ESPN Daily

By ESPN, Pablo Torre

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 Mar 2, 2020

 Jan 30, 2020


Wake up to the best sports story you'll hear all day. Monday through Friday, host Pablo Torre brings you an inside look at the most interesting stories at ESPN, as told by the top reporters and insiders on the planet. Dive deep on the biggest sports headlines. Get hooked on the wildest stories. It's the very best of ESPN. Daily.

Episode Date
The Lakers’ Russell Westbrook Experiment is Failing. Why?
When the Lakers traded for Russell Westbrook last summer, championship expectations were set. But now, they currently sit in the eighth seed of the Western Conference with a .500 record. They might even miss the playoffs. It’s become clear that the Westbrook experiment playing out on this Lakers team is failing. So who’s at fault? And what’s next? Ramona Shelburne takes us inside Arena to answer all of our questions, and game out solutions.
Jan 27, 2022
Kobe and Alto: A Bond Between Two Champions
It has been exactly two years since a helicopter crash claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, three members of the Altobelli family and four others. Alyssa Altobelli was a teammate of Gianna’s, and she was accompanied by her parents John and Keri. As it turns out, John was a legendary figure in his own right as the head baseball coach of Orange Coast College, a junior college in Orange County. In his 27 years at the helm of the program, John won over 700 games and four state championships. ESPN’s Chris Connelly explains the mutual respect John and Kobe had for each other, and just how big of an impact John had on his team…and in his community.
Jan 26, 2022
Jeff Passan on Bonds, Clemens, and the Most Controversial HOF Ballot Ever
On Tuesday, the Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the results of what may be the most controversial ballot in Cooperstown history. It’s not only the final year players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Curt Schilling can appear on the writers’ ballot, but also the first year David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez are eligible. So our baseball insider Jeff Passan walks us through the process of HOF voting and what’s at stake. He also explains why he chose to give us his own Hall of Fame vote, and how he thinks Cooperstown should tell the history of baseball’s PED era.
Jan 25, 2022
Alex Smith on the NFL’s Epic, Insane, Unbelievable Playoff Weekend
The football was very, very good this weekend. Mere seconds were the difference in NFL seasons living and dying, as all four games came down to their final play. Our Monday Morning QB, Alex Smith is here to unpack what may be the best couple days of playoff football ever. Mahomes vs. Allen lived up to the heavyweight billing with a quarterback duel for the ages, trading touchdowns and finally ending in overtime. Smith also takes us through why Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense froze out in Green Bay, why Matthew Stafford and the Rams are inching closer to the ultimate home field advantage, and how Joe Burrow and the Bengals stunned the top seeded Titans.
Jan 24, 2022
Mina Kimes on NFL Divisional Playoff Matchups
The NFL divisional round playoffs are here! In the NFC, the Niners are looking for another upset on the road: this time in Lambeau, vs. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. And Matthew Stafford’s LA Rams have a date with Tom Brady and the Bucs, in Tampa. Over in the AFC, Joe Burrow and the Bengals will face a healthy Derrick Henry and the Titans, while Josh Allen and the Bills meet Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship. Mina Kimes takes us inside each matchup, and tells us what she’s watching for in this weekend’s games. 
Jan 21, 2022
Longsnappers: The NFL’s Unsung Special Teams Artists
The NFL longsnapper lives and dies in football’s “game of inches.” These unsung heroes have to aim the ball and get it to the kicker when the game is on the line. But what goes into the art and science of longsnapping? Dave Fleming brings us onto the field and shows us what the world looks like from a longsnapper’s point of view, and shares how these niche players do their high-precision, high-pressure jobs upside down where perfection is the only acceptable standard.
Jan 20, 2022
Blood in the Garden: How the 90s Knicks Gave Rise to the Modern NBA
Despite decades of mediocrity, the New York Knicks inspire an almost religious devotion from their rabid fanbase. The Nets may play across town with three of the biggest stars in NBA history, but New York still bleeds blue and orange. That was never more evident than in the 1990s, when you could watch the Knicks fight on the court…figuratively and literally…at Madison Square Garden. Under the direction of head coach Pat Riley, and led by players like Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley and John Starks, the Knicks pioneered a style of basketball that was physical, intimidating, and rarely beautiful. Chris Herring, author of Blood in the Garden: The Flagrant History of the 1990s New York Knicks, explains how a team known for its tough guy image paved the way for the modern NBA.
Jan 19, 2022
The Last Save: Inside the Blue Jackets Goaltenders’ Friendship and Tragedy (Re-Air)
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 life far too young, and how the Blue Jackets plan to honor their fallen teammate.
Jan 18, 2022
Alex Smith + Louis Riddick on NFL Super Wild Card Games
The heroics and heartbreak of the NFL playoffs are here! Our Monday QB Alex Smith breaks down all the action from a Super Wild Card weekend that delivered…from Cincinnati breaking its 31-year playoff curse, to the Cowboys finding yet another year of heartbreak as the clock ran down to 0…to the Bills decimating the Patriots. Then, ESPN’s Louis Riddick previews the first Monday Night Wild Card matchup in over 30 years…a rubber match between two familiar NFC West foes in the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams.
Jan 17, 2022
Bill Barnwell Tames the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend
NFL Super Wild Card Weekend is here! This supersized first round of playoff action has it all. The AFC playoffs will see the Raiders travel to Cincinnati to take on Joe Burrow - who’s in danger from Las Vegas DE Maxx Crosby, the Patriots and Bills grinding through single digit temperatures, and T.J. Watt making a stand, as the Steelers visit the Chiefs. The NFC side of things sets up an Eagles team who may be getting hot at the right time vs. the Super Bowl champion Bucs, a matchup laden with playoff history between the Cowboys-Niners, and Kyler Murray’s playoff debut when the Cardinals play the Rams. Bill Barnwell helps us make sense of every playoff game, under-the-radar player and storylines you may have missed, and what comes next.
Jan 14, 2022
What Went Wrong for Brian Flores and the Dolphins
The end of the NFL regular season inevitably means a round of firings of head coaches from the league's underperforming teams. But this year, one name came as a shock: Brian Flores. He was fired by the Miami Dolphins after compiling a record of 24-25 in his three seasons at the helm. The Dolphins nearly made it to the playoffs in 2020, and bounced back from an 0-7 start this season to finish 9-8. ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques explains what led to Flores’ ousting…and why it may have had nothing to do with football.
Jan 13, 2022
DeMar DeRozan: The MVP Candidate Fueling the Chicago Bulls
The most surprising MVP candidate in the NBA this season basically spent a dozen years hiding in plain sight: DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls. Remembered by many as being the player on the other end of the Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard trade, DeRozan is having his best season yet at age 32. Now playing for the upstart Chicago Bulls, DeRozan isn’t just leading the 1st place team in the Eastern Conference: he’s feeding into a championship hunger that dates back to Michael Jordan and the 90s. Bulls beat writer Jamal Collier sat down with DeRozan, and he joins the show to share his story, and tells us what the mood is like in Chicago now that the Bulls are back.
Jan 12, 2022
How Georgia Beat Bama to Be College Football Champions
The Georgia Bulldogs are your 2022 College Football Champions! The biggest night in CFB was a thriller until the very end, with Georgia and Alabama trading touchdowns late into the fourth quarter. After a season that saw continued discussion of changing the College Football Playoff, the introduction of NIL freedom for players, and SEC omnipresence, Mike Golic Jr. breaks down the game that won the title, what the win means for Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, a former assistant of Nick Saban’s, and what’s ahead for the ever-dominant SEC.
Jan 11, 2022
Alex Smith on Wild End of NFL Regular Season
The NFL’s regular season has left us with wider eyes than when it started. Our Monday QB Alex Smith breaks down the Sunday chaos where the improbable ruled: the Raiders won in overtime, narrowly evading the vaunted tie scenario and keeping the Chargers out of the playoffs. Earlier, the 49ers pulled off the comeback to beat the Rams in LA in OT. And the Colts, who had a win-and-in scenario in Jacksonville, will now have to settle for front row seats at the college National Championship Game – by the way that’s where we found ESPN’s Dave Fleming and his daughter Ally, decked out for the Dawgs.
Jan 10, 2022
Bill Barnwell on NFL Week 18, Playoff Picture, and a Bizarre NFL Season
The NFL finishes its first 17-game regular season this weekend, and stakes around the league are high. With numerous records across the sport on the verge of breaking this Sunday, Bill Barnwell reflects on what a weird football season it’s been, and answers our most burning questions headed into the playoffs, like: could the Saints sneak into the NFC race with Taysom Hill under center, or even unknown QB Ian Book? Are the Titans the worst #1 seed the AFC has ever seen? And should the Raiders and Chargers declare a temporary truce so they both can make the playoffs?
Jan 07, 2022
Behold, the Porta Potty: Meet the Unsung Heroes of Stadium Events
If you’ve ever been to a sporting event, you’ve probably held your breath, closed your eyes, and had the shared human experience of using a porta potty. But behind this unglamorous, stomach-turning necessity are the companies and people responsible for supplying and cleaning them, especially on NFL gamedays. Ryan Hockensmith traveled to Orchard Park for a Buffalo Bills game and tailgate, and went behind-the-scenes with a sanitation company on a typical Sunday. He shares his reporting with us, and takes us inside the industry: the sights, sounds, smells, and sucks of porta potties.
Jan 06, 2022
Will the Kyrie Irving Part-Time Experiment Work?
Kyrie Irving is expected to play his first game of the season for the Brooklyn Nets tonight, after missing 35 games because he is not vaccinated for Covid-19. New York City has a vaccine mandate, meaning Irving is prohibited from playing home games in Brooklyn. But now, after initially saying they would not allow Irving to play part-time, the Nets have reversed course, and the team is allowing him to play on the road. ESPN’s Brooklyn Nets reporter Nick Friedell explains the Nets’ game plan, how they arrived at the decision to bring Kyrie back, and what the rest of Brooklyn’s season could look like with Irving playing only on the road. We also ask Nick about his past life covering the Golden State Warriors, and Klay Thompson’s impending comeback.
Jan 05, 2022
Is the 10,000-Hour Rule a Myth We Need to Bust?
Practice, practice, practice. The theory goes that with enough repetition, time, and hard work, anyone can become the master of their craft. The 10,000-Hour Rule was derived from performance research and then Malcolm Gladwell made it famous everywhere from sports to investing. But best-selling author David Epstein joins the show to put the theory to the test. He explains why the concept of 10,000. hours to mastery is so appealing, and so wrong.
Jan 04, 2022
Our Monday QB Alex Smith on NFL Week 17
The NFL regular season is hurtling to a dramatic finish, as the playoff picture became clearer in Week 17. The Bengals and the Chiefs rang in the new year with fireworks from both offenses, culminating in a division-clinching, game-winning field goal for Cincinnati. Tom Brady showed us that he’s still Tom Brady. He led the Buccaneers to a comeback win over the Jets, after Antonio Brown suddenly fled the game. In the NFC West, Kyler Murray led the Cardinals to a win over the Cowboys, while Matthew Stafford overcame his first half struggles against the Ravens to lead the Rams to victory…with some help from a couple of LA’s mid-season acquisitions. Our Monday QB Alex Smith breaks down what he saw and gives insight on Baker Mayfield ahead of Monday Night Football’s matchup between the Steelers and Browns.
Jan 03, 2022
What We’re Made Of: A Vaccine Pioneer and Her Olympian Daughter (Re-air)
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Susan Francia's mother, Dr. Kate Karikó, has seen her lifelong work come to fruition in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Karikó’s 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, ESPN’s Julie Foudy once again takes us through the story of Dr. Karikó’s perseverance, her mRNA breakthroughs behind the vaccine, and the mother-daughter relationship at the center of the E:60 feature “What We’re Made Of.” 
Dec 31, 2021
The Mystery of the Backyard Bowling Balls (Re-Air)
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 had the balls come from? How did they end up at Olson’s house? Ryan Hockensmith re-tells this stranger-than-fiction story of man’s unexpected discovery…and the unexpected way in which it ultimately transformed his life. 
Dec 30, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: Was a Former NBA Bettor Running the Mavs? (Re-Air)
Bob Voulgaris turned his career as a professional, data-driven NBA bettor into a dream 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. Then, during the offseason, the GM, coach and Voulgaris all left the team. Today, we respin our October conversation with Bob Voulgaris––his first interview since leaving the Mavs.
Dec 29, 2021
The Game Before: One City's Soccer Obsession And Its COVID Crisis (Re-Air)
The Italian town of Bergamo is fiercely loyal to its soccer team, Atalanta B.C. As the perennial underdogs made a run to the Champions League 2020 quarterfinals, Atalanta drew tens of thousands of Bergamo fans to hug, cry, sing and celebrate for their win. No one knew then it was the last time they’d gather like that. Just as fans returned to their homes, Bergamo became an epicenter of coronavirus infection that led to thousands of deaths. Sam Borden tells the story of how a tight-knit culture and fandom made Bergamo vulnerable to the pandemic. And how that very closeness, along with the hope of cheering Atalanta again, offers a path forward from devastating loss.
Dec 28, 2021
The Purrfect Tale of Baseball’s Rally Cat (Re-Air)
Cats made many cameos in sports in 2021, from a stray at Yankee Stadium to a dangling feline in Miami. But ESPN’s 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…once again…of the all-out search that followed for the Rally Cat, and the heated fight over where it should live.
Dec 27, 2021
When Eagles Fans Booed Santa: The Notorious True Story (Re-Air)
It’s one of the most infamous fan stories in sports history: when Eagles fans booed Santa at halftime of a game played at Franklin Field. But who was the Santa in question - and why was he booed and pelted with snowballs? As our annual ESPN Daily Christmas tradition, we re-air this episode featuring Outside the Lines’ Jeremy Schaap and Mina Kimes, and their reflection on the enduring legacy of the Philadelphia Santa.  
Dec 24, 2021
How the World’s Biggest Sportsbook Makes the Odds
Sports leagues, media outlets and more used to look down on betting as corrupting the supposed purity of athletics. But in 2018 the Supreme Court dealt a new hand, allowing all states to legalize betting. Now gambling is a fast-growing part of mainstream sports. Betting lines on games appear on ESPN’s own news ticker. Sports books are opening everywhere and phone-based apps keep evolving. But Las Vegas is still the nerve center of it all, and global sports correspondent Sam Borden takes us inside the Westgate sportsbook to see how the pros who make the odds find their perfect numbers.
Dec 23, 2021
Momentum: An Odyssey into the Most Overused Word in Sports
Momentum: it’s a concept used by coaches, players, and announcers alike to describe the shift in energy in a game or play. Ask any coach - if your team has the momentum, that’s a good thing. But momentum has its fair share of doubters. What exactly is momentum? Is it measurable? Or do you just know it when you see it? David Hale is a momentum skeptic, and decided to embark on a personal quest to separate fact from fiction regarding the most overused word in sports.
Dec 22, 2021
Why College Football Crowds are Storming the Field
Storming the field: it’s a time-honored sports tradition where players, coaches, and fans in the stands descend upon the field after a victory. This year we’ve seen it in record numbers in college football, spawning countless Instagram posts and fuming turf managers. So, why are we seeing it happen so much more, and what’s the larger impact? ESPN’s Dave Wilson takes us inside this misunderstood ritual.
Dec 21, 2021
Covid + Sports: Why It’s Not March 2020 All Over Again
Sports leagues around the world have seen a surge of positive coronavirus tests, leading to postponed games and hollowed out rosters. But we are a long way from March 2020, on several levels. With vaccines, boosters and rapid tests, leagues are rewriting their policies and taking concerted action to curb the spread of the omicron variant. ESPN’s Stephania Bell lays out impacts and changes in the NFL and other leagues. Then Dr. Joseph Allen, author of the book “Healthy Buildings” and public health expert at Harvard University, weighs the risks ahead for sports and society.
Dec 20, 2021
Urban Fired: Bill Barnwell on Why Meyer Crashed and Burned in NFL
In the end, the Urban Meyer era in Jacksonville lasted just 13 games. Meyer was fired with a 2-11 record in Jacksonville, but it was issues off the field that ultimately doomed his tenure with the club. There was the video of woman dancing near his lap that went viral, there were the reports of him calling his assistant coaches “losers,” and then this week, reports surfaced that he kicked and berated former Jags kicker Josh Lambo. Bill Barnwell explains what the firing means for Meyer, Jacksonville, and the rest of the NFL. 
Dec 17, 2021
Tiger Woods Returns to Golf Alongside His Son
Tiger Woods is poised to return to the golf course this weekend at the PNC Championship. It’s been less than a year since his horrific car accident. The highlight of this father-son tournament might just be watching the best golfer of his generation play alongside his son, Charlie Woods. ESPN Senior Golf Analyst and host of “America’s Caddie,” Michael Collins, tells us about the dynamic between Tiger and his son, some striking similarities, and what’s next for the legend.
Dec 16, 2021
Is Jim Harbaugh Finally Michigan’s Messiah?
It took SEVEN YEARS into Jim Harbaugh’s tenure for the Michigan Wolverines to finally beat their bitter rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes. And with another win over Iowa, the Wolverines are, at last, Big Ten Champions. But the hard work is just beginning, as college football’s giants, Georgia and Alabama, stand between the Wolverines and a CFB title (sorry, Cincinnati). ESPN’s Tom VanHaaran joins the show to discuss the excruciating build up to this monumental moment for Harbaugh and Michigan, and whether “Michigan’s Messiah” can erase seven years of pain with just two more wins.
Dec 15, 2021
Fistful of Steel: The Rise of Bubba Wallace
The world of NASCAR doesn’t have anyone else like Bubba Wallace. The 28-year-old is the only Black driver in NASCAR’s Cup Series, the highest level of the sport — making Wallace both an athlete and an ambassador, whether he likes it or not. Millions across the country learned his name in 2020 when he emerged as a leading voice for racial justice, successfully lobbying his sport to ban the Confederate flag. But for a name that is familiar to so many, Wallace’s story and journey are not as well-known. Ryan McGee interviewed Wallace for E60’s special, “Fistful of Steel – The Rise of Bubba Wallace,” which airs tonight at 7:30pm ET on ESPN, and McGee joins ESPN Daily to share his insights on an athlete whose life has become a window into the evolution of his sport, and of America itself.
Dec 14, 2021
Formula One Racing’s Shocking Finale + Alex Smith on NFL Week 14
Formula One’s grand finale on Sunday shocked the world, and ESPN’s Laurence Edmonson was there as Max Verstappen got the title by passing Lewis Hamilton in a controversial final lap. Edmonson joins the show from Abu Dhabi to share the utter soap opera of it all, and where the sport goes from here. Then Alex Smith shares how the Dallas Cowboys earned their role as first in the NFC East after fending off a late Washington Football Team surge, and sets up Monday Night Football’s Rams-Cardinals clash.
Dec 13, 2021
How the Heisman Trophy Lost its Luster + F1 Season Finale
The Heisman Trophy is college football’s most prestigious individual award. Its list of winners are a who's who of the most legendary names in the sport’s history: Doak Walker. Roger Staubach. Bo Jackson. Barry Sanders. Charles Woodson. For years, the annual Heisman race debate was the center of the college football season, a topic that drew almost as much attention as rankings and bowl appearances. But in recent years, as the College Football Playoff has become the center of all conversation in the sport, the Heisman’s status seems to have dimmed somewhat. And perhaps no season has seen less anticipation surrounding the trophy than this one. So, with the Heisman ceremony tomorrow night, Ryan McGee answers every question we have about college football’s most famous trophy, and how relevant the award is today. Then, hear why Ryan describes this Sunday’s Formula One grand finale in Abu Dhabi as “the greatest driver versus driver showdown in the history of the sport,” where Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are set to race.
Dec 10, 2021
Bill Barnwell on NFC Playoff Picture + College Coaching Carousel
The NFC is anyone’s for the taking at this point in the NFL season. Teams like the 49ers and Washington Football Team are on the fringe, with the Eagles threatening. Further down in the standings, the Falcons and Panthers might be long shots, but their postseason hopes aren’t dead…yet. Bill Barnwell assesses the NFC playoff picture, and shares his insights on how the college football coaching carousel could impact the NFL’s coaching jobs.
Dec 09, 2021
Most Powerful Curse in the NFL? The 1925 Pottsville Maroons
Extra, extra, read all about it! Maroons Championship STOLEN! The Pottsville Maroons were one of the greatest early NFL teams, but the league stripped them of their 1925 championship and gave it to the (then) Chicago Cardinals. Thus, a curse was born. Almost a century later, could the stolen championship be behind the Arizona Cardinals’ lack of Super Bowl success? Dave Fleming wrote the book on it, called Breaker Boys: The NFL’s Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship. He takes us inside the story, and his mission for NFL justice.
Dec 08, 2021
How Kevin Durant is Breaking NBA Analytics
Kevin Durant is playing some of the best basketball of his career. He’s leading the league in scoring and has led the Brooklyn Nets to the best record in the Eastern Conference. But his recent success is due largely to something that is practically extinct in the modern NBA: the midrange jump shot. Kirk Goldsberry dissects why it’s made him more exciting to watch than ever. Then, ESPN Daily producer and resident bark-aeologist Erin Vail shares her paw-er ranking of the NHL’s best team dogs.
Dec 07, 2021
Alex Smith on NFL Sunday & Louis Riddick on Monday Night Football
The Detroit pride was strong on Sunday: the Lions finally won their first game of the season (their first win in 364 days) thanks to a game-winning touchdown pass from Jared Goff. Meanwhile, Bengals-Chargers was a battle between sophomore quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, where Herbert soared with over 300 yards and three touchdowns, and Burrow slumped with two interceptions. And the Chiefs climbed back up in the very crowded top of the AFC, with their win over the Broncos. Plus, Louis Riddick tells us how Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots can continue their streak of success, headed into Buffalo for a battle of the AFC East vs. the Bills on Monday Night Football.
Dec 06, 2021
College Football’s Week of Chaos: Playoff Finalists, Format Changes, and Coaching Carousel
College football’s 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 year’s 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. 
Dec 03, 2021
How JJ Redick Sees the NBA Landscape
JJ Redick doesn’t 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 doesn’t miss the game. The newly minted ESPN studio talent joins the show to tell us who’s looking like the best in the league, measure the NBA’s entertainment quotient, and weigh in on the importance of athletes’ mental health.
Dec 02, 2021
Jeff Passan on MLB’s Massive Deals, Looming Lockout, and Offseason Chaos
It’s 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 you’d suspect: a looming labor stoppage. Tonight, at midnight, MLB’s 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 what’s at stake for both sides, and brings plenty of Diet Mountain Dew along for the ride.
Dec 01, 2021
How to Survive the World’s Most Impossible Run
The Badwater ultramarathon is known as the world’s most impossible run. From grueling mountain climbs to scorching, 100+ degree temperatures in the middle of Death Valley, it’s 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, and shares what she lost - and found - in her 37 hours of running, chafing, chugging flat Coca-Cola, and flat out surviving. 
Nov 30, 2021
Monday QB Alex Smith on NFL Week 12
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 Belichick’s revenge tour is picking up more steam after the New England Patriots picked up their sixth straight win...and Carson Wentz’s Hail Mary attempt wasn’t enough to beat Tom Brady and the Bucs. Our Monday morning QB Alex Smith tells us what we’ve learned this week...and gives a nod to his former coach, Jim Harbaugh.
Nov 29, 2021
The Fight for the Soul of Manchester United (Re-Spin)
When arguably the world’s most popular athlete, Cristiano Ronaldo, took the pitch for arguably the world’s 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 Ronaldo’s 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.
Nov 26, 2021
How Golfer John Daly Helped a Family Through Tragedy (Re-Spin)
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. What’s 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. ESPN’s 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.
Nov 25, 2021
Four Days of Sports Gluttony: Your Thanksgiving Weekend Guide
Thanksgiving weekend is all about one thing: the sports. From the NFL to the NHL to the National Dog Show and beyond, it’s 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.   
Nov 24, 2021
Connor McDavid 101: Is He the Next Great One?
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 Edmonton’s 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.
Nov 23, 2021
China’s Missing Tennis Star + Week 11 in the NFL
Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai is a three-time Olympian and former number one in the world for women’s 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. ESPN’s Dan Murphy shares the latest, and why big questions remain about Peng’s safety. Then, we call up our Monday Morning QB Alex Smith to recap the NFL action in Week 11.
Nov 22, 2021
The NBA’s Invasion of Alien Big Men
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. ESPN’s 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.
Nov 19, 2021
Louis Riddick on Mac Jones: The Patriot Way Redux
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 Belichick’s 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.
Nov 18, 2021
Why Are Players Hoarding Kobes? Saga of a Shoe Shortage
It’s 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 what’s an NBA player to do once his favorite shoe stops being made? Brian Windhorst takes us inside the wild secondary market that’s developed, and tells us why the shoe is so coveted, especially if you’re a size 17.
Nov 17, 2021
Why Do Fired College Coaches Still Make Millions?
Dead money: it’s the money a college or university still owes a coach after they’re 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 what’s behind it. Hear the findings from Lavigne’s and Mark Schlabach’s reporting on buyouts for coaches in college football, and men's and women's basketball Power 5 programs.  
Nov 16, 2021
The NFL’s New Normal: Monday QB Alex Smith on Week 10
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 couldn’t 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 fan’s 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.
Nov 15, 2021
The Warriors Are Back
The Warriors all but disappeared from any conversation about a title, after losing the 2019 NBA Finals. But ESPN’s 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.
Nov 12, 2021
To Punt, or Not To Punt? Football’s Age-Old Question
Presbyterian college football head coach Kevin Kelley never punts. It’s 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 Kelley’s 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 NCAA’s 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 State’s Matt Araiza, a left-legged kicking phenomenon who booms punts, nails field goals, and crushes kickoffs.
Nov 11, 2021
Allegations of Racism and Misogyny Within the Phoenix Suns
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. ESPN’s Baxter Holmes shares his reporting on this story, the NBA’s response, and what happens from here.
Nov 10, 2021
A Season of Change For Men’s College Basketball
The 2021 college basketball season tips off tonight and so much has changed since Baylor was crowned the national champion. ESPN’s Myron Medcalf breaks down the top seeded teams, including what it’ll take for Gonzaga to rebound from last year’s heartbreak. Plus, there’s Duke’s 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.
Nov 09, 2021
NFL Week 9 with Monday QB Alex Smith
From Jordan Love’s 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.
Nov 08, 2021
Should Barry Bonds Be In The Baseball Hall of Fame?
Barry Bonds’ baseball achievements are staggering: from home run records to MVP awards to Gold Gloves to mind-boggling slugging and on-base percentages, the numbers place him squarely among the game’s 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. 
Nov 05, 2021
Bill Barnwell on Rodgers’ Vaccine Status, Chiefs Struggles and More
It’s 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 Sunday’s 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 Beckham’s 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.
Nov 04, 2021
Braves Win World Series! Then: How New NBA Rules Truly Change The Game
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.
Nov 03, 2021
NHL Blackhawks Sexual Abuse Case: Explained
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 team’s 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.
Nov 02, 2021
NFL’s Halloween Belongs to the Backup QBs
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 Daily’s QB-1 Alex Smith breaks down how a bunch of backups managed to trick everyone on a very strange day of football.
Nov 01, 2021
Full Circle: The Freddie Freeman Story (Re-Air)
You might know about Freddie Freeman, first baseman for the Atlanta Braves, who you’ll see take the field tonight in Game Three of the World Series vs. the Houston Astros. Freeman’s 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 don’t 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 game’s 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. 
Oct 29, 2021
The Mystery of the Backyard Bowling Balls
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 Olson’s house? Ryan Hockensmith explains this stranger-than-fiction story of man’s unexpected discovery…and the unexpected way in which it ultimately transformed his life.  
Oct 28, 2021
Can Notre Dame Claim “Play Like a Champion Today?”
“Play Like a Champion Today.” It’s one of the most iconic phrases in sports, and it’s long been synonymous with Notre Dame. Over the years, legendary Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz has told the story of the team’s famous sign, and the traditional pregame slap that’s 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 Holtz’s claims. ESPN’s Dave Wilson tells us who might - or might not - deserve credit for one of the sports world’s most famous sentences. Then, listeners and friends of ESPN Daily share their sports superstitions with us, ahead of Halloween.
Oct 27, 2021
Houston’s Empire Strikes Back: World Series Preview With Jeff Passan
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, it’s a chance for some vindication, after being baseball’s public enemy number one for their sign stealing scheme in 2017. For the Braves, it’s 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.  
Oct 26, 2021
NFL Week 7: Goff-Stafford Showdown, Bengals Lead AFC, Panic Time in KC?
Jared Goff returned to his former team at SoFi Stadium as a member of the Detroit Lions on Sunday, after the QB’s 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 ex’s 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.
Oct 25, 2021
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.
Oct 24, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: Was a Former NBA Bettor Running the Mavs?
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.
Oct 21, 2021
Turf Toe Tales: The NFL’s Most Dreaded Injury?
Turf toe. It’s 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.
Oct 20, 2021
How Did Ben Simmons and the 76ers Get Here?
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. ESPN’s 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.
Oct 19, 2021
Alex Smith on Wild NFL Week 6 + Chicago Sky Win WNBA Final
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 Sunday’s 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.
Oct 18, 2021
From the beginning of PTI, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon created a whole new world in the realm of sports talk television. But this didn’t 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.
Oct 16, 2021
Zach Lowe’s NBA Season Preview
The new NBA season tips off this Tuesday, and the pool of contenders for the championship is deeper than it’s 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.
Oct 15, 2021
The Last Save: Inside the Blue Jackets Goaltenders’ Friendship and Tragedy
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.
Oct 14, 2021
Jon Gruden’s Emails: What Happens Next in Vegas and WFT Implications
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 Gruden’s 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. ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez joins us to discuss the Raiders reaction to Gruden’s 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 NFL’s investigation into Washington’s toxic culture: the league's investigation is what led to Gruden’s emails being revealed, some which were messages to then Washington executive Bruce Allen.
Oct 13, 2021
NHL Begins: Catching the Great One? Fear the Kraken? Lightning Dynasty?
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 hockey’s biggest stars, what we’ll see from defending champs the Tampa Bay Lightning, and expectations for the league's newest team, the Seattle Kraken.
Oct 12, 2021
NFL Week 5: Bills Hurdle Over Chiefs, Chargers Comeback, Kickers’ Nightmares
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 Football’s matchup from Baltimore. 
Oct 11, 2021
SPECIAL SERIES: PTI Gets a Life of Its Own
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.
Oct 09, 2021
A Reckoning in Women’s Pro Soccer
Former National Women’s 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 women’s 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.
Oct 08, 2021
Can the Astros Silence the Haters and Win Back Baseball’s Respect?
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. It’s 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. They’ve 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 team’s success has made Astros players defiant in the face of the public backlash. It’s 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.
Oct 07, 2021
Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins, and the NBA’s Vaccine Dilemma
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. It’s 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. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst lays out how Kyrie’s 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.
Oct 06, 2021
Jeff Passan: MLB Wildcard Games Preview
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.
Oct 05, 2021
Alex Smith on NFL’s Week 4: Brady Back in NE, Murray Magic, and Jets Win
Back in Foxborough to play his old team and his old coach, Tom Brady became the NFL’s 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.
Oct 04, 2021
SPECIAL SERIES: The Birth and Life of Pardon the Interruption
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.
Oct 02, 2021
Bill Barnwell’s NFL Rookie QB Report Card
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 hasn’t been set up to succeed by the Jets. Bill Barnwell assesses what’s gone wrong for the rookie QBs so far, and whether we’ll see improvement. Then: Pablo asks for your help! It’s October, so in the spirit of the season we’re 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.
Oct 01, 2021
A Major Problem in the Minor Leagues: Baseball’s Big Myth
Baseball is supposed to be romantic, right? America’s 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.
Sep 30, 2021
How the Patriots Dynasty Unraveled with Seth Wickersham
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 “It’s 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.
Sep 29, 2021
MLB Playoff Chaos with Jeff Passan
With less than a week remaining in baseball’s 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 they’ll face whichever of the Giants and Dodgers don’t 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.
Sep 28, 2021
Alex Smith on Rodgers’ Magic, Mahomes’ Stumble...and a Wild NFL Week 3
In the end, 37 seconds was too much time. That’s 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 wasn’t the only last second drama across the NFL’s Week 3. Baltimore’s 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 Sunday’s football action. Then, Louis Riddick previews Monday Night Football’s NFC East showdown between the Eagles and Cowboys.
Sep 27, 2021
Spencer Hall on SEC Madness, Week 4 CFB Matchups, and the Best NIL Deals
Fall is finally here, and your autumnal Saturday agenda might be packed with trips to pumpkin patches and apple 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 week’s 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 Arby’s (yes, really). 
Sep 24, 2021
WNBA Playoffs Preview: Liberty’s Path to Upset, Sun Seeks 1st Championship, Storm’s Quest to Repeat
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 year’s 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.
Sep 23, 2021
The Purrfect Tale of Baseball’s Rally Cat
Cats are making cameos all over sports right now, from a stray at Yankee Stadium to a dangling feline in Miami. But ESPN’s 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.
Sep 22, 2021
An Olympic Runner’s Fight to Stop Her Stalker
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 Infeld’s 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.
Sep 21, 2021
NFL Week 2: Monday QB with Alex Smith
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.
Sep 20, 2021
Super League Rage, Ronaldo Mania and the Fight for the Soul of Man United
When arguably the world’s most popular athlete, Cristiano Ronaldo, took the pitch this past weekend for arguably the world’s 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 Ronaldo’s 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 it’s a battle that’s about much more than just a soccer club.
Sep 17, 2021
Raiders Put on a Show in Vegas, But Will Their Luck Stick?
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 Black’s 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 Gruden’s team can build on their success.
Sep 16, 2021
Vlad Guerrero Jr.’s Home Run Race, All-Star Dad, and Clutch Abuela
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is in the midst of a season unlike any his family has ever seen, and that’s 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 he’s 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 Canada’s golden son to quietly becoming his own legend.
Sep 15, 2021
The Wild Ride of the ‘86 Mets: Inside “Once Upon a Time in Queens”
“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 1980’s. 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.
Sep 14, 2021
NFL Week 1 With Alex Smith, Domonique Foxworth and Louis Riddick
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 it’s 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 Football’s Louis Riddick tells us what to watch for from Vegas as the Raiders take on the Ravens.
Sep 13, 2021
How 9/11 Set Robert Saleh on the Path to Coaching the New York Jets (Re-Air)
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. Saleh’s 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 Saleh’s life forever, and set him on a course to become the first Muslim head coach in NFL history.
Sep 11, 2021
Is Ben Simmons Really Done in Philadelphia?
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 season’s 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.
Sep 10, 2021
Will the Cowboys Bounce Back in 2021?
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones displayed rare humility when he compared his team’s opening night matchup against the defending Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers as “David vs. Goliath.” And while after a quarter century of mediocrity, the Cowboys may indeed be David on the field, off the field, they still remain the NFL’s Goliath. They are worth almost $7 billion according to Sportico, 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 America’s Team...and if a return to glory is at hand. Then, Leylah Fernandez makes history at the US Open.
Sep 09, 2021
Mina Kimes’ NFL Season Preview
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 ESPN’s NFL war room, so before she goes we get her league season preview.
Sep 08, 2021
Why States are Sending Transgender Athletes to the Sidelines
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.
Sep 07, 2021
ICYMI: A Vaccine Pioneer and Her Olympian Daughter (Re-Air)
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Susan Francia's mother, Dr. Kate Karikó, has seen her lifelong work come to fruition in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Karikó’s 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, ESPN’s Julie Foudy takes us through the story of Dr. Karikó’s perseverance, her mRNA breakthroughs behind the vaccine, and the mother-daughter relationship at the center of the E:60 feature “What We’re Made Of.” 
Sep 06, 2021
ICYMI: The Biggest Contract In San Diego Padres History (Is Not Fernando Tatis Jr.’s)
Fernando Tatis Jr.’s massive 14-year, 340 million dollar deal with the Padres shattered MLB records. But it’s 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. It’s 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 Diego’s 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 team’s 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.
Sep 03, 2021
ICYMI: Love in the Time of Hockey Riots
10 years ago, the Vancouver Canucks lost Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins, in Vancouver. Canucks fans didn’t exactly hide their frustrations, as a riot engulfed the city. Now, 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.
Sep 02, 2021
ICYMI: The Great Super Bowl Rings Heist
It’s 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.
Sep 01, 2021
ICYMI: Funny Money, a Secret Recording, and the Unraveling of a Powerhouse Football Program
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.
Aug 31, 2021
ICYMI: How Dale Earnhardt's Death Changed NASCAR Forever (Re-Air)
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 2020’s Daytona 500, when Ryan Newman’s 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 Earnhardt’s death. ESPN’s Ryan McGee shares how Earnhardt’s death changed NASCAR forever, also told in the ESPN film “Intimidator.” 
Aug 30, 2021
Paul Finebaum on College Football Chaos
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. EPN’s 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 Smith’s next act.
Aug 27, 2021
Card Tricks: Why Topps Got Toppled + The $6.6mil Record-Setter
In the world of trading cards, one company’s 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.
Aug 26, 2021
Matthew Stafford’s Second Chance
When the Los Angeles Rams traded for Matthew Stafford this offseason, they delivered one of the NFL’s 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: it’s 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.
Aug 25, 2021
Murder at the U: Arrest Made in Bryan Pata Case
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 Pata’s killing. That changed last week, with the stunning arrest of Pata’s former Miami teammate, Rashaun Jones. Today, we revisit our conversation from November with investigative reporter Paula Lavigne, who was part of ESPN’s multi-year probe into Pata’s 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.
Aug 24, 2021
What’s Next for Deshaun Watson Investigations and Texans
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 NFL’s own investigation on Watson has come under scrutiny. ESPN’s Sarah Barshop brings us the latest on the plaintiffs and the defense, plus how Watson’s presence is shaping the Texans’ preseason. Then, Pablo shares how runner Elaine Thompson-Herah almost became the fastest woman in the world...and beat Sha’Carri Richardson.
Aug 23, 2021
The Fight of Manny Pacquiao’s Life
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. It’s 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 Pacquiao’s camp concerned for Manny’s 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 Pacquaio’s latest fight, the fight for the highest office in the Philippines, will be his most challenging yet.
Aug 20, 2021
The Magic of the Little League World Series
The Little League World Series returns to action in Williamsport, PA today. While it won’t 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 Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
Aug 19, 2021
Will the Urban Meyer Experiment Work in the NFL?
It’s rare when a team that’s 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: there’s not.) Then, there’s the Tim Tebow of it all, who signed as a tight end in the offseason, but was cut after the first preseason game. ESPN’s 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. women’s national hockey team reached a one-year deal with USA Hockey, but the fight for equal treatment in women’s sports is still ongoing.
Aug 18, 2021
Is Justin Fields the Answer for the Bears?
The NFL is back! Well, the preseason if that’s your thing. And it is indeed Louis Riddick’s 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.
Aug 17, 2021
Court Hearings Begin in Trevor Bauer Assault Case
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. Bauer’s future in MLB is unclear, as the pitcher remains on administrative leave from the Dodgers. ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez has been following the case, and shares his reporting, done in partnership with ESPN’s Tisha Thompson.
Aug 16, 2021
Matthew Berry’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Fantasy Drafters
August is ESPN’s Matthew Berry’s 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 Baseball’s “Field of Dreams” game, ESPN Daily’s own Ryan Nantell shares a story of his time on the storied diamond from the 1989 film. It was not dreamy.
Aug 13, 2021
The “New” Tom Brady: How the G.O.A.T. Found his Voice in Tampa Bay
It’s not often you hear about a 7-time Super Bowl champion re-inventing himself, but that’s exactly what Tom Brady is 44 years old. We’ve 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. Brady’s 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 Saturday’s 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.
Aug 12, 2021
Russell Westbrook’s Long, Secret Road to the Lakers
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 it’ll work as planned, a SoCal homecoming has apparently been Russ’ goal. ESPN’s 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.
Aug 11, 2021
The Strategy Behind MLB’s Huge Trades (With Jeff Passan or Jefff Pasann)
Major League Baseball’s 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.
Aug 10, 2021
Why Barcelona Legend Messi is Leaving
In an emotional press conference, Lionel Messi said his final goodbye to Barcelona. It’s 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 Spain’s league, LaLiga. ESPN’s Gab Marcotti explains how and why Barcelona allowed this to happen, and the impact of Messi’s exit on the rest of the sport. Then, how the Texas Rangers’ Brock Holt threw a historically slow strike.
Aug 09, 2021
Do the Olympics Still Matter?
The Tokyo Olympics are drawing to a close, and it’s 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 Olympic’s 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.
Aug 06, 2021
The Sound and the Fury of College Football’s SEC
College sports powerhouses the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners have hightailed it for the almighty Southeastern Conference, or SEC, leaving the Big 12 behind. It’s one of the biggest college football shakeups we’ve 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.
Aug 05, 2021
How NFL Teams are Combating Vaccine Hesitancy
As coronavirus cases surge across the country, the NFL’s training camps are in full swing. But the most important battle being waged is between the teams and a vocal minority of players who don’t 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 player’s 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 isn’t just crucial to private and public’s critical to winning football games. But that doesn’t 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.
Aug 04, 2021
Olympic Skateboarding vs. Skate Culture, Explained
Skateboarding’s debut at the Olympics felt like a success in the viral waves it made. After the street competition, this week we’ll see the men’s and women’s 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 skater’s career.
Aug 03, 2021
Tokyo Games Week Two Begins + NBA Free Agency
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 what’s ahead? Plus more on USA Men’s Basketball’s 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.
Aug 02, 2021
Faster, Higher, Stronger: Exploring the Limits of Olympics Athletes
The motto of the Olympics is Citius, Altius, Fortius: Faster, Higher, Stronger. It’s what we’ve 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.
Jul 30, 2021
Tonight’s NBA Draft: Everything You Need to Know
It’s 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. ESPN’s Mike Schmitz is here to run down all the names and scenarios you need to know for tonight’s 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 women’s 3-on-3 basketball team’s gold medal - and the sport’s inception.
Jul 29, 2021
Why Simone Biles Withdrew And What’s Next
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 team’s chances. ESPN’s 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. 
Jul 28, 2021
Barnwell on Aaron Rodgers Latest + NFL Training Camps
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. ESPN’s 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 Ledecky’s quest to become the most decorated female Olympian of all time.
Jul 27, 2021
U.S. Gymnastics Star Sunisa Lee: Poised for Gold?
At the Tokyo Games, the U.S. women’s 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. ESPN’s Alyssa Roenigk charts Sunisa’s path to gold so far, and the uneven, high-stakes road ahead. Then, Brian Windhorst updates us on men’s basketball, after Team USA’s loss to France, and why we might see more L’s ahead.
Jul 26, 2021
Is Jalen Rose the First Jalen? Solving a Sports Name Mystery (Re-Spin)
You’ll find several “Jalens” in the 2021 NBA draft this week. And that's on top of all the "Jalens" in the 2021 NFL draft. From Jalen Suggs to Jalen Green to Jalen Johnson, the announcement of the picks will have you hearing the name ... a lot. For years our colleague, friend and basketball veteran Jalen Rose has maintained today’s Jalens are named for him (whether they know it or not). In one of our favorite-ever episodes, we honor Jalen Rose’s 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.
Jul 24, 2021
Why USA Men’s Basketball Faces Uphill Climb for Olympic Gold
The Tokyo Olympics begin today, and ESPN’s 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 men’s 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.  
Jul 23, 2021
On the Ground in Tokyo for the Pandemic Olympics
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.
Jul 22, 2021
Bucks are Champions + The Power of WNBA’s Layshia Clarendon
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 they’re the first openly nonbinary and transgender player in the league. ESPN’s Katie Barnes shares their story, from how faith impacted Clarendon’s upbringing to the complex road to self-discovery.
Jul 21, 2021
Bucks in Six or Suns’ Last Stand?
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. ESPN’s 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 wouldn’t want to be.
Jul 20, 2021
The Legend of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick Is Still Being Written
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 a journeyman in a career that’s spanned many teams and cities. And it wasn’t a given in college at Harvard that he’d 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 he’s managed to stay off of social media all this time.
Jul 19, 2021
A Murder in Memphis: The Lorenzen Wright Story
It’s been 11 years since NBA veteran Lorenzen Wright was murdered, his body found in a remote field in Memphis. Wright’s 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 an E:60 special A Murder in Memphis available on demand now on the ESPN app.
Jul 16, 2021
What’s Wrong with the Yankees?
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 they’ve been through this year, and their season doesn’t 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 there’s still hope for them this season. Then, how Jusuf Nurkic is trying to buy vaccines for all of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Jul 15, 2021
Zach Lowe on the NBA Finals Biggest Battle: Deandre Ayton vs Giannis
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.
Jul 14, 2021
Marvel’s Moneymaker Sisters: Stuntwomen Who Bring Superheroes to Life
Meet two of the best stuntwomen in Hollywood: Heidi and Renae Moneymaker. You’ve 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 Larson’s 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.
Jul 13, 2021
ShoTime: How Ohtani Will Dazzle at Home Run Derby and All-Star Game
The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani has been slugging homers to corners of ballparks few humans have ever reached, making this year’s MLB Home Run Derby a must-see. He leads the league in home runs AND he’s 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 doesn’t 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.
Jul 12, 2021
How Team Owners Avoid Millions in Taxes
Franchise owners are some of the wealthiest Americans. Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer’s net worth is estimated at more than $100 billion. He’s just one of the billionaires in ProPublica’s investigation on how teams are handled, when it comes to owners’ tax liability. Investigative reporter Robert Faturechi 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.
Jul 09, 2021
Definition Please? Inside the Scripps National Spelling Bee
It’s finally here! One of ESPN’s most prestigious events, the Scripps National Spelling Bee, names a champion tonight. Families from across the country cheer on their finalist spellers, and it’s 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.
Jul 08, 2021
The Point God has Spoken: How CP3 Took Control of the NBA Finals Game 1
It may have been his NBA Finals debut, but Chris Paul looked like he’d been preparing for his whole life. Now in his 16th season, the 36 year old Paul took control of Game 1 of the NBA Finals leading Phoenix to a 118-105 victory over Milwaukee. It was a vintage CP3 performance, complete with surgical pick-and-rolls, attacking drives to the rim, and opportunistic outside jumpers. Kevin Arnovitz has covered Paul for years, and explains why he is finding success at this stage of his career, after so many seasons of heartbreak. Plus, Kevin's breakdown of what the Bucks need to do to slow down the Suns, and why the series may yet have drama in store. Then, we check in with Sam Borden in London, who brings us a soccer (and culinary) update from the 2020 Euros semifinals.
Jul 07, 2021
RE-AIR: How Two Detroit Lions Inspired Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”
You know and love the Marvin Gaye song “What’s 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 football’s role in Marvin Gaye’s turbulent life.
Jul 06, 2021
RE-AIR: Ali-Frazier: The “Fight of the Century” 50 Years Later
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.
Jul 05, 2021
College Athletes Are Getting Paid: Now What?
July 1, 2021 marks a new era in college sports. It’s 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? ESPN’s 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.
Jul 02, 2021
Jeff Passan on MLB’s Sticky Stuff War
Major League Baseball’s crackdown is underway on pitchers using foreign substances for better grip. ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan explains why we’re 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.
Jul 01, 2021
P.K. Subban on the Stanley Cup Final
P.K. Subban, ESPN’s 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.
Jun 30, 2021
Simone Biles to Tokyo: The Road to More Gold
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. ESPN’s Alyssa Roenigk shares what she saw at the Olympic trials, and breaks down the moves that make Biles legendary.
Jun 29, 2021
CP3 Powers Suns, Middleton Invigorates Bucks: NBA Conference Finals
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 Saturday’s 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.
Jun 28, 2021
Americans in Blazers: Roger Bennett on Stars, Stripes, and Soccer
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. 
Jun 25, 2021
What We’re Made Of: A Vaccine Pioneer and Her Olympian Daughter
Every four years, athletes compete for glory at the Olympic Games, and this year’s 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. Karikó’s dedication to her research amidst adversity inspired her daughter, who became an elite rower and Olympian. ESPN’s Julie Foudy takes us through the story of Dr. Karikó’s perseverance, her mRNA breakthroughs behind the vaccine, and the mother-daughter relationship at the center of the E:60 upcoming feature “What We’re Made Of.”
Jun 24, 2021
Basketball Heat Check: Is the Hot Hand Fact or Fiction?
From the playground to the gym to the NBA Conference Finals...the basketball court is ruled not by an iron fist, but by the “hot hand.” Shooters demand the ball when they get a hot hand. Teammates feed the player with the hot hand. Coaches draw up plays for the hot hand. But what if there is actually no such thing as the “hot hand?” For decades, that’s been the belief of Nobel Prize winning scientists who insist that what looks like a player who can’t really just a statistical fluke. Author Ben Cohen penned a book on the subject, “The Hot Hand,” and he joins the show for a scientific heat check now that the conference finals are in full swing. Is the burning sensation is a verifiable reality, or just a puff of smoke? Then, Pablo seeks to turn his park hobby into disc golf pro Paul McBeth’s million dollar endorsement deal.
Jun 23, 2021
The Supreme Court College Sports Ruling, Explained
On Monday the Supreme Court unanimously ruled to uphold Alston v. NCAA, saying the NCAA could not bar certain types of payments to college athletes. It’s largely seen as having opened the door to a wider challenge to the NCAA’s ban on college athletes receiving compensation, writ large. ESPN Analyst Jay Bilas, college athlete and longtime critic of the NCAA’s claims around amateurism, breaks down the latest chapter in the saga and what it means (in the way that only he can). Then, Pablo shares thoughts on Carl Nassib, the first active NFL player to publicly come out as gay.
Jun 22, 2021
Devin Booker Dominates, Giannis Delivers, Hawks Soar: NBA Playoffs with Brian Windhorst
This weekend’s NBA playoffs included a pair of Game 7s and the first game of the Western Conference Finals. In the East, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Brooklyn Nets in overtime, despite a 48-point performance from Nets star Kevin Durant. The Bucks will meet the Hawks, following the thrilling finish to that series where the Hawks soared to victory, thanks to Trae Young’s fourth quarter heroics. And in the west, Devin Booker propelled the Chris Paul-less Phoenix Suns to a win in Game 1 over the LA Clippers, who are still without Kawhi Leonard. Brian Windhorst runs down every minute of NBA playoff action.
Jun 21, 2021
RE-AIR: The Rise Of The Suns’ Devin Booker
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is perhaps the most overlooked superstar in the NBA. At age 24, he’s one of the league’s premiere scorers. And his domination has continued this season, through the Phoenix Suns’ playoff run - they’re in the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 11 years. In a re-air of our episode from February, ESPN analyst Michael Wilbon takes us back to Booker’s roots in his “Cover Story, ” and chronicles the Gen-Z phenom’s path from 6th man at Kentucky, to his connection with Kobe Bryant, to his relationship with new teammate Chris Paul.
Jun 19, 2021
Formula 101: Everything You Need To Know About F1 Racing...and Why It’s Having a Moment
Formula 1 Racing has been incredibly popular overseas for decades. Its drivers are some of the most well-known and highest paid athletes in the world, but it's never taken off in the U.S. Now, thanks in part to the hit Netflix series “F1: Drive to Survive,” Formula 1 has begun to convert Americans with its high-speed danger and soap opera drama. Ryan McGee takes the wheel to give a crash course on Formula 1 racing. Then Marc Spears explains what Juneteenth means to him across sports and culture.
Jun 18, 2021
How Pro Surfer Tyler Wright Made Her Own Waves
Australian two-time world champion Tyler Wright was born to surf. She achieved incredible victories in the water, while enduring tremendous loss in her personal life. This combination of fame and chaos nearly broke her. As she was falling in love with her then-girlfriend, Wright also wasn’t sure her sport could accept her. It took a crippling illness for Wright to decide she was not only going to keep surfing, but do so while being unapologetically herself. Alyssa Roenigk reports on this incredible journey.
Jun 17, 2021
Beef at the U.S. Open: Inside the Koepka/DeChambeau Feud
The U.S. Open tees off this week, with all eyes on the simmering feud between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka. Michael Collins, ESPN analyst and host of “America’s Caddie” on ESPN+, joins the show from Torrey Pines to discuss the origins of this rivalry, why the bad blood between these two golf stars has continued, and whether or not all the drama is good for the sport. Plus, how Collins went from standup comedy stages to the links.
Jun 16, 2021
Love in the Time of Hockey Riots
It’s been 10 years since the Vancouver Canucks lost Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins, in Vancouver. Canucks fans didn’t exactly hide their frustrations, as a riot engulfed the city. Now, a decade later, arguably the most enduring image of that night was a photo of a couple, kissing on the ground, surrounded by police in riot gear. Greg Wyshynski caught up with the couple, and the photographer, and joins the show to share how that iconic image endures to this day.
Jun 15, 2021
Suns Sweep, Bucks Bounce Back: NBA Playoffs with Kirk Goldsberry
Another weekend of NBA playoff action is in the books. On Sunday, tensions flared between the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets, with league MVP Nikola Jokic getting ejected in the third quarter as the Suns swept. The Milwaukee Bucks put together a dominant effort led by Giannis Antetokounmpo to win Game 4 vs. the Nets, putting the series at 2-2 as Brooklyn grapples with Kyrie Irving and James Harden’s injuries. Kirk Goldsberry assesses all the on-the-court action and looks ahead to the rest of this week’s games. Then, newcomer Nets superfan Mina Kimes reassures the Brooklyn faithful.
Jun 14, 2021
Inside Euro 2020: Soccer’s Month of Drama, Passion, and Geopolitical Tension
Never has “better late than never” meant so much to so many. That’s because the 2020 Euros - aka the UEFA European Championship - kicks off today after a year’s delay due to the pandemic. It’s a tournament that consumes the continent and combines high drama on the pitch with real-world geopolitical stakes off of it. Coming off their World Cup victory in 2018, France are heavy favorites, but can they survive the “Group of Death” with rival Germany and reigning champs Portugal? Sam Borden joins us from Rome for a preview of the 24-team field that will see matches played at 11 sites across Europe. Then, Pablo shares his thoughts on athletes and coaches deciding to get the COVID vaccine.
Jun 11, 2021
MLB’s Sticky Situation: Spider Tack, Pelican Grip and Baseball’s Open Secret
The worst-kept secret in baseball is being brought to light. With batting averages at an all-time low and strikeouts at an all-time high, Major League Baseball is cracking down on pitchers using foreign substances to get a better grip on the ball. Buster Olney helps us understand why it took so long for MLB to enforce these rules, and why the gentleman’s agreement that tolerated the practice for years no longer holds. It’s an all-too-familiar story in a sport where the steroid era proved that players will always seek any available competitive edge. Then, Montreal native Ariel Helwani makes the case for why we should jump on the Montreal Canadiens bandwagon, as they’re one series away from reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.
Jun 10, 2021
NFL Offseason Drama: Aaron Rodgers, Julio Jones, and More
This NFL offseason is bursting with drama. There’s Julio Jones signing with the Tennessee Titans after more than a decade as the Atlanta Falcons star receiver. Aaron Rodgers won’t be showing up for required OTAs with the Packers, and his rift with the organization isn’t any closer to resolution. Ryan Clark helps us navigate the biggest NFL storylines, checks in on the various QB controversies, and discusses which teams have the most at stake in the coming months heading into the regular season. Then, Jessica Mendoza comes up to the plate to talk about the Women’s College World Series.
Jun 09, 2021
NFL Plans to End Race-Norming in Concussion Claims: What Happens Next
The NFL says it will stop using race-norming in evaluating former players’ concussion claims, as the practice makes it less likely for Black claimants to receive financial compensation. In years of settling and paying out claims up to now, the league has maintained its process was sound. Ryan Smith has been investigating the story for ESPN and ABC. He shares what prompted the NFL’s change in position, what updates to the program might look like and cost, and whether Black players previously denied payouts with race-norming in place will now be compensated.
Jun 08, 2021
NBA Playoffs Breakdown: Trae Triumphs, Kawhi Dominates, Harden Injured
The first round of the NBA Playoffs closed out in dramatic fashion yesterday, with Luka Doncic and Kawhi Leonard providing a pair of dynamic performances in Game 7 as the Clippers advanced past the Mavs. Also, the Atlanta Hawks took Game 1 in their series vs. the Sixers, thanks to a nearly unstoppable Trae Young, who’s been the breakout star of this postseason. And despite James Harden going down with an injury in the first minute, the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1...and are now looking at the prospect of being Harden-less for at least Game 2. Brian Windhorst runs through the biggest storylines of the weekend’s basketball action, and looks ahead to the second round.
Jun 07, 2021
Mayweather vs. Paul: What Influencers Mean for Boxing
The global internet celebrity Logal Paul faces off against boxing legend Floyd Mayweather this Sunday. Both men are controversial figures, who’ve faced criminal allegations. The veteran prizefighter taking on a viral video star is just the latest unconventional attempt to draw eyes to the boxing ring, as interest in combat sports continues to shift. ESPN’s Ben Baby examines why Mayweather came out of retirement to fight Paul, why internet stars like Paul may be poised to succeed on pay-per-view, and if this is the future of the “sweet science.”
Jun 04, 2021
How the Mascot Hall of Fame Came to Furry Fruition
Mascots come in all shapes and sizes. From animals like the Oriole Bird or Roary the Lion to creatures like Gritty, mascots are a zany yet indelible part of sports. And while we honor the best players, teams, and coaches at various hall of fame institutions, there hasn’t been a place to honor mascots … until now. The three-story, 18 million-dollar Mascot Hall of Fame is open in Whiting, Indiana. Jake Malooley takes us behind the scenes to its hallowed, fur-lined halls. And he shares the story of the man who made it all happen: Dave Raymond, who worked as the original Phillie Phanatic. Then, Pablo shares his thoughts on LeBron James and the Lakers’ recent struggles.
Jun 03, 2021
Jeff Passan on the Story Behind MLB’s Inaugural Lou Gehrig Day
Lou Gehrig was one of the greatest players in the history of baseball. But Gehrig’s career, and ultimately his life, was cut short by the disease with which he has become synonymous, ALS. In March, MLB announced plans for their first annual Lou Gehrig Day, which will be celebrated each year on June 2nd. Jeff Passan joins the show to examine Gehrig’s legacy, and to share the story of the man who actually made MLB’s Lou Gehrig Day happen: Brian Wayne Gallantine. Then, Pablo shares his thoughts on Naomi Osaka’s comments about the post-match press conferences at the French Open and mental health in sports.
Jun 02, 2021
The Surprising Science Behind Epic Athletes (Re-Air)
Serena Williams. Tom Brady. Roger Federer. What really goes into making a G.O.A.T.? And extending that greatness for decades? Reporter, best-selling author, and current host of the podcast How To!, David Epstein is one of sports’ top mythbusters. His books The Sports Gene and Range delve into athletes’ lives, minds and habits to find the building blocks of success. Epstein applies his findings to trends like more superstars performing well as they age, and why getting kids to specialize in one sport might actually lead to injury rather than wins, in a re-air of one of our favorite episodes.
Jun 01, 2021
Rocky Bleier: From The Steelers To Vietnam And Back (Re-Air)
For generations, men and women from around the sports world have also served in our nation’s military. Among them, Rocky Bleier's story stands out. Bleier won a college football national championship with Notre Dame, then during his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Three months into his deployment to Vietnam, Bleier was shot through the thigh and suffered a grenade blast to his foot. Doctors told him he’d never play football again. But Bleier would rejoin the Steelers and win four Super Bowls with the team in the 1970s. In 2018, Bleier and ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi traveled to Vietnam, to the Hiep Duc Valley, where Bleier served, and where many of his fellow soldiers were killed in an ambush. We re-air this story for Memorial Day.
May 31, 2021
Boban Marjanovic is Your Favorite NBA Player’s Favorite Player
Dallas Mavericks center Boban Marjanovic stands at 7’4” and the Serbia native is most likely your favorite NBA player’s favorite player. Known for his quirky personality and authenticity, Boban calls himself a "big friendly giant," and his presence in the Mavs’ locker room brings something immeasurable. Sam Borden shares how Boban’s influenced the team, including star Luka Doncic, as the team goes for a 3-0 lead in their series against the Clippers. Then, Tottenham superfan Sun Min Kimes makes a triumphant return to preview this weekend’s Champions League Final between Manchester City and Chelsea.
May 28, 2021
Will the Tokyo Olympics Actually Happen?
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, it’s 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, who’s based in London, and the Times of London’s Asia editor Richard Lloyd Parry, who’s based in Tokyo, explain the financial implications, public health risks, and other factors at play as the Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance. 
May 27, 2021
The Bromance Behind the Knicks Rebirth + Aaron Rodgers Latest
New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has one oft-repeated mantra: “The magic is in the work.” It’s 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 NBA’s Most Improved Player. Nick Friedell has covered Thibodeau for ten years, and joins the show to explain Thibodeau’s 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.
May 26, 2021
The WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx Found Their Voice
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.
May 25, 2021
How Two Detroit Lions Inspired Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”
You know and love the Marvin Gaye song “What’s 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 football’s role in Marvin Gaye’s turbulent life, also a Sports Center feature and 2017 story for The Undefeated.
May 24, 2021
The NBA Play-In and Most Enticing Playoff Matchups
When LeBron James sunk a game winning 3-point shot in the final minute of Wednesday’s 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.
May 21, 2021
Lionel Messi: Genius. Legend. Leaving?
Lionel Messi shocked the soccer world last year when he announced he wanted to leave Barcelona, the team he’s played for since he was a teenager. Messi’s 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 Messi’s career from Argentina to Barcelona, and what his next move might be.
May 20, 2021
Why John Daly’s Miracle 1991 PGA Championship Lives on Through One Family
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. Daly’s 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. What’s 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. ESPN’s Bob Harig shares the story of Tom Weaver, and the gift Daly sent his family afterwards, that lives on to this day.
May 19, 2021
Stephen A. Smith Dishes Knicks + Play-In Tournament
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 A’s best bets to make it past the NBA Play-In Tournament, tipping off today.
May 18, 2021
Michael Wilbon on Basketball Hall of Fame Weekend
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 Saturday’s emotional night. Also inducted were fellow NBA icons Tim Duncan and Kevin 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, ESPN’s Dan Hajducky reflects on a connection he shares with Hall of Fame inductee and WNBA legend Tamika Catchings.
May 17, 2021
Medina Spirit’s Kentucky Derby Drama, Explained
Medina Spirit will race in this weekend’s 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 weekend’s Preakness, and the implications for superstar Baffert. Then Wright Thompson, reporter for ESPN’s “Bloodlines” podcast, shares more on his time with Baffert, and the state of racing.
May 14, 2021
Is This Finally Joel Embiid’s Moment?
Joel Embiid’s 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 that’s 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 he’s 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. 
May 13, 2021
WNBA At 25: From “We Got Next” to the Orange Hoodie...and Beyond
The WNBA celebrates its 25th anniversary this season, a historic milestone for a league that many thought would never last. From the league’s 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 league’s early days, and what comes next. Then Pablo hashes Russian president Vladimir Putin’s eight goal "performance" in a hockey exhibition game.
May 12, 2021
How Can LeBron and the Lakers Rebound?
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 company’s chances. And he breaks down what the play-in games mean, love them or hate them.
May 11, 2021
From Center Ice: NHL Drama + Playoff Primer
The New York Rangers face drama on and off the ice, around the league’s response to Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson’s latest incident and history of injuring opponents. This weekend, Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid reached the milestone of 100 points in 53 games, as he’s looking more and more like the favorite for league MVP. And that’s 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. 
May 10, 2021
REBROADCAST: Alive - The Drew Robinson Story
**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. ESPN’s Senior MLB Insider Jeff Passan shares his reporting behind the ESPN+ special from E:60, “Alive: The Drew Robinson Story.”
May 08, 2021
Aaron Rodgers Drama: The View From Green Bay
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 Mother’s Day, Pablo shares how Arizona women’s basketball coach Adia Barnes has become an inspiration to working moms everywhere.
May 07, 2021
The Most Important Shots In The NBA: Vaccines
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 he’s returning to the game.
May 06, 2021
The Russell Westbrook Paradox
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 what’s even more impressive about Westbrook is how he’s 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 League’s suspension amidst growing COVID cases in India.
May 05, 2021
Protesters on the Pitch: Why the Failed Super League is Haunting Soccer
As Europe’s 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 Europe’s 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.
May 04, 2021
Shohei Ohtani’s Baseball Experiment is Working
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 he takes the mound again in Anaheim tonight, Alden Gonzalez explains what Ohtani’s success as a two-way player means for the game, and if we’ll see more like him going forward. Then, today’s soccer fan protests and how they’re connected to deeper discontent in Europe’s teams.
May 03, 2021