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. The breaking news of SportsCenter. The deep dive storytelling of 30 for 30. Get the very best of ESPN. Daily.
Introducing "Haters" from Man in the Arena: 12/5/21
Whether you love him or hate him or are somehow completely indifferent, youve probably spent at least some of the last 20 years thinking about Tom Brady. Brady has altered friendships, families and communities. Hes changed the trajectory of careers and reputations, enabled fairy tale dreams to be both realized and dashed. 'Man In the Arena' is a new 10-part series from ESPN and Religion of Sports that looks at those two decades of Brady through the eyes of the fans and the haters, those in the arena and those outside. Host Gotham Chopra grapples with these big themes, while grounding the podcast in his personal relationship with Tom and his journey from a Brady fan to Toms friend. Americas collective adoration of the underdog means that people love to hate Tom Brady. In the world of sports, hatred is inevitable, so why are haters always gonna hate? And in the context of sports, could hate be a positive thing? What might it take to change one fans mind? Listen on Apple Podcasts (https://apple.co/3FgQalz), Spotify (https://spoti.fi/3c6q4oB), or search 'Man In the Arena' wherever you're listening now.
College Footballs Week of Chaos: Playoff Finalists, Format Changes, and Coaching Carousel: 12/3/21
College footballs championship weekend is here. And after marquee matchups like the SEC title game, between #1 Georgia and #3 Alabama, and #2 Michigan vs. #13 Iowa in the Big Ten Championship, the College Football Playoff committee will decide who is in, and who is out of this year's playoff. But beyond determining this years finalists, the committee is also coming off a meeting where they discussed the potential of expanding the playoff. And, in the midst of everything, several big name head coaches made moves to take new roles, like Lincoln Riley to USC and Brian Kelly to LSU. Heather Dinich explains who we could see in the playoff, what changes were discussed, and when a decision on reformatting the CFP could actually happen.
How JJ Redick Sees the NBA Landscape: 12/2/21
JJ Redick doesnt consider himself a take person or talking head. At least not yet. As a player-turned-analyst who just retired after 15 seasons in the NBA, Redick says he doesnt miss the game. The newly minted ESPN studio talent joins the show to tell us whos looking like the best in the league, measure the NBAs entertainment quotient, and weigh in on the importance of athletes mental health.
Jeff Passan on MLBs Massive Deals, Looming Lockout, and Offseason Chaos: 12/1/21
Its been a wild few days across Major League Baseball, with a flurry of free agents signing massive deals with new teams. Max Scherzer to the Mets. Javy Baez to the Tigers. Corey Seager to the Rangers. But the reason for this flurry of spending is maybe the last thing youd suspect: a looming labor stoppage. Tonight, at midnight, MLBs collective bargaining agreement expires, meaning owners could begin a lockout that would effectively put a halt on the entire baseball industry until a new deal is struck. Jeff Passan takes us inside the high stakes negotiations between the owners and players, shares whats at stake for both sides, and brings plenty of Diet Mountain Dew along for the ride.
How to Survive the Worlds Most Impossible Run: 11/30/21
The Badwater ultramarathon is known as the worlds most impossible run. From grueling mountain climbs to scorching, 100+ degree temperatures in the middle of Death Valley, its a 135-mile race that only a select group of individuals have ever finished. Enter Kelaine Conochan, who pushed her mind, body, and soul to its limit in pursuit of completing the race in July 2021. She wrote about her Badwater experience for ESPN.com, and shares what she lost - and found - in her 37 hours of running, chafing, chugging flat Coca-Cola, and flat out surviving.
Monday QB Alex Smith on NFL Week 12 : 11/29/21
The further we get into the NFL season, the more questions we have. But after Week 12, the playoff picture is coming into frame...kind of. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens grinded out a win in a defensive matchup with their major rivals the Cleveland Browns. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers appear to be back in form after thrashing the L.A. Rams, who have suddenly lost three in a row after starting the season 7-1. Bill Belichicks revenge tour is picking up more steam after the New England Patriots picked up their sixth straight win...and Carson Wentzs Hail Mary attempt wasnt enough to beat Tom Brady and the Bucs. Our Monday morning QB Alex Smith tells us what weve learned this week...and gives a nod to his former coach, Jim Harbaugh.
The Fight for the Soul of Manchester United (Re-Spin): 11/26/21
When arguably the worlds most popular athlete, Cristiano Ronaldo, took the pitch for arguably the worlds most popular soccer club, Manchester United, two truly global sports brands were reunited on the legendary pitch at Old Trafford. Months earlier the same iconic stadium was literally stormed by Man United supporters fighting against the globalization of the sport they love. Wright Thompson was there for Ronaldos return to the team, and explains why emotions and identities around this team run so deep, in a re-spin of one of our favorite episodes.
How Golfer John Daly Helped a Family Through Tragedy (Re-Spin): 11/25/21
When an unknown 25-year-old named John Daly showed up at the 1991 PGA Championship literally the night before - as the ninth alternate - he pulled off biggest upset in golf history and became an instant icon. That was 30 years ago. Whats less well known, but no less significant, is the story of another man who attended that tournament. During the first round, Tom Weaver, a spectator and father of two, was struck in the chest by lightning and died at the scene. ESPNs Bob Harig shares the story of Tom Weaver, and the gift the Daly sent his family afterwards, that lives on to this day, as we re-spin this episode.
Four Days of Sports Gluttony: Your Thanksgiving Weekend Guide: 11/24/21
Thanksgiving weekend is all about one thing: the sports. From the NFL to the NHL to the National Dog Show and beyond, its a weekend to stuff yourself silly with on-the-field action. Emily Kaplan and Domonique Foxworth have examined the full smorgasbord of athletic options, and offer up a guide to maximize your sports gluttony.
Connor McDavid 101: Is He the Next Great One?: 11/23/21
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is having his best season yet, having already netted a pair of viral highlight goals that have broken the internet. But looking beyond the mind blowing moves and hockey accolades and comparisons to Edmontons last Great One, who is Connor McDavid? Emily Kaplan asks John Buccigross to give us Connor McDavid 101, and tells us why this might finally be the year the hockey megastar brings the Stanley Cup back to Edmonton.
Chinas Missing Tennis Star + Week 11 in the NFL: 11/22/21
Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai is a three-time Olympian and former number one in the world for womens doubles. Earlier this month she accused a powerful Chinese political figure of sexual assault, and then was not seen or heard from for weeks. This past weekend the public saw and heard Peng via a video clip of a Chinese tennis competition, and a video call between her and sports officials, including IOC President Thomas Bach. ESPNs Dan Murphy shares the latest, and why big questions remain about Pengs safety. Then, we call up our Monday Morning QB Alex Smith to recap the NFL action in Week 11.
The NBAs Invasion of Alien Big Men: 11/19/21
Once upon a time, if you were an NBA 7-footer you played center, in the paint, with your back to the basket. But over the past decade, the NBA has been invaded by a new type of big man&one who is increasingly rendering the entire concept of positions obsolete. Players like Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who can play like guards on offense, and match up with anyone on the floor on defense. And now, a new generation is emerging, with the Cavaliers rookie standout Evan Mobley, and likely lottery pick Chet Holmgren from Gonzaga. ESPNs Mike Schmitz breaks down just when this trend of alien big men began, what makes them so valuable, and the alien prospect that NBA teams are already clamoring to draft.
Louis Riddick on Mac Jones: The Patriot Way Redux: 11/18/21
The Patriots face the Falcons tonight, after their fourth consecutive win on Sunday, and Mac Jones is playing at a level that is making the rest of us look silly for doubting him. Bill Belichicks team enters the second half of the season hot on the tails of a playoff spot, so Louis Riddick explains what we all missed with Jones at draft time, and how The Patriot Way is leading to success yet again.
Why Are Players Hoarding Kobes? Saga of a Shoe Shortage: 11/17/21
Its the most important piece of gear for a basketball player: the shoes. And one of the most popular, iconic basketball shoes, Kobes, are no longer being mass produced by Nike. So whats an NBA player to do once his favorite shoe stops being made? Brian Windhorst takes us inside the wild secondary market thats developed, and tells us why the shoe is so coveted, especially if youre a size 17.
Why Do Fired College Coaches Still Make Millions?: 11/16/21
Dead money: its the money a college or university still owes a coach after theyre fired. And over the past decade, there has been more than half a billion dollars worth of it paid out in college sports. But where does that money come from, and which schools are the biggest offenders? ESPN investigative reporter Paula Lavigne looked into the outsized spending of dead money across college programs, and explains whats behind it. Hear the findings from Lavignes and Mark Schlabachs reporting on buyouts for coaches in college football, and men's and women's basketball Power 5 programs.
The NFLs New Normal: Monday QB Alex Smith on Week 10 : 11/15/21
The NFL continues to redefine our sense of normalcy from week to week, and our Monday morning QB Alex Smith is here to ground us. The Chiefs took sole possession of first place in the wild AFC West. Elsewhere, Russell Wilson couldnt shake off the rust in his return with the Seahawks, as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers gave Seattle its first shutout in a decade. And every football fans nightmare is coming true, as the New England Patriots won their fourth straight, with rookie QB Mac Jones delivering a signature win over the Cleveland Browns. Plus, the first tie of the season between the Steelers and Lions.
The Warriors Are Back: 11/12/21
The Warriors all but disappeared from any conversation about a title, after losing the 2019 NBA Finals. But ESPNs Nick Friedell assures us the Warriors are back, with star point guard Steph Curry and former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green bringing their unique synergy. Friedell tells us how coach Steve Kerr is experimenting with lineups this season, how the rebuilding of the program is altering the Warriors place in a crowded Western Conference, and what the revamped team could look like once Klay Thompson returns. Plus, ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifying match, Sam Borden discusses the cherished USMNT vs. Mexico rivalry that is set to change forever.
To Punt, or Not To Punt? Footballs Age-Old Question: 11/11/21
Presbyterian college football head coach Kevin Kelley never punts. Its a philosophy that brought him major success at the high school level in Arkansas, where his unconventional thinking resulted in nine state titles in 18 seasons, and an innovation award presented to him by Robert DeNiro. But Kelleys leap from high school to college landscape has been met with its fair share of criticism. Hear Ryan McGee discuss why, after a 72-0 loss that shook the NCAAs smallest Division I program, Kelley continues to search for angles and advantages that work in favor of a program that admittedly has nothing to lose. Then, Paolo Uggetti shares his report on San Diego States Matt Araiza, a left-legged kicking phenomenon who booms punts, nails field goals, and crushes kickoffs.
Allegations of Racism and Misogyny Within the Phoenix Suns: 11/10/21
An ESPN investigation, featuring interviews with more than 70 current and former Phoenix Suns employees, reveals accusations of racism and misogyny against Suns owner Robert Sarver -- and a toxic workplace many employees believe was emboldened by his behavior. The allegations range from racially insensitive and lewd language to conduct some employees felt was inappropriate and misogynistic. ESPNs Baxter Holmes shares his reporting on this story, the NBAs response, and what happens from here.
A Season of Change For Mens College Basketball: 11/9/21
The 2021 college basketball season tips off tonight and so much has changed since Baylor was crowned the national champion. ESPNs Myron Medcalf breaks down the top seeded teams, including what itll take for Gonzaga to rebound from last years heartbreak. Plus, theres Dukes legendary Coach K beginning his farewell tour, and coaches getting used to how the transfer portal - along with name, image and likeness rules - are truly changing the game. We have all you need to get ready for the season.
NFL Week 9 with Monday QB Alex Smith: 11/8/21
From Jordan Loves disappointing debut as Green Bay Packers QB1 to the L.A. Rams getting dominated by the Tennessee Titans at home on Sunday night, the NFL saw more than its fair share of big upsets and strange moments in Week 9. So we bring our own starting QB, Alex Smith to discuss. Plus, how Aaron Rodgers vaccination status loomed over the weekend...and what we think of the ManningCast curse.
Should Barry Bonds Be In The Baseball Hall of Fame?: 11/5/21
Barry Bonds baseball achievements are staggering: from home run records to MVP awards to Golden Gloves to mind-boggling slugging and on-base percentages, the numbers place him squarely among the games all-time greats. But Bonds successes have been tarnished by what is known about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. For the last nine years, Bonds has been eligible for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame and each year, when the ballots are tallied, has come up short. Now he is in his final year on the writers ballot, making the issue of his worthiness for selection more urgent than ever before. Jeremy Schaap joins the show to ruminate on Bonds career: the stupendous feats of his youth; his relationship with managers, teammates and the media; his late-career performance surge; and the steroids controversy, all of which is chronicled in the new E60 special BONDS, which Schaap hosts this Sunday at 9:30 pm ET.
Bill Barnwell on Rodgers Vaccine Status, Chiefs Struggles and More: 11/4/21
Its been a head spinning week in the NFL. On Wednesday, reports surfaced that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers tested positive for covid, and will not play in Sundays marquee matchup vs. the Chiefs. Rodgers previously told the media and his team that he was immunized, and has undergone other treatments that did not include the vaccine. So QB Jordan Love will see his first NFL start against a Chiefs team that seems beleaguered by turnovers and bad defense. Elsewhere, Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. may be coming to the end of his career in Cleveland, after his father Odell Beckham Sr. posted a video on social media blaming QB Baker Mayfield for Beckhams poor performance. And, the New Orleans Saints are dealing with two massive injuries to QB Jameis Winston and WR Michael Thomas. Bill Barnwell takes us through all of these NFL storylines and more at the halfway point of the season.
Braves Win World Series! Then: How New NBA Rules Truly Change The Game : 11/3/21
The Atlanta Braves are World Champions! So Tim Keown joins us from Houston, where he takes us through how the Braves got here. Then, when the Brooklyn Nets host the Atlanta Hawks tonight, two of the most divisive players of the modern NBA will face off. James Harden and Trae Young are two of the best players in the league, thanks in part to their skill with the dark arts of drawing fouls. But this offseason, the NBA decided to crack down on offensive players engaging in so-called foul hunting and the results are being felt across the league. Brian Windhorst explains why many think the new rules are changing the game for good, even if not everyone is happy about them.
NHL Blackhawks Sexual Abuse Case: Explained: 11/2/21
When pro hockey player Kyle Beach reported his sexual assault by a Chicago Blackhawks video coach in 2010, the team failed to act. Beach filed a lawsuit against the team as John Doe and a 100-plus page report on his experience, as well as the teams handling of the incident, has led to resignations from team leaders who were involved. Emily Kaplan tells us how the Blackhawks and the National Hockey League failed one of their own by covering up abuse, and what happens next as the truth is told.
NFLs Halloween Belongs to the Backup QBs: 11/1/21
Halloween fell on the eighth Sunday of this NFL season, and it belonged to backup QBs. Cooper Rush put on his Dak Prescott costume and led the Dallas Cowboys to a last minute game winning TD. The Saints Trevor Siemian stepped in for the injured Jameis Winston and defeated Tom Brady, and Mike White performed arguably the most unlikely feat of the day, in breathing life into the Jets fan base by leading them to an upset win over the Bengals. ESPN Dailys QB-1 Alex Smith breaks down how a bunch of backups managed to trick everyone on a very strange day of football.
Full Circle: The Freddie Freeman Story (Re-Air): 10/29/21
You might know about Freddie Freeman, first baseman for the Atlanta Braves, who youll see take the field tonight in Game Three of the World Series vs. the Houston Astros. Freemans also the Gold Glover and four time All-Star...who battled back from covid to win NL MVP last year. But the Freddie Freeman you dont know is even more remarkable. In a re-air of our episode from April, Buster Olney takes us inside the E:60 documentary Full Circle: The Freddie Freeman Story, and presents an exclusive and emotional portrait of one of the games best players. Freeman opens up as never before about the loss of loved ones, as well as the struggles he and his wife have endured in starting a family of their own.
A Season of Change For Mens College Basketball: 10/29/21
The 2021 college basketball season tips off tonight and so much has changed since Baylor was crowned the national champion. ESPNs Myron Medcalf breaks down the top seeded teams, including what itll take for Gonzaga to rebound from last years heartbreak. Plus, theres Dukes legendary Coach K beginning his farewell tour, and coaches getting used to how the transfer portal - along with name, image and likeness rules - are truly changing the game. We have all you need to get ready for the season.
The Mystery of the Backyard Bowling Balls: 10/28/21
David Olson is a quiet, Midwestern father of three, living an ordinary life. That is until one day this summer, when doing some home renovation, he discovered some bowling balls buried under the steps leading to his backyard. And not just two, or three, or 10 or 20 bowling balls. In total, Olson uncovered a whopping 162 bowling balls from his property, and ended up going viral with his story. Where the balls had come from? How did they end up at Olsons house? Ryan Hockensmith explains this stranger-than-fiction story of mans unexpected discovery&and the unexpected way in which it ultimately transformed his life.
Can Notre Dame Claim Play Like a Champion Today?: 10/27/21
Play Like a Champion Today. Its one of the most iconic phrases in sports, and its long been synonymous with Notre Dame. Over the years, legendary Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz has told the story of the teams famous sign, and the traditional pregame slap thats performed as they take the field. Holtz put up the sign, yes. But where did he get the idea? Another powerhouse college program has some thoughts which dispute Holtzs claims. ESPNs Dave Wilson tells us who might - or might not - deserve credit for one of the sports worlds most famous sentences. Then, listeners and friends of ESPN Daily share their sports superstitions with us, ahead of Halloween.
Houstons Empire Strikes Back: World Series Preview With Jeff Passan: 10/26/21
Deep in the heart of Texas we find Jeff Passan, as the Houston Astros host Game 1 of the World Series tonight against the Atlanta Braves. For the Astros, its a chance for some vindication, after being baseballs public enemy number one for their sign stealing scheme in 2017. For the Braves, its a chance to win their first World Series in a quarter century, and cap a stunning postseason run for a team that had the worst regular season record of any in the playoffs. Jeff Passan is in Houston, and breaks down everything you need to know for the Fall Classic.
NFL Week 7: Goff-Stafford Showdown, Bengals Lead AFC, Panic Time in KC?: 10/25/21
Jared Goff returned to his former team at SoFi Stadium as a member of the Detroit Lions on Sunday, after the QBs new coach made critical remarks about his performance, with the Rams Matt Stafford facing his old Lions teammates. Our own Monday Quarterback Alex Smith breaks down that exs matchup and more. Smith and guest host Emily Kaplan talk the Kansas City Chiefs blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans, plus Joe Burrow and the Bengals upset victory over Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. And our Week 7 spin around includes tribute to National Tight Ends Day.
SPECIAL SERIES Episode 4: The Legacy of PTI : 10/24/21
Intense arguments that give way laughter: it's a feature on the set of Pardon The Interruption. In this fourth and final installment of the PTI podcast series, we look at how Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon can tick each other off *and* bring out the best in the other. Because behind the yelling, there is always love and respect. Their contrasting thoughts and behaviors have sparked important conversations that transcend sports. Hear journalists, sportscasters and a longtime appreciator of the show, Barack Obama, reflect on the enduring impact of PTI.
EXCLUSIVE: Was a Former NBA Bettor Running the Mavs?: 10/21/21
Bob Voulgaris turned his career as a professional, data-driven NBA bettor into a team job when Mark Cuban made him Director of Quantitative Research and Analysis for the Dallas Mavericks. But tension built between Voulgaris and then-GM Donnie Nelson, and relationships with players got muddy. Reports in The Athletic this year claimed the former bettor was running the show behind the scenes in Dallas, and today the GM, coach and Voulgaris are no longer with the team. Now, Voulgaris sits down for his first interview since he left the Mavs.
Turf Toe Tales: The NFLs Most Dreaded Injury?: 10/20/21
Turf toe. Its a known injury in football. But behind the cutesy name lies an injury NFL players dread more than any other, involving a teeny tiny bone in the foot. Turf toe can be incredibly painful and long lasting, with no real remedy for players other than time. And it can lead to permanent damage, if not properly healed. ESPN Senior Writer Dave Fleming takes us inside his cabinet of sports curiosities, with terrible tales of turf toe from around the NFL. Then, Pablo shares an update on the Ben Simmons saga.
How Did Ben Simmons and the 76ers Get Here?: 10/19/21
For the people of Philadelphia, and of the basketball world, the relationship between Ben Simmons and the 76ers was broken the moment he passed up a dunk in Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs against the Hawks. After the game, head coach Doc Rivers and star Joel Embiid appeared to point the finger at Simmons in their press conference, and it seemed all but certain that Simmons days in Philly were numbered. Since that game, Simmons has made it known that he wants to be traded, at first refusing to report for training camp. But the 76ers have been unable to find a willing trade partner. Now, as the NBA season tips off today, Simmons is still a 76er&albeit not a happy one. ESPNs Ramona Shelburne digs deep into the NBA's messiest, longest divorce, and why the secret to understanding it begins well before that infamous Game 7.
Alex Smith on Wild NFL Week 6 + Chicago Sky Win WNBA Final : 10/18/21
It was a wild Sunday across sports&from the Cowboys and Patriots overtime thriller&to the Chicago Sky claiming their first ever WNBA title. Across the NFL, it was a week that featured no shortage of close games and marquee matchups. The Steelers held off a second-half rally from the Seattle Seahawks with a game-winning overtime field goal. Dak Prescott and Mac Jones battled back-and-forth until the Cowboys walked it off in their own OT game to extend their winning streak to five. The Ravens and Chargers met in an AFC showdown, but Baltimore blew out LA with another master class from Lamar Jackson. And the Kliff Kingsbury-less Cardinals pulled off yet another statement win over Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. Our Monday morning quarterback Alex Smith brings us his reactions from Sundays slate of NFL action. Then, LaChina Robinson checks in from Chicago, where the city is celebrating its first professional basketball championship since the days of Michael Jordan, as the Chicago Sky came back from a double digit deficit in the fourth against the Phoenix Mercury.
SPECIAL SERIES Ep. 3: PTIs Star Power: 10/24/21
From the beginning of PTI, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon created a whole new world in the realm of sports talk television. But this didnt happen without the help of notable athletes, coaches, and sportscasters joining them on set. Hear why sports figures loved joining the guys to tell them their best stories for segments like "Five Good Minutes." And the PTI team reminisces about how a casual trip to the White House led to meeting an unexpected fan in the Oval Office.
Zach Lowes NBA Season Preview: 10/15/21
The new NBA season tips off this Tuesday, and the pool of contenders for the championship is deeper than its been in years. The consensus favorites just months ago were the Brooklyn Nets, but with Kyrie Irving potentially being unable to play due to vaccination requirements, the Eastern Conference is far from assured. Can the Bucks repeat their stunning run of a season ago? Will the 76ers be able to move past their own Ben Simmons drama and finally fulfill the process prophecy? In the Western Conference, can the Lakers find a way to make it work with Westbrook and Carmelo joining LeBron and A.D.? Will the Suns bounce back from their heartbreaking defeat in the Finals? Zach Lowe gets you up to speed on everything you need to know for a wide-open NBA season. Then, with the WNBA Finals now tied 1-1, LaChina Robinson previews game 3 between the Chicago Sky and Phoenix Mercury.
The Last Save: Inside the Blue Jackets Goaltenders Friendship and Tragedy: 10/14/21
When the Columbus Blue Jackets open their season this evening, they will be missing one of their own. Over the summer, Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks was struck and killed by fireworks at a 4th of July celebration in Michigan. It was a tragedy that hit especially hard for Kivlenieks friend and teammate, fellow netminder Elvis Merzlikins. The two goaltenders shared more than just their position: they were among just a handful of NHL players from the tiny nation of Latvia. Merzlikins even invited Kivlenieks to live with him and his wife in Columbus. Emily Kaplan joins the show to share the story of their friendship, the tragedy that took one far too young, and how the Blue Jackets plan to honor their fallen teammate.
Jon Grudens Emails: What Happens Next in Vegas and WFT Implications: 10/13/21
Last Friday, a 2011 email from Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden containing racist language surfaced in reporting by the Wall Street Journal. Gruden apologized in his postgame press conference following the Raiders loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. But by Monday, additional reporting uncovered many more of Grudens emails containing sexist, racist, and homophobic remarks, sent in correspondence to various NFL higher-ups and decision makers. Gruden resigned as head coach within the hour. ESPNs Paul Gutierrez joins us to discuss the Raiders reaction to Grudens comments, where the team goes from here, and the ripple effects around the NFL. Then, former Washington Football Team employee Emily Applegate shares her perspective on the NFLs investigation into Washingtons toxic culture: the league's investigation is what led to Grudens emails being revealed, some which were messages to then Washington executive Bruce Allen.
NHL Begins: Catching the Great One? Fear the Kraken? Lightning Dynasty? : 10/12/21
The 2021-22 National Hockey League season gets going tonight, back on ESPN after 16 years. Our Greg Wyshynski shares what's at stake for hockeys biggest stars, what well see from defending champs the Tampa Bay Lightning, and expectations for the league's newest team, the Seattle Kraken.
NFL Week 5: Bills Hurdle Over Chiefs, Chargers Comeback, Kickers Nightmares: 10/11/21
After an hour plus rain delay in Kansas City, Josh Allen and the Bills delivered a statement win and literally hurdled past the Chiefs. Across the AFC, the Chargers and the Browns put up a combined eighty nine points, as Justin Herbert led the Chargers to a thrilling comeback win. Elsewhere, NFL kickers had a terrible, no good, very bad Sunday. In addition to a number of missed extra points, the end of the Packers-Bengals game saw five (!) missed field goals, before Mason Crosby nailed the game winner in overtime. Alex Smith takes us inside the film room and surveys all the action from the field. Then, Louis Riddick returns to preview Monday Night Footballs matchup from Baltimore.
SPECIAL SERIES EP. 2: PTI Gets a Life of Its Own: 10/24/21
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon made first impressions at The Washington Post that went on to influence two decades of television, and counting. In the early years of PTI they created a world within the show. That included Stat Boy Tony Reali to correct them, a cast of singular journalists who joined them on set, and legendary pranks that were so convincing they rocked the sports world.
A Reckoning in Womens Pro Soccer: 10/8/21
Former National Womens Soccer League players Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim went public last week with accusations against coach Paul Riley of sexual coercion and harassment, in an investigative report from The Athletic. Teams cancelled games, the league commissioner stepped down, and players re-took the field with demands for reform. Reporter Caitlin Murray has covered womens pro soccer since the NWSL started in 2012. She gives the history and impact of this reckoning across the league, and where it goes from here.
Can the Astros Silence the Haters and Win Back Baseballs Respect?: 10/7/21
When the Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox this afternoon in Game 1 of the ALDS, they will remain, to many, as one thing: the most hated team in baseball. Its a stigma the Astros have carried for the past two seasons, ever since the cheating scandal from their 2017 World Series run came to light. But at the same time, the Astros have had a spectacular run of success. Theyve won their division title in four of the last five seasons, and have made the ALCS the past four seasons. This year, they finished with the second best record in the American League. The teams success has made Astros players defiant in the face of the public backlash. Its also made them intent on winning another World Series, hoping to rewrite their legacy as something more than just the team that cheated. Alden Gonzalez spent time with the Astros, and shares his reporting on their search for vindication in the eyes of the baseball world.
Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins, and the NBAs Vaccine Dilemma : 10/6/21
The Brooklyn Nets held their first practice at home in New York Tuesday and there was one notable absence: Kyrie Irving. The seven-time All-Star had been with the team last week as they held training camp in San Diego. But in New York City, where proof of Covid-19 vaccination is required for indoor activities, Kyrie has been absent. Its a situation that could potentially force Irving to miss every Nets home game, and cost him millions of dollars in the process. The dilemma speaks to the challenges the NBA is facing as it tries to adhere to a patchwork of regulations across the country, while also respecting the small number of players wary of the vaccine. ESPNs Brian Windhorst lays out how Kyries standoff got to this point, why the Warriors Andrew Wiggins relented and ultimately got vaccinated, and explains the dilemma faced by the NBA, as it attempts to persuade vaccine hesitant players to get the shot.
Jeff Passan: MLB Wildcard Games Preview: 10/5/21
MLB playoffs begin tonight with the Yankees visiting the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card game. Jeff Passan returns to tell us what we should be keeping an eye on at Fenway, and what the Dodgers vs. Cardinals matchup could bring on Wednesday. Then, Jeremy Schaap shares his story of attending a crucial Yankees vs. Red Sox game over 40 years ago...when Bucky bleeping Dent hit the home run which gave the Yankees the lead tha they never relinquished.
Alex Smith on NFLs Week 4: Brady Back in NE, Murray Magic, and Jets Win: 10/4/21
Back in Foxborough to play his old team and his old coach, Tom Brady became the NFLs all-time leading passer as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers eeked out a win after a missed field goal by the Patriots. Kyler Murray and the Cardinals established themselves with a 37-20 thrashing of the Rams in LA, while the Cowboys hot start continued with a win over the previously undefeated Panthers & AND the Jets got their first win of the season! Alex Smith takes us inside the huddle and breaks down what we saw in Week 4.
SPECIAL SERIES EP.1 : The Birth and Life of Pardon the Interruption: 10/24/21
You know the show PTI, you love the show PTI. But how did it all start? Twenty years into Pardon the Interruption, co-hosts Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon and a cast of media luminaries share the tale of the duo's meeting at The Washington Post. Hear how the dynamic in the legendary newsroom unexpectedly set them up for success with the show. Kornheiser and Wilbon reflect on their reluctant beginnings in television.
Bill Barnwells NFL Rookie QB Report Card: 10/1/21
In the first three weeks of the NFL season, the 2021 rookie quarterback class has...struggled. Bears QB Justin Fields was sacked nine times on Sunday, Jaguars playcaller Trevor Lawrence has been turning over the ball under pressure, and Zach Wilson hasnt been set up to succeed by the Jets. Bill Barnwell assesses whats gone wrong for the rookie QBs so far, and whether well see improvement. Then: Pablo asks for your help! Its October, so in the spirit of the season were asking you to share your sports superstitions...and you might just hear them on the show. Leave us a message at 424-438-0717. Tell us about your weird, wacky sports stories of ghosts, curses, rituals and the supernatural.
A Major Problem in the Minor Leagues: Baseballs Big Myth: 9/30/21
Baseball is supposed to be romantic, right? Americas pastime is predicated on tradition, hard work, and luck in getting to the show of MLB. But making it to the big leagues has become harder than ever. Minor leaguers today face pay that puts them below the poverty line, grueling schedules, and little support for the mental health and other problems that can arise from that. Joon Lee brings us a deep dive into the world of the minor leagues.
How the Patriots Dynasty Unraveled with Seth Wickersham : 9/29/21
It might be the most hyped regular season game in NFL history, as Tom Brady returns to New England on Sunday night to face his old mentor, Bill Belichick. For 20 years, the relationship between Brady and Belichick, along with owner Robert Kraft, was the foundation of the Patriots dynasty. And no one has covered Patriots dynasty, and divorce, like Seth Wickersham, whose new book Its Better To Be Feared is the culmination of two decades of provocative reporting on that singular football partnership. Wickersham joins the show to share new details about the greatest dynasty the NFL has ever seen, and why, despite winning six Super Bowls together, all of it had to end.
MLB Playoff Chaos with Jeff Passan: 9/28/21
With less than a week remaining in baseballs regular season, chaos is upon us. The once-dead Yankees have surged atop the AL Wild Card hunt, where five teams are chasing two playoff spots. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have won 16 straight to all but secure their spot in the postseason, where theyll face whichever of the Giants and Dodgers dont win the NL West. Jeff Passan stops by to break it all down. Then, Pablo shares a preview of the upcoming Pardon the Interruption 20th anniversary documentary and podcast series.
Alex Smith on Rodgers Magic, Mahomes Stumble...and a Wild NFL Week 3: 9/27/21
In the end, 37 seconds was too much time. Thats all it took for Aaron Rodgers to orchestrate a thrilling last minute drive to set up the Packers game winning field goal over the 49ers. And that wasnt the only last second drama across the NFLs Week 3. Baltimores Justin Tucker nailed a 66-yard game winning field goal, the longest in league history to beat the Lions in Detroit. Elsewhere, Matthew Stafford and the Rams took down Tom Brady and the Bucs, and Justin Herbert and the Chargers upset Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Former NFL QB Alex Smith takes us inside the huddle and brings us his insights on Sundays football action. Then, Louis Riddick previews Monday Night Footballs NFC East showdown between the Eagles and Cowboys.
Spencer Hall on SEC Madness, Week 4 CFB Matchups, and the Best NIL Deals: 9/24/21
Fall is finally here, and your autumnal Saturday agenda might be packed with trips to pumpkin patches and apple picking...or....it could be spent watching wall-to-wall college football. We know what gentleman and SEC scholar Spencer Hall will be doing. Today, Spencer joins the show to dissect last weeks Florida-Alabama heartbreaker, and whether the Crimson Tide are (ever) vulnerable. Then, we take a spin around the Big 10, and Spencer unveils some of his favorite name, image, and likeness deals, from scented candles to Arbys (yes, really).
WNBA Playoffs Preview: Libertys Path to Upset, Sun Seeks 1st Championship, Storms Quest to Repeat: 9/23/21
The WNBA playoffs tip off tonight, with a pair of win-or-go-home games. The New York Liberty and Sabrina Ionescu, who squeaked into the playoffs as the eighth seed, are looking to shock the world by knocking off Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury. The Dallas Wings and Chicago Sky also have a first round date, which if they advance...could see them face last years champs, the Seattle Storm, in the second round. But with Breanna Stewart, the MVP from the 2020 finals nursing an ankle injury, the Storm are no longer favorites to repeat. Instead, the Las Vegas Aces and the Connecticut Sun have claimed the top seeds and are guaranteed semifinal berths. LaChina Robinson brings us her insights on the playoff field, and shares where she hopes the league will go in its next 25 years.
The Purrfect Tale of Baseballs Rally Cat: 9/22/21
Cats are making cameos all over sports right now, from a stray at Yankee Stadium to a dangling feline in Miami. But ESPNs Liz Merrill has the original wild and twisting tale of the St. Louis Cardinals Rally Cat. When the kitten crawled onto the field during the bottom of the sixth in a 2017 game against the Kansas City Royals, Yadier Molina proceeded to hit a go-ahead grand slam on the very next pitch. Hear the story of the all-out search that followed for the Rally Cat, and the heated fight over where it should live.
An Olympic Runners Fight to Stop Her Stalker: 9/21/21
Any runner would say the best advice in a race is to look forward. But what if you had to keep looking over your shoulder? Olympic runner Emily Infelds career as an elite athlete slowed down when a stalker invaded her life. ESPN reporter Paula Lavigne shares her investigation of the three years Infeld has lived in fear and fought for justice and peace, while facing many systemic failures along the way.
NFL Week 2: Monday QB with Alex Smith: 9/20/21
This second Sunday of the NFL season was full of absolutely great plays, and gave us a lot of telling looks at quarterbacks, including backups stepping in due to injury. Baltimore got a dazzling win over the Chiefs, as Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson met up for the fourth time since Jackson entered the league on Sunday Night Football. We picked the best moments and give you tailored insights from NFL veteran QB Alex Smith.
ESPN Daily: The Fight for the Soul of Manchester United: 9/17/21
When arguably the worlds most popular athlete, Cristiano Ronaldo, took the pitch this past weekend for arguably the worlds most popular soccer club, Manchester United, two truly global sports brands were reunited on the legendary pitch at Old Trafford. The same iconic stadium, that months earlier, was literally stormed by Man United supporters who were fighting against the globalization of the sport they love. Wright Thompson, who was there for Ronaldos return to the team he played for more than a decade ago, takes us inside the fight for the soul of Manchester United, and explains why its a battle thats about much more than just a soccer club.
Raiders Put on a Show in Vegas, But Will Their Luck Stick?: 9/16/21
The Raiders first win in Las Vegas with fans was a homecoming two years in the making. The show paid homage to the Silver and Blacks roots in Oakland and Los Angeles, while the game itself was such a frenzy that the Raiders seemed to win twice (?!) in overtime. Paul Gutierrez joins us from Sin City after its first Monday Night Football hangover, and tells us how Jon Grudens team can build on their success.
Vlad Guerrero Jr.s Home Run Race, All-Star Dad, and Clutch Abuela: 9/15/21
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is in the midst of a season unlike any his family has ever seen, and thats saying a lot. Vlady just hit more single-season home runs with the Toronto Blue Jays than his all-star father, Canada baseball hero Vlad Sr., ever did. Now Vlad Jr. has the Triple Crown in his sights. Plus hes led his Blue Jays to the cusp of the postseason, as they return to Toronto after Covid exile in Buffalo, New York. Devin Gordon tells us how Vlady went from Canadas golden son to quietly becoming his own legend.
The Wild Ride of the 86 Mets: Inside Once Upon a Time in Queens: 9/14/21
Once Upon a Time in Queens, the newest film from 30 for 30, chronicles the 1986 New York Mets: a team stacked with perhaps more larger-than-life characters than any other in baseball history. From Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden to Lenny Dykstra and Keith Hernandez, it was a team that worked hard and played harder - and a team that mirrored the dangerous and exciting aura of New York in the 1980s. Director Nick Davis takes us behind-the-scenes of the film, and shares how the 86 Mets became the definitive New York baseball team of the era.
NFL Week 1 With Alex Smith, Domonique Foxworth and Louis Riddick: 9/13/21
NFL players turned analysts Alex Smith, Louis Riddick and Domonique Foxworth join Pablo to break down the first games of the season. First, WFT former QB Alex Smith shares what its like weighing in on games instead of playing them, and highlights from early in the day. Then, Bears vs. Rams and the afternoon games with Domonique Foxworth. Plus, Monday Night Footballs Louis Riddick tells us what to watch for from Vegas as the Raiders take on the Ravens.
How 9/11 Set Robert Saleh on the Path to Coaching the New York Jets (Re-Air): 9/11/21
Tomorrow, Robert Saleh begins his tenure in possibly the most challenging job in football...head coach of the New York Jets. The former 49ers Defensive Coordinator has already drawn praise from players and analysts alike, who think he may just be the guy who can turn around the long struggling franchise. Salehs path to the Jets sideline has been as unusual as it is groundbreaking. Jets reporter Rich Cimini brings us the story of how, September 11th, 2001 changed Salehs life forever, and set him on a course to become the first Muslim head coach in NFL history.
Is Ben Simmons Really Done in Philadelphia?: 9/10/21
Ben Simmons wants out of Philadelphia, and seems like the 76ers have had enough of him as well. The relationship between the former first overall pick and Philly has bent to a likely breaking point since the team exited last seasons NBA playoffs. Simmons disappointing performance drew sharp criticism from star teammate Joel Embiid and head coach Doc Rivers. Brian Windhorst explains what happens now that Simmons and the Sixers have gone sour, possible landing spots for him, and what the saga shows about power in the NBA.
The 2021 Dallas Cowboys: David or Goliath? : 9/9/21
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones about being the Biblical David...Goliath is actually the more fitting role for the Dallas Cowboys...off the field, at least. They are worth almost $7 billion according to Forbes, which puts them atop the list of most valuable franchises in sports despite not winning a Super Bowl since 1996. Tim Cowlishaw has covered the Cowboys since 1989, so he explains why they continue to be Americas Team...and if a return to glory is at hand. Then, Leylah Fernandez makes history at the US Open.
Mina Kimes NFL Season Preview: 9/8/21
The NFL is back after surviving a gauntlet of a 2020 season. As Tom Brady aims to defend his title in Tampa, Bill Belichick seems to have found his heir apparent in QB Mac Jones, at the expense of Cam Newton. Several more rookie quarterbacks prepare to take the field in Week 1, while others wait. And with the Delta variant running rampant, teams are doing all they can to control the chaos. Mina Kimes is about to head into ESPNs NFL war room, so before she goes we get her league season preview.
Why States are Sending Transgender Athletes to the Sidelines: 9/7/21
American politicians cannot stop talking about young transgender athletes. Eight states now have laws or policies on the books restricting transgender athletes' access to youth sports, with seven states enacting them in 2021 alone. And nearly three dozen states have introduced similar bills. As a new school year begins and youth sports regain a foothold after pandemic precautions, these proposals have transgender kids stuck in the middle of the ongoing and often ugly battle over science and assumption, sex and gender identity, politics and policy. Katie Barnes covers transgender issues for ESPN and joins the show to explain the contours of the debate.
What Were Made Of: A Vaccine Pioneer and Her Olympian Daughter (Best-Of): 9/6/21
Every four years, athletes compete for glory at the Olympic Games, and this years Tokyo Games will feel even greater for two-time gold medalist Susan Francia. Her mother, Dr. Kate Karikó, has seen her lifelong work come to fruition in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Karikós dedication to her research amidst adversity inspired her daughter, who became an elite rower and Olympian. In a re-air of one our favorite episodes, ESPNs Julie Foudy takes us through the story of Dr. Karikós perseverance, her mRNA breakthroughs behind the vaccine, and the mother-daughter relationship at the center of the E:60 upcoming feature What Were Made Of.
The Biggest Contract In San Diego Padres History (Is Not Fernando Tatis Jr.s) (Best-Of): 9/3/21
Fernando Tatis Jr.s massive 14-year, 340 million dollar deal with the Padres shattered MLB records. But its actually not the most important signing of the Padres this offseason. That belongs to Matt LaChappa, who signed with the team again in February, just as he has every year for more than a quarter-century. Its a baseball story unlike any other: LaChappa is the longest tenured player in Padres history, despite never playing in a major league game. In 1996, LaChappa was a pitcher with San Diegos minor league affiliate, when he suffered a heart attack while warming up in the bullpen. LaChappa survived, was left permanently disabled and in need of round-the-clock and costly medical care. Ever since, every offseason, the Padres have honored their commitment to Matt and his family by signing him a basic minor league contract, allowing Matt to remain on the teams health insurance. In a sport where money and loyalty between players and clubs are constantly put to the test, Chris Connelly joins the show to tell a very different kind of baseball story, in a re-spin of one of our favorite episodes.
Love in the Time of Hockey Riots (Best-Of): 9/2/21
10 years ago, the Vancouver Canucks lost Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins, in Vancouver. Canucks fans didnt 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. In a re-spin 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.
The Great Super Bowl Rings Heist (Best-Of): 9/1/21
Its a heist story straight out of Hollywood, about a thief who would make Danny Ocean proud. Who is this criminal mastermind, who stole the New York Giants Super Bowl rings? Meet Sean Murphy: a die-hard Patriots fan, owner of a moving company, and a self-described master thief. He, like many Pats fans, watched in agony as the New York Giants pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history in 2008. A few months later, Murphy was researching local jewelers for a potential target when he came across E.A. Dion, a family-owned business&who also happened to be making the Giants Super Bowl rings. From there, a super-sized heist was put into motion. ESPN correspondent Sam Borden joins us in a re-spin of one of our favorite episodes to take a look back at how Murphy pulled off the steal...and how he got caught.
Funny Money, a Secret Recording, and the Unraveling of a Powerhouse Football Program (Best-Of): 8/31/21
When the winningest team in high school football hired the most controversial coach in high school football, heads turned all over the state of Georgia. What ensued was a 15-month saga of small-town, big time football that ended up dividing an entire town. In a re-air of one of our favorite episodes, Mark Schlabach brings us a story of funny money, a secret recording, and the unraveling of a powerhouse high school football program in Valdosta, Georgia.
ICYMI: How Dale Earnhardt's Death Changed NASCAR Forever (Re-Air): 8/30/21
Twenty years ago, when Earnhardt died in an accident on the final lap of Daytona in 2001, the tragedy prompted a change in NASCAR that many thought was long overdue. The sport took up safety standards and equipment designed to prevent the type of injury that killed Earnhardt. There may not be a bigger example of how far the sport has come than 2020s Daytona 500, when Ryan Newmans car flipped and landed upside down in a fiery collision during the final lap. Many first believed that Newman had died, but he walked out of the hospital two days later, largely due to the additional safety measures put in place in the wake of Earnhardts death. ESPNs Ryan McGee shares how Earnhardts death changed NASCAR forever, also told in the ESPN film Intimidator.
Paul Finebaum on College Football Chaos : 8/27/21
As the college football season starts, the PAC-12, ACC, and Big Ten announced a new alliance. The purpose of the teamup is unclear...but no doubt is influenced by power and money, and the looming specter of the Southeastern Conference in the college football sphere. EPNs Paul Finebaum walks us through the implications of the changes off the field, and who might dominate on the field. Then, former NBA champion J.R. Smith is now a member of the North Carolina A&T State golf team, so current student East L. Dockery shares reporting on Smiths next act.
Card Tricks: Why Topps Got Toppled + The $6.6mil Record-Setter: 8/26/21
In the world of trading cards, one companys loomed large: Topps. But this week a company known for sports apparel, Fanatics, outbid Topps for the right to make cards with Major League Baseball. It also made deals with the NBA and NFL, and this major shakeup in sports memorabilia is worth billions of dollars. Dan Hajducky covers collectibles for ESPN. He shares his reporting on the Fanatics coup, plus the Honus Wagner card that sold for $6.6 million.
Matthew Staffords Second Chance: 8/25/21
When the Los Angeles Rams traded for Matthew Stafford this offseason, they delivered one of the NFLs biggest arms to one of its biggest brains: head coach Sean McVay. Over a dozen years in Detroit, Stafford put up big individual numbers, but the Lions lackluster talent meant that his ability was often squandered on teams that had no real chance at contending for a Super Bowl. That is no longer the case, as Stafford, McVay, and the rest of the Rams franchise know that nothing less than the Lombardi Trophy will be considered a success: its Super Bowl or bust in LA. Today, Seth Wickersham takes us behind the scenes of how the Stafford trade went down, what it all says about quarterbacks in the modern era, and how Cabo, apparently, is the nexus of power in the NFL. Then, Pablo shares his ode to the creepiest college mascot in America.
Murder at the U: Arrest Made in Bryan Pata Case: 8/24/21
On November 7th, 2006, Bryan Pata, a defensive lineman for the University of Miami Hurricanes, was shot and killed when he returned home after football practice. He was just 22 years old. For nearly 15 years, no one was arrested in connection with Patas killing. That changed last week, with the stunning arrest of Patas former Miami teammate, Rashaun Jones. Today, we revisit our conversation from November with investigative reporter Paula Lavigne, who was part of ESPNs multi-year probe into Patas killing that pointed out missteps in the long stalled police inquiry. Then, we discuss what led to the stunning arrest last week...and where the case might go from here.
Whats Next for Deshaun Watson Investigations and Texans: 8/23/21
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is the subject of several investigations and 22 civil lawsuits. Allegations from many women range from inappropriate conduct to sexual assault. The FBI is also looking into the case, and the NFLs own investigation on Watson has come under scrutiny. ESPNs Sarah Barshop brings us the latest on the plaintiffs and the defense, plus how Watsons presence is shaping the Texans preseason. Then, Pablo shares how runner Elaine Thompson-Herah almost became the fastest woman in the world...and beat ShaCarri Richardson.
The Fight of Manny Pacquiaos Life: 8/20/21
There are few, if any, boxers in history with the resume of Manny Pacquiao. Inside the ring, he has won twelve major titles across EIGHT different weight classes. Outside the ring, he has been elected first, to the House of Representatives, and later, to the Senate back home in the Philippines. And now, Pacquiao appears to be gearing up to run for president of the Philippines. Its a move that would put him in direct conflict with the current president Rodrigo Duterte, a leader whose autocratic tendencies suggest he is not afraid to fight dirty...and have left some in Pacquiaos camp concerned for Mannys safety, as well as their own. With Pacquiao taking the ring tomorrow night, perhaps the final time in his storied career, Tim Keown joins the show to discuss how Pacquaios latest fight, the fight for the highest office in the Philippines, will be his most challenging yet.
The Magic of the Little League World Series: 8/19/21
The Little League World Series returns to action in Williamsport, PA today. While it wont be the truly global event it usually is, kids will still play their hearts out in the games. ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian will be there, and he tells guest host Emily Kaplan what makes this event so magical, and what to watch for as the games begin. Then, a look at the female athletes affected by the Talibans takeover of Afghanistan.
Will the Urban Meyer Experiment Work in the NFL?: 8/18/21
Its rare when a team thats coming off a 1-15 season is considered intriguing, but here we are with the Jacksonville Jaguars. They retooled their franchise at the hands of legendary college head coach Urban Meyer, and there may or may not be a battle for the starting quarterback spot between number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence and Gardner Minshew (Hint: theres not.) Then, theres the Tim Tebow of it all, who signed as a tight end in the offseason, but was cut after the first preseason game. ESPNs Jeff Darlington brings his view on how the Jags performed last week, and shares what fans should expect from them this season with guest host Emily Kaplan. Then, the U.S. womens national hockey team reached a one-year deal with USA Hockey, but the fight for equal treatment in womens sports is still ongoing.
Is Justin Fields the Answer for the Bears?: 8/17/21
The NFL is back! Well, the preseason if thats your thing. And it is indeed Louis Riddicks thing! The ESPN analyst, former NFL player and pro scout tells us all about the preseason debut of Justin Fields with the Chicago Bears. Fields was the fourth quarterback selected in 2021, but looked more than NFL ready as he completed 14/20 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for another touchdown and 33 yards. He even said the game felt slow. So just how ready is Justin Fields to start as QB of the Chicago Bears? Then, The Honus Wagner reclaims its throne as the king of all sports cards.
Court Hearings Begin in Trevor Bauer Assault Case: 8/16/21
In Los Angeles this week, Trevor Bauer and a woman who has accused him of assault are expected to testify in court. The 27-year-old woman, whose name ESPN is not revealing, says Bauer assaulted her over the course of two sexual encounters in April and May. A judge will decide whether to make permanent the temporary restraining order the woman was granted against Bauer in June. Bauers future in MLB is unclear, as the pitcher remains on administrative leave from the Dodgers. ESPNs Alden Gonzalez has been following the case, and shares his reporting, done in partnership with ESPNs Tisha Thompson.
Matthew Berrys 7 Habits of Highly Effective Fantasy Drafters: 8/13/21
August is ESPNs Matthew Berrys favorite time of year: fantasy draft season. After participating in hundreds of thousands of drafts over his long fantasy career, Berry has everyone from Jay-Z to the Avengers cast asking him who they should draft. To better your chances this upcoming fantasy football season, Berry shares his 7 Habits of Highly Effective Drafters, so you too can dominate your peers. Then, following Major League Baseballs Field of Dreams game, ESPN Dailys own Ryan Nantell shares a story of his time on the storied diamond from the 1989 film. It was not dreamy.
The New Tom Brady: How the G.O.A.T. Found his Voice in Tampa Bay: 8/12/21
Its not often you hear about a 7-time Super Bowl champion re-inventing himself, but thats exactly what Tom Brady is doing...at 44 years old. Weve seen Brady show more personality over the past year in Tampa Bay than he ever did in 20 seasons in New England. From his tipsy Super Bowl boat parade back in February, to joking about his age with President Biden, to his sudden embrace of memes on social media...Brady is finally showing a side of himself that is funnier, more candid...and maybe even, human. Bradys personal development also coincides with the evolution of the Buccaneers already stout defense, which he may need now more than ever following his knee surgery in the offseason. ESPN reporter Jenna Laine joins us to talk all things Tom Brady, and if we should expect to see him play in Saturdays preseason opener. Then, the soon-to-be-new governor of New York may have a personal interest in keeping the Bills in her hometown of Buffalo.
Russell Westbrooks Long, Secret Road to the Lakers: 8/11/21
Russell Westbrook is making his return to L.A. to join what might be the most star-studded Lakers roster ever. While there are questions on whether itll work as planned, a SoCal homecoming has apparently been Russ goal. ESPNs Ramona Shelburne spills all the secrets surrounding roster shake-ups since 2019 for both teams in La La Land, and how Westbrook could have ended up in a Clippers jersey.
The Strategy Behind MLBs Huge Trades (With Jeff Passan or Jefff Pasann): 8/10/21
Major League Baseballs trade deadline left the rich even richer...well, at least the Dodgers. L.A. landed three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, and his former Nationals teammate Trea Turner. Jeff Passan explains how and why L.A. made this deal, with the small market thinking behind their strategy. Plus, the goods on other big deadline deals. Then, yet another athlete comment shows racism persists against the Asian American Pacific Islander community.
ESPN Daily: Why Barcelona Legend Messi is Leaving : 8/9/21
In an emotional press conference, Lionel Messi said his final goodbye to Barcelona. Its been his team for more than 20 years, since he was 13 years old. While Messi and Barcelona had agreed on a five-year extension, the deal fell through because of rules from Spains league, LaLiga. ESPNs Gab Marcotti explains how and why Barcelona allowed this to happen, and the impact of Messis exit on the rest of the sport. Then, how the Texas Rangers Brock Holt threw a historically slow strike.
Do the Olympics Still Matter?: 8/6/21
The Tokyo Olympics are drawing to a close, and its with perhaps less enthusiasm for the event than any Games in recent memory. Viewership is down sharply from the 2016 Games in Rio, and while much of that is no doubt due to the timezone difference as well as the lack of spectators due to the pandemic, there is still a sense among many that the Olympics future is uncertain. Fewer and fewer cities are actively bidding to host the Olympics, and corruption scandals at the IOC as well as doping controversies have left much of the public cynical about the true purpose of the Games. Jeremy Schaap, who has covered eight Olympics on the ground, examines where the Olympic movement is headed...and reflects on some of his favorite extinct Olympic events from history. Then, former rhythmic gymnastics Junior Olympic gold medalist Katie Nolan shares her memories from the sport she loves.
The Sound and the Fury of College Footballs SEC: 8/5/21
College sports powerhouses the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners have hightailed it for the almighty Southeastern Conference, or SEC, leaving the Big 12 behind. Its one of the biggest college football shakeups weve seen, and shows the enormous power and influence of the SEC. College football gentleman and scholar Spencer Hall takes us inside this drama to tell us why it matters.
How NFL Teams are Combating Vaccine Hesitancy: 8/4/21
As coronavirus cases surge across the country, the NFLs training camps are in full swing. But the most important battle being waged is between the teams and a vocal minority of players who dont want to get vaccinated. This offseason, the NFL has implemented new policies to encourage players to get the vaccine. For instance, if an unvaccinated player causes an outbreak that forces a game to be canceled, that players team must forfeit. And every player on both teams will lose out on their game check. In addition, unvaccinated players are mandated to spend 5 days in quarantine if they come in contact with an infected individual. So coaches around the league are increasingly taking the view that the vaccine isnt just crucial to private and public health...its critical to winning football games. But that doesnt mean every player agrees...and the friction is starting to boil over publicly. Kevin Seifert explains the pushback, and how the NFL is handling its vaccination efforts going forward. Then, Sarah Spain discusses her Olympic heptathlon dreams.
Olympic Skateboarding vs. Skate Culture, Explained: 8/3/21
Skateboardings debut at the Olympics felt like a success in the viral waves it made. After the street competition, this week well see the mens and womens park events. For skaters across the globe, Olympic skateboarding prompts some existential questions. Gary Rogers, X Games commentator and host of Skateline for Thrasher Magazine, walks us through the Olympic competitors and explains why a gold medal will never be the pinnacle of a skaters career.
Tokyo Games Week Two Begins + NBA Free Agency: 8/2/21
As the Olympics moves into its second week, we check in with our Tokyo correspondent Brian Windhorst. What will he remember most so far, and whats ahead? Plus more on USA Mens Basketballs path to Olympic gold (or not). Then a look at the Lakers earth-shattering trade for Russell Westbrook and other big moves that are expected as free agency begins in the NBA.
Faster, Higher, Stronger: Exploring the Limits of Olympics Athletes: 7/30/21
The motto of the Olympics is Citius, Altius, Fortius: Faster, Higher, Stronger. Its what weve come to expect from every athlete who competes in the games. Each Olympics, we want to see records shattered for what humans can physically achieve. But how much faster, higher, and stronger can humans get? David Epstein helps us explore the peak of human athletic performance, or if the potential is actually limitless. Then Pablo reflects on the virtual watch parties for Olympians that have gone viral.
Tonights NBA Draft: Everything You Need to Know: 7/29/21
Its being called one of the most loaded NBA draft classes in recent memory. The projected top three picks: Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, and Evan Mobley are all talented to enough to be selected #1 overall. ESPNs Mike Schmitz is here to run down all the names and scenarios you need to know for tonights NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Are the Pistons a lock to take Cade Cunningham? Is Jalen Suggs the new Jrue Holiday? Who is Bones Hyland, and why should you be obsessed with him? And is Turkish big man Alperen Sengun the next Nikola Jokic? Then, Pablo shares his thoughts on the US womens 3-on-3 basketball teams gold medal - and the sports inception.
Why Simone Biles Withdrew And Whats Next: 7/28/21
The Tokyo Games has already seen several upsets, but none more surprising than Simone Biles stumble on the vault and then her withdrawal from the team gymnastics final. Despite initial speculation of an injury, Biles said she stepped away out of concern for her mental health and whether her performance might hurt the teams chances. ESPNs Alyssa Roenigk explains the lead up and the day of Biles withdrawal, what it means for the rest of the gymnastics competition at the Olympics, and beyond. Then Pablo shares what Hidilyn Diaz becoming the first Olympic gold medalist for the Philippines means to him.
Barnwell on Aaron Rodgers Latest + NFL Training Camps: 7/27/21
Aaron Rodgers is inching toward a new deal with his Green Bay Packers right when NFL players report to training camps. With the season just around the corner, other situations also remain in question - like Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. Investigations of sexual assault allegations against Watson are ongoing. ESPNs Bill Barnwell gets us up to speed, and clears the air surrounding lingering COVID-19 vaccine questions. Then, Ashley Brewer gives us an update on Katie Ledeckys quest to become the most decorated female Olympian of all time.
U.S. Gymnastics Star Sunisa Lee: Poised for Gold?: 7/26/21
At the Tokyo Games, the U.S. womens gymnastics team has found itself in an unfamiliar position: second place after the first qualifying event. Poised to help bring the team back to the top is 18-year-old phenom Sunisa Lee, second in the world to Simone Biles. Lee has balanced the weight of family tragedy and the pride of being the first Olympian of Hmong ethnicity all the way to Japan. ESPNs Alyssa Roenigk charts Sunisas path to gold so far, and the uneven, high-stakes road ahead. Then, Brian Windhorst updates us on mens basketball, after Team USAs loss to France, and why we might see more Ls ahead.
Is Jalen Rose the First Jalen? Solving a Sports Name Mystery (Re-Spin): 7/24/21
Youll find several Jalens in the NBA draft this week, following several that were in the spring NFL draft. From Jalen Suggs to Jalen Green to Jalen Johnson, the first round of picks will have you hearing the name ... a lot. For years our colleague, friend and basketball veteran Jalen Rose has maintained that todays Jalens are named for him (whether they know it or not). In one of our favorite-ever episodes, we honor Jalen Roses mother, the recently passed Jeanne Rose, by exploring the history and mystery of his name in sports and beyond. With data, experts, and extensive interviews, the Jalen paradox is solved.
Why USA Mens Basketball Faces Uphill Climb for Olympic Gold: 7/23/21
The Tokyo Olympics begin today, and ESPNs Brian Windhorst is on the ground set to cover Team USA Basketball in its first Olympic matchup this weekend. After surprising exhibition losses and last-minute roster changes due to COVID-19, Windhorst shares how the mens team will fare in Tokyo. Hear how the game differs on the world stage, which teams pose the biggest threat, and why the era of Dream Team dominance may be coming to an end.
On the Ground in Tokyo for the Pandemic Olympics : 7/22/21
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are here, one year late, and much to the dismay of many in Japan. The Tokyo Games will be unlike any other in Olympic history. Fans will not be allowed in any of the arenas. Athletes, officials and media are required to remain in the Olympic bubble and stay separated from the general public. And the Olympic Village, which typically serves as a giant party for the athletes, promises to be much more subdued. All of it, of course, is to hopefully keep the coronavirus from spiking, and possibly forcing the Games to be halted. Pablo caught up with ESPN producer, Tony Florkowski, who is getting ready to work his 14th Olympic Games, and is currently quarantined in his hotel room. Then, Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times helps us understand how the people of Japan are reacting to these Olympics set to begin under a state of emergency.
Bucks are Champions + The Power of WNBAs Layshia Clarendon: 7/21/21
The Bucks are NBA Champions! Pablo reacts to the win in Milwaukee and why a title takes skill, not luck. Then, Layshia Clarendon is a WNBA all-star now with the Minnesota Lynx, parent to an infant, activist off the court, and theyre the first openly nonbinary and transgender player in the league. ESPNs Katie Barnes shares their story, from how faith impacted Clarendons upbringing to the complex road to self-discovery.
Bucks in Six or Suns Last Stand? : 7/20/21
Tonight the Milwaukee Bucks have a chance to close out the NBA Finals on their home floor and secure their first championship in 50 years. Standing in their way is future Hall of Famer Chris Paul and his squad of young guns on the Suns, desperate to send the series back to Phoenix for a seventh game. ESPNs Malika Andrews has been on the sidelines throughout the NBA playoffs, and previews this crucial matchup. Then, comedian Wyatt Cenac gives his take on why Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton are not Batman and Robin, and wouldnt want to be.
The Legend of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick Is Still Being Written: 7/19/21
Ryan Fitzpatrick has 22 helmets in his Zoom background...and that just makes sense. The veteran quarterback has been in the NFL since 2005, as both a star and an also-ran in a career thats spanned many teams and cities. And it wasnt a given in college at Harvard that hed even go pro at all. Pablo Torre has known Fitzmagic since those days, and talks lessons on the field and off with the 2021 starting QB for the Washington Football Team, including how hes managed to stay off of social media all this time.
A Murder in Memphis: The Lorenzen Wright Story: 7/16/21
Its been 11 years since NBA veteran Lorenzen Wright was murdered, his body found in a remote field in Memphis. Wrights twin sons, Lamar and Shamar were 10 years old when their father was killed. Now, Shamar and Lamar are finally ready to share their perspective on their father, his murder, and the accusations against their mother, Sherra. Sherra Wright pleaded guilty to facilitating the murder of her husband in 2019, but now, in a rare interview from prison, she proclaims her innocence. Through the loss of their father, the arrest of their mother, Lamar and Shamar Wright have somehow pushed on, and are now playing college basketball together. Our own Lisa Salters recounts this story of loss and basketball, which accompanies and E:60 special A Murder in Memphis available on demand now on the ESPN app.
Whats Wrong with the Yankees?: 7/15/21
The New York Yankees have become a disappointment. Their heartbreaking loss to the Houston Astros right before the All-Star break is a prime example of the struggles theyve been through this year, and their season doesnt get any easier from here. In their path to redemption lie their storied rivals, the Boston Red Sox, who sit atop the American League East, enjoying an 8-game lead over their rivals. Jeff Passan tells us how the Bronx Bombers have been defused, and whether or not theres still hope for them this season. Then, how Jusuf Nurkic is trying to buy vaccines for all of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Zach Lowe on the NBA Finals Biggest Battle: Deandre Ayton vs Giannis: 7/14/21
Phoenix Suns Center DeAndre Ayton has been arguably the most important big man in the NBA this postseason. ESPN Senior NBA Writer Zach Lowe joins the show to tell us how Ayton has made the journey from #1 pick, to borderline bust, to the key of the Suns defense. On the other side is two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has battled back from a scary knee injury to dominate Game 3. Lowe breaks down how this match up of two big men may just hold the key to the rest of the series.
Marvels Moneymaker Sisters: Stuntwomen Who Bring Superheroes to Life: 7/13/21
Meet two of the best stuntwomen in Hollywood: Heidi and Renae Moneymaker. Youve seen them in Avengers: Endgame, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and now, Black Widow, to name a few. The Moneymaker sisters take us through the bumps and bruises that come from being real life superheroes as stuntwomen. Heidi has helped craft the character of Black Widow with Scarlett Johnasson, as her stunt double for the last decade. And Renae was Brie Larsons stunt double in Captain Marvel, among others. The Moneymaker sisters have faced the greatest villains on-screen, and tell us how two skilled gymnasts went from formal floor routines to getting hit by cars, dodging explosions and diving off cliffs.
ShoTime: How Ohtani Will Dazzle at Home Run Derby and All-Star Game: 7/12/21
The Angels Shohei Ohtani has been slugging homers to corners of ballparks few humans have ever reached, making this years MLB Home Run Derby a must-see. He leads the league in home runs AND hes piling up strikeouts on the mound. That two-way dominance has him set to light up the All-Star Game, too. Alden Gonzalez, our guide to the Ohtani experiment, says the Babe Ruth comparison doesnt even apply to what Shohei has been doing this season. Hear how Ohtani will dazzle next. Then, Sam Borden joins us from London as Italy takes the Euro 2020 trophy over England, before a packed Wembley Stadium.
How Team Owners Avoid Millions in Taxes: 7/9/21
Franchise owners are some of the wealthiest Americans. Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmers net worth is estimated at more than $100 billion. Hes just one of the billionaires in ProPublicas investigation on how teams are handled, when it comes to owners tax liability. Investigative reporter Robert Fateruchi of ProPublica walks us through the tax code as it relates to franchise executives, and how they may wind up paying lower taxes by percentage than not only the players for whom they write their checks, but the workers at their arenas as well. Then Greg Wyshynski tells us how back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions the Tampa Bay Lightning are celebrating fresh off the ice, literally, with a limited-edition beer.
Definition Please? Inside the Scripps National Spelling Bee: 7/8/21
Its finally here! One of ESPNs most prestigious events, the Scripps National Spelling Bee, names a champion tonight. Families from across the country cheer on their finalist spellers, and its all broadcast live on ESPN2 at 8PM Eastern. Host Kevin Negandhi shares how the bee works, and why it means so much to the Indian-American community. Hear about the fierce field of competitors, and see how Kevin and Pablo do with a word or two.
NBA Finals: What We Learned From Game One: 7/7/21
The NBA Finals tipped off with Phoenix vs. Milwaukee, and the Suns delivered their first Finals win at home in decades. Kevin Arnovitz breaks down Game One, including how the pick and roll came into play. Then, we check in with Sam Borden in London, who brings us a soccer (and culinary) update from the 2020 Euros semifinals.
RE-AIR: How Two Detroit Lions Inspired Marvin Gayes Whats Going On : 7/6/21
You know and love the Marvin Gaye song Whats Going On, which turned 50 this year. But do you know the background voices on the hit song belong to two Detroit Lions? The Motown superstar developed a deep friendship with NFL players Mel Farr and Lem Barney, and it led to music history. Plus the story gets even better, as Farr and Barney helped Marvin Gaye take his dream of playing pro football to the next level. Justin Tinsley joins the show to tell the amazing story of footballs role in Marvin Gayes turbulent life.
RE-AIR: Ali-Frazier: The Fight of the Century 50 Years Later: 7/5/21
50 years ago, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier met in their first iconic boxing match, known as The Fight of the Century. It was 1971, with the civil rights movement in full swing and the nation divided over the war in Vietnam. Jeremy Schaap, boxing historian and host of E60 and Outside the Lines, shares how political and cultural views were projected onto Ali and Frazier, with their different personalities, history and fighting styles. The night itself was a grand celebrity spectacle (Frank Sinatra took a gig as a photographer, just to get in the building.) And while Frazier won unanimously, the fight has a more complex and nuanced legacy. Half a century later, it remains one of the sports biggest moments.
College Athletes Are Getting Paid: Now What? : 7/2/21
July 1, 2021 marks a new era in college sports. Its a day which some believed would never come, because student-athletes are now free to make money off of their name, image, and likeness. Many stars at the collegiate level have already begun to partake in their newfound compensatory freedom, but what will these game changing new laws mean for the collegiate world as a whole? ESPNs Dan Murphy joins Sarah Spain to answer all of our questions on how schools, players, and fans are being affected by these uncharted waters. Then, Sarah shares her insights on the struggles that Olympic mothers face, as many remain unsure if they are allowed to bring their newborns to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Jeff Passan on MLBs Sticky Stuff War: 7/1/21
Major League Baseballs crackdown is underway on pitchers using foreign substances for better grip. ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan explains why were seeing players being undressed by umpires as they come off the field (in one case literally). Questions remain about how smart a move this was to make in the middle of the season, and if it is having the effect that MLB wants. Then, Sarah reflects on Bobby Bonilla Day, and a Yankees bat girl who finally saw her dream came true, 60 years after writing a letter to the team.
P.K. Subban on the Stanley Cup Final: 6/30/21
P.K. Subban, ESPNs newest NHL playoff analyst and three-time NHL All-Star, joins Sarah Spain to dive deep into the Stanley Cup Final. Subban, who played sevens seasons for the Canadiens, shares what it means for most storied franchise in the NHL to be back playing for the Cup after last winning it nearly 30 years ago. Standing in their way are the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are looking to be the first team to repeat since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017. Subban explains what the Canadiens need to do to complete their Cinderella run, and how the Lightning can make even more history en route to their third championship. He also tells the story of his childhood friend and teammate Steven Stamkos...and how they used to dominate on the Pee-Wee hockey circuit. Then, Sarah shares her thoughts on Dak Prescott opening up about the importance of mental health.
Simone Biles to Tokyo: The Road to More Gold: 6/29/21
Simone Biles has been the face of USA Gymnastics ever since she began competing on the international stage. The most decorated gymnast of all time has sealed her position on the U.S. Olympic roster for the second straight games, and will travel to Tokyo with a scary good team. ESPNs Alyssa Roenigk shares what she saw at the Olympic trials, and breaks down the moves that make Biles legendary.
CP3 Powers Suns, Middleton Invigorates Bucks: NBA Conference Finals: 6/28/21
The NBA Conference Finals are heating up - especially for Khris Middleton, whose surge helped the Bucks come back to rout the Hawks 113-102, and they lead the series 2-1. The Hawks led for almost the entire game thanks to Trae Young, who got injured during the game but returned. And in the west, the Phoenix Suns are one win away from their first NBA Finals appearance since 1993. Propelled by veteran Chris Paul and young star Devin Booker, the Suns held a comfortable lead in Saturdays Game 4, until the final minutes when the Clippers closed the gap and nearly held the lead. Then, a bizarre final minute...but the Suns held on to take a 3-1 lead. Sarah Spain and Brian Windhorst unpack the Conference Finals action.
Bonus Episode: Olympic Training During a Pandemic: 6/26/21
Its a dream year in the making. High jumper Priscilla Frederick-Loomis will do anything to support her training for the 2020 Olympicseven clean strangers houses. But as the postponed Tokyo Games approach, shes still suffering mysterious health problems months after contracting COVID-19. In collaboration with ESPN, we follow Frederick-Loomiss progress and ask: What will it take to safely pull off the Olympics? For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? Follow Priscilla Frederick Loomis and her journey to the 2021 Olympics on Instagram @priscilla_frederick. And hear more from Pablo Torre at ESPN Daily, ESPNs flagship podcast. Leroy Sims recently appeared to talk about leading the vaccine rollout for the NBA. For more of ESPNs reporting on the Olympics, meet the USA Rugby player who works as a pediatric nurse. And learn how Japanese athletes are getting the vaccine before the general public. The Olympics has had a turbulent history. Read our story about it and explore if a curse could explain why the Olympics gets disrupted so often. If you like what you hear and want to support more content like this, please consider a National Geographic subscription. Go to natgeo.com/explore to subscribe today.
ESPN Daily: Roger Bennett on Stars, Stripes, and Soccer: 6/25/21
Ahead of his book, Reborn in the USA: An Englishman's Love Letter to His Chosen Home, Roger Bennett of Men in Blazers fame shares how his love for U.S. sports and culture as a kid in Liverpool led him in search of his own American dream. From meeting his childhood idol William The Refrigerator Perry, to the emotion of being sworn in as a US Citizen, Bennett's story truly captures the wonder and complexity of America. It's also the story of sports' magic ability to bridge cultures. And of course, Bennett offers his thoughts on England's chances in the Euro 2020 tournament as it heads into the knockout round.
What Were Made Of: A Vaccine Pioneer and Her Olympian Daughter: 6/24/21
Every four years, athletes compete for glory at the Olympic Games, and this years Tokyo Games will feel even greater for two-time gold medalist Susan Francia. Her mother, Dr. Kate Karikó, has seen her lifelong work come to fruition in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Karikós dedication to her research amidst adversity inspired her daughter, who became an elite rower and Olympian. ESPNs Julie Foudy takes us through the story of Dr. Karikós perseverance, her mRNA breakthroughs behind the vaccine, and the mother-daughter relationship at the center of the E:60 upcoming feature What Were Made Of.
Basketball Heat Check: Is the Hot Hand Fact or Fiction?: 6/23/21
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, thats been the belief of Nobel Prize winning scientists who insist that what looks like a player who cant 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 McBeths million dollar endorsement deal.
The Supreme Court College Sports Ruling, Explained: 6/22/21
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. Its largely seen as having opened the door to a wider challenge to the NCAAs ban on college athletes receiving compensation, writ large. ESPN Analyst Jay Bilas, college athlete and longtime critic of the NCAAs 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.
Devin Booker Dominates, Giannis Delivers, Hawks Soar: NBA Playoffs with Brian Windhorst: 6/21/21
This weekends 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 Youngs 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.
RE-AIR: The Rise Of The Suns Devin Booker: 6/19/21
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is perhaps the most overlooked superstar in the NBA. At age 24, hes one of the leagues premiere scorers. And his domination has continued this season, through the Phoenix Suns playoff run - theyre 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 Bookers roots in his Cover Story, and chronicles the Gen-Z phenoms path from 6th man at Kentucky, to his connection with Kobe Bryant, to his relationship with new teammate Chris Paul.
Formula 101: Everything You Need To Know About F1 Racing...and Why Its Having a Moment: 6/18/21
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.
How Pro Surfer Tyler Wright Made Her Own Waves: 6/17/21
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 wasnt 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.
Beef at the U.S. Open: Inside the Koepka/DeChambeau Feud: 6/16/21
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 Americas 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.
Love in the Time of Hockey Riots: 6/15/21
Its been 10 years since the Vancouver Canucks lost Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins, in Vancouver. Canucks fans didnt 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.
Suns Sweep, Bucks Bounce Back: NBA Playoffs with Kirk Goldsberry: 6/14/21
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 Hardens injuries. Kirk Goldsberry assesses all the on-the-court action and looks ahead to the rest of this weeks games. Then, newcomer Nets superfan Mina Kimes reassures the Brooklyn faithful.
Inside Euro 2020: Soccers Month of Drama, Passion, and Geopolitical Tension: 6/11/21
Never has better late than never meant so much to so many. Thats because the 2020 Euros - aka the UEFA European Championship - kicks off today after a years delay due to the pandemic. Its 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.
MLBs Sticky Situation: Spider Tack, Pelican Grip and Baseballs Open Secret: 6/10/21
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 gentlemans agreement that tolerated the practice for years no longer holds. Its 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 theyre one series away from reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.
NFL Offseason Drama: Aaron Rodgers, Julio Jones, and More: 6/9/21
This NFL offseason is bursting with drama. Theres Julio Jones signing with the Tennessee Titans after more than a decade as the Atlanta Falcons star receiver. Aaron Rodgers wont be showing up for required OTAs with the Packers, and his rift with the organization isnt 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 Womens College World Series.
NFL Plans to End Race-Norming in Concussion Claims: What Happens Next: 6/8/21
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 NFLs 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.
NBA Playoffs Breakdown: Trae Triumphs, Kawhi Dominates, Harden Injured: 6/7/21
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, whos 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 weekends basketball action, and looks ahead to the second round.
Mayweather vs. Paul: What Influencers Mean for Boxing: 6/4/21
The global internet celebrity Logal Paul faces off against boxing legend Floyd Mayweather this Sunday. Both men are controversial figures, whove 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. ESPNs 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.
How the Mascot Hall of Fame Came to Furry Fruition: 6/3/21
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 hasnt 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.
Jeff Passan on the Story Behind MLBs Inaugural Lou Gehrig Day: 6/2/21
Lou Gehrig was one of the greatest players in the history of baseball. But Gehrigs 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 Gehrigs legacy, and to share the story of the man who actually made MLBs Lou Gehrig Day happen: Brian Wayne Gallantine. Then, Pablo shares his thoughts on Naomi Osakas comments about the post-match press conferences at the French Open and mental health in sports.
The Surprising Science Behind Epic Athletes (Re-Air): 6/1/21
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.
Rocky Bleier: From The Steelers To Vietnam And Back (Re-Air): 5/31/21
For generations, countless men and women from around the sports world have served in our nations military. But none have a story quite like Rocky Bleier. Bleier won a college football national championship with Notre Dame, but 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 hed never play football again. But Bleier would go on to rejoin the Steelers and win four Super Bowls with the team in the 1970s. In 2018, Bleier and ESPNs 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.
Boban Marjanovic is Your Favorite NBA Players Favorite Player: 5/28/21
Dallas Mavericks center Boban Marjanovic stands at 74 and the Serbia native is most likely your favorite NBA players 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 Bobans 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 weekends Champions League Final between Manchester City and Chelsea.
Will the Tokyo Olympics Actually Happen?: 5/27/21
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been in limbo since the COVID pandemic gripped the world. The games have already been postponed a full year, and are now less than two months away. But even as the opening ceremonies on July 23rd draw closer and closer, its still unclear whether or not the Tokyo Olympics will actually take place. With coronavirus cases surging in Japan, and distribution of the vaccine proceeding slowly, Tokyo is currently under a state of emergency. And perhaps most importantly, public opinion in Japan is now firmly on the side of canceling the games outright. But the International Olympic Committee has been adamant about moving forward with the games. ESPN senior writer Tom Hamilton, whos based in London, and the Times of Londons Asia editor Richard Lloyd Parry, whos based in Tokyo, explain the financial implications, public health risks, and other factors at play as the Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
The Bromance Behind the Knicks Rebirth + Aaron Rodgers Latest: 5/26/21
New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has one oft-repeated mantra: The magic is in the work. Its a mantra that has struck a chord with Julius Randle, whose work has paid off this year. Randle has led the Knicks to the playoffs, made an All-Star appearance, and was just named the NBAs Most Improved Player. Nick Friedell has covered Thibodeau for ten years, and joins the show to explain Thibodeaus coaching style, and what it means for a player like Randle to be a Thibs guy. Then, Packers reporter Rob Demovsky helps us parse through Aaron Rodgers recent comments, and his future with the team.
The WNBAs Minnesota Lynx Found Their Voice: 5/25/21
One year ago, May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin. The event spurred protest, activism and action around the world. In sports, perhaps no entity was as prepared to deal with the resulting racial reckoning as the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx. Katie Barnes joins the show to share stories from the women of the Lynx. From personal experiences that inform their views on criminal justice, to how the team first took a stand against disproportionate police violence many years ago, the Lynx have been central to sports evolving relationship with athlete activism.
How Two Detroit Lions Inspired Marvin Gayes Whats Going On : 5/24/21
You know and love the Marvin Gaye song Whats Going On, which turned 50 this month. But do you know the background voices on the hit song belong to two Detroit Lions? The Motown superstar developed a deep friendship with NFL players Mel Farr and Lem Barney, and it led to music history. Plus the story gets even better, as Farr and Barney helped Marvin Gaye take his dream of playing pro football to the next level. Justin Tinsley joins the show to tell the amazing story of footballs role in Marvin Gayes turbulent life.
The NBA Play-In and Most Enticing Playoff Matchups : 5/21/21
When LeBron James sunk a game winning 3-point shot in the final minute of Wednesdays play-in game vs. Golden State, it felt like the NBA playoffs had already begun. And now, the seventh seeded Lakers are actually favored in their first-round series against the Phoenix Suns. As the playoffs loom, Kevin Arnovitz tells us how LeBron and Anthony Davis (who are still recovering from injuries) and the Lakers might handle Chris Paul and the Suns. Plus he makes the case for why we should hop on the Utah Jazz bandwagon. And why Bucks vs. Heat might be the most enticing matchup in the entire first round.
Lionel Messi: Genius. Legend. Leaving?: 5/20/21
Lionel Messi shocked the soccer world last year when he announced he wanted to leave Barcelona, the team hes played for since he was a teenager. Messis contract expires at the end of June, and clubs like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are poised to make massive offers to the man many consider the greatest player of all time. Sid Lowe has covered Messi for his entire career with Barcelona from inside Spain, and joins the show to take us through how Messi came to this crossroads, the stages of Messis career from Argentina to Barcelona, and what his next move might be.
Why John Dalys Miracle 1991 PGA Championship Lives on Through One Family: 5/19/21
When an unknown 25 year old named John Daly showed up at the 1991 PGA Championship literally the night before -- as the ninth alternate -- he pulled off the biggest upset in golf history and became an instant icon, 30 years ago this August. Dalys style (namely his mullet), and his behavior (namely chain smoking and drinking too much) set him apart from the buttoned up country club crowd. But his massive drives and bad boy persona made him a fan favorite, and his win at the 1991 PGA Championship in Carmel, Indiana made him a legend in golf history. Whats less well known, but no less significant, is the story of another man who attended that tournament. During the first round, Tom Weaver, a spectator and father of two, was struck in the chest by lightning, and died at the scene. ESPNs Bob Harig shares the story of Tom Weaver, and the gift Daly sent his family afterwards, that lives on to this day.
Stephen A. Smith Dishes Knicks + Play-In Tournament: 5/18/21
No one is happier to see the New York Knicks in the NBA Playoffs than our own Stephen A. Smith. But the ESPN host and commentator infamously pulls no punches as a critic of the team, or the league in general. And he has his share of takes on the painful path it took for the Knicks to get here. Hear what he thinks happens next. Plus, Stephen As best bets to make it past the NBA Play-In Tournament, tipping off today.
Michael Wilbon on Basketball Hall of Fame Weekend: 5/17/21
The late Kobe Bryant was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, where his wife Vanessa delivered a moving speech remembering her husband during Saturdays emotional night. Also inducted were fellow NBA icons Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett...as well as our own Michael Wilbon, who was given the Curt Gowdy Media Award. Wilbon joins the show to share some behind-the-scenes moments from a historic basketball weekend. Then, ESPNs Dan Hajducky reflects on a connection he shares with Hall of Fame inductee and WNBA legend Tamika Catchings.
Medina Spirits Kentucky Derby Drama, Explained: 5/14/21
Medina Spirit will race in this weekends Preakness, fresh off a win at the Kentucky Derby. The victory is clouded in controversy, because a drug test right after came up positive for a substance banned on race day. Longtime trainer and racing honcho Bob Baffert has denied wrongdoing, but this is just the latest in a string of concerning incidents around his massive horse training operation. Matt Hegarty of Daily Racing Form walks us through the timeline of events, leading up to this weekends Preakness, and the implications for superstar Baffert. Then Wright Thompson, reporter for ESPNs Bloodlines podcast, shares more on his time with Baffert, and the state of racing.
Is This Finally Joel Embiids Moment?: 5/13/21
Joel Embiids 2021 season has been marked by seismic ups and downs. With the Sixers leading the Eastern Conference, Embiid was the front runner for NBA MVP through mid-March...until he went down with a knee injury that sidelined him for 10 games. The injury was just the latest roadblock in a career thats seemingly always just on the cusp of fulfilling its potential. And off the court, Embiid has faced personal tragedy, with the death of his brother Arthur, as well as joy, with the birth of his first child, whom hes named after his late brother. As Embiid and the 76ers look toward the postseason, Ramona Shelburne sits down with Joel Embiid as he reveals his emotional journey and shares what drives him.
WNBA At 25: From We Got Next to the Orange Hoodie...and Beyond: 5/12/21
The WNBA celebrates its 25th anniversary this season, a historic milestone for a league that many thought would never last. From the leagues beginnings and the rise of stars like Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes to the modern game and the myriad of social justice initiatives undertaken by the players, the game has changed massively in the past quarter-century, both on and off the court. Rebecca Lobo was there from the beginning. She reflects on growing pains in the leagues early days, and what comes next. Then Pablo hashes Russian president Vladimir Putins eight goal "performance" in a hockey exhibition game.
How Can LeBron and the Lakers Rebound?: 5/11/21
The reigning champion Lakers currently sit way down at seventh in the Western Conference, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis having been out for long stretches due to injury. With both stars returning, the Lake Show is pushing for a postseason berth. Brian Windhorst explains LeBron and companys chances. And he breaks down what the play-in games mean, love them or hate them.
The View from Center Ice: NHL Drama + Playoff Primer: 5/10/21
The New York Rangers face drama on and off the ice, around the leagues response to Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilsons latest incident and history of injuring opponents. This weekend, Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid reached the milestone of 100 points in 53 games, as hes looking more and more like the favorite for league MVP. And thats just the latest in a season of big NHL headlines, as the league skates toward the playoffs. ESPN hockey insiders Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski co-host our NHL breakdown.
REBROADCAST: Alive - The Drew Robinson Story : 5/8/21
**NOTE: This episode originally aired on February 2nd, 2021** Twenty-nine-year-old Drew Robinson is attempting a Major League Baseball return unlike any other. Robinson worked his way through the minors for many years, and in 2017 he finally made the Texas Rangers Opening Day roster. But what followed was a bumpy path up and down between leagues and teams. All the while, Robinson struggled with mental health concerns. On April 16th, 2020, Drew Robinson attempted suicide. He lived. And now, with ongoing rehabilitation and therapy, Robinson worked his way back into professional baseball, as he has successfully made the roster for the San Francisco Giants Triple-A affiliate for the 2021 season. ESPNs Senior MLB Insider Jeff Passan shares his reporting behind the ESPN+ special from E:60, Alive: The Drew Robinson Story.
Aaron Rodgers Drama: The View From Green Bay: 5/7/21
The NFL world was stunned last week by the report of Aaron Rodgers wanting out of Green Bay, and in the time since, little has emerged to suggest the situation will be easily resolved. Rodgers has been teasing a departure for months for a myriad of reasons, from the unexpected arrival of QB Jordan Love last season to unhappiness with Packers leadership to the allure of a permanent new gig hosting Jeopardy! Longtime Packers beat reporter Rob Demovsky joins the show to unpack the situation, explore whether Packers fans are turning on Rodgers, and sort out what might happen next. Then, in honor of Mothers Day, Pablo shares how Arizona womens basketball coach Adia Barnes has become an inspiration to working moms everywhere.
The Most Important Shots In The NBA: Vaccines: 5/6/21
As we approach the NBA playoffs, stakes are high for missing games, and coronavirus vaccines are tantamount. The person leading vaccine rollout, and all player health and safety amid this pandemic, is Dr. Leroy Sims. As Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs for the NBA, Sims has overseen every detail of fighting COVID-19. He shares insights from an unprecedented year, and what he sees ahead. Then Jeff Passan has news about baseball player Drew Robinson. He attempted suicide. And lived. And now hes returning to the game.
The Russell Westbrook Paradox: 5/5/21
There is no one in the NBA like Russell Westbrook. The former league MVP routinely puts up eye-popping stat lines and is now just four triple-doubles away from breaking Oscar Robertson's all-time triple-double record. But whats even more impressive about Westbrook is how hes elevating the Washington Wizards, and shockingly making them look like a contender this May. But Westbrook is not without his critics, particularly among the analytics obsessed NBA-types who worship at the altar of efficiency. Today, Kirk Goldsberry joins the show to break down the paradox that is Russell Westbrook: Is he a uniquely talented player who puts up historic numbers? Or one whose weaknesses are seemingly at odds with success in the modern NBA? Can he be both? Then, Pablo shares an update on the Indian Premier Leagues suspension amidst growing COVID cases in India.
Protesters on the Pitch: Why the Failed Super League is Haunting Soccer: 5/4/21
As Europes Champions League Semifinals start today, the soccer world is still reeling from protesting fans in England. Hundreds stormed Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester on Sunday, injured police officers and led Liverpool and Man United to reschedule their game. It all stems back to a failed plan for Europes biggest soccer teams to form a breakaway league, that revealed team owners and populist fans diverging ideas about the future of soccer in Europe. As long-standing tensions flare up, global sports correspondent Sam Borden breaks down the culture and economics in play.
Shohei Ohtanis Baseball Experiment is Working: 5/3/21
Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani is breaking MLB records that have been held for a century. He just became the first player since Babe Ruth to start a game as a pitcher...while also leading the league in home runs as a hitter. As Ohtani takes the mound again in Anaheim tonight, Alden Gonzalez explains what Ohtanis success as a two-way player means for the game, and if well see more like him going forward. Then, todays soccer fan protests and how theyre connected to deeper discontent in Europes teams.
Bill Barnwell Sizes Up Round One of the NFL Draft: 4/30/21
The 2021 NFL Draft first round is in the books, and prospects are on the way to their new teams. From the 49ers secretive plan to take QB Trey Lance as the number three pick, to the Bears trading up for QB Justin Fields, quarterbacks remained the story at the center. And then there are the other wins down the roster, like the Falcons new tight end Kyle Pitts. But we also have to talk about Aaron Rodgers surprise pre-draft gripes about Green Bay, dont we? Bill Barnwell sizes up the surprises and key storylines of draft night.
What Richard Sherman Can Teach Us About the NFL Draft: 4/29/21
The Seattle Seahawks drafted Richard Sherman with the 154th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, behind 24 other cornerbacks. 10 years later, Sherman is still punishing the league for letting him fall that far, and created a legacy that will one day send him to Canton. But what did everyone miss when they were evaluating Sherman in 2011? And why didnt they see his potential? On the day of the 2021 NFL Draft, Domonique Foxworth explains what Richard Sherman, the prospect, can teach us about what well see during these next three days of drafting...and everything we wont.
Is Jalen Rose the First Jalen? We Solve a Sports Name Mystery: 5/3/21
Youll find several Jalens in the NFL draft this week, the NBA draft this summer, and any number of games you turn on ... from Jalen Suggs to Jalen Green to Jalen Mayfield. For years our colleague, friend and basketball veteran Jalen Rose has maintained that todays Jalens are named for him (whether they know it or not). We honor Jalen Roses mother, the recently passed Jeanne Rose, exploring the history and mystery of his name in sports and beyond. With data, experts, and extensive interviews, the Jalen paradox is solved.
Who Inspires QB Trevor Lawrence? Artist and Brother, Chase : 4/27/21
The sports world is ripe with famous siblings like the Watt brothers, Williams sisters, Currys, Gasols, and on and on. But a superstars non-athlete sibling doesnt usually make news. Enter Chase Lawrence, the offbeat older brother of the top player in this weeks NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence. Chase is an artist worth knowing and big influence on Trevor Lawrence himself. ESPNs Dave Fleming explains how the bond between these two is a hidden factor in Trevors rise, and the new collaboration thats bringing their worlds together.
NFL Draft Preview with Mina Kimes: 4/26/21
For the 2021 NFL Draft this week, we wont have family cams or yacht cameos. Live and in-person from Cleveland, teams will match with top talent, including a handful of historically great quarterbacks. And well see what franchises who traded up for higher draft picks have in mind. ESPN analyst Mina Kimes previews all the drama. Then, goodbye to a goat whos truly a GOAT.
Jokic, Curry, or Embiid: Zach Lowe Breaks Down Their Rival Claims for NBA MVP : 4/23/21
Its been a strange and turbulent NBA season, and the race for MVP is no different. While Nikola Jokic is leading the pack at the moment, familiar names like Steph Curry, Joel Embiid and even James Harden are all still very much in the race. Today, Zach Lowe breaks down the MVP favorites, and also explains how the New York Knicks, yes, the New York Knicks, became the hottest playoff team in the NBA.
Deion Coach Prime Sanders First Season at Jackson State : 4/21/21
Deion Sanders was one of the NFLs most flamboyant characters, where he earned nicknames like Prime Time and Neon Deion. Now, hes just finished his first season as head coach at Jackson State (yes, spring football due to COVID-19). Our guest, sports writer Jean-Jacques Taylor, covered Sanders career for the NFL and reported on his coaching season for The Undefeated. Then, Myron Medcalf joins us from Minneapolis on the sports worlds reaction to a guilty verdict for the man who killed George Floyd.
Why Everyone Seems to Hate Soccers New Super League: 4/20/21
Over the weekend, news broke that 12 of the biggest soccer teams from across Europe are attempting to break away and create their own Super League. The backlash was immediate and widespread, from politicians and royalty to fans across the world. Sam Borden joins the show to explain if the creation of the new league is even possible, and why its got the soccer world in an uproar. Then, Pablo shares the story of Gary Payton, a former NBA guard who doesnt partake in cannabis at all, yet is the face of one of the most popular legal strains of marijuana.
How Modern Pitchers Are Breaking Baseball: 4/19/21
MLBs 2021 season is delivering wild numbers: eye-popping speed on the average fastball, and crazy-low batting averages. Look no further than the dominance of New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom. ESPN Baseball Insider Jeff Passan tells us why fastballs are faster and sliders more nasty. Hear how its all changing todays game in ways that could harm its appeal, if MLB doesnt take action. Then, an all-time hockey record is breaking tonight, and the two players involved and their careers couldnt be more different.
The Man Who Invented the NFL Draft: Being Mel Kiper Jr.: 4/26/21
The NFL Draft is American institution. And for the past 40 years, the unmistakable voice of that institution has been Mel Kiper Jr. His Big Board and mock drafts have become a rite of spring, a yearly ritual that signals your team will soon be on the clock. It is a remarkable climb for someone who used a typewriter to compile draft reports as a teenager, before the NFL Draft was even televised. Mel joins the show to explain how he helped turn his personal obsession into a national obsession&and made us all draft nerds in the process.
The Dual Narratives Around Deshaun Watsons Massages: 4/15/21
Allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against Deshaun Watson have until this week played out through lawyers statements and accuser anonymity. Now, more women are attaching their names to court filings and speaking in public. While some of Watsons corporate sponsors are suspending deals with him, some women are speaking in support of Watson, saying their experiences with him were not inappropriate. Investigative reporter John Barr walks us through the conflicting narratives at play in these developments. Then, ahead of the WNBA draft Thursday night, Kevin Pelton weighs in on the leagues eligibility rules.
The Next Great Quarterback Prospect (Is Someone Youve Never Heard Of): 4/14/21
Quarterback Trey Lance is projected to be a top-10 pick in this years NFL draft. But the 20-year-old from North Dakota State has largely flown under the radar, overshadowed by big names like Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. Lance and his family have bucked trends from the start, and his path to the NFL has seemed fast, and yet also circuitous. Tim Keown shares Lances story, and why hes captured the attention of NFL scouts everywhere.
Daryl Morey On the Sports Analytics Revolution: 4/13/21
Daryl Morey, Philadelphia 76ers general manager, co-founded an event 15 years ago thats become the hub of all things data-driven in sports. At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, researchers, athletes, coaches and commentators swap takes on the digital trends changing how games are played, and how business is done. Morey joins Pablo to definitely not apologize for anything, to discuss the rise of sports analytics, and how data can make teams and the NBA game itself even better. Then, Myron Medcalf gives us a view from Minnesota, where Twin Cities teams postponed games in the wake of the police shooting of Daunte Wright.
How Breaking Baseballs Unwritten Rules Is Changing The Game (For Good): 4/12/21
Baseball is steeped in time-honored traditions and a code of unwritten rules. But players in todays game are starting to break those rules: flipping their bats, admiring their home runs, and, say, hitting a Grand Slam when up 10-3 in the 8th inning. Ok, that last one was just Fernando Tatis Jr. ESPNs Joon Lee explains how baseballs youngest generation is challenging the establishment and injecting their personalities into the game - and why thats changing the sport for the better. Then, Pablo shares the story of a prison basketball game where an unlikely play-by-play star was born.
Full Circle: The Freddie Freeman Story: 4/9/21
You might know about Freddie Freeman, the baseball player...the gold glover and four time All-Star...who battled back from covid to win NL MVP last year. But the Freddie Freeman you dont know is even more remarkable. Buster Olney joins the show to take us inside Full Circle: The Freddie Freeman Story: airing this Sunday on E:60, and presents an exclusive and emotional portrait of one of the games best players. Freeman opens up as never before about the loss of loved ones, as well as the struggles he and his wife have endured in starting of a family of their own.
Sports and Georgia: MLB, the Masters, and Beyond: 4/8/21
MLB moved the All-Star Game out of Georgia, after the state passed a law hampering voting access. As MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred takes heat from many directions, baseballs move has cast a different kind of spotlight on the Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Its teeing off as scheduled, and thats not surprising to ESPN senior writer and baseball historian Howard Bryant. He breaks down the business side of MLBs decision, how its reverberating, and the many stakeholders in play. Then, Pablo shares a personal connection with the pimento cheese sandwich, a time-honored staple at the Masters.
Field Yates On The NFL Draft QB Chaos: 4/7/21
When the Jets traded Sam Darnold to the Panthers on Monday, they essentially announced to the world that they will be selecting a quarterback with the 2nd pick in the upcoming NFL draft. And at the top of this years draft&theyre not alone. The 2021 QB Draft class is one of the deepest in memory, and the top 5 QB prospects could all potentially be picked in the top 10. Some, like Clemsons Trevor Lawrence, are considered as sure a bet as any prospect since Andrew Luck. Others, like North Dakota States Trey Lance may not have the big program pedigree...but are still projected to be among the first players taken. Field Yates joins the show to assess the top 5 QB prospects...and makes his prediction for where they might end up. Then, ahead of the Masters Tournament, Sam Borden shares the story of Tim Tucker, golf genius Bryson DeChambeaus caddie, and their unique dynamic.
Baylor Bears Are NCAA Champs: How Gonzaga Lost Its Perfect Season: 4/6/21
The Baylor Bears are your NCAA champions, for the first time in the programs history. After decimating Houston in the Final Four, Baylor put on an offensive showcase powered by impressive scoring runs, and ended Gonzagas quest for a perfect season. Jalen Suggs and the Zags offense were unable to get anything going against the stalwart Baylor defense. Myron Medcalf joins us from Indianapolis to break down the title game and reflect on the 2021 tournament. Then, Pablo remarks on Aaron Rodgers self-aware debut as Jeopardy guest host.
NCAA: Gonzaga Buzzer Beater, Baylor Blowout, and Stanford Womens Champs: 4/5/21
Gonzaga and Baylor tip off tonight in the NCAA Championship after a thrilling pair of Final Four games. Gonzagas Jalen Suggs hit a wild game-winning buzzer-beater in overtime on Saturday vs. UCLA that sent Sports Twitter into overdrive, as Gonzaga furthered its quest for a perfect season. Also on Saturday, Baylor blew out Houston with Jared Butler landing 17 points, and five players recording double figures. Jeff Borzello recounts Suggs 3 heard round the world. And LaChina Robinson breaks down how Stanford bested Arizona in another neck-and-neck game to become the women's champions.
Final Four Weekend: Gonzagas Perfect Run + Paige Bueckers Magic: 4/2/21
This weekend, the mens and womens NCAA Final Four games tip off in Indianapolis and San Antonio, respectively. On the mens side, Gonzaga will look to fend off surprising UCLA, who just upset #1 Michigan, while Baylor and Houston face off in a rare Lone Star State showdown. Myron Medcalf is on the ground in Indianapolis and shares his insights on each Final Four matchup. For the women, powerhouse UConn, lead by star freshman Paige Bueckers, will do battle with Arizona, whos making its first Final Four appearance. And Dawn Staleys South Carolina Gamecocks look to continue their defensive stand against tournament favorite Stanford. LaChina Robinson is on site in San Antonio to preview the pair of games, and reflects on the womens tournament thus far. Then, Katie Barnes updates us on the BFFs of the tournament: Gonzagas Jalen Suggs and UConns Paige Bueckers, as they each prepare for the semifinals.
MLB Opening Day: Tim Kurkjian on Fans Return, Houstons Reckoning, and Playoffs for the...Mets?: 4/1/21
Baseballs Opening Day is finally here! After a shortened 2020 season, MLB is back with a 162 game schedule and plenty of exciting storylines. With fans back in the stands, will the Houston Astros finally receive the reckoning many thought theyd get following their cheating scandal? Will Francisco Lindor live up to the hype and take the Mets to the postseason? Can the upstart Padres match up with the defending champion Dodgers? Tim Kurkjian runs through everything you need to know heading into this baseball season, and even gives Baltimore Orioles fans something to hope for. Then, new Cubs TV play-by-play announcer Boog Sciambi talks with Pablo about taking up the iconic broadcasting mantle at Wrigley Field.
Funny Money, a Secret Recording, and the Unraveling of a Powerhouse Football Program: 3/31/21
When the winningest team in high school football hired the most controversial coach in high school football, heads turned all over the state of Georgia. What ensued was a 15-month saga of small-town, big time football that ended up dividing an entire town. Mark Schlabach brings us a story of funny money, a secret recording, and the unraveling of a powerhouse high school football program in Valdosta, Georgia.
The New York Mets: Best Worst Team In Sports : 3/30/21
The New York Mets and their fans have been sports punchline fodder for decades. But Mets fans are a resilient (if occasionally delusional?) bunch, enduring heartbreak after heartbreak in the long history of the organization. Author Devin Gordon refers to the team as the Best Worst Team in Sports in his new book, So Many Ways To Lose, and he joins the show to discuss his research into the highs and lows of the Mets, their passionate fans, and unique legacy.
How Far Will Nationals Star Juan Soto Go?: 3/29/21
Nationals superstar Juan Soto has won a World Series, made a highlight reels worth of big hits, and holds a batting title. All that at 22 years old. A fan favorite in Washington, Soto is known for his swagger and disregard for baseballs traditional decorum, as well as his megawatt smile. Jeff Passan recently talked with Soto for ESPNs Cover Story, and he joins the show to explain how Sotos swing - and his presence - are changing baseball for good. Then, Bill Barnwell runs through the biggest NFL news in trades and free agency.
Gonzaga Greatness, Cinderellas and Sister Jean: Sweet 16 Preview : 3/26/21
The mens Sweet 16 begins this weekend, full of unlikely contenders and March stalwarts. Oral Roberts is the Cinderella of the tournament so far, but Loyola Chicago has the power of 101-year-old nun Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt on their side. Gonzagas on the brink of a perfect season, but theyll likely have to get through another #1 seed like Baylor. Myron Medcalf joins us from Indianapolis to preview the next set of matchups, based on his analysis on the tournament so far. Then, Ryan McGee tells us why Bristol Speedways become a dirt track this weekend -- the first NASCAR race on dirt in 50 years.
Deshaun Watson Faces Assault Allegations: 3/25/21
Texans QB Deshaun Watson has been named in over a dozen civil lawsuits filed by a number of Houston area women over the last several days, alleging varying degrees of sexual misconduct and assault. ESPN investigative reporter John Barr takes us through the timeline and details of the cases, and where the legal action could go from here. Then, Texans reporter Sarah Barshop brings us up to speed on the team and NFL's responses, and what this means for Watson's future on the field in Houston and around the league.
Jeremy Lin and Pablo Torre on Asian-American Identity and Racism: 3/24/21
In the time since we reached out to basketball pro Jeremy Lin about the mass shooting in Atlanta where eight people died - six of them women of Asian descent - ten more people have died in a Colorado shooting. Jeremy Lin joins us to share experiences with Pablo as first generation Asian Americans. Lin details his evolution on speaking out against stereotypes, understanding systemic injustice, and framing his identity in the limelight of sports during the NBAs Linsanity period. Plus, what hes focused on now around levers of social change and his basketball career. Then, Pablo pays tribute to a bird that met its demise via a pitch from Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, 20 years ago.
The Evolution of Zion Williamson: 3/23/21
In his second NBA season, at just 20 years old, Zion Williamson is putting up numbers that land him alongside legends like Magic Johnson and Shaquille ONeal. Maybe you caught him in the All-Star Game, but if you havent been watching Pelicans games, youre missing the evolution of a unique basketball talent. ESPNs Andrew Lopez shares Zions accomplishments, and what itll take to get him to MVP status. Then, the most famous bowler of all time is retiring after 41 (yes, 41!) years. We remember Pete Webers career.
Whats In a Name...Image, and Likeness? Social Media and College Athletes: 3/22/21
This years March Madness hasnt come without its share of controversy. Michigans Isaiah Livers and others have tweeted and donned shirts with the phrase #NotNCAAProperty. And womens players cried foul online over a paltry weight room and other disparities with the mens team. It was just the latest example of social medias power for college athletes, and that includes growing followings across all sports and types of schools. ESPN college sports reporter David Hale details new options and support for player empowerment and profit. And he explores what NIL (name, image, likeness) reform can look like.
College Basketballs BFFs Jalen Suggs and Paige Bueckers + Sue Bird on Womens Bracket: 3/19/21
Gonzaga freshman Jalen Suggs and UConn freshman Paige Bueckers are the faces of the mens and womens NCAA basketball tournaments. But the two stars go way back: they grew up in neighboring Minnesota cities, and first met when they both were in elementary school. As their basketball careers took off, Suggs and Bueckers stayed in touch and have relied on each other for support, and have remained friends off the court. Katie Barnes shares the story of their unique friendship, and whether NCAA championships are in their future. Then, Sue Bird makes a case for her UConn Huskies to win another womens championship.
Louis Riddick on NFL Free Agency (And the Mind of Bill Belichick): 3/18/21
Were still many weeks away from the 2021 NFL Draft, and free agency is in full swing. Bill Belichick and the Patriots have been aggressive in acquiring new pieces, while his ex-QB Tom Brady and the Bucs have been focused on bringing back the roster that won the Super Bowl. Louis Riddick breaks down the latest moves as only he can, shares insights from behind the scenes, and tells us what comes next. Then, as the NCAA tournament kicks off, Dave Fleming confirms a trend among male fans ... who get a certain surgery in vast numbers every March.
Serena Williams, Tom Brady, Roger Federer: The Surprising Science Behind Epic Athletes: 3/17/21
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.
NBA Coastal Elites: The Geography of Basketball Success: 3/16/21
Are all NBA superstars destined to leave smaller market teams for Brooklyn, L.A. or Miami? Across the league, high-performing players are gravitating to coastal teams and bigger markets. The trends been building for years, increasingly splitting the league into teams that have or have not. Kirk Goldsberry plots the map and salary data, why this trend is bad for the NBA, and what strategies could turn things around. Then, as part of ESPNs Womens History Month celebration, hear from Lisa Salters sit-down with NFL referee Sarah Thomas.
2021 Bracketology With Jay Bilas: 3/15/21
The NCAA Tournament is set! Its been anything but a normal college basketball season, and March Madness will continue the trend. Gonzaga could become the first team since 1976 to go undefeated and win a national championship, with Baylor, Illinois and Michigan also at the top. Georgetown, led by legendary Hoya Patrick Ewing, is back in the Big Dance. Duke is not in the tournament for the first time in decades. Jay Bilas breaks down the field, region by region, and the path to win it all. Then, insight from the WNBAs Natasha Cloud as heard on LaChina Robinsons Im Speaking podcast series, one year since Breonna Taylors death.
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