team that had three separate 13-game losing streaks, and didn’t even reach double digits in the win column. Anthony Olivieri talked to members of that Sixers team, and he shares their stories about how they became the worst NBA team of all time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/10/202325 minutes, 7 seconds
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Satchel Paige’s Legend and Legacy, 75 Years After His MLB Debut

The Negro Leagues’ biggest star, pitcher Satchel Paige, made his MLB debut 75 years ago this Sunday when he took the mound for the Cleveland Indians. Paige is a figure who at times feels more myth, more legend than man: his fastball was supposedly clocked at 105 mph, he estimated that he threw more than 50 no-hitters throughout his career, and he claimed to have had such a command of the baseball that he could allegedly work both corners of a chewing gum wrapper…and even his age itself is a hotly debated topic still to this day.  So today, on what might have been his 117th birthday, guest host Justin Tinsley explores the life and legacy of Satchel Paige, a man whose legendary feats may always be debated, but whose impact on the game is without question. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/7/202347 minutes, 34 seconds
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Did Shohei Ohtani Just Have the Best Month in MLB History?

At this point, we’ve run out of superlatives to describe Shohei Ohtani. He’s not just doing things that nobody has seen in a century, he’s doing things that nobody has ever seen. In the month of June alone, Ohtani hit 15 home runs and drove in 29 RBI, while averaging .394, all while pitching over 30 innings, with 37 strikeouts along the way. And it all has us wondering, was that the best month from an individual player in MLB history? So we called up Jeff Passan to get the definitive answer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/6/202327 minutes, 16 seconds
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How MLB Prospect Arjun Nimmala Swapped Cricket for Baseball

When you think of a top baseball prospect, or really any prospect in modern sports, you probably think of the kid who’s specialized from an early age and spent countless hours with personal coaches and trainers to perfect their craft…and then, there’s Arjun Nimmala. Nimmala grew up playing cricket on his family trips to India, but those skills have translated pretty well to the baseball diamond…and have made the 17 year old a likely high first round pick in Sunday’s MLB Draft. So today, Kiley McDaniel charts Nimmala’s unusual path to professional baseball …and what his success would mean to a nation of more than 1 billion potential baseball fans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/5/202326 minutes, 21 seconds
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The Great Imposter and Me, Part 2 (ENCORE)

The story of Barry Bremen, a.k.a. “The Great Imposter” was already sufficiently ridiculous. Bremen was an average, suburban dad, husband, and insurance salesman who’d risen to national fame by sneaking into major sporting events. But in 2019, nearly a decade after Barry Bremen’s death, his family received a mysterious letter that changed everything. The Barry Bremen legacy was bigger and more profound than any of them had ever realized. In an encore of one of our favorite episodes, Jeremy Schapp brings us Part 2 of a tale unlike any other: one of family, and identity, and how technology has changed so many lives…and revealed so many secrets. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/4/202341 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Great Imposter and Me, Part 1 (ENCORE)

It’s a story so wild we couldn’t fit it into one podcast. If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember Barry Bremen. In the late 70’s, Barry was best known for dressing up as pro athletes and sneaking into televised sporting events…including the 1979 MLB All-Star Game in Seattle, where he was berated by an unamused Tommy Lasorda. And while his “Great Imposter” persona brought him fame, an appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and more adventures, Barry was also a totally normal family man…and a beloved dad. Bremen died of cancer in 2011, but his story didn’t end there. In an encore of one of our favorite episodes, “The Great Imposter and Me” reveals the most unbelievable part of the Barry Bremen story, which came long after he’d hung up his phony uniforms and disguises. Jeremy Schaap brings us this story in two parts, for ESPN Daily.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
7/3/202349 minutes, 58 seconds
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Is Novak Djokovic Unbeatable? Wimbledon 2023 Preview

Novak Djokovic is a man on a mission heading into next week’s Wimbledon: following wins at the Australian and French Opens this year, Djokovic is at the top of his game and looks nearly unstoppable. Will #1 seed Carlos Alcaraz or Daniil Medvedev be up to the challenge? On the women’s side, Poland’s Iga Swiatek is ranked #1, but she’ll face tough competition from Aryna Sabalenka and last year’s champion Elena Rybakina. Could Americans Jess Pegula and Coco Gauff make a serious run? Patrick McEnroe shares his insights on this year’s tournament, and who and what he’s most excited to see from the Championships. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/30/202329 minutes, 41 seconds
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The Surprising Link Between 3-Point Shooting and Golf

It’s not exactly a hot take to say Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are the greatest shooting backcourt in NBA history. And today, their shot-making ability of a different kind will be on display, as they go head-to-head against Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce in The Match, a nationally televised charity golf event. But when it comes to sharpshooters hitting the links, the Splash Brothers are just the tip of the iceberg. Baxter Holmes spent months speaking to some of the best three-point shooters in NBA history…and now, he’s here to tell us why so many can’t quit that little white ball, why they’re so well-suited to the sport…and whether any might launch a new career on the course. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/29/202323 minutes, 39 seconds
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Elly De La Cruz Has Arrived

Elly De La Cruz just might be the most exciting player in baseball, and he hasn’t even been in the Major Leagues for a full month yet. While his performance has been turning heads, it’s his unique combination of power and speed that has infused the Cincinnati Reds with an energy that the city hasn’t seen in a long time. So today, Jeff Passan brings us the story of De La Cruz, tells us how real the hype is, and explains how he’s giving Reds fans something they haven’t had in more than a decade: hope. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/28/202328 minutes, 45 seconds
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Brian Windhorst: The Oracle of the NBA Offseason

The NBA offseason is underway, with several big names already tied into upcoming trades. The next step is free agency, which officially begins on Friday. Bradley Beal, Chris Paul, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart and James Harden are all in the news, as are the annual “will Damian Lillard leave Portland” questions. So today, Brian Windhorst unpacks the moves we’ve already seen, and breaks out his crystal ball to take a look at what’s to come, once free agency officially begins. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/27/202331 minutes, 56 seconds
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Trinity Rodman Owns Her Last Name (ENCORE)

The US Women's National Team opens training camp today in preparation for next month’s World Cup hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The goal for team USA? Nothing less than a three-peat. The roster returns some of the biggest names in soccer…like Megan Rapinoe, Julie Ertz, and Alex Morgan…but also features 14 players making their World Cup debuts. So today ESPN reporter Charlotte Gibson tells the story of one of those new faces, 21-year-old Trinity Rodman. Trinity is the daughter of basketball hall of famer Dennis Rodman, but her quest to attach a new legacy to her famous last name is all her own. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/26/202339 minutes, 13 seconds
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Before Victor Wembanyama, there was Frederic Weis

Frederic Weis was supposed to be Victor Wembanyama before Victor Wembanyama. The 7’2 Frenchman was drafted by the Knicks in the first round of the 1999 NBA Draft, and was thought to be the next great European star to crossover to the States. But one year later, in the Olympics, Weis would be on the receiving end of one of the most memorable dunks ever, when Vince Carter literally dunked over him. The narrative around Weis began to shift – suddenly he was too soft for the NBA, and he would never actually play in an NBA game. But that narrative never reflected the full truth. Now, 23 years later – as the arrival of Wembanyama is celebrated – Sam Borden gives us the story of the rise and fall and rise again, of Frederic Weis… and how, after so many years, and a great deal of pain, basketball has proved to be Frederic Weis’s salvation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/23/202342 minutes, 57 seconds
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The Thompson Twins Are Ready to Introduce Themselves to the NBA (ENCORE)

The way NBA prospects get to the league looks nothing like it used to. We’ve been importing future MVPs from overseas for years now: that’s the story of Victor Wembanyama, tonight’s projected No. 1 pick. And we’ve watched the G League become the NBA’s own minor league system. That’s the story of Scoot Henderson, projected to go either No. 2 or No. 3. But the story of Amen and Ausar Thompson — who could maybe round out the top five in tonight’s NBA Draft — is something very different. Israel Gutierrez explains the rise of Overtime Elite: a viral video account that’s become a league unto itself, where the Thompson twins have taken up residence, and where they’re getting everyone to click. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/22/202337 minutes
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A Crash Course on Tight End University

Class is officially in session at Tight End University. Think of an offseason trade event, featuring the best tight ends in the NFL. It’s happening right now in Nashville for the third year in a row, and it’s the brainchild of San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle. So today, NFL reporter Turron Davenport gives us a crash course on his experience at TEU…and breaks down how the position is changing the league. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/21/202321 minutes, 32 seconds
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How Victor Wembanyama Became the Next Generational NBA Prospect (ENCORE)

He’s the most talked about NBA prospect since LeBron James, but Victor Wembanyama is unlike any basketball player we’ve seen before. The 7’5 Frenchman is just 19 years old, and dazzles fans and scouts alike with his dynamic movement and impressive eight-foot wingspan. But until now, we hadn’t heard much from Wembanyama himself. Jonathan Givony sat down with Wembanyama for an hour in Paris to talk to him about his life in basketball so far and his upcoming NBA career – and today, he shares his story with us. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/20/202328 minutes, 4 seconds
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The Orangeburg Massacre: A Forgotten Story of a Team and Tragedy (ENCORE)

Over 55 years ago, one of the most horrible tragedies of the civil rights movement took place in Orangeburg, South Carolina when police opened fire on a group of Black protesters outside of a bowling alley. The protesters had gathered to push for the desegregation of All-Star Bowling Lane, and when all was said and done 31 people had been shot, most of them students at nearby South Carolina State University. Three men lay dead, two members of the South Carolina State football team and a high school athlete. Andscape Senior Writer, David Dennis Jr., author of THE MOVEMENT MADE US: A FATHER, A SON, AND THE LEGACY OF A FREEDOM RIDE, tells the story of this underreported massacre. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/19/202326 minutes, 23 seconds
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Father’s Day, Sports, and Family Connection: A Conversation with Luke Russert

For much of his life, Luke Russert felt he was growing up in the shadow of his late father, political journalist and moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press” Tim Russert - who was a huge Buffalo Bills fan. After pursuing journalism himself, Luke decided to confront the pain of his loss and go on a journey of self discovery, which he wrote about in his new book, Look For Me There: Grieving My Father, Finding Myself. Through his travels around the world, he saw signs of his father, at places like a baseball stadium in Hiroshima, and at the Western Wall, where Luke happened to purchase a Buffalo Bills yarmulke. So today, Luke Russert joins senior writer Xuan Thai to talk about life, loss, and the powerful connection sports creates between children and parents…and what it would mean for the Bills to finally win a Super Bowl. Then, hear a parting shot on Father’s Day and baseball from Jeremy Schaap. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/16/202330 minutes, 17 seconds
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NBA Draft Preview: Who Goes After Wembanyama?

Jonathan Givony has been covering the NBA Draft for twenty years. And so he breaks out his notebook to review his draft notes on one Nikola Jokic, maybe the biggest steal in draft history. He also provides an update on Victor Wembanyama’s all but certain path to joining the Spurs. And then he takes us through the rest of the draft. Who will go second between Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson? Will anyone trade up to find their next guy? And who are the sleepers outside of the lottery and into the second round? Givony breaks down everything…and everyone…you need to know in this year’s draft class. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/15/202329 minutes, 11 seconds
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How the Shocking PGA Tour-LIV Golf Deal Went Down

With hindsight being 20/20, there appear to be a few things PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan would like to take a mulligan on. And towards the top of this list would be using the word “merger” to describe this new alliance between three crucial parties: the PGA Tour itself, Europe’s DP World Tour, and the Saudi Public Investment Fund. It was just one of many confusing developments that shook the Tour and the world of golf this past week.  So today, Mark Schlabach is here to share what he has learned about how this deal came together in the first place, why so many people are so angry about it, and whether it can withstand the many headwinds and scrutiny it now faces. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/14/202336 minutes, 34 seconds
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The Freedom Within: How Jordan McNair’s Family Found Power in Forgiveness

When Jordan McNair died five years ago today, the headlines and airwaves were dominated by outpourings of anger and desperate search for answers. McNair was a football player at the University of Maryland and collapsed during the first day of summer workouts. The trainers originally thought he was suffering from cramps, but it turned out to be something much more severe. Today, John Barr tells us the story of what happened next, and how a grieving family discovered the power of forgiveness. You can watch the Outside the Lines special, “The Freedom Within,” here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/13/202331 minutes, 36 seconds
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Can Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets Strike NBA Championship Gold?

It’s been 47 years since the Denver Nuggets first joined the NBA, and In that time…things haven’t always panned out. But now, the Nuggets are the verge of finally striking gold, and claiming their first NBA Championship in franchise history. So, today, with a potentially decisive Game 5 tonight, Nuggets reporter Ohm Youngmisuk tells us how Nikola Jokic has Denver positioned to ascend the NBA summit…and how the Nuggets became the most quietly dominant team in the NBA. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/12/202326 minutes, 20 seconds
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From Disney Movie to NHL Team: How “The Mighty Ducks” Was Hatched

The sports underdog film is a hallowed, often sacred genre. When done right, underdog stories like Rocky and The Bad News Bears can become cultural touchstones. And there’s one film released in 1992 that fits the bill perfectly: The Mighty Ducks. Ever since the team came quacking onto the scene, they’ve captured the hearts of a certain generation of sports and movie fans alike. Now, they’re the subject of the new E:60 duck-umentary “Once Upon a Time in Anaheim.” So today, we bring you a sneak beak: screenwriter Steven Brill tells us what it was like to write a movie that eventually inspired a real NHL team…which ruffled a few feathers when Disney announced the team would be named the Mighty Ducks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/9/202327 minutes, 55 seconds
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“My Blood and his Blood are the Same.” A Coach, a Player, and a Life Saving Bond

It’s been nearly 70 years since Wake Forest last won the College World Series. They’ve only made the trip to Omaha twice, ever. But now, the Demon Deacons are the top-ranked team in the country, with that elusive trip to Omaha now in sight. Much of the credit will rightfully go to the leadership of head coach Tom Walter. Yet beyond whatever Walter and his team are able to accomplish this month, his legacy in Winston-Salem – and as a coach – is forever sealed by something he did more than a decade ago. It’s a story about the bond between a coach and a player, but unlike any you’ve heard before. So today, on the eve of college baseball’s super regionals, Ryan McGee explains how Tom Walter came to share the gift of life when a player he barely knew needed it the most. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/8/202334 minutes, 11 seconds
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How Jimmy Butler Became Jimmy Buckets

Jimmy Butler’s been underestimated for most of his basketball life. Every step of the way, Butler has been forced to prove he belonged. But now, as the six-time NBA All Star Butler leads the Heat against the Nuggets in Game 3 of the NBA Finals tonight, it’s easy to miss how it all started. So today Ryan Hockensmith takes us back to Butler’s college days to pinpoint the moment when Jimmy Butler became Jimmy Buckets. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/7/202330 minutes, 8 seconds
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Where Will DeAndre Hopkins Land? Bill Barnwell’s Offseason Report

June is one of the busiest months on the sports calendar. The NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup Final, and the Major League Baseball season are all going full tilt. But as you know, the NFL never sleeps. OTA’s are winding down. Training camp is on the horizon. And one of the best receivers in the league is now a free agent after the Arizona Cardinals released DeAndre Hopkins. So with everything going on, Bill Barnwell catches Jeremy Schaap up on everything to know about the league that has no offseason. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/6/202330 minutes, 42 seconds
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How Oklahoma Softball Became the Most Dominant Team in College Sports

When you think about dynasties in the 21st century, you might think of the New England Patriots, or Los Angeles Lakers, or the UConn women’s basketball team. But there’s another dynasty that you might be overlooking… one that just might be more dominant than all of them: the Oklahoma Sooners softball team. They’ve won 96% of their games since 2020, including a historic winning streak of 50 games (and counting). The Sooners have also won five national championships since 2013, and are three victories away from completing a three-peat in college softball for the first time in 23 years. So today, Hallie Grossman breaks down what makes this team so dominant, and explains how they got there. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/5/202324 minutes, 49 seconds
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“Baseball is who I am.” The Unforgettable Story of Sarah Langs

Today is Lou Gehrig Day across Major League Baseball, a day to honor the New York Yankees legend when he left the game in 1939 after he was diagnosed with ALS. And today, there’s someone else in baseball who is fighting the exact same fight Gehrig fought over 80 years ago: Sarah Langs. Sarah is a baseball researcher and analyst, and has worked for ESPN and MLB. She’s one of sports media’s brightest young voices, and Buster Olney joins us today to share her story…and how she remains unphased after life threw her a devastating curveball. For more information on Sarah’s “Fist Bumps for ALS” campaign, click here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/2/202335 minutes, 56 seconds
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Nikola Jokic: From Dad Bod God to NBA MVP

The NBA Finals begin tonight, with the Denver Nuggets on the league’s biggest stage for the first time ever. They are led by Nikola Jokic, the two-time MVP who has built a case to be called the greatest player in the world. So today, with his team hosting the Miami Heat in game one, Ramona Shelburne explains how the always humble Jokic evolved from a pudgy, soda-chugging teenager in Serbia to the playmaking center that’s changing the game as we know it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
6/1/202329 minutes, 17 seconds
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Will Florida or Vegas Win Their First Stanley Cup?

After an NHL season where we thought we’d see some of the blue bloods of hockey finally return to championship glory, the Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights had other plans. The Golden Knights are back in the Stanley Cup Final for their second appearance in only six years of existence, while the Panthers snuck into the playoffs as the eighth seed and upset both the Bruins and Maple Leafs on their way to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1996. It’s a testament to how much the NHL has grown over the years…and today, Emily Kaplan gives us a preview of the Stanley Cup Final, and tells us what to expect as both teams close in on their pursuit of history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/31/202327 minutes, 16 seconds
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The Time Michael Jordan Helped a Guy Win $1 Million (ENCORE)

It was 30 years ago that a nearly impossible, yet unforgettable shot was made at the Chicago Stadium. On that evening, a 23-year old office supplies salesman named Don Calhoun participated in the million dollar shot contest, in which he had to make a ¾ court shot to win one million dollars. With less than a 1% chance, Don’s shot sailed right into the net, and the entire arena, including Michael Jordan, went crazy. But, shortly after this incredible scene, rumors began to circulate that Don might not receive the prize money, because of some contest fineprint. Ryan Hockensmith tells guest host Emily Kaplan the story of how an unimaginable shot ultimately needed an assist from Air Jordan himself….and how that gesture forever changed the lives of one Chicago man and his family. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/30/202331 minutes, 49 seconds
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Battlefields to Ballfields: How Veterans are Helping Solve the Sports Officiating Crisis (ENCORE)

There may be no more thankless job than referee. At best, your existence is completely invisible. No one notices when you do a terrific job. At worst, you become enemy #1 for fans or coaches or in lower levels, angry parents. Combine that with low pay and high pressure, and it's no wonder why officiating is undergoing a crisis at the moment. Not enough people are willing to do the job…a job without which, the games quite literally can not go on. But, today, on Memorial Day, we revisit the story of a solution. And it’ll make you think differently about what this job actually is. And the people who really would love to do it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/29/202329 minutes, 38 seconds
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Robot Umpires are Here. But do they Make Baseball Better?

If you’re a baseball fan, odds are you’ve probably been upset at the umpires calling your favorite team’s game on more than one occasion. That fraction of an inch between a ball and a strike is a skill that almost nobody can do at the level of a Major League umpire, and even they get it wrong sometimes. But now, those calls can be handled by the Automatic Ball-Strike System, or to put it more simply… robot umps. But as the league begins to embrace automation, we find ourselves asking: is this all really worth it? Jeff Passan has seen ABS in action in the minor leagues this season, and he explains why this shift is about more than just balls and strikes…and if human error in baseball might not be the bug we think it is after all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/26/202334 minutes, 17 seconds
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How USC is Preparing for the Bronny James Experience

LeBron James won’t be the only show on the Hollywood hardwood this fall, assuming of course that he doesn’t retire. Because his son, Bronny James, and his seven-plus million social media followers, will be suiting up just down the road from the Lakers home court, for the USC Trojans. So today, Myron Medcalf tracks Bronny’s journey from high school at Sierra Canyon, through a unique recruiting window. And he explains why USC is perfectly positioned to welcome in the Bronny James experience. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/25/202329 minutes, 1 second
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How the Oakland A’s Stole the Plot of ‘Major League’

In the nearly 150-year history of professional sports in America, very few teams – if any – have used the threat of relocation quite like the Athletics. The baseball club began in 1901 in Philadelphia before moving to Kansas City in 1955, and eventually settled in its present home of Oakland in 1968. But, as Slate writer Stefan Fatsis recently noted, throughout its lifetime, the A’s franchise has planned – or threatened – to move an additional 19 times. So today, as the team explores yet another possible move, this time to Las Vegas, Tim Keown documents the latest chapter in the A’s nomadic history...and how the fans in Oakland are responding. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/24/202328 minutes, 43 seconds
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Heat Culture by the Numbers

The Miami Heat are one win away from being the second team in NBA history to reach the NBA Finals as an 8th seed. It’s one of the most remarkable postseason runs we have ever seen, particularly because Miami lost their first play-in game and barely survived the second game to stumble into the playoffs. So how were they seemingly able to flip the switch like this? The answer is simple: Heat Culture. It’s a mentality, a mantra, call it what you will… but it’s real. And there are numbers that back it up. So today, Kirk Goldsberry dives into the analytics and proves the scientific existence of Heat Culture. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/23/202326 minutes, 45 seconds
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The Rat Trick: The Legend of the Florida Panthers’ Rodent Tradition (ENCORE)

After stealing the first two games of the Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Florida Panthers return home tonight for Game 3. The Panthers have a real shot at closing out one of the title favorites, and returning to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in almost 30 years. And we’re reminded of one of the most unusual traditions in all of sports, one that originated in that first Stanley Cup run so many years ago: throwing rats onto the ice. It’s a hair-raising tradition that dates back to the ‘95-’96 season, when a Cinderella-esque Panthers team made the Stanley Cup Final in just their third year of existence. Emily Kaplan explains how the Panthers’ rat throwing tradition started, if it may or may not have contributed to the team’s long misfortunes…and the ways in which this generation’s Panthers are trying to write their own tale. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/22/202337 minutes, 2 seconds
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The WNBA Enters the Superteam Era

The WNBA is no longer asking nicely for your attention, they’re demanding it as we enter the league’s superteam era. It’s impossible to ignore the New York Liberty, who built a star-studded roster featuring Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones, and Courtney Vandersloot. And don’t forget about the reigning champions, the Las Vegas Aces…who added none other than Candace Parker to their locker room. Oh, and Britney Griner is back too, making her return to the W tonight in Los Angeles as her Phoenix Mercury visit the Sparks. And of course, the serious stuff…as no league is immune to scandal. So ahead of tip-off tonight, LaChina Robinson takes us through all of this season’s can’t miss storylines…and what it means for the future of the women’s game. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/19/202332 minutes, 33 seconds
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Why Nick Saban’s NIL Rant Wasn’t Actually About Jimbo Fisher

The college football universe was set on fire last May when Alabama head coach Nick Saban accused Texas A&M of “buying all their players.” Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher, once a Saban assistant, took offense to his former boss’ comments and responded with a fiery rant during a press conference. This war of words dominated college football headlines for the majority of the offseason, and even now, with tempers cooled, the question remains: Why did Nick Saban make those comments?  So today, Alex Scarborough breaks down the bad blood, and describes a motivation unfamiliar to the many of the Crimson Tide’s coaches, players, fans, and boosters––fear. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/18/202328 minutes, 29 seconds
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Heat vs. Celtics: A Playoff Trilogy Unlike Any Other

The Boston Celtics have looked like one of the best teams in the NBA all season, and they’re just one series win away from having a shot at proving it. But first, they’ll need to get past the Miami Heat, who have been playing out of their minds all postseason thanks to some legendary performances from Jimmy Butler. The Heat snuck into the playoffs as the 8th seed, and promptly stunned the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in just five games. They followed that up with a six-game dismantling of the New York Knicks to secure a rubber match with the Celtics, with Miami winning the first ECF meeting in the bubble in 2020 and the Celtics advancing in 2022. Can Miami prevail once again? Or does Boston have too much to prove? Tim Bontemps helps us find that out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/17/202326 minutes, 18 seconds
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Can LeBron and the Lakers Topple the Nuggets?

LeBron James and the Lakers are one step away from the NBA Finals…but back in October, that possibility seemed almost completely out of reach. The team started out the season just 2-10 and faced an upward climb back to the top of the west, with a 0.3% of even making the playoffs. But thanks to a complete roster overhaul at the trade deadline, the Lakers find themselves in a familiar position: In the Western Conference Finals against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. So today, Ramona Shelburne explains just how impressive the Lake Show’s turnaround has been, and what the Denver Nuggets have to do to trigger an avalanche to come tumbling down on LA. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/16/202329 minutes, 22 seconds
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How Victor Wembanyama Became the Next Generational NBA Prospect

He’s the most talked about NBA prospect since LeBron James, but Victor Wembanyama is unlike any basketball player we’ve seen before. The 7’5 Frenchman is just 19 years old, and dazzles fans and scouts alike with his dynamic movement and impressive eight-foot wingspan. But until now, we hadn’t heard much from Wembanyama himself. Ahead of tomorrow’s NBA draft lottery, Jonathan Givony sat down with Wembanyama for an hour in Paris to talk to him about his life in basketball so far and his upcoming NBA career – and today, he shares his story with us. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/15/202330 minutes, 13 seconds
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A Local Rink, a Stanley Cup Champion, and a Lifesaving Choice

Ryan O’Reilly, center for the Toronto Maple Leafs, has become a hero on the ice for hockey fans across the league. But his mother, Bonnie O’Reilly, became a hero in her own right when she made a choice that ultimately ended up saving the life of a beloved member of their community. When Seaforth, Ontario rink manager Graham Nesbitt was diagnosed with a kidney disorder called Berger’s Disease, Bonnie O’Reilly immediately put herself on the list to be a donor, connecting both of their lives forever. In honor of Mother’s Day, Mike Farrell takes us inside his latest E:60 feature “Little Choices,” and shares a story of selflessness and sports. You can watch “Little Choices” on Sunday, May 14 at 12 P.M. ET on ESPN and ESPN Plus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/12/202335 minutes, 6 seconds
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How the NFL Schedule Release Has Turned Into the League’s Met Gala

The 2023 NFL Schedule is set to release tonight, and we are once again reminded just how much people love football more than any other sport in the United States. Although the only new parts unveiled tonight are the time slots and dates of each game for every team, it’s the manner in which the 32 schedules are released that makes fans go into a frenzy. The social media and marketing departments of every NFL team will be competing tonight to see who can post the craziest, wittiest, and most viral content…so it’s basically like the Met Gala for the NFL. Field Yates drops by to give us a preview of tonight’s schedule release, and the spectacle it has become. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/11/202326 minutes, 10 seconds
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Steph vs. LeBron: the Final Chapter in this G.O.A.T. Rivalry?

The second round playoff series between the Lakers and the Warriors has delivered no shortage of storylines, but for many NBA fans, there’s only one that matters: LeBron James vs Steph Curry. Two of the greatest players of all time, who have faced each other four times in the NBA Finals, are battling once again….this time in the Western Conference Semifinals. This time however, their roles are almost juxtaposed: LeBron finally has a supporting cast that doesn’t require him to do the heavy lifting every game, while Steph has had to do everything to keep Golden State’s head above water in this series as they now face elimination. With Game 5 looming, the biggest question is can Golden State still make a comeback, or will the Lakers be the ones advancing to the Conference Finals? So today, Ramona Shelburne joins the show to recap the biggest moments from the series so far… and prepare us for what’s to come. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/10/202329 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Transfer Portal, Explained

If you are a college sports fan, odds are you’ve heard the words “transfer portal” way too many times recently … and that’s not a coincidence. Athletes are entering the transfer portal at higher rates now than ever before. For example, At least 71 football players from the University of Colorado have entered the portal since last August, and 61 have entered since Deion Sanders was named head coach of the Buffs in December. But football isn’t the only sport that’s seeing a large number of players using the portal. Maryland transfer Angel Reese recently led the LSU Women’s Basketball team to a national title, and since then, former Louisville star Haley Van Lith and DePaul standout Aneesah Morrow have also joined the Tigers. With so many players taking advantage of the transfer portal now, it is clear to see that the landscape of college sports has seismically changed. So today, Tom VanHaaren joins the show to tell us all about the transfer portal…and why it’s changing the game in college sports. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/9/202328 minutes, 45 seconds
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Why Connor Bedard is Hockey’s Next Big Thing

In hockey, there’s only one player who’s known as “The Great One:” Wayne Gretzky. But in the decades since #99 hung up his skates…there’s been a whole bunch of “Next Ones.” Alex Ovechkin is “The Great 8,” Sidney Crosby was “The Next One,” Connor McDavid is sometimes called “The Next Sidney Crosby.” And for 2023’s projected first overall pick…17 year old Connor Bedard, the pressure is on to follow in that legacy. So today, as the NHL prepares for the draft lottery, Emily Kaplan tells us a little more about hockey’s next “Next Big Thing”...and whether he can live up to the hype as the game’s latest “can’t miss kid.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/8/202327 minutes, 19 seconds
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The Unlikely Friendship that Changed Kevin Durant Forever

In June of 2005, 18-year-old Kevin Durant attended an all-star basketball camp for high schoolers that consisted of mostly juniors and seniors. During his stay at camp, he roomed with another young high schooler from Japan, named Taishi Ito, who had come to the United States to play basketball. The two were total opposites: Durant was 6’9 and full of hype, while Ito was 6’0 and was hoping to secure a D1 scholarship. The two became inseparable, as their friendship continued into their senior year of high school, and created a bond that would carry on well into their adult lives. So today, Ryan Hockensmith joins the show to tell us the story of how this unlikely friendship became one of the most important relationships in Kevin’s life. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/5/202331 minutes, 2 seconds
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Canelo Alvarez: Why Boxing’s Biggest Star is Finally Returning Home

Canelo Alvarez’s fight against John Ryder this weekend might be the biggest fight of his career, but it could be the most meaningful. For the first time in 12 years, the face of boxing gets to fight in his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico in front of all of his family and friends. The fight is set to take place at Akron Stadium in Jalisco, and up to 50,000 people are expected to fill the seats to watch their hometown hero defend his undisputed super middleweight title. So today, Mike Coppinger joins the show to tell us about his experience traveling to Guadalajara with Canelo, and why it is so special for him to fight in his hometown once again. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/4/202327 minutes, 10 seconds
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Damar Hamlin, Commotio Cordis, and a Life Saving Long Island Mom

When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed, seemingly lifeless, on Monday Night Football in January: the world stood still. But somewhere on Long Island, New York, one mother watched everything unfold knowingly, fully aware of what had happened to Hamlin. Because the cause of Hamlin’s collapse was the same condition – Commotio Cordis – that had taken her son’s life 23 years earlier. So today, Tisha Thompson shares the story of a decades-long mission that grew from that loss, which has saved hundreds of lives, including Damar Hamlin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/3/202333 minutes, 14 seconds
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Blood in the Garden 2.0: Knicks, Heat Rivalry Renewed

Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but the New York Knicks and Miami Heat are facing off in the NBA Playoffs. That phrase alone brings back memories of the 1990s, when the two teams engaged in one of the most intense rivalries in NBA history. While the conflict lacked the ultimate glory of championships, it was always filled to the brim with bad blood, betrayals, fisticuffs, animosity, and the occasional head coach hanging onto the leg of a star player. So today, ahead of Game 2, Chris Herring, author of Blood in the Garden: The Flagrant History of the 1990s New York Knicks, explains the feud between these two franchises, and how this series is bringing the 90’s back into today’s NBA Playoffs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/2/202330 minutes, 5 seconds
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Bill Barnwell’s NFL Draft Winners and Losers

The pinnacle of the NFL offseason has come and gone with the NFL Draft, and this year’s edition was more…unusual…than others to say the least. We saw surprising trades, running backs and inside linebackers taken in the first round - the Detroit Lions took both - leaving analytics-minded people discombobulated. So with the Draft officially in the rearview mirror and the start of the season on the distant horizon, Bill Barnwell gives guest host Myron Medcalf his reactions…and tries to make sense of a weekend unlike any the NFL has seen in a few years. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
5/1/202329 minutes, 52 seconds
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The Game Inside the Game: How NBA Players Work the Refs

NBA officials are human beings (at least for now)...and they are emotional beings, just like the NBA players they share the court with. So it’s no surprise when you see tempers flare in the heat of the moment between the two parties. And despite the contentious interactions we sometimes see on the court, players and officials often do end up forming relationships. And like any relationship, there are ups and downs. So today, Tim Macmahon takes us inside the game within the game, as NBA players try to win over the referees…and whether or not it actually works. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/28/202327 minutes, 39 seconds
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“All Hell Broke Loose.” Why Vikings Missed Their Draft Pick in 2003

Before all eyes shift to the center of the NFL universe in Kansas City for the Draft tonight — where the Carolina Panthers will be on the clock with the first overall pick — we turn the clock back 20 years. The Minnesota Vikings had the 7th overall pick, and had just sealed a trade to send the pick to Baltimore…or so they thought. As time was ticking down, they began to notice that the ESPN broadcast logo hadn’t changed, and their name was still shown on the screen instead of the Ravens. That’s when they figured out that the trade was never executed by the NFL, and with their time expired on the clock the Vikings ultimately ended up missing their pick in the draft…resulting in a moment that went down as one of the wildest scenes in NFL Draft history. So today, as we gear up to watch yet another draft go down in the books, Kevin Seifert tells us the wild story of the time when things didn’t quite go according to the NFL’s plan in the 2003 draft. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/27/202329 minutes, 42 seconds
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Aaron Rodgers Traded: Reaction from Green Bay to Broadway

Aaron Rodgers is officially a New York Jet. Over a month after announcing his intention to play in New York, the 39-year-old future Hall of Fame QB is leaving small town Green Bay for the bright lights of the Big Apple. The Jets are looking for Aaron Rodgers to solve their historic quarterback issues, and help them make a push in a crowded AFC East. Meanwhile in Green Bay, fans are left wondering how or if their team will recover from losing their starting signal caller of the past 15 years. So today, it’s a tale of two cities: Jets reporter Rich Cimini lets us know what we can expect to see from New York this upcoming season, then Rob Demovsky tells us how Green Bay is handling the loss of their star quarterback. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/26/202334 minutes, 38 seconds
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Is Bryce Young Big Enough to be an Elite NFL QB?

The 2023 NFL Draft is Thursday night, and all signs point to Alabama QB Bryce Young going to the Panthers as the No. 1 pick. Young has dazzled in his time at Tuscaloosa. Taking home the Heisman Trophy and building a college football Hall of Fame worthy resume as well. But it’s his size not his accolades that make him unique in this year’s draft. He stands at 5-foot-10 and just under 200 pounds, making him one of the shortest and lightest QBs potentially going at the top of the draft in decades. So today, Pete Thamel joins us to break down whether or not Young can measure up to the job in front of him. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/25/202323 minutes, 24 seconds
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Mina Kimes’ NFL Draft Preview

Although Kansas City Chiefs fans are still basking in the glow of their team’s Super Bowl victory, the rest of the National Football League and its fans have begun to focus on the new season that starts this Thursday…at the 2023 NFL Draft. And this year’s draft feels as unpredictable as any in recent memory. Before she heads to KC, Mina Kimes answers all of our most pressing draft questions: like how many quarterbacks we should expect to see taken in the first round, who’s rising up the draft boards, and whether a last minute blockbuster trade could change everything. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/24/202334 minutes, 47 seconds
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Can Psychedelics Help Heal Athletes’ Bodies and Minds?

We can all see the physical toll that athletes take upon their bodies. What we might not be as aware of, is the mental and emotional stress that many of them are subject to as well. Especially after retiring. So how do these athletes find ways to manage that sort of trauma? In some cases, the unlikely answer is psychedelics. One underground community of athletes journeyed to Jamaica on a retreat to take psilocybin aka “magic mushrooms,” to help them heal, and rediscover themselves. A journey to let go of the pain. So today, Kevin Van Valkenburg takes us inside a seldom glimpsed world…to shed some light on an unusual, but intriguing healing practice. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/21/202334 minutes, 27 seconds
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Can Bijan Robinson Make Running Backs Great Again?

Bijan Robinson is one of the best running back prospects to enter the NFL draft in recent memory, but it’s looking like he won’t be drafted as such. That’s because the value of the running back has changed in today’s NFL due to a short shelf life at the position, the rise of the passing games, and teams finding better value in the later rounds for what was once one of the NFL’s premier positions. But Bijan hopes to change all of that. So today, Hallie Grossman shares his story, and tells us how the only flaw in his game is that he may have been born in the wrong generation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/20/202326 minutes, 8 seconds
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Is Dillon Brooks the Next Lebron James Agitator?

Game two between the Lakers and Grizzlies is going down tonight, and this matchup proves we have something the NBA has been lacking for many years: genuine bad blood. Memphis is a team that has not only made an enemy out of Los Angeles, but the league as a whole. And Grizzlies guard, Dillon Brooks? For this series, he’s set his sights on one thing: becoming the next player in a long history of players to master the art of antagonizing Lebron James. So today, Brian Windhorst joins guest host Jorge Sedano to give the historical accounting of players who were proud to be “LeBron James agitators,” and he tells us whether Dillon Brooks has what it takes to get under King James’s skin…and turn this series around. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/19/202328 minutes, 53 seconds
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Life After LeBron James: A New Era in Cleveland

You could be forgiven for not recognizing the Cleveland Cavaliers team that you watched lose in game one to the New York Knicks 101-97. The Cavs haven’t made a postseason visit since Lebron James made his exit back in 2018, but enter Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell has coaches and fans of the Cavaliers hoping that his leadership combined with the young talent in place, can push Cleveland deep into the playoffs. So today, Nick Friedell joins the show to tell us how this team came together, what they need to do to succeed, and how much of the Donovan Mitchell gamble is on the line this postseason. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/18/202329 minutes, 59 seconds
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P.K. Subban’s Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview

The Stanley Cup playoffs are the most thrilling, unpredictable, and tense two month tournament in all of sports: and it all starts tonight. With a historically great Boston Bruins steamrolling the league, scoring leader Connor McDavid’s Edmonton Oilers still chasing his first championship with the team, and the perpetually disappointing Toronto Maple Leafs attempting to make it out of the first round since 2004, the road to hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup is as difficult as ever. So today, Norris Trophy winner and three time NHL All-Star turned ESPN hockey analyst P.K. Subban joins Emily Kaplan to get us hyped for the postseason, ahead of puck drop.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/17/202332 minutes, 32 seconds
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Running for Martin: 10 Years Later, One Boy’s Legacy

Tomorrow marks ten years since the Boston Marathon Bombing…a day that changed the city, and its iconic race, forever. Three people were killed in the blasts that day, including eight-year old Martin Richard. In the days and weeks following the attack, Martin Richard, as much as anyone, became the face of the victims. A photo of him, holding a sign reading “No More Hurting People. Peace.” became an instantly iconic symbol of all that was lost on that tragic day. Now, ten years later, Martin Richard’s friends and family are running the marathon in his honor. Chris Connelly joins guest host Emily Kaplan to tell the story of the little boy whose memory lives on in the hearts of so many who will be running for him on marathon Monday. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/14/202331 minutes, 3 seconds
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The Pitch Clock Ticks On: Jeff Passan on MLB’s New Era

We’re barely two weeks into the MLB season and things are already looking…unusual. In addition to the slew of game-changing rules introduced this year, we’re already seeing some other surprises on the diamond. For example, the team currently leading the NL West is NOT the Dodgers, or the Padres, but rather the Arizona Diamondbacks. The young Baltimore Orioles are shaping up to be one of the more fun teams to watch, and the Tampa Bay Rays are doing things that haven’t been done since the ‘80s…the 1880s! So today, Jeff Passan joins the show to give us his assessment on the state of baseball at this moment, and determine how the new rules will affect the future of the league. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/13/202331 minutes, 5 seconds
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The Time Michael Jordan Helped a Guy Win $1 Million

It was 30 years ago this week that a nearly impossible, yet unforgettable shot was made at the Chicago Stadium. On that evening, a 23-year old office supplies salesman named Don Calhoun participated in the million dollar shot contest, in which he had to make a ¾ court shot to win one million dollars. With less than a 1% chance, Don’s shot sailed right into the net, and the entire arena, including Michael Jordan, went crazy. But, shortly after this incredible scene, rumors began to circulate that Don might not receive the prize money, because of some contest fineprint. Ryan Hockensmith tells guest host Emily Kaplan the story of how an unimaginable shot ultimately needed an assist from Air Jordan himself….and how that gesture forever changed the lives of one Chicago man and his family. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/12/202331 minutes, 41 seconds
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Brian Windhorst Previews the NBA Playoffs

The biggest soap opera in sports is beginning its home stretch tonight as the NBA Postseason gets going with the play-in round. From now until late June, we’ll be staring at our television screens every night watching the best teams battle for a chance at the NBA Finals. Two months of pure drama is surely on the way, and we have some coming right out of the gates with the Western Conference play-in game between the Timberwolves and the Lakers. So today, Brian Windhorst tells guest host Emily Kaplan what we can expect from the NBA playoffs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/11/202329 minutes, 34 seconds
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WNBA Draft Preview: Aliyah Boston #1…Then What?

It’s been just one week since LSU and Iowa played for the NCAA Championship in the most watched women’s college basketball game ever. But now, the attention turns almost immediately to the pro game, with tonight’s WNBA draft…and an opportunity for women’s basketball to continue its historic momentum. So today, ESPN women’s basketball reporter Alexa Philippou tells guest host Emily Kaplan what to expect from tonight’s draft and previews a WNBA season that promises to revolve around two super teams…and potentially, a historic new rivalry. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/10/202326 minutes, 4 seconds
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Is the NBA’s Load Management Problem Fixable?

As exciting as this NBA season has been…there is still a two word euphemism that the league just can’t seem to shake off: load management. In a league where fans buy tickets or tune-in specifically to see a handful of superstars, no one is happy when they spend the game on the bench. So today, Baxter Holmes tells us what he found out while researching the NBA’s biggest problem…and whether anyone has a decent solution for it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/7/202326 minutes, 55 seconds
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Ryan McGee on the Circus of Minor League Baseball

Everybody remembers their first “real” job. For ESPN’s Ryan McGee, it was working for a minor league baseball team, the Asheville Tourists, getting paid the handsome sum of $100 a week. In exchange, McGee pulled the tarp, lined the basepaths, dealt with drunk fans…and came away with a lifetime of stories that he has put into his new book “Welcome to the Circus of Baseball.” So today, with the Asheville Tourists and countless other minor league teams opening their season, McGee shares with Justin Tinsley the lessons that sports fans everywhere can take from the magic and charm of minor league baseball. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/6/202331 minutes, 46 seconds
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Does Tiger Woods have any Masters Magic Left?

The Masters is the most highly anticipated event in the golf world, and this year the pros are bringing more than just their clubs. The drama between the members of the PGA Tour and LIV Golf is still fresh, and with tensions continuing to rise, fans are left wondering what will happen when they all meet at Augusta National?  Tiger Woods will also be at the tournament. With the golf legend still recovering from his car accident, everyone is waiting to see what he will be capable of on the links. So today, Michael Collins joins the show to give us an inside look into this exciting tournament, and explain just how different the Masters will be this year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/5/202329 minutes, 6 seconds
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How College Athletes Face Social Media Abuse From Gamblers

The college basketball season has officially come to an end, and if the Men’s tournament taught us one thing this season, it’s that it is pretty much impossible to predict the results. And in a world where sports gambling is more popular than ever, for every shocking upset, or Cinderella run, there is likely a slew of bettors on the other side who are not happy about the outcome. Take the TCU-Gonzaga matchup in the 2nd round of this year’s tournament as an example: TCU’s Damion Baugh hit a half-court shot with 0.7 seconds left to cover the spread against the Bulldogs, and consequently, Baugh received a collection of threats and abuse in his Instagram DMs despite the shot having no direct result on the outcome of the game. So today, ESPN’s Sports Betting Reporter David Purdum joins Justin Tinsley to discuss the correlation between the rise of sports betting, and the increase in social media abuse directed towards college players – and if there is any way to protect student athletes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/4/202321 minutes, 36 seconds
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UConn vs. San Diego State: The Perfectly Weird Ending to a Bizarre Men’s NCAA Tournament

Congrats if you somehow saw this national championship coming. Back in October, in the preseason AP poll, the San Diego Aztecs were ranked 19th. And the UConn Huskies…they couldn’t even crack the top 25. But five months and a whole lot of tournament madness later…here we are. So today, Myron Medcalf is on the ground in Houston and tells us whether the UConn Huskies will take home their fifth National Championship…or if the Aztecs of San Diego State can stun the world, and end a tournament like no other with one last upset. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
4/3/202323 minutes, 59 seconds
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Caitlin Clark vs. Aliyah Boston: The Biggest Women’s Final Four Ever?

The Women’s Final Four games are going down tonight in Dallas. LSU is set to take on Virginia Tech first, and then Iowa tips off against South Carolina in undoubtedly the biggest matchup in college basketball this year. We’re all anxiously waiting to see if Caitlin Clark, the newly crowned National Player of the Year, can upset Aliyah Boston and the undefeated Gamecocks. With so much at stake for these four teams, Holly Rowe is here to give us a preview of tonight’s matchups and prepare us for what’s to come in the biggest Women’s March Madness ever. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/31/202329 minutes, 58 seconds
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Listen: The Tragic Murder of Lauren McCluskey

The murder of University of Utah heptathlete Lauren McCluskey by her ex-boyfriend is a cautionary tale of failure. One where every layer of protection in place meant to help a young woman who comes forward simply collapses under the weight of ignorance, complacency and incompetence. So today, after a four-year investigation, Nicole Noren joins the show to talk about everything we learned from the death of Lauren McCluskey and how easily this whole ordeal could have been prevented. “Listen”, a documentary reported by Nicole Noren and TJ Quinn is available now on ESPN+. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/30/202338 minutes, 1 second
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The Manager Games: College Basketball’s Underground March Madness Tournament

As the old saying goes, “Not all heroes wear capes”... especially not the ones in college basketball. These unsung heroes, otherwise known as student managers, are the backbone of the entire program. They clean the locker rooms, do the laundry, get practice ready, and help coaches with whatever else they need. Their passion for the game is what drives them to perform these tasks on a daily basis, and although these jobs are anything but glamorous, they do come with competitive perks. In arenas around the country, student managers compete against one another in a tournament known as the Manager Games. These games take place the night before the real D1 matchups, and these teams have the opportunity to advance all the way to the Final Four where they battle for the championship, and a chance to be recognized across their campus. So today, Jake Trotter explains to guest host Justin Tinsley the origin of an underground tournament where team managers finally get a chance at their very own One Shining Moment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/29/202324 minutes, 45 seconds
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Can LeBron and AD Lead the Lakers to a Playoff Push?

Don’t look now, but the Lakers are suddenly healthy as the NBA regular season enters its final couple of weeks. But even with Lebron and AD healthy and on the floor together for the first time since late February, they suffered an ugly defeat at home to the Bulls on Sunday. So the question remains…just who are these guys, really? Today, guest host Justin Tinsley talks to Dave McMenamin, who takes us inside Lebron’s surprise return to the court, details his conversation with AD about the big man’s battles to get back and stay on the court, and explains how the future of Lakers basketball is under evaluation…right now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/28/202337 minutes, 32 seconds
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Passan’ Time: MLB Pitch Clock Debuts + Pablo Says Goodbye

It’s about time we talk about one of the more interesting changes we’ve seen play out in sports: the introduction of the pitch clock to Major League Baseball. While the concept of a pitch clock is nothing new, its ratification has resulted in one of the biggest rule changes any major sport has ever seen. The goal is to reduce game time, which has run over three hours long since the turn of the millennium. But is this sweeping change enough to keep fans engaged with the game? Jeff Passan clocks in to talk about what we’ve seen from the pitch clock so far and its implications for the future…and Pablo says goodbye to ESPN Daily. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/27/202341 minutes, 29 seconds
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Meet Flau’jae Johnson: LSU Guard By Day, Rapper By Night

LSU’s starting guard Flau’jae Johnson is lighting up the court during this NCAA Tournament. But that’s not the only passion and skills Flau’jae possesses: she’s also a rapper and a businesswoman. The 19-year-old prodigy currently has a distribution deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, where she makes music that highlights her father’s legacy. In her free time, Flau’jae continues to build her success by navigating and negotiating her NIL deals. With her basketball and music careers continuing to soar, we can’t help but wonder….where did it all start? Maya Jones shares the story of a young girl from Savannah, Georgia whose trials and tribulations have culminated in the person Flau’jae is today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/24/202332 minutes, 6 seconds
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The University of Colorado Enters the Prime Time Era

The Deion Sanders — aka “Coach Prime” — era is underway at the University of Colorado. And with spring practice beginning, Prime Time has moved from the locker room to the field. His assignment? Revitalize a program in Boulder that has fallen into obscurity since their glory days of the 1990s. All eyes are watching to see how this is going to play out, so ESPN senior college football writer Adam Rittenberg joins the show to tell us what he saw and heard in Boulder. And what we can expect from the first season of Colorado’s Deion Sanders era.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/23/202330 minutes, 56 seconds
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Where Does Ja Morant Go From Here?

It has been a crazy three weeks for Ja Morant. The Grizzlies superstar and former second overall pick in the NBA Draft has been away from the team since March 4, the day after he was on Instagram Live waving around a gun inside a strip club. Morant stepped away to receive counseling, and the NBA later suspended him for eight games without pay for conduct detrimental to the league. That suspension ended on Monday, when he was on the Memphis bench for their win over the Dallas Mavericks. So with Morant widely expected to return to the court tonight against the Houston Rockets, Tim McMahon tells guest host David Fleming about the fallout from that night in Denver on March 3…and how Morant can move forward from the decision that put his entire career in jeopardy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/22/202329 minutes, 41 seconds
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Cheers, Boos, and Protests: Cuban Baseball Returns to Miami

Here in the United States, baseball is known as the national pastime. In Cuba, however, it’s something even bigger: baseball is part of their national identity. And there is no place where questions of Cuban identity and heritage take more center stage than Miami, the center of the Cuban diaspora in the United States. It’s been more than 60 years since the Cuban national team played a game in Miami, not since Fidel Castro rose to power in 1959…and their return brought back the complex feelings of pride, anger, and so much more within Cuban Americans. So today, Alden Gonzalez takes us inside a city, a community, and a stadium where emotions are running high…and easy answers are nowhere to be found. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/21/202335 minutes, 53 seconds
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Japan’s Roki Sasaki Is Baseball’s Next Phenomenon

The next big thing coming to America from Japan might not be a baseball unicorn like Shohei Ohtani…it might be a once-in-a-generation starting pitcher who could actually be even bigger. His name is Roki Sasaki, and while he might not be ready to make the jump to Major League Baseball yet, he’s already making waves in baseball on the world’s stage. As Sasaki takes the mound for Japan tonight against Mexico in the semi-finals of the World Baseball Classic, Jeff Passan tells us all about Sasaki's electric arm and the almost spiritual connection he has with the game of baseball…that comes in-part from an unforgettable tragedy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/20/202333 minutes, 23 seconds
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Women’s March Madness Preview with Andraya Carter

If you’ve been paying attention to women’s college basketball this year, South Carolina is the favorite, by far, to win another national championship. But maybe the field still has something to say about that. There’s Iowa, led by arguably the face of March Madness in Caitlin Clark…UConn who might just be getting healthy at the right time…and you can’t forget about powerhouse LSU, led by Alexis Morris. So as the biggest teams in the country prepare to battle for a shot at cutting down the nets. As all the stars are aligning — and preparing to shine in the largest spotlight ever for the women’s college game — Andraya Carter joins the show to give us an inside look at the bracket, from a perspective that only a former player can provide. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/17/202327 minutes, 26 seconds
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Aaron Rodgers Takes his Talents to East Rutherford, NJ

Aaron Rodgers went on the Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, putting an end to the lingering questions about his future by proclaiming, “I intend to play for the New York Jets.” The trade is all but a formality at this point, as both teams continue to negotiate and come to an agreement on compensation for the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer. And in Green Bay, they’re prepared to roll with 2020 first round pick Jordan Love — who has backed Rodgers up for the first three years of his career — as their QB of the future. But is Love ready to follow in the footsteps of Rodgers, and Brett Favre before him? ESPN’s Packers reporter Rob Demovsky has seen every moment of Rodgers’ career in Green Bay, and he takes us inside the breakup between one of the NFL’s legendary franchises…and arguably its greatest player ever. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/16/202328 minutes, 39 seconds
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Bill Barnwell’s Guide to NFL Free Agency

Not too long ago we spent our Sundays glued to the television watching our favorite teams battle for a chance at the Super Bowl. But in an NFL with seemingly no offseason, here we are already. Free agency is upon us and it is both equally chaotic and eventful. Thanks in no small part to Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, a trade at the very top of the draft, and, of course, Aaron Rodgers…who has yet to make a final decision on his future. So today, Bill Barnwell joins the show to help us understand everything going on across the league, as the 2023 league year officially starts.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/15/202333 minutes, 34 seconds
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Eight Minutes in Tuscaloosa: What Happened the Night Jamea Harris was Killed

Alabama is the top seed in the men's NCAA tournament for the first time in its history, but even as March Madness begins, a larger story, one with much more significant consequences, is impossible to ignore. Former Crimson Tide player Darius Miles and his friend Michael Davis were officially indicted by a grand jury last week on capital murder charges for the shooting of 23-year-old Jamea Harris in January. Those indictments come just days before freshman star Brandon Miller, who was at the scene of the killing, leads Alabama in its first tournament game. And while prosecutors have been clear that Miller faces no criminal charges, controversy continues to swirl around what he did on the night in question. Reporter Michael Rothstein was part of a team of journalists at ESPN who have poured over the evidence in an attempt to paint the fullest picture possible about what exactly happened the night Jamea Harris was killed. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/14/202334 minutes
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March Madness Preview with Myron Medcalf

As the calendar flips to March, there’s one sporting event that goes straight to the top of our priority list: the NCAA Basketball Tournament. And we can’t remember the last time the Big Dance seemed this unpredictable. There’s Alabama with their first No. 1 seed in program history, and then we have the traditional blue bloods like Duke, Kentucky, and Michigan State…but their seeding is a lot lower than we’re accustomed to. So today, we enlisted our friend Myron Medcalf — fresh off writing 12,000 words on Selection Sunday for ESPN.com — to prepare us for the Madness. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/13/202325 minutes, 28 seconds
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Grizzly vs Wrestlers: Or How I Learned to Never Go Shed Hunting

Last October, four teammates from the Northwest College wrestling team set out for a hike just outside Yellowstone National Park. For two of them, Brady Lowry and Kendell Cummings, the trip would bond them together for the rest of their lives, courtesy of a grizzly bear. Today, ESPN’s Ryan Hockensmith navigates this tale of survival, loyalty, friendship and redemption while we hear all the harrowing details straight from the mouths of these two brave men. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/10/202344 minutes, 19 seconds
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A Million Dollar Shot, a Viral Video, and the Story that Nobody Knew

You probably saw the video back in 2015. Then-56-year-old Scott Park, standing at half court, fires a shot to potentially win a million dollars at the ACC Tournament…only for it to barely reach the free throw line. It immediately went viral after a reporter posted the footage on Vine (remember Vine?). In true internet fashion, the negative comments piled on. But as our friend Ryan McGee found out and shares with us today, there was so much more to this story than the social media response…it’s about the limits of science, and storytelling…and ourselves. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/9/202342 minutes
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Inside Anthony Richardson’s Historic NFL Combine Performance

Going into the 2023 NFL Combine, the top two quarterbacks in this year’s draft class were presumed to be Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, but that was before Anthony Richardson arrived. The Florida QB impressed: raising eyebrows with his 40-yard dash time, and setting QB records with his vertical jump and broad jump. It’s Richardson’s stellar marks that highlight how NFL scouting is a guessing game at best. ESPN NFL reporter Stephen Holder was embedded with Richardson’s team in Indianapolis over the weekend, and he takes us behind the scenes of one of the most impressive pre-draft performances in NFL history…as the league tries to make sense of it all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/8/202331 minutes, 16 seconds
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Mountain GOAT: Mikaela Shiffrin on the Brink of Skiing History

Mikaela Shiffrin is only 27 years old, and she’s already the GOAT. Her dominance of alpine skiing is in the same category as Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and Serena Williams…and she has an opportunity to further build on her legacy this weekend by surpassing the 34-year-old record for wins currently held by Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark in his home country. It’s a far cry from where Shifrrin was a year ago, when she crashed out of the Beijing Olympics three times while still mourning her father’s death. So today, as Shiffrin chases history, Alyssa Roenigk brings us up to speed on Mikaela’s quest for greatness…and gives us a crash course in a snowy sport that’s picking up speed. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/7/202329 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Most Hated Man in Hockey (ENCORE)

Brad Marchand contains multitudes. Sure, the Boston Bruins winger could be called the most hated man in hockey…he’s served eight suspensions in his career, and he was recently fined the max amount for a “dangerous trip” on an opponent. But Marchand is also one of the top scorers in the NHL, integral to the Bruins’ league-leading offense. He’s known for cheap shots, punching opposing players, licking faces, and was once given the nickname “Little Ball of Hate” from former President Barack Obama. With the Bruins in the midst of a historic season, Greg Wyshynski tells us what Marchand can do to help his team, and explains his complicated legacy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/6/202332 minutes, 18 seconds
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“Honestly, I Thought it was Money.” Caitlin Clark has the Most Swag in College Hoops

March Madness is set to tip off just over a week from now, and among all the players who will be competing — both men and women — there is no one who loves the spotlight more than Caitlin Clark. The junior guard, sometimes referred to as the female Steph Curry, will be leading Iowa in hopes of securing pretty much the only thing missing from her legendary collegiate resume: a national title. So today, we ask one Basketball Hall of Famer – Holly Rowe – to tell us the story of this player who might just be headed in that same direction. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/3/202332 minutes, 49 seconds
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F1 Season Preview: Are Red Bull and Max Verstappen the New Dynasty?

When Liberty Media took control of Formula 1 racing in 2017, they made a bet on being able to grow the sport in the United States. F1 has always attracted an audience of hundreds of millions overseas – but now, with millions tuning into races on ESPN domestically, and millions more binging Formula 1: Drive to Survive on Netflix, all signs point to a bet that has paid off.  So today, ESPN F1 editor Laurence Edmondson joins us ahead of the 2023 season to tell us who is leading the pack, who is chasing them, and how, in the end, this sport of inches ultimately comes down to the fateful decisions of a bunch of nerdy engineers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/2/202325 minutes, 30 seconds
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Why Creed III is Personal for Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors

The Rocky franchise is one of the most quintessential sports series of all time. It spawned six sequels, and Philadelphia has embraced its fictional leading man as part of the cultural identity embedded in the city itself. And as Creed III -– the third sequel in a franchise that, itself, is a sequel — gears up for its release this weekend, its director/star Michael B. Jordan and co-star Jonathan Majors are stepping into the Hollywood spotlight. So today, Chris Connelly takes us inside the making of a sports movie that’s more personal for them than you might think. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
3/1/202335 minutes, 32 seconds
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How a Disputed $55M Loan Plays into Federal Probe of the Commanders

No NFL franchise has endured more public turmoil in recent years than the Washington Commanders and their owner Daniel Snyder. There have been allegations of sexual misconduct, a toxic workplace environment, the changing of the team’s controversial name… not to mention the federal investigation into the team’s finances. But now there are new allegations of potential fraud by Snyder in connection to how he treated his own business partners. So today, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Don Van Natta delivers his latest investigation into Snyder and the Commanders – a staggering story about a hidden loan that led to Snyder’s fellow billionaires crying foul – forcing the league, and even Roger Goodell… to step in. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/28/202338 minutes, 12 seconds
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NFL Combine Confidential with Domonique Foxworth (ENCORE)

The NFL combine: an annual spectacle that is part job interview, part gym class, and part reality TV show. It is also a critical moment in deciding the future of a new class of NFL draft prospects. An exceptionally good or bad performance in the combine will make a prospect’s draft stock rise or fall, meaning millions in potential salary is on the table. But just how useful is the combine in actually predicting a player’s NFL career? And what is it like for the players to run the gauntlet of medical evaluations, physical tests, and character evaluations? ESPN’s Domonique Foxworth went through the process in 2005. He shares all the secrets from inside the scouting combine, and why it may not be as important as we think. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/27/202329 minutes, 16 seconds
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The Orangeburg Massacre: A Forgotten Story of a Team and Tragedy

Just over 55 years ago this month, one of the most horrible tragedies of the civil rights movement took place in Orangeburg, South Carolina when police opened fire on a group of Black protesters outside of a bowling alley. The protesters had gathered to push for the desegregation of All-Star Bowling Lane, and when all was said and done 31 people had been shot, most of them students at nearby South Carolina State University. Three men lay dead, two members of the South Carolina State football team and a high school athlete. Andscape Senior Writer, David Dennis Jr., author of THE MOVEMENT MADE US: A FATHER, A SON, AND THE LEGACY OF A FREEDOM RIDE, tells the story of this underreported massacre. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/24/202325 minutes, 32 seconds
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Lamar Jackson’s Contract Stalemate, Explained

Things are just a bit messy in the NFL right now. With Patrick Mahomes giving Kenny Powers-style victory speeches and a hallucinating Aaron Rodgers trying to eat two meals a day in total darkness, you can see how things are really just…out of sorts. And as if things couldn’t get any crazier, the Ravens are now in a predicament: they are refusing to give Lamar Jackson the contract that he wants and believes he deserves. So, today, Jeremy Fowler walks us through his and ESPN colleague Jamison Hensley’s new reporting into the NFL’s premiere contract standoff. And he shines a light on what’s to come. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/23/202332 minutes, 52 seconds
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Behind the Scenes of the Kevin Durant Trade

The NBA is a study in chain reactions — many of which have been chronicled on this podcast. Like the fact that in November of 2021, our colleague Baxter Holmes published a bombshell investigation into the broken workplace culture of Robert Sarver’s Phoenix Suns. And now, 15 months later, those Suns have a new billionaire owner, Mat Ishbia…who promptly went out and apparently gave the Brooklyn Nets whatever they wanted for Kevin Durant. So we asked Brian Windhorst to take us behind the scenes, in Brooklyn and Phoenix, as the dominos very quickly started falling… And how that power dynamic also helps explain why Russell Westbrook is staying in Los Angeles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/22/202337 minutes, 4 seconds
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How Bill Russell Transformed College Basketball

Bill Russell’s life touched so many different areas that trying to figure out how to properly honor his legend is a task in itself. His name adorns the Finals MVP Award, he was the first Black head coach in NBA history, the 11 titles he won with the Boston Celtics are still the standard by which champions are measured. And his impact was just as large off the court where the civil rights activist fought for racial justice at every step of his life. Martenzie Johnson takes us inside the foundational chapter of Russell’s life, where he transformed a small program that didn’t even have a gym to practice in, into back-to-back national champions…and changed the entire sport of basketball along the way. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/21/202332 minutes, 52 seconds
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The Legend of the Red Panda: NBA Halftime’s Can’t Miss Act (ENCORE)

An NBA halftime lasts just 15 minutes. It’s a time for players to leave the court, fans to run to the bathroom or grab another beer, or, a break, for all intents and purposes. But for Rong Niu - it’s her time to shine. Rong, better known to audiences as the Red Panda, has been astounding NBA halftime audiences around the country for thirty years, with her 7-and-a-half-foot-tall unicycle, a stack of white bowls, and not much else. With the NBA All-Star this past weekend, we celebrate a star who has been at the top of her game for decades…and who we believe belongs in the Hall of Fame one day. Rong Niu, the Red Panda herself, joins the show today to tell us her story - and how she became an NBA legend. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/20/202335 minutes, 41 seconds
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Chiefsaholic: Superfan, Twitter Personality…Bank Robber?

Who is Chiefsaholic? Imagine a Chiefs superfan wearing a werewolf costume with a Chiefs cap, a KC shirt, and a red fanny pack. That’s Chiefsaholic, and in recent years he’s been a staple at Chiefs’ games both home and away, while at the same time becoming a fixture on social media for seemingly sparing no expense when it comes to proving his Chiefs devotion. But now everything Chiefs fans thought they knew about Chiefsaholic has been turned upside down, after he was arrested for robbing a bank in Tulsa, Oklahoma this December. The shocking revelation has led many to wonder, was Chiefsaholic funding his Chiefs’ fandom by robbing banks? With so many elements to this story, Liz Merrill is here to unravel this mystery which must be heard to be believed. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/17/202337 minutes, 56 seconds
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How Brittney Griner, Breanna Stewart, and the Superteam Era Are Changing the WNBA

On the surface, there is an unprecedented level of excitement surrounding the WNBA. TV viewership numbers have been trending upwards, and the league has entered the superteam era thanks to some splashy free agency signings like Breanna Stewart to the New York Liberty and Candace Parker to the Las Vegas Aces. But beneath all the hype, there are still some major issues that haven’t been addressed…such as the fact that the world’s best women’s basketball players still fly commercial, unlike the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB, who all charter private flights. And as we found out, the real issue goes much deeper. So Ramona Shelburne helps us examine the changing landscape of the WNBA, and maps out what could be the next steps in the evolution of the sport. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/16/202342 minutes, 59 seconds
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The Story Behind the Super Bowl’s Most Famous Phrase

For years, Super Bowl winners have used a four-word phrase to commemorate their iconic victory: “I’m going to Disney World!” (or alternately, “I’m going to Disneyland!”) In all its simplicity, this phrase has stretched across many generations of winners….all the way up to this past Sunday night, and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes. Sam Borden tracked down the origin of this famous sentence for SC Featured, and he explains how this “magic” phrase became an institution unto itself. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/15/202326 minutes, 4 seconds
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Love in the Time of Hockey Riots (Valentine’s Day ENCORE)

12 years ago, the Vancouver Canucks lost Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins, in Vancouver. Canucks fans didn’t exactly hide their frustrations, as a riot engulfed the city. Now, more than a decade later, arguably the most enduring image of that night was a photo of a couple, kissing on the ground, surrounded by police in riot gear. In an encore fit for Valentine’s Day…and of one of our favorite episodes…Greg Wyshynski caught up with the couple, and the photographer, and joins the show to share how that iconic image endures to this day. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/14/202334 minutes, 56 seconds
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The Kansas City Chiefs Are Super Bowl LVII Champions

The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl champions! MVP Patrick Mahomes re-injured his ankle shortly before halftime and faced limited opportunities as Philly’s time of possession kept him off the field, but that didn’t stop him from shining bright like a diamond and leading yet another Mahomesian comeback, proving that he’ll be here forever. With the game tied late (and a questionable holding call against the Eagles), Kansas City ran the clock down for the game winning field goal…and they ran this town tonight. Alex Smith was in Glendale, Arizona for the game, and he breaks down everything that led to the Chiefs hoisting the Lombardi Trophy once again. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/13/202335 minutes, 12 seconds
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Robert Griffin III on a Historic Super Bowl Matchup

When the Eagles and Chiefs meet in Super Bowl LVII it will mark the first time in league history that both of the starting quarterbacks in the game are Black. It’s a historic, and long overdue moment in a league where roughly 70 percent of the players are Black. ESPN analyst Robert Griffin III, the former No. 2 overall pick, explains why it has taken more than 50 years to see two Black QBs in the Super Bowl…what it’s like for young Black QBs who aren’t always given the same opportunities to compete at the position. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/10/202337 minutes, 53 seconds
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Super Bowls Are Won in the Trenches. Chris Long Explains How.

We’ve all heard the football adage, “games are won in the trenches.” And this year’s Philadelphia Eagles are a prime example of this mentality. Philly has dominated along the line on both sides of the ball: their defensive line has the third-most sacks in NFL history, while their vaunted offensive line has kept Jalen Hurts safe, and is led by two generational talents in Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce. All that being said, the trenches are still the part of the field that most people understand the least. What offensive and defensive linemen actually do is really hard to comprehend, especially if you have never done it. Chris Long won a Super Bowl with the Eagles in 2018, and he shines a spotlight on the d-line he played on, and the o-line he faced in practice every day…two units that could very well decide the fate of Super Bowl LVII. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/9/202337 minutes, 49 seconds
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Joe Montana: Ghost of Super Bowls Past

If Super Bowl Sunday is America’s most beloved holiday — the holiday that the greatest and most famous quarterbacks in the sport have spent their lives dreaming about winning — it does feel like Joe Montana is a bit like the ghost of Christmas past. Montana is the man Tom Brady grew up idolizing. The icon whose accolades — four championships and three Super Bowl MVPs — Patrick Mahomes is now actively trying to surpass. But, today, Wright Thompson takes us behind the scenes and inside the feelings of Joe Montana…whose present life offers an important clue about a superstar’s future. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/8/202333 minutes, 53 seconds
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Bill Barnwell Previews Super Bowl LVII

Believe it or not, there’s a lot more to Super Bowl LVII than Rihanna performing at halftime. You may have heard about a pair of brothers facing off for the first time in Super Bowl history. Or about the beef between Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who was the Eagles head coach for 14 championship-less seasons, before being fired…who’s now taking on his former team. One of Reid’s first moves after being hired as the Chiefs’ new coach the next year was to fire much of the staff…including an assistant by the name of Nick Sirianni. So Bill Barnwell joins us to break down these storylines, plus all the X’s and O’s. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/7/202341 minutes, 59 seconds
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Travis and Jason Kelce: Bond of Brothers (ENCORE)

Love him or hate him, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is one of the best in the NFL. But beyond the flamboyance and flash, there’s a side most people haven’t seen...especially when it comes to his big brother, Eagles center Jason Kelce. And Sunday, both Kelce brothers will play in Super Bowl LVII. Ahead of the Big Game (or the “Kelce Bowl” as some are calling it), we’re playing an encore of our episode with Lisa Salters, as she describes the relationship between the two brothers. In fact, Patrick Mahomes’ favorite target may never have made it to the league if not for big brother Jason’s interventions along the way.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/6/202324 minutes, 37 seconds
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Why LeBron Breaking Kareem’s Record is About Much More than Scoring

It’s only a matter of when, not if, LeBron James breaks the all-time NBA scoring record, surpassing the current mark of 38,387 points held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar… which has stood for longer than LeBron has been alive. At times, it seems as if the career paths of both LeBron and Kareem have run parallel to each other. Both were among the best high school players in history, both infamously changed teams…and both are considered to be two of the greatest players we have ever seen. Despite that, their relationship has seemed non-existent and almost adversarial at times. So with James on the cusp of breaking one of the most hallowed records in sports, one held by his most impactful critic, we turned to Brian Windhorst…who has been covering LeBron longer than anyone on the planet. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/3/202335 minutes, 16 seconds
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Florida Man Retires, Again. (Seth Wickersham on Why This Time It’s for Real)

Tom Brady is retiring...again. One year to the day after announcing his first retirement, Brady posted a video on social media announcing that he was done “for good.” Seth Wickersham has covered Brady up close for more than two decades, and he explains why this time Brady is retiring for real…and the opportunities that are already in the works for this new chapter of his life. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/2/202336 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Rat Trick: The Legend of the Florida Panthers’ Rodent Tradition (ENCORE)

The NHL All-Star Weekend hits South Florida this weekend, but there’s one notable snub. Viktor E. Rat, the hometown Florida Panthers’ alternate mascot, will not be appearing and the fans are UPSET. Because Viktor E. Rat represents more than a costume…he is the personification of one of the most unusual traditions in all of sports: throwing rats onto the ice. It’s a hair-raising tradition that dates back to the ‘95-’96 season, when a Cinderella-esque Panthers team made the Stanley Cup Final in just their third year of existence. Emily Kaplan explains how the Panthers’ rat throwing tradition started, if it may or may not have contributed to the team’s long misfortunes…and the ways in which this generation’s Panthers are trying to write their own tale. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2/1/202337 minutes, 54 seconds
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“A Huge, Huge Mistake.” Meyers Leonard Opens Up on Ignorance, Regret, and Forgiveness

It has been more than two years since Meyers Leonard last set foot on an NBA court. The former Miami Heat center had his most productive season ever in 2019-20, a season that ended with him playing for the NBA Championship in the bubble. But after a shoulder injury derailed his 2020-21 season, Leonard filled his time playing video games. And it was during one online game session in March of 2021 when Leonard would utter an antisemetic slur that would ignite a firestorm of controversy. Meyers was suspended by the Heat, before being traded to – and ultimately released by – the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jeremy Schaap sits down with Meyers Leonard, who finally opens up about his “huge, huge mistake” as well as the feelings of shame and regret he has felt since. It’s an interview that explores questions of ignorance and forgiveness…and possibly, a path back to the NBA. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/31/202344 minutes, 49 seconds
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Chiefs Survive, Eagles Soar: Alex Smith Untangles Championship Sunday

It’s Chiefs vs. Eagles in Super Bowl LVII! The Chiefs escaped with a last second win over the Bengals, thanks to some late game heroics by a hobbled Patrick Mahomes. In the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles soared past the San Francisco 49ers, who ran out of quarterbacks after losing third stringer Brock Purdy to an elbow injury, and fourth stringer Josh Johnson was placed into concussion protocol early in the second half. Alex Smith takes us inside the mindsets of the quarterbacks and helps us understand key plays, as we break down the biggest moments from Championship Sunday. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/30/202344 minutes, 11 seconds
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The Yips, Explained. (Why We Are All Brett Maher)

We are all Brett Maher…and whether you realize it or not, you are too. Every human being is at least a little bit like the Dallas Cowboys’ Kicker and NFL’s current poster boy for choking, flop-sweating, crapping the bed, whatever word you wanna use…even if you’d never admit it. Even if the person we all dream of being is Joe Burrow. So, today, David Epstein, best-selling author of THE SPORTS GENE and RANGE, takes us inside the Yips — and our own brains. Where we learn actual lessons that apply to both the very best athletes in the world, and the people who watch them. To help ensure you didn't miss any of our best stories from the past year, we've collected our favorite episodes of 2022 into one playlist. We think you’ll love every episode on there, so check it out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1/27/202338 minutes, 49 seconds
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