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32 minutes | Jun 23, 2021
Basketball Heat Check: Is the Hot Hand Fact or Fiction?
From the playground to the gym to the NBA Conference Finals...the basketball court is ruled not by an iron fist, but by the “hot hand.” Shooters demand the ball when they get a hot hand. Teammates feed the player with the hot hand. Coaches draw up plays for the hot hand. But what if there is actually no such thing as the “hot hand?” For decades, that’s been the belief of Nobel Prize winning scientists who insist that what looks like a player who can’t miss...is really just a statistical fluke. Author Ben Cohen penned a book on the subject, “The Hot Hand,” and he joins the show for a scientific heat check now that the conference finals are in full swing. Is the burning sensation is a verifiable reality, or just a puff of smoke? Then, Pablo seeks to turn his park hobby into disc golf pro Paul McBeth’s million dollar endorsement deal.
34 minutes | Jun 22, 2021
The Supreme Court College Sports Ruling, Explained
On Monday the Supreme Court unanimously ruled to uphold Alston v. NCAA, saying the NCAA could not bar certain types of payments to college athletes. It’s largely seen as having opened the door to a wider challenge to the NCAA’s ban on college athletes receiving compensation, writ large. ESPN Analyst Jay Bilas, college athlete and longtime critic of the NCAA’s claims around amateurism, breaks down the latest chapter in the saga and what it means (in the way that only he can). Then, Pablo shares thoughts on Carl Nassib, the first active NFL player to publicly come out as gay.
41 minutes | Jun 21, 2021
Devin Booker Dominates, Giannis Delivers, Hawks Soar: NBA Playoffs with Brian Windhorst
This weekend’s NBA playoffs included a pair of Game 7s and the first game of the Western Conference Finals. In the East, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Brooklyn Nets in overtime, despite a 48-point performance from Nets star Kevin Durant. The Bucks will meet the Hawks, following the thrilling finish to that series where the Hawks soared to victory, thanks to Trae Young’s fourth quarter heroics. And in the west, Devin Booker propelled the Chris Paul-less Phoenix Suns to a win in Game 1 over the LA Clippers, who are still without Kawhi Leonard. Brian Windhorst runs down every minute of NBA playoff action.
22 minutes | Jun 19, 2021
RE-AIR: The Rise Of The Suns’ Devin Booker
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is perhaps the most overlooked superstar in the NBA. At age 24, he’s one of the league’s premiere scorers. And his domination has continued this season, through the Phoenix Suns’ playoff run - they’re in the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 11 years. In a re-air of our episode from February, ESPN analyst Michael Wilbon takes us back to Booker’s roots in his “Cover Story, ” and chronicles the Gen-Z phenom’s path from 6th man at Kentucky, to his connection with Kobe Bryant, to his relationship with new teammate Chris Paul.
35 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
Formula 101: Everything You Need To Know About F1 Racing...and Why It’s Having a Moment
Formula 1 Racing has been incredibly popular overseas for decades. Its drivers are some of the most well-known and highest paid athletes in the world, but it's never taken off in the U.S. Now, thanks in part to the hit Netflix series “F1: Drive to Survive,” Formula 1 has begun to convert Americans with its high-speed danger and soap opera drama. Ryan McGee takes the wheel to give a crash course on Formula 1 racing. Then Marc Spears explains what Juneteenth means to him across sports and culture.
36 minutes | Jun 17, 2021
How Pro Surfer Tyler Wright Made Her Own Waves
Australian two-time world champion Tyler Wright was born to surf. She achieved incredible victories in the water, while enduring tremendous loss in her personal life. This combination of fame and chaos nearly broke her. As she was falling in love with her then-girlfriend, Wright also wasn’t sure her sport could accept her. It took a crippling illness for Wright to decide she was not only going to keep surfing, but do so while being unapologetically herself. Alyssa Roenigk reports on this incredible journey.
32 minutes | Jun 16, 2021
Beef at the U.S. Open: Inside the Koepka/DeChambeau Feud
The U.S. Open tees off this week, with all eyes on the simmering feud between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka. Michael Collins, ESPN analyst and host of “America’s Caddie” on ESPN+, joins the show from Torrey Pines to discuss the origins of this rivalry, why the bad blood between these two golf stars has continued, and whether or not all the drama is good for the sport. Plus, how Collins went from standup comedy stages to the links.
33 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
Love in the Time of Hockey Riots
It’s been 10 years since 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, 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. Greg Wyshynski caught up with the couple, and the photographer, and joins the show to share how that iconic image endures to this day.
33 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
Suns Sweep, Bucks Bounce Back: NBA Playoffs with Kirk Goldsberry
Another weekend of NBA playoff action is in the books. On Sunday, tensions flared between the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets, with league MVP Nikola Jokic getting ejected in the third quarter as the Suns swept. The Milwaukee Bucks put together a dominant effort led by Giannis Antetokounmpo to win Game 4 vs. the Nets, putting the series at 2-2 as Brooklyn grapples with Kyrie Irving and James Harden’s injuries. Kirk Goldsberry assesses all the on-the-court action and looks ahead to the rest of this week’s games. Then, newcomer Nets superfan Mina Kimes reassures the Brooklyn faithful.
31 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
Inside Euro 2020: Soccer’s Month of Drama, Passion, and Geopolitical Tension
Never has “better late than never” meant so much to so many. That’s because the 2020 Euros - aka the UEFA European Championship - kicks off today after a year’s delay due to the pandemic. It’s a tournament that consumes the continent and combines high drama on the pitch with real-world geopolitical stakes off of it. Coming off their World Cup victory in 2018, France are heavy favorites, but can they survive the “Group of Death” with rival Germany and reigning champs Portugal? Sam Borden joins us from Rome for a preview of the 24-team field that will see matches played at 11 sites across Europe. Then, Pablo shares his thoughts on athletes and coaches deciding to get the COVID vaccine.
38 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
MLB’s Sticky Situation: Spider Tack, Pelican Grip and Baseball’s Open Secret
The worst-kept secret in baseball is being brought to light. With batting averages at an all-time low and strikeouts at an all-time high, Major League Baseball is cracking down on pitchers using foreign substances to get a better grip on the ball. Buster Olney helps us understand why it took so long for MLB to enforce these rules, and why the gentleman’s agreement that tolerated the practice for years no longer holds. It’s an all-too-familiar story in a sport where the steroid era proved that players will always seek any available competitive edge. Then, Montreal native Ariel Helwani makes the case for why we should jump on the Montreal Canadiens bandwagon, as they’re one series away from reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.
34 minutes | Jun 9, 2021
NFL Offseason Drama: Aaron Rodgers, Julio Jones, and More
This NFL offseason is bursting with drama. There’s Julio Jones signing with the Tennessee Titans after more than a decade as the Atlanta Falcons star receiver. Aaron Rodgers won’t be showing up for required OTAs with the Packers, and his rift with the organization isn’t any closer to resolution. Ryan Clark helps us navigate the biggest NFL storylines, checks in on the various QB controversies, and discusses which teams have the most at stake in the coming months heading into the regular season. Then, Jessica Mendoza comes up to the plate to talk about the Women’s College World Series.
28 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
NFL Plans to End Race-Norming in Concussion Claims: What Happens Next
The NFL says it will stop using race-norming in evaluating former players’ concussion claims, as the practice makes it less likely for Black claimants to receive financial compensation. In years of settling and paying out claims up to now, the league has maintained its process was sound. Ryan Smith has been investigating the story for ESPN and ABC. He shares what prompted the NFL’s change in position, what updates to the program might look like and cost, and whether Black players previously denied payouts with race-norming in place will now be compensated.
29 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
NBA Playoffs Breakdown: Trae Triumphs, Kawhi Dominates, Harden Injured
The first round of the NBA Playoffs closed out in dramatic fashion yesterday, with Luka Doncic and Kawhi Leonard providing a pair of dynamic performances in Game 7 as the Clippers advanced past the Mavs. Also, the Atlanta Hawks took Game 1 in their series vs. the Sixers, thanks to a nearly unstoppable Trae Young, who’s been the breakout star of this postseason. And despite James Harden going down with an injury in the first minute, the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1...and are now looking at the prospect of being Harden-less for at least Game 2. Brian Windhorst runs through the biggest storylines of the weekend’s basketball action, and looks ahead to the second round.
24 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
Mayweather vs. Paul: What Influencers Mean for Boxing
The global internet celebrity Logal Paul faces off against boxing legend Floyd Mayweather this Sunday. Both men are controversial figures, who’ve faced criminal allegations. The veteran prizefighter taking on a viral video star is just the latest unconventional attempt to draw eyes to the boxing ring, as interest in combat sports continues to shift. ESPN’s Ben Baby examines why Mayweather came out of retirement to fight Paul, why internet stars like Paul may be poised to succeed on pay-per-view, and if this is the future of the “sweet science.”
32 minutes | Jun 3, 2021
How the Mascot Hall of Fame Came to Furry Fruition
Mascots come in all shapes and sizes. From animals like the Oriole Bird or Roary the Lion to creatures like Gritty, mascots are a zany yet indelible part of sports. And while we honor the best players, teams, and coaches at various hall of fame institutions, there hasn’t been a place to honor mascots … until now. The three-story, 18 million-dollar Mascot Hall of Fame is open in Whiting, Indiana. Jake Malooley takes us behind the scenes to its hallowed, fur-lined halls. And he shares the story of the man who made it all happen: Dave Raymond, who worked as the original Phillie Phanatic. Then, Pablo shares his thoughts on LeBron James and the Lakers’ recent struggles.
34 minutes | Jun 2, 2021
Jeff Passan on the Story Behind MLB’s Inaugural Lou Gehrig Day
Lou Gehrig was one of the greatest players in the history of baseball. But Gehrig’s career, and ultimately his life, was cut short by the disease with which he has become synonymous, ALS. In March, MLB announced plans for their first annual Lou Gehrig Day, which will be celebrated each year on June 2nd. Jeff Passan joins the show to examine Gehrig’s legacy, and to share the story of the man who actually made MLB’s Lou Gehrig Day happen: Brian Wayne Gallantine. Then, Pablo shares his thoughts on Naomi Osaka’s comments about the post-match press conferences at the French Open and mental health in sports.
34 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
The Surprising Science Behind Epic Athletes (Re-Air)
Serena Williams. Tom Brady. Roger Federer. What really goes into making a G.O.A.T.? And extending that greatness for decades? Reporter, best-selling author, and current host of the podcast How To!, David Epstein is one of sports’ top mythbusters. His books The Sports Gene and Range delve into athletes’ lives, minds and habits to find the building blocks of success. Epstein applies his findings to trends like more superstars performing well as they age, and why getting kids to specialize in one sport might actually lead to injury rather than wins, in a re-air of one of our favorite episodes.
39 minutes | May 31, 2021
Rocky Bleier: From The Steelers To Vietnam And Back (Re-Air)
For generations, men and women from around the sports world have also served in our nation’s military. Among them, Rocky Bleier's story stands out. Bleier won a college football national championship with Notre Dame, then during his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Three months into his deployment to Vietnam, Bleier was shot through the thigh and suffered a grenade blast to his foot. Doctors told him he’d never play football again. But Bleier would rejoin the Steelers and win four Super Bowls with the team in the 1970s. In 2018, Bleier and ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi traveled to Vietnam, to the Hiep Duc Valley, where Bleier served, and where many of his fellow soldiers were killed in an ambush. We re-air this story for Memorial Day.
41 minutes | May 28, 2021
Boban Marjanovic is Your Favorite NBA Player’s Favorite Player
Dallas Mavericks center Boban Marjanovic stands at 7’4” and the Serbia native is most likely your favorite NBA player’s favorite player. Known for his quirky personality and authenticity, Boban calls himself a "big friendly giant," and his presence in the Mavs’ locker room brings something immeasurable. Sam Borden shares how Boban’s influenced the team, including star Luka Doncic, as the team goes for a 3-0 lead in their series against the Clippers. Then, Tottenham superfan Sun Min Kimes makes a triumphant return to preview this weekend’s Champions League Final between Manchester City and Chelsea.
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