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American Prodigy: The Kid
34 minutes | May 11, 2021
The Last Swing
In June of 2010, hours before the Mariners hosted the Twins, a 40-year-old Ken Griffey Jr. got into his car and drove out of Seattle. He told no one that he was leaving, and told no one where he was going. Instead of a farewell tour, Junior retired from baseball driving for two straight days from Washington to Florida to return home—for good. In many ways, his retirement—both the way that it was received and the reason he chose to do it that way—is the best portrait of Griffey’s legacy, forcing us to ask the question: did we need him more than he needed us? Presented by Coors Light Brought to you by Roman: getroman.com/prodigy
40 minutes | May 4, 2021
What the F*** is a Met?
If Ken Griffey Jr. was the charismatic new face of MLB who brought tons of new fans to the sport, why has baseball's popularity continued to decline over the last two decades? And, why has the number of Black ballplayers declined, too? Was The Kid baseball's last black superstar? For a sport that’s always been known as America’s pastime, baseball can’t seem to stay in touch with America. Presented by Coors Light Brought to you by Roman: getroman.com/prodigy
37 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
Do Your Thing
In 1999, Griffey was in the prime of his career with the Mariners. Yet, instead of playing out his last season, he turned down an extension, requested a trade, and was shipped to the Cincinnati Reds. Was Ken giving up on Seattle? Or was he truly looking to have a homecoming both on and off the diamond? Presented by Coors Light Brought to you by Roman: getroman.com/prodigy
36 minutes | Apr 20, 2021
Griffey To The Max
After the strike, Griffey became a superstar on and off the field. From cameos on “The Simpsons” and “Fresh Prince,” to record-selling video games and a signature Nike shoe, The Kid had taken over popular culture. Griffey was becoming a brand all to himself, paving the way for the athletes of today. But, one thing that comes with blazing a trail, is that it's hard to figure out. For Ken, it led to a breaking point. Presented by Coors Light Brought to you by Roman: getroman.com/prodigy
35 minutes | Apr 13, 2021
The Two Kids
He's remembered as one of the biggest stars in America and a 90's cultural icon, yet somehow, it seems like Griffey's legacy has gone missing. Where did it go? Musician Kid Sensation (Xola Malik) and producer Alex Ward revisit the origins of Ken's early success in high school and with the Mariners, Xola's own beginnings with Sir Mix-a-Lot's crew, and the moment these two Kids crossed paths in Seattle. Presented by Roman: getroman.com
2 minutes | Apr 6, 2021
Introducing American Prodigy: The Kid
What ever happened to Ken Griffey Jr., our love for him, and our love for baseball? Seattle musician and friend of Griffey, Kid Sensation (Xola Malik), as well as producer Alex Ward, rehash the life and career of one of sports most misunderstood superstars, and examine America’s relationship with baseball, music, race, celebrity and success.
23 minutes | Apr 6, 2021
The Next American Prodigy
Grant Wahl is back to introduce Season 2 of American Prodigy. Grant talks to Xola Malik and producer Alex Ward about "The Kid," his impact on Seattle, baseball, and 90's culture. What ever happened to "The Kid," our love for him, and our love for baseball?
36 minutes | Jan 12, 2021
BONUS: The Breakdown
Grant sits down with producer Harry Swartout and goes behind the scenes of the making of American Prodigy: Freddy Adu. What did it take to get the interviews done in a pandemic? Did Freddy’s penchant for trash talk ever land him in trouble? What really went down between Grant and Jaleel White at the MLS Cup? Grant tells all and plays quality audio we just didn’t have time for in the story.
31 minutes | Jan 5, 2021
Part 7: The Return
While this podcast was being made, 31-year-old Freddy signed with Swedish third-division club Österlen, his first pro club in two years. Playing now for the love of the game, Freddy discusses his unexpected opportunity and what he has learned from being an American Prodigy. Is this the beginning of a great comeback? Or are we letting unreasonably high expectations get ahead of Freddy once again?
38 minutes | Dec 22, 2020
Part 6: Freddy’s Legacy
It’s been two years since Freddy played competitive soccer, but at age 31 he’s still trying to make a comeback, even as he teaches the next generation. Today is a new world in American soccer, where the best prospects leave for Europe and developmental academies stateside grow to provide support for America’s next prodigy. What happens to the next Freddy Adu? Are we ready for the next American Prodigy? Are they already here? Grant Wahl examines.
38 minutes | Dec 15, 2020
Part 5: All Falls Down
After a championship-winning rookie season, anything seemed possible for Freddy. Yet over the next 14 years, Freddy would play for more than a dozen teams in MLS, Europe, South America and the USL, slowly turning from an American Prodigy into a cautionary tale. Short flashes of success in summer tournaments provided flickering glimpses of hope that Freddy would gain traction and turn into a superstar. But Adu could never establish consistency at the club level. Grant Wahl watched Freddy struggle to build momentum in his career as it faded away. What went wrong? Brought to you by Fanatiz. https://bit.ly/3lqi7Oj
33 minutes | Dec 8, 2020
Part 4: Smile
Freddy Adu had a million dollar smile. He flashed it on the field when he beat defenders twice his age. He showed it for the media when he gave interviews and posed for photographs. And he turned it on as D.C. United got hot down the stretch and made a push for the 2004 MLS Cup. But Grant Wahl noticed that as Freddy’s rookie season wore on, the 15-year-old's smile began to fade. Was the pressure that Freddy felt finally getting to him? Brought to you by Fanatiz. https://bit.ly/3lqi7Oj
32 minutes | Dec 1, 2020
Part 3: Young and Black in America
Not even Freddy was ready for the passionate response to him from Black Americans, many of whom had rarely engaged with MLS or soccer before. American soccer has long been a country-club sport—largely white and upper-middle-class—but Freddy's race, potential and extreme youth helped make him a cultural touchstone who transcended sports. They also left him virtually alone in locker rooms full of white men old enough to be his father. Grant Wahl saw a teenager constantly surrounded by media, teammates and fans, but was he really connecting with any of them?
37 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
Part 2: The Freddy Adu Show
Freddy stepped off the stage of his introductory MLS press conference and right onto The Late Show with David Letterman. Before Adu had even played a pro game, MLS promoted its fresh-faced teen superstar with commercials alongside Pelé, feature stories and magazine covers in order to save a league in desperate financial straits. Freddy Mania put butts in the seats for the 2004 season, but it also set expectations unbelievably high. No one even knew if he was going to start games. Grant Wahl watched the pressure mount, wondering: “Can Freddy handle the hype?” Brought to you by Fanatiz. https://bit.ly/3lqi7Oj
39 minutes | Nov 17, 2020
Part 1: The Legend of Freddy Adu
In the streets of Ghana, Freddy played with boys twice his age. In the D.C. suburbs, Freddy went from playing at recess to dominating travel tournaments all within a week. Just six months into his stay at the U.S. Under-17 residency program in Florida, Freddy was at the top of the class. He had teams in England, Italy, Spain and the U.S. salivating as they waited for him to turn pro. That was before he dominated the FIFA Under-17 World Championship. Grant Wahl, who'd covered LeBron and Freddy in their teens, knew it was time for Freddy to sign, but where? Brought to you by Fanatiz.
1 minutes | Nov 12, 2020
Preview: Finding Freddy
When Nike signed thirteen-year-old Freddy Adu to a million dollar contract, they thought he could be bigger than Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and LeBron James. As it turned out, however, Freddy never lived up to the hype. Soccer journalist Grant Wahl investigates the impossible expectations that were placed on the teenager, and discusses with Freddy just how much of the blame lies on the media, MLS, and Freddy himself.
2 minutes | Oct 7, 2020
Introducing American Prodigy: Freddy Adu
American Prodigy Freddy Adu was supposed to be the next Pelé, a generational talent to lift U.S. soccer onto the global stage. Then, he didn’t. Soccer journalist Grant Wahl traces Freddy’s legend to determine who “makes it,” who “doesn’t,” and what it says about us. Launches November 17th.
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