ESPN Daily kicks off your morning with 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.
It's where the breaking news of SportsCenter meets the deep dive storytelling of 30 for 30.Get the very best of ESPN -- daily.
ESPN Daily FavoritesWe've assembled a collection of our best episodes of 2022. It's a great way to ensure you didn't miss any of our favorite stories of the year.
Find the Show
Many podcast platforms limit the number of episodes in the show feed, but the entire archive of ESPN Daily episodes is available in the playlist above and the list below. Depending on the day and time, recent episodes might only appear in the playlist above.
Jan. 18: Is 50 the new 40? The NBA's Latest Scoring Surge, ExplainedIt's not just you, we really are seeing more high-scoring performances by NBA players than usual. We've seen 50-point performances from Anthony Davis, Jayson Tatum, Luka Doncic, Joel Embiid, Giannis, and counting this season...and that's not including Donovan Mitchell's 71-point game on January 2. It seems as though the saying "50 is the new 40" has finally made its way to the NBA, and it's become the dominant trend of the season...which left us asking ourselves, "why?" So naturally, we turned to the only person who could answer that question for us: Former San Antonio Spurs VP Kirk Goldsberry. Kirk helps us figure out why scoring is booming...and whether this trend is here to stay.
Jan. 17: The Greatest Rule in Sports: Hockey's EBUG (ENCORE)It's the dream of every sports fan: the star player on your favorite team goes down with an injury. The coach is desperate, and someone needs to step up. Somehow you, the average sports fan, get picked out of the stands to hit with the bases loaded, or step in at quarterback, or take the game winning shot. Obviously, that never happens in real life, or in sports, really...except for extremely rare occasions in hockey, thanks to the EBUG rule: which stands for Emergency Back-Up Goaltender. It's a rule that requires NHL teams to have a random person standing by in the arena, ready to hit the ice should either team's two goalies both get injured. Jeremy Schaap interviewed some EBUGs who have been called to action, and he brings us the stories of the lucky few who have lived every fan's dream.
Jan. 16: Alex Smith on NFL Super Wild Card WeekendThe NFL's Super Wild Card Weekend did not disappoint, with nailbiting finishes, surprising upsets, and a comeback for the ages. Heavy favorites like the 49ers and Bills both advanced, although Dolphins put up a bigger fight in Buffalo than many anticipated. Meanwhile, the Giants continued their surprising season behind a resurgent Danny Dimes by upsetting the #3 seed Vikings. And the Bengals finished off their divisional rival Ravens with a 98-yard thicc six fumble return on what may be the worst QB sneak attempt of all time. Alex Smith, our Monday QB, breaks all the Wild Card action down for us...and helps us look ahead to Monday's finale between the Bucs and Cowboys.
Jan. 13: The Birth of Bills Mafia: How a Divine Blunder Branded the NFL's Most Devoted FanbaseWhy are Buffalo Bills fans called "Bills Mafia?" It's a story that's become legend within Buffalo. But outside of Bills fandom, the story is less well known, even for the individuals involved with the creation of Bills Mafia themselves. Twelve years ago, Stevie Johnson dropped a potential game-winning touchdown pass in overtime, and seemingly blamed God on Twitter, in the aftermath. That moment sparked a movement among Bills fans, and inspired Bills Mafia as we know it now. So today, ESPN Daily investigates: hear Adam Schefter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson, Ryan Clark, and more explain their roles in how a divine blunder branded the NFL's most devoted fanbase, Bills Mafia. Buffalo Bills beat reporter Alaina Getzenberg and Bills Mafia co-founder Del Reid also share the other side of Bills Mafia: the force for charity, as the community rallies around Bills safety Damar Hamlin's recovery.
Jan. 12: NFL Super Wildcard Weekend Preview with Bill BarnwellAmerica is a French goose of a nation on Super Wild Card Weekend. Football foie gras. About to be force-fed a seemingly endless menu of expensive, high-stakes NFL playoff games - until we luxuriously burst. So today, we ask our friend Bill Barnwell - the sharpest and most empirically minded football analyst we know - to explain how he's attacking these half-a-dozen dishes. Will numerous quarterback injuries spoil the meal? Is Tom Brady about to eat humble pie? Can Dak and the Cowboys sugarcoat over their recent struggles? Bill helps us manage our expectations, and our livers, in the process.
Jan. 11: "I Can't Speak!": The Craziest Game in Darts History, ExplainedIf you live in the United Kingdom, you probably know the voice of Wayne Mardle. But after last week, millions of people around the world suddenly got a taste of him calling the World Darts Championship final - a genuinely historic duel between Michael van Gerwen of the Netherlands and Michael Smith of England. And Wayne's commentary helped make it the most globally viral thing that's pretty much ever happened to this admittedly strange game. So, today, for everyone who watched that clip with awe (and maybe a little confusion too) we bring you Wayne Mardle himself, as he tells the glorious story of the darts game that was heard around the world.
Jan. 10: Soccer's Biggest Soap Opera: What Happened Between the Berhalters and Reynas?The family feud between the Berhalters and the Reynas is unlike anything we've seen in sports. It feels more comparable to Shakespeare, or Game of Thrones, or even Star Wars. But it became all so real when Claudio Reyna, childhood friend of USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter, and father of rising star Gio Reyna, along with his wife Danielle, exposed a 1991 domestic violence incident between Berhalter and his now-wife Rosalind...seemingly in response to Gio being benched at the World Cup. It's a tragic dispute between two of US soccer's most famous families. Kyle Bonagura, who has been covering this as it unfolded, tells us what exactly caused this massive rift between former friends.
Jan. 9: Mina Kimes on the Packers Stunning Exit, Bills Emotional Return, and the Rest of NFL Week 18The final ticket to the NFL playoffs has been punched, and it belongs to the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks stayed alive with an overtime field goal over the LA Rams, and they got the help they needed from the Detroit Lions, who spoiled the playoff hopes (and bit the kneecaps) of the Green Bay Packers. The final week of the regular season was also the most emotional, especially for the Buffalo Bills, playing for the first time since Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest on Monday night. Add to that a Jaguars team completing a shocking turnaround from a season ago to make the playoffs, as well as a Chiefs play that looked like it belonged at a kindergarten recess, and there is only one NFL analyst who can make sense of all of it, our friend Mina Kimes.
Jan. 6: The Ballad of Stetson Bennett: From Walk-on to the Brink of CFB ImmortalityIt's hard to find a more unlikely college football journey than that of Georgia QB Stetson Bennett. He first arrived in Athens as a walk-on in 2017 and a year later, when five-star recruit Justin Fields committed to the Bulldogs, Bennett transferred to Jones County Junior College. He returned to Georgia in 2019, and didn't get his shot as the starter for two more years after that. But now, Bennett has been a Heisman finalist, and a national championship-winning quarterback...who is about to play for his second. So we called our friend Ryan McGee to put into context how unusual Bennett's story is...and how a former walk-on is now on the brink of college football immortality.
Jan. 5: Remembering Pelé: Sports' First Global SuperstarPelé is without question one of the most famous people to ever live. He won three World Cups for Brazil from 1958-1970, and is widely regarded as the benchmark to which today's greatest players are compared. Pelé died on Dec. 29 at the age of 82. ESPN Global Sports Correspondent Sam Borden is on the ground in Brazil for the funeral, and he tells us what he's seen in Pelé's hometown...and how his death has reverberated around the world.
Jan. 4: The Damar Hamlin Story: "Everybody I Talk to, I Say I Love You."Damar Hamlin's name has been echoing across sports for the last two days. On Monday night, the 24-year-old Buffalo Bills safety collapsed on the field during the Bills-Bengals game in Cincinnati, where he was administered CPR and eventually taken to a Cincinnati hospital, where he remains in critical condition. Tyler Dunne, a Buffalo based journalist and founder of Go Long, a football focused newsletter, profiled Hamlin in 2021 after he'd been drafted by the Bills. As the world awaits additional updates on Hamlin's condition, Dunne shares Hamlin's story of resiliency and family, and paints a portrait of the man the entire world is just now learning about.
Jan. 3: Tim Kurkjian: A Baseball Life (ENCORE)There are many ways to describe ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian: Brilliant. Hilarious. Competitive. And above all, passionate. Passionate about the game of baseball. But now, there's another way to describe Tim Kurkjian: Hall of Famer. Over the summer, Kurkjian received the Career Excellence Award from the Baseball Writers Association of America. In an encore, we celebrate the life and career of our favorite baseball nerd: the story of a short, skinny kid who took a love of baseball, and not much else, and made it all the way to Cooperstown. You can listen to ESPN Daily's Best of 2022 playlist here.
Jan. 2: Unrivaled: Inside Hockey's Bloodiest Rivalry (ENCORE)In June, the Avalanche beat the Lightning to win the Stanley Cup, sending the trophy back to Colorado for the first time since 2001. It was an era when the Avalanche, and their archrivals the Detroit Red Wings, were engaged in a multi-year blood feud that became the center of the hockey universe. It was a rivalry perhaps best remembered for a game played 25 years ago, on March 26, 1997 in Detroit's Joe Lewis Arena, and is now better remembered as "Fight Night at the Joe." During the first period, Detroit's Darren McCarty sought revenge on Colorado's Claude Lemieux for a violent check in the previous year's playoffs on the Red Wings' Kris Draper. The hit caused severe injuries to Draper's face, enraging the Red Wings, who were furious that Lemieux refused to even apologize to Draper. Now, a quarter-century later, those who were part of it are opening up about what made the rivalry so intense, as part of E:60's "Unvrivaled." In an encore of one of our favorite shows from the last year, Detroit native Dave Fleming joins us to discuss the trajectory of the rivalry and why we may never see anything like it again. You can listen to ESPN Daily's Best of 2022 playlist here.
Dec. 30: JJ Redick on Mental Health vs. Mental Toughness (ENCORE)It's no surprise that the athlete's mental health has been one of the biggest topics in sports in recent years, as more and more players are coming forward with the struggles they face in dealing with the constant pressure. The screaming fans, the pressure, and the high-stakes moments are exactly what makes sports so compelling. In an encore presentation, we offer an extended conversation with JJ Redick, a man who has both thrived and suffered under the pressure of elite competition, on how we should think about the strain on athletes' mental health...while also acknowledging that watching human beings succeed or fail in high pressure situations is exactly what makes them worth watching.
Dec. 29: Betsy & Irv: A Love Story 40 Years in the Making (ENCORE)The story of Betsy Sailor and Irv Pankey is unlike any you've heard before. It's a story that, for years, was shrouded in darkness, tied inextricably to the unspeakable crimes of a former Penn State football player named Todd Hodne. ESPN's Tom Junod and Paula Lavigne first brought Hodne's horrific crimes to light this spring in their meticulously reported feature "Untold." But in the midst of their reporting, they stumbled onto another, completely opposite story. A story of compassion, friendship, and ultimately, 40 years later...love. You can listen to ESPN Daily's Best of 2022 playlist here.
Dec. 28: Truth Be Told: The Fight for Women's Professional Soccer (ENCORE)In 2021, the National Women's Soccer League faced a crisis. Explosive allegations from players of abuse, sexual harassment, and unrelenting coercion by one of the NWSL's most successful head coaches set off a reckoning across the entire league. The commissioner resigned. Games were canceled. Players had no collective bargaining agreement and the specter of a canceled season loomed, all while governing bodies opened investigations into misconduct and toxic work environments. And in October, a long-awaited report investigating the failures of the NWSL was released by former acting attorney general Sally Yates, which detailed systemic abuse within the league, and specifically "a culture of abuse, silence, and fear of retaliation" that perpetuated the misconduct. In an encore, Jennifer Karson-Strauss directed the E60 film, "Truth Be Told: The Fight for Women's Professional Soccer," and joins the show to discuss the film's investigation into allegations of abuse, sexual coercion and a toxic work environment in the league, as well as the lack of action taken by NWSL leadership. You can listen to ESPN Daily's Best of 2022 playlist here.
Dec. 27: Doc Rivers on the 30th Anniversary of the LA Riots (ENCORE)A little over 30 years ago, April 29, 1992, the city of Los Angeles went to war with itself. Riots erupted on the streets following the acquittal of four LAPD officers in the beating of motorist Rodney King. It was a verdict that provoked outrage because the incident was captured on video, triggering a national debate over police brutality. Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers was a guard for the Los Angeles Clippers in 1992. In an encore of one of our favorite shows from 2022, Doc shares how the sports world at large reacted to the verdict and the riots that followed, and how the social responsibilities of an athlete have changed in the 30 years since.
Dec. 26: Surviving a Moose Attack on the Way to the Iditarod (ENCORE)The Iditarod is the most famous dog sled race in the entire world, run across 1000 miles through the Alaskan wilderness. And while the event brings to mind images of furry dogs and beautiful landscapes, the race is incredibly challenging and dangerous. Liz Merrill traveled up north and spent time with Bridgett Watkins, an ER nurse who competed in the race for the first time in 2022, despite her team enduring a brutal attack by a bull moose in February. In an encore of one of our favorite shows from 2022, Merrill shares Watkins' experience and story of survival. You can listen to ESPN Daily's Best of 2022 playlist here.
Dec 23: When Eagles Fans Booed Santa--The Notorious True Story (ENCORE)It's one of the most infamous fan stories in sports history: when Eagles fans booed Santa at halftime of a game played at Franklin Field. But who was the Santa in question - and why was he booed and pelted with snowballs? It's ESPN Daily's Christmas tradition to bring you this episode, so hear an encore with Jeremy Schaap and Mina Kimes as they reflect on the enduring legacy of the Philadelphia Santa.
Dec 22: Most Powerful Curse in the NFL? The 1925 Pottsville Maroons (ENCORE)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. In an encore of one of our favorite shows, Flem takes us inside the story, and his mission for NFL justice.
Dec 21: Where does Brittney Griner go from here?It took 294 days, but Brittney Griner is back home. On December 8, the WNBA star was freed in a prisoner swap with Russia for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, ending an almost year-long fight for her freedom by her loved ones, teammates, fans, and the White House. But just because Griner is back home, doesn't mean her life will ever be the same. We called up TJ Quinn to close the book on the biggest story we have continuously covered all year...and he tells us how we got Griner back, what her readjustment is expected to be like...and when we might next see her on a basketball court.
Dec 20: Ryan McGee Explains Why Bowl Season Still MattersIt's a weird time for Bowl Games, if we're being honest. More players than ever are skipping out on them to either enter the transfer portal or preserve their NFL Draft stock...and the underlying argument of the College Football Playoff system is that the ceremony of these weird, one-off, de facto playoff games, just isn't important enough. Enter Ryan McGee, who joins us to explain why college bowl games should not only be protected, but savored...even if you aren't a degenerate gambler or corporate shill.
Dec 19: A Tale of Two Footballs--Argentina Wins World Cup + NFL Week 15 RecapLionel Messi is finally a World Cup champion! It took a penalty shootout, but Argentina was able to hold off the French comeback attempt, which was led by a hat trick from Kylian Mbappe. We called up our friend Roger Bennett for his reaction to Argentina's victory...and what it means for Messi's legacy. And in the other football world, Alex Smith tells us what he saw in the snow on Saturday between the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, how things shaped up between the Giants and Commanders...and what the hell the Patriots were thinking on that play that cost them the game against the Raiders.
Dec 16: Lionel Messi's Last Dance + Andres Cantor on Calling the World Cup FinalAs Lionel Messi prepares to take the pitch in what will be his final World Cup appearance on Sunday, there's another Argentinian legend that you should know about. Andres Cantor, the Spanish-language commentator for Telemundo known for his soulful call of "GOOOL", will be in the booth for his 12th World Cup Final. In Latin America, he's almost as much of an institution as the sport of soccer itself...and he's about to call one of the most important matches in the history of his home country - and the most crucial of Messi's iconic career. And we also call up NPR reporter Jasmine Garsd, who explains the rocky relationship Messi has had over the years with his fans in Argentina, and whether a World Cup victory will finally allow him to escape the shadow of Diego Maradona.
Dec 15: Bill Barnwell Forecasts the AFC & NFC EastWeather forecasting is kinda like football forecasting. You examine history. You try to account for randomness by building complicated, mathematical models. But whether you're right or wrong, and no matter which team you root for, you're gonna wind up yelling at clouds. Especially in mid-December. So, today, with cold fronts buffeting the East Coast, we show our coastal bias and ask our human doppler radar, Bill Barnwell, to take the temperature of what seems to be the two hottest divisions in football - the AFC and NFC East. And he tells us what the Dolphins should pack to survive their trip to Buffalo on Saturday, why one Eagles flaw may spell trouble in the playoffs...and how the Commanders are defying the odds.
Dec 14: A Pirate's Life--Remembering Mike LeachThe college football world, and frankly all of sports, got a lot less interesting yesterday with the news that Mike Leach passed away at the age of 61. The Mississippi State head coach leaves behind a legacy as one of college football's most eclectic, interesting, and controversial figures. So we called in our friend Ryan McGee, who covered Leach for years, and he helps us unpack just how far Leach's impact was felt.
Dec 13: Tony Reali on 20 Years of Around the HornAny given TV show is lucky if it makes it to season No. 2, but this year marks two decades of Around The Horn. Twenty years of mutes and facetimes and competitive banter, every weekday - adding up to more than 4,500 episodes and counting. So ahead of tonight's 20th anniversary Around The Horn TV special, we wanted to take you way behind the curtain of the show that still scores the argument...and continues to embarrass Pablo in the process.
Dec 12: Alex Smith on Purdy's Purdy Good Day, Mahomes' Absurd Throw, Lions Big Man CatchHow did 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy's first NFL start go? Purdy...purdy...purdy good. The Niners trounced Tom Brady and the Bucs 35-7, with Christian McCaffrey also pitching in on the scoreboard. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs looked like they were putting together a blowout in Denver...until the Broncos scored 21 unanswered points to close the gap, with Mahomes throwing three interceptions, but the Chiefs hung on to win 34-28. And in Detroit, the Lions closed out their victory over the Vikings with not quite a Thicc Six - but a thicc third down conversion to OT Penei Sewell. Our Monday QB Alex Smith tells us everything he saw on Sunday across the NFL.
Dec 09: Remember the Blue & Yellow--Soccer, War, and the Pride of a NationNo team has ever faced a more impossible task than the Ukrainian Men's National Soccer Team. On Feb. 23, the team was a month away from playing Scotland, with a trip to the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the line. The following day, their lives and the lives of their countrymen were changed forever when Russia invaded Ukraine, with catastrophic results. Many thousands have died, millions have been displaced, and incalculable damage has been done to Ukraine's towns and cities. It's against this backdrop that manager Oleksandr Petrakov and his players embarked on a journey to qualify for the World Cup. Wright Thompson followed the team over the last six months, in nine different countries, including the embattled Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, as the Ukrainians showed the world their country's enduring spirit and commitment, and how crisis and conflict revealed their true character. It's the subject of the latest E60 special: "Remember the Blue & Yellow" which debuts this Sunday at 5:30 pm ET.
Dec 08: Pink Card--Soccer and the Fight for Women's Rights in IranWhen the United States needed to beat Iran to make the knockout stage of this World Cup, the story of the ongoing protests in Iran captured the attention of American media. How thousands of protesters had been arrested and hundreds had been killed while fighting for the basic rights of women. How players on the Iranian national team were being threatened for being sympathetic to that cause. And how the country's tangled history with America now seeped into the soccer being played. But then America won...Iran was sent home... and it felt like an even bigger story - the story of how specifically important soccer has been to this movement, a movement spanning generations of women in Iran - was lost. So today, we ask Shima Oliaee, host of the upcoming 30 for 30 podcast series, PINK CARD, to tell us about that story...and why it resonates right now, more than ever.
Dec 07: Jason Robertson is 23, Filipino-American, and #1 in NHL Goals (Pablo is Excited)You may be familiar with some of the NHL's biggest stars. Names like Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Connor McDavid have transcended the sport...but there's a new star in Dallas who is currently rising above ALL of them. Jason Robertson is a 23-year-old winger for the Dallas Stars, leads the NHL in goals...and is in the conversation for MVP. So we called in our old friend Emily Kaplan, and she tells us everything about hockey's latest phenom...including why he's now Pablo's favorite hockey player.
Dec 06: Andrew Luck Breaks His SilenceAndrew Luck's football career was bright. He was the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, a generational, cerebral quarterback who played for the Indianapolis Colts and actually lived up to the hype, making Pro Bowl after Pro Bowl after Pro Bowl. But in 2019, at the age of 29, Luck shocked the world when he suddenly announced he was retiring from football entirely. Since then, the onetime superstar and would-be face of the NFL has remained largely removed from public view...until now. Seth Wickersham conducted multiple in-depth interviews with Andrew Luck, where they discussed everything from his decision to leave football, where he's been since...and if football is in his future.
Dec 05: Mina Kimes on 49ers' Jimmy G-Less Future, Chiefs-Bengals Thriller, Vikings: Lucky or Good?For San Francisco 49ers fans, Sunday was...tough. On the first drive of the game, Niners QB Jimmy Garoppolo was injured, and later revealed to have sustained a broken foot, placing him on injured reserve for the season. Enter Brock Purdy, aka "Mr. Irrelevant," who took over for San Fran under center and beat the Tua and the Dolphins 33-17. In Cincinnati, Joe Burrow and the Bengals earned another victory over the Chiefs, in a thrilling rematch of the AFC Championship game. And the Vikings survived several 4th quarter comeback attempts by Mike White and the Jets. Mina Kimes helps us understand everything that happened in the NFL on Sunday...and we ask her how she feels about a certain team close to her heart playing a different type of football.
Dec 2: USA vs. Netherlands Preview + Roger Bennett Helps us Hate the DutchIf you thought that US match against Iran on Tuesday was stressful, just wait for Saturday. After years of anticipation, geopolitical strife, and endless debates about ethical concerns, the USMNT has finally made it back to the knockout stage of the World Cup. USA's first quarterfinal berth in 20 years hangs in the balance, with just the Netherlands standing in the way. Sam Borden sets the scene for the game from Qatar, and then our old friend Roger Bennett, who has been traveling across America enthusiastically watching the World Cup, tells us what he's learned about this country and its growing love affair with soccer...and why we should hate the Dutch.
Dec 1: Justin Jefferson's Magical MomentVikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson is having a season unlike any other. From a highlight reel catch against the Bills to breaking records for most receiving yards through a player's first three seasons, Jefferson has been this season's breakout player. But despite his almost immediate dominance in the NFL, Jefferson was just the 5th wide receiver taken in his draft class, and coming out of high school received only one scholarship offer from a Power 5 program-LSU. Tim Keown profiled Jefferson for ESPN's Cover Story, and he tells us how the Vikings magical wide receiver went overlooked...until his play refused to be ignored.
Nov. 30: How Heisman Frontrunner Caleb Williams Ignited USC's RenaissanceUSC quarterback Caleb Williams does kinda look like Patrick Mahomes. They've got similar heights, and builds, and almost the same mop of curly hair, kept high and tight beneath a headband. And Williams also plays like Mahomes: making tackle-defying scrambles and ridiculous throws on the run. His playmaking magic has brought the Trojans back to life: they're somehow one win away from the college football playoff. Paolo Uggetti has been covering Williams since he was a viral sensation at Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C., and he helps us get to know Williams and understand his meteoric rise.
Nov. 29: Why Iran vs. USA Is About Much More Than SoccerIran faces the US today in the final game of their group stage. It's a win or go home for young Team USA, who earned two draws in their earlier group stage games vs. Wales and England. Off the field, Iran remains under a global spotlight after months of protests against their own regime because of the country's stance on women's rights. This isn't the first time Iran and the US have met on the field during times of intense geopolitical opposition: back in 1998, the Americans lost to Iran and were eliminated from the World Cup, after the previous several decades of tensions between the two nations which saw the Iran Hostage Crisis and American support for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war. Sam Borden is on the ground in Qatar, and he brings us up to speed on how the tournament's gone for Team USA so far, and explains what's at stake for both sides ahead of the match.
Nov. 28: Alex Smith on NFL's Thanksgiving Leftovers: Jags, Jets, and Russell WilsonSunday's slate of NFL action saw multiple game winning 2-point conversions, an 86 yard walk-off overtime TD run, and most unlikely of all, a dominant Jets QB performance. In Jacksonville, Trevor Lawrence led the Jags to a comeback win against the Ravens. Jets QB Mike White delivered 3 touchdowns in New York's victory over the Bears, after replacing the currently benched Zach Wilson. And the Broncos haven't been able to make their partnership with Russell Wilson work just yet...as tensions flared in their loss to the Panthers. Our Monday QB Alex Smith tells us what he saw on the field from these games and more.
Nov. 25: Title: The Great Imposter and Me, Part 2 (Encore)The story of Barry Bremen, a.k.a. "The Great Imposter" was already sufficiently ridiculous. Bremen was an average, suburban dad, husband, and insurance salesman who'd risen to national fame by sneaking into major sporting events. But in 2019, nearly a decade after Barry Bremen's death, his family received a mysterious letter that changed everything. The Barry Bremen legacy was bigger and more profound than any of them had ever realized. In an encore of one of our favorite episodes of the year, Jeremy Schapp brings us Part 2 of a tale unlike any other: one of family, and identity, and how technology has changed so many lives...and revealed so many secrets.
Nov. 24: Title: The Great Imposter and Me, Part 1 (Encore)It's a story so wild we couldn't fit it into one podcast. If you're of a certain age, you probably remember Barry Bremen. In the late 70's, Barry was best known for dressing up as pro athletes and sneaking into televised sporting events...beginning with the 1979 NBA All-Star Game, where he shot layups on the court with stars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Moses Malone. And while his "Great Imposter" persona brought him fame, an appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and more adventures, Barry was also a totally normal family man...and a beloved dad. Bremen died of cancer in 2011, but his story didn't end there. In an encore of one of our favorite episodes of the year, "The Great Imposter and Me" reveals the most unbelievable part of the Barry Bremen story, which came long after he'd hung up his phony uniforms and disguises. Jeremy Schaap brings us this story in two parts, for ESPN Daily.
Nov. 23: When Giannis Met Milwaukee: A Love Story (Encore)Athletes often say they love the city where they play, but Giannis Antetokounmpo takes it to a new level. He's called Milwaukee home since the team drafted him in 2013. It wasn't a given that the Greek native, a son of Nigerian immigrants, would stay in the midwestern city. But his massive 2020 contract extension shows the love is mutual. In an encore of one of our favorite episodes from the last year, our own ESPN Daily producer (and Wisconsin native) Ryan Nantell digs into a legendary anecdote from Giannis' rookie season that shows why he and Milwaukee have been such a good fit.
Nov. 22: Butt Fumble at 10: A Play That Will Live In Infamy10 years ago today, the "Butt Fumble" was born. On November 22, 2012, a crisp Thanksgiving night, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots visited the Mark Sanchez-led New York Jets at MetLife Stadium...where in the second quarter, Mark Sanchez turned the wrong way after a snap and ran right into his right guard's butt and fumbled the ball to an awaiting Patriots defense that promptly ran it in for a touchdown. The play became a symbol of the Jets' dysfunction, and has been immortalized forever through video clips, replays, and memes. Former Jets head coach Rex Ryan takes us back to that dark day in Jets history, and ESPN Daily producer Chris Tumminello, who attended the Butt Fumble game, helps us commemorate the notorious anniversary.
Nov. 21: Alex Smith on Chiefs Thrill, Cowboys Dominance, and Heinicke MagicWeek 11 in the NFL had the makings of a snoozefest...until the Chargers and Chiefs battled it out on Sunday night, with the Chiefs pulling off yet another last-second comeback. Just a week after putting the NFL on notice with a win over the Bills in the game of the year, the Vikings got embarrassed at home by the Dallas Cowboys. The NFC East's good day continued as the Washington Commanders beat the Houston Texans to improve to 6-5 after starting the season 1-4...and more importantly, they finally named Taylor Heinicke their starting QB going forward. And amid all the outrage over the Colts' hiring of Jeff Saturday as their interim head coach...prompted us to think, what actually makes someone qualified to be a head coach anyway? We brought in Alex Smith for another edition of QB Confidential, so he could help us make sense of all of this.
Nov. 18: JJ Redick on Mental Health vs. Mental ToughnessIt's no surprise that the athlete's mental health has been one of the biggest topics in sports in recent years, as more and more players are coming forward with the struggles they face in dealing with the constant pressure. But screaming fans and high-stakes moments are exactly what makes sports so compelling. So today, in a special crossover episode with The Old Man & The Three podcast, we offer an extended conversation with JJ Redick, who has both thrived and suffered under the pressure of elite competition, on how we should think about the strain on athletes' mental health...while also acknowledging that watching athletes succeed or fail in high pressure situations is exactly what makes them worth watching.
Nov. 17: On the Ground in Qatar for the Most Controversial World Cup EverThe World Cup, the biggest sporting event on the planet, begins this Sunday. While every World Cup is extreme in its own way, nothing compares to what's going on in Qatar right now. There is the migrant worker crisis (which this podcast reported on two weeks ago). There's the fact that Qatar is the smallest country to ever host the World Cup. And there are concerns about the rights of the LGBTQ community in Qatar and the possibility of protests in a country that historically has been very tightly controlled. Sam Borden has been covering all of the issues surrounding Qatar's bid for years, and reports from on the ground in Doha about the most controversial World Cup ever.
Nov. 16: "We Can't Do This Forever." Klay Thompson on the Warriors, Rehab, and BoatingKlay Thompson is one of the best shooters in NBA history. He's one half of the Splash Brothers, a five-time NBA All-Star, and a four-time NBA champion. He is also an avid boater. But he's 32 years old...and coming off a torn ACL injury which was immediately followed by a torn Achilles. Couple that with the emergence of younger role players such as Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins...and the Warriors' slow start to this season, and all of a sudden Thompson's future with the dynasty he's been a cornerstone for is murkier than ever. Ramona Shelburne joins us to explain how Thompson's role has been changing...and charts the course for how both he and the Warriors can make it through these troubled waters.
Nov. 15: Why Men's College Basketball is Going Back to the FutureFor years One-and-Done has been the name of the game in men's college basketball, with top programs courting superstar freshmen to play for one season before they head to the NBA. But now, with college players now legally raking in cash via Name, Image and Likeness deals, the calculus is starting to change. Many players can make as much, if not more in college than in trying their luck in the pros. It all means that college basketball in 2022 looks at once very new...but also, a little old...as star players like Gonzaga's Drew Timme and Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe have returned for their senior seasons and brought back the notion of "college basketball veteran." So Myron Medcalf gets us ready for the 2022-23 men's college basketball season...and he takes us on a campus tour unlike any we've ever seen.
Nov. 14: Alex Smith on Vikings/Bills Instant Classic, Tua's Brilliance, and Playing for Dan SnyderWith Week 10 of the NFL in the books, Alex Smith stops by to talk about the Game of the Year...and catch of the year, courtesy of Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson in the Vikings' win over the Bills. Josh Allen now leads the league in interceptions, but is it time to panic in Buffalo just yet? Elsewhere in the AFC East, the now-first place Miami Dolphins steamrolled the Browns...and MVP chants echoed down on QB Tua Tagovailoa. And after everything we saw Sunday...are the Eagles still the best team in the NFL? Alex Smith answers these questions, and reflects on his time in Washington ahead of the Commanders-Eagles game on Monday Night Football.
Nov. 11: Battlefields to Ballfields: How Veterans are Helping Solve the Sports Officiating CrisisThere may be no more thankless job than referee. At best, your existence is completely invisible. No one notices when you do a terrific job. At worst, you become enemy #1 for fans or coaches or in lower levels, angry parents. Combine that with low pay and high pressure, and it's no wonder why officiating is undergoing a crisis at the moment. Not enough people are willing to do the job...a job without which, the games quite literally can not go on. But, today, on Veteran's Day, we bring you the story of a solution. And it'll make you think differently about what this job actually is. And the people who really would love to do it.
Nov. 10: The Band is on the Field, 40 Years LaterIt's arguably the greatest play in college football history. November 20th, 1982. Stanford vs. Cal. A legendary rivalry known as the "Big Game," that was made even bigger that year by the presence of Stanford's all-world QB, John Elway. What happened in the final seconds still echoes across 40 years...the iconic call of Cal Radio's Joe Starkey exclaiming, "The band is out on the field!" With a new E:60 special airing Sunday, Jeremy Schaap tells the story of how five laterals and a trombone became an indelible part of college football history.
Nov. 9: Brittney Griner Transferred to Russian Penal ColonyAfter being detained in Russia for 265 days, Brittney Griner is currently in the process of being transferred to a penal colony. Nobody knows where she is, and we might not find out for a while. The transfer comes shortly after U.S. officials were able to meet with Griner in person last week, and it was previously thought that the midterm elections could have been a turning point for Russia to begin negotiations for her release. But now, T.J. Quinn tells us how nobody pretty much knows anything at this point...and he explains what the message is that Russia is trying to send.
Nov. 8: The Drug Company that Landed Brett Favre in Hot WaterYou've probably heard about Brett Favre's involvement in a welfare fraud scandal in his home state of Mississippi. The Hall of Fame quarterback is accused of accepting money intended for the poorest citizens of America's poorest state, and using the money to fund a volleyball facility at his alma mater: the University of Southern Mississippi. But Favre's role in that case only became known to investigators when they began looking into something else entirely: a little-known drug company in Florida that was promising to give the entire football world the miracle it needed around concussion science. Mark Fainaru-Wada investigates the real story behind Prevacus and its gunslinging investor.
Nov. 7: For Sale: Washington Commanders?When the news broke that Daniel Snyder enlisted Bank of America to help him explore a potential sale of the Washington Commanders on Wednesday, the reaction was shock...and, in some corners, celebration. Snyder has been embattled for years in controversies with fellow owners, accusations of a toxic workplace environment, and calls to change the name of the team...the latter of which came to fruition in 2020 after years of Snyder refusing to do so. Don Van Natta tells us how Snyder seems to have run out of options once again...and how the US Department of Justice may have been the final tipping point.
Nov. 4: The Human Cost of Qatar's World CupIn a few short weeks, one of the most controversial sporting decisions in recent memory will become a reality - Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup. Almost everything from the selection process itself, to the claims of human rights abuses, to the promises made by Qatar's government to improve conditions for migrant workers, has been thrust into the spotlight on the world's biggest stage. Since it was awarded the world cup in 2010, more than 6,500 workers have reportedly died in Qatar, one of the richest countries in the world and one that has spent $220 billion to build stadiums and infrastructure. Jeremy Schaap traveled to Qatar's capital city of Doha, where he visited the new stadiums, and spoke with workers and government officials...and he tells us what could be the true legacy of Qatar's World Cup.
Nov. 3: How the Brooklyn Nets Devolved into ChaosSince we last talked to Nick Friedell two weeks ago, the Brooklyn Nets' vibes have gone from great to bad...to worse. Last Thursday, Kyrie Irving tweeted a link to a film littered with antisemitic tropes and later refused to answer questions about it. In addition, the Nets have lost 5 of their last 6 games and are in last place in the Atlantic Division. On Tuesday, head coach Steve Nash and the team parted ways, and now the Nets are reportedly looking to hire Celtics coach Ime Udoka, who just six weeks ago was suspended by Boston for the entire season for engaging in an inappropriate workplace relationship. So Nick fills us in on everything that's happened in the last week, why things in Brooklyn seem so bleak, and where the team goes next.
Nov. 2: First Instagram, Next: March Madness - How the Cavinder Twins Conquered College Hoops and TikTokWhen the Name Image and Likeness revolution arrived, we all assumed the biggest winners would be the obvious: The star quarterbacks, the All-Americans, the prospects already on their way to the pros. But in the social media economy, it turns out, what you're really monetizing is your audience. So today, we tell the story of the NIL pioneer Cavinder Twins, Hanna and Haley, two college basketball players writing the rules on this new economy as they go... as they head to the University of Miami and bring their millions of followers with them.
Nov. 1: From Rock Bottom to Rocky Top: Is Tennessee Football Finally Back?There may be no other team that embodies the chaotic nature of college football more than Tennessee. The Volunteers have seemingly cycled through various head coaches since ousting the architect of their 90's glory years, Phillip Fulmer, in 2008...and have done so with very little success. Lane Kiffin infamously left the program in flames after one year at the helm. Derek Dooley, Butch Jones, and Jeremy Pruitt spent the rest of the decade in a revolving door of coaches, each one being no less mediocre than the last. But finally, it looks like the right guy is in charge at Rocky Top. Josh Heupel has the Vols sitting at No. 2 in the nation after knocking off Alabama, and they have a meeting with No. 1 ranked Georgia this weekend. So ahead of that clash of top teams, and as this year's first College Football Playoff rankings are released, we sit down with Ryan McGee...and he tells us how his beloved Tennessee is finally revitalized.
Oct. 31: QB Confidential: Alex Smith on Joe Burrow's Unique Football MindBengals QB Joe Burrow is one of the most exciting young players in the NFL: from his talent on the field to his gameday outfits to how he talks about football, Burrow's development is considered to be ahead of schedule. In just his second season, Burrow led Cincinnati to the Super Bowl, and the Bengals have high hopes for this year and beyond. Alex Smith sat down with Burrow ahead of Monday Night Football and tells us what makes his football mind so incisive, and reflects on what they have in common.
Oct. 28: Bryce Harper: Will Baseball's "Chosen One" Fulfill His Destiny?America was first introduced to Bryce Harper when he was just 16 years old, thanks to a Sports Illustrated cover story that proclaimed the teen as "Baseball's Chosen One." The article, written by SI's Tom Verducci, chronicled Harper's seemingly mythical feats: Hitting a 570-foot home run as a high school freshman. Crushing a homer off the back wall of Tropicana Stadium. Boldly stating he wanted to be the greatest player of all-time. It created a hype around the teenager that seemed impossible to live up to. And yet, Harper has done just that. And now the two-time MVP is about to step up to the plate for his first World Series appearance, after propelling the Philadelphia Phillies through the NLCS with a game-winning homer this past Sunday. Tom Verducci was there at Citizen's Bank Park to witness Harper's heroics in the NLCS, 13 years after he first covered him as a 16-year-old high school phenom. He tells us what it's been like to chronicle "Baseball's Chosen One" since the very start.
Oct. 27: A Beautiful Grind: John Urschel's Life in Football and MathematicsWhat's your passion? That one thing that gets you out of bed in the morning? For John Urschel, it's two things: football and math. Urschel followed the football path first, playing in college at Penn State and eventually for the Baltimore Ravens. But during his time in the NFL, he realized how much he missed math...and decided to go back for his PhD at MIT...while he was still competing on the field. Urschel joins the show to tell us about his unique life in football, and how mathematics are key to understanding the sport that's been transformed by analytics.
Oct. 26: How Overtime Elite Could Become the Next Route to NBA StardomThe way NBA prospects get to the league looks nothing like it used to. We've been importing future MVPs from overseas for years now: that's the story of Victor Wembanyama, next year's projected No. 1 pick. And we've watched the G League become the NBA's own minor league system. That's the story of Scoot Henderson, projected to go No. 2. But the story of Amen and Ausar Thompson - who could maybe round out the top five in next year's draft - is something very different. Israel Gutierrez explains the rise of Overtime Elite: a viral video account that's become a league unto itself, where the Thompson twins have taken up residence, and where they're getting everyone to click.
Oct. 25: How Biggie Smalls Inspired Zion's Return to the CourtIt had been 533 days since we last saw Zion Williamson compete in a real live NBA game until this season. The 22-year-old phenom has dealt with a foot injury that kept him out all of last season, and struggled with the perception he was out of shape. But this season (despite a fall on Sunday that left him with a bruised rear end) Zion has looked every bit the sensation he was predicted to be coming out of Duke. It's a turnaround he credits, in part, to the music of the Notorious B.I.G. We called up ESPN reporter Andrew Lopez to explain how Zion turned things around, whether this latest injury is anything to worry about, and what we might see from him the rest of the season.
Oct. 24: NFL Week 7: Tua's Return, Alex Smith Bowl, GOATs Out to Pasture?Tua Tagovailoa is back: but does he need to learn how to slide? And is he the same QB he was before his frightening concussion three weeks ago against the Bengals? Elsewhere in the NFL's Week 7, we got the Alex Smith Bowl, as the Kansas City Chiefs jet swept all over the San Francisco 49ers. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady continued to struggle this season as both their teams have now started 3-4 for the first time since Rodgers took over as the starter in Green Bay...way back in 2008. Are these two GOAT's finally washed? Or can they still turn their seasons around? We called up Alex Smith for answers, in yet another installment of QB Confidential.
Oct. 21: Sole and Valor: The Mystery of the NFL's Last Barefoot KickerIn the 1980s NFL, barefoot kickers were a fleeting and rare phenomenon, with little to no evidence to back up any claims of a strategic advantage. The last known barefoot kick in the league was recorded in 2002, and executed by St. Louis Rams kicker Jeff Wilkins...or so we thought. Sam Borden kicks off an investigation into a football mystery... and embarks on a quest for truth...and justice...and a heel turn for the ages.
Oct. 20: Why The Biggest World Series Bet Ever Is a Sure ThingIn Houston, everyone knows the name "Mattress Mack." He's a furniture store owner whose charitable efforts during Hurricane Harvey and in other times need have made him famous among Houstonians. But "Mattress Mack," whose real name is Jim McIngvale, has become famous nationally for another reason: he consistently places some of the largest sports bets in history. But make no mistake, Mack is not your ordinary high roller...it's all part of a strategy designed to sell furniture, while at the same time giving the local community something to cheer for. And now, if his beloved hometown Houston Astros manage to win the World Series, Mack stands to win more than 70 million dollars, the largest sports bet payout in history. And if the Astros lose? Well, as Dave Fleming explains there's more to the bet and Mattress Mack than meets the eye - and even if the Astros lose, McIngvale still wins.
Oct. 19: No Sleep Till Brooklyn: Can Kyrie, KD, and Ben Simmons Survive This Season?The Brooklyn Nets were the talk of the NBA offseason, and as their season tips off tonight, it seems like the dust has settled...for now. But what's Kevin Durant's future just months after he requested to be traded away? Can Kyrie Irving change the narrative around him this season? And what will Ben Simmons look like after more than a year away from the game? Nick Friedell shares his conversations with Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons with us, and he takes us for a ride through the Nets' offseason drama as they take the court for a new season.
Oct. 18: The NBA is Back: Zach Lowe Previews the Most Wide-Open Season in YearsYou may have heard that the NBA has just gone through the most dramatic offseason in memory. The league also has more star talent right now, top to bottom, than it has in years. And anyone who's telling you that they know who's going to win it all is a liar. So, today, as the season tips off tonight, we consult the very particular brain of Zach Lowe, who studies these games more deeply than anyone else in the business. And he makes us smarter about the drama on the court itself.
Oct. 17: Josh Allen Hurdles Chiefs, Eagles Soar, & NY Football is Back?In Kansas City, Josh Allen hurdled to victory (literally) and led the Buffalo Bills on a game-winning drive over the Chiefs, in a rematch of last year's explosive AFC Divisional Round matchup. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles preserved the only undefeated record in the NFL, beating the Cowboys 26-17. Across the NFC East, Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale helped beat his former team, the Ravens, thanks in large part to a Lamar Jackson interception and a strip sack in the last three minutes. And in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers was upset by the surging New York Jets, who've won their last three games (yes, you read that correctly). So we called up our Monday morning QB Alex Smith for this week's installment of QB Confidential.
Oct. 14: A Hater's Guide to Football AnalyticsIf you watch football, you've probably heard the word "analytics" so many times, it's lost all meaning. But what if we told you there's a better way to understand football analytics...by instead using the word "evidence?" Our resident football professor Bill Barnwell is here with a lesson in making sense of analytics, what it means when coaches use information to make decisions on the field, and what people get wrong when they criticize teams using analytics. We also look ahead to this weekend's juiciest games, including a rematch between the Bills and Chiefs and an NFC East showdown between the Eagles and Cowboys.
Oct. 13: Is Dan Snyder Done As Washington's NFL Owner?NFL ownership is one of the most exclusive, fiercely protected clubs imaginable. There is no American sport as profitable or as visible as the NFL, and there are only 32 teams - 32 pieces of the most valuable real estate in American culture... each of them worth billions of dollars. Which means that entering this club requires another powerful person to want to leave. Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder, you may have noticed, does not want to go anywhere. But, today, ESPN's Don Van Natta breaks news about how the most controversial owner in football has been fighting, in secret, to keep his Washington Commanders. And he brings us deep inside the viciously guarded club that may finally want him out.
Oct. 12: Is Victor Wembanyama the Best NBA Prospect Ever? (Seriously)Meet the NBA Draft prospect that is the reason for a "race to the bottom like we've never seen," as one NBA GM told Adrian Wojnarowski. Victor Wembanyama is a 7'4 18-year old from France, currently playing for Metropolitans 92...and did we mention that he's 7'4? Forget about a unicorn, this guy is an alien, something we have never seen before. There is so much hype around Wembanyama, that some have said that if he was in the same class as LeBron James, LeBron would be the second pick. ESPN Draft analyst Jonathan Givony isn't one for gushing and hyperbole when it comes to prospects, but even he is all-in on Wembanyama...and he tells us why.
Oct. 11: NHL Season Preview: Sound the Goal Horn of PlentyPucks drop tonight around the National Hockey League as the regular season begins, but what's changed since the Colorado Avalanche hoisted the Stanley Cup back in June? Can Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers challenge Nathan McKinnon and the defending champs? In the Eastern Conference, do Sidney Crosby and his aging crew of Penguins have what it takes to make one more run? And what should we make of Buoy, the Seattle Kraken's new mascot? Our resident NHL expert Greg Wyshynski brings us up to speed on everything in the hockey world and tells us who we should be rooting for as hockey season starts.
Oct. 10: Alex Smith's QB Confidential: NFL Week 5If you had to sum up the NFL's Week 5 in one word, it would have to be bizarre. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held off the Atlanta Falcons, thanks in part to a bewildering roughing the passer call against the Falcons on a crucial third down in the fourth quarter. The Chargers survived the Browns, even after head coach Brandon Staley decided to go for it on a fourth down at midfield late in the game - with a two-point lead - and left many people, even Chargers receiver Keenan Allen, scratching his head. Matthew Stafford was sacked for the 21st time this season as the Rams still couldn't get on the right track. So we called up our Monday morning QB, Alex Smith, and he gives us his insight on what it's like to be in the shoes of Stafford and Allen.
Oct. 7: MLB's Wild Card Weekend is Pure Chaos: Jeff Passan ExplainsMLB's Wild Card weekend begins today, with a new format that seems primed to produce maximum chaos: eight teams facing off over the next three days for the right to advance to the Divisional round. And while we may still have questions about how this is all going to work, Jeff Passan helps us make sense of everything, and why the biggest winners might be the underdogs.
Oct. 6: Bill Barnwell Makes You Smarter about NFL Week 5We're just under a quarter of the way through the NFL season, and so many teams are still facing questions about their quarterback situations. In Pittsburgh, Mike Tomlin benched veteran Mitchell Trubisky halfway through the Steelers' Week 4 matchup for rookie Kenny Pickett, in search of a "spark" on offense. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who previously publicly welcomed the idea of a QB controversy, might now actually have one as the Cowboys are 3-1 with backup Cooper Rush in place of the injured Dak Prescott. So we called up Bill Barnwell to survey the quarterback landscape...and make us smarter heading into Week 5.
Oct. 5: The Wild Cheating Scandal Consuming Professional ChessDuring a match in September, chess grandmaster and world champion Magnus Carlsen made his opening move, and then promptly resigned from play and walked off. This moment sent the chess community into a frenzy, as later it was revealed Carlsen had resigned in protest, accusing his opponent, Hans Niemann, of cheating. But was there evidence to back up Carlsen's claims...and just how prevalent is cheating in pro chess? Brin-Jonathan Butler brings us inside the controversy that is consuming elite professional chess, a world which is also the focus of his book "Grandmaster: Magnus Carlsen and the Match that Made Chess Great Again."
Oct. 4: Truth Be Told: The Fight for Women's Professional SoccerNearly a year ago, the National Women's Soccer League faced a crisis. Explosive allegations from players of abuse, sexual harassment, and unrelenting coercion by one of the NWSL's most successful head coaches set off a reckoning across the entire league. The commissioner resigned. Games were canceled. Players had no collective bargaining agreement and the specter of a canceled season loomed, all while governing bodies opened investigations into misconduct and toxic work environments. And on Monday, a long-awaited report investigating the failures of the NWSL was released by former acting attorney general Sally Yates, which detailed systemic abuse within the league, and specifically "a culture of abuse, silence, and fear of retaliation" that perpetuated the misconduct. Jennifer Karson-Strauss directed the new E60 film, "Truth Be Told: The Fight for Women's Professional Soccer," and joins the show to discuss the film's investigation into allegations of abuse, sexual coercion and a toxic work environment in the league, as well as the lack of action taken by NWSL leadership.
Oct. 3: Inside the NFL's Concussion Protocol with Alex SmithWeek 4 in the NFL saw the Bills storm back (in a literal storm) from down 20-3 to the Baltimore Ravens. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers held off rookie Bailey Zappe and the Patriots in overtime, and Patrick Mahomes casually threw 3 TDs against Tom Brady and the Bucs. But undeniably, the biggest story of NFL Week 4 actually took place on Thursday night, when the Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa suffered a frightening head injury against the Bengals. The injury came just four days after Tua suffered what appeared to be another serious head injury in Week 3, but nonetheless was cleared by an independent neurologist to return to the game. We called up Alex Smith, who's been through concussion protocol multiple times himself, to have an in-depth and honest conversation about how players view the NFL's concussion protocol...and what needs to change.
Sept. 30: Betsy & Irv: A Love Story 40 Years in the MakingThe story of Betsy Sailor and Irv Pankey is unlike any you've heard before. It's a story that, for years, was shrouded in darkness, tied inextricably to the unspeakable crimes of a former Penn State football player named Todd Hodne. ESPN's Tom Junod and Paula Lavigne first brought Hodne's horrific crimes to light this spring in their meticulously reported feature "Untold." But in the midst of their reporting, they stumbled onto another, completely opposite story. A story of compassion, friendship, and ultimately, 40 years later...love.
Sept. 29: Investigating Brett Favre and the Mississippi Welfare Fraud ScandalIf you find all the headlines about Brett Favre and the unfolding welfare fraud scandal in Mississippi kind of dizzying, that is completely understandable. Even over the past week, the names, allegations, and revelations haven't stopped. And all of it raises valid questions about possible criminal charges - not only for Brett Favre, but also the state's former Governor: Phil Bryant. So we talked to the government investigator who helped uncover the largest fraud scandal in Mississippi history, state auditor Shad White. And we try to understand what's been happening behind the scenes as one of the most famous retired athletes in this country is accused of defrauding the poorest people in America's most impoverished state...and where this case goes next.
Sept. 28: How Phoenix Moves on from Robert SarverThe aftermath of the Robert Sarver investigation has been anything but what the NBA had hoped. Sarver, the subject of a massive investigation by ESPN and later the NBA, was suspended one year for racist and misogynistic behavior. Fans and players felt it wasn't enough, and had been calling for the Phoenix Suns' owner's banishment from the league. The WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, who Sarver also owns, came forward and said they were excluded from the investigation altogether. One week later, Sarver has put both teams up for sale. Baxter Holmes, the ESPN reporter who kicked off this entire saga, explains why Sarver suddenly changed his mind about selling, what this means for the NBA...and how this story is far from over.
Sept. 27: Jeff Passan on Aaron Judge vs. Shohei Ohtani MVP DebateAaron Judge is having one of the greatest offensive seasons in baseball history. He's on his way to setting the American League record for home runs in a season, and is on pace to claim the Triple Crown, something that has only been done once since 1967. In anything resembling normalcy, Judge would be a shoe-in for American League MVP. And yet, Shohei Ohtani exists. The Angels' pitcher/designated hitter/unicorn is once again doing something that no player has ever done...playing all-star caliber baseball as a pitcher and a hitter. Jeff Passan, a man who is not afraid to make tough decisions, settles the debate once and for all.
Sept. 26: Dolphins Survive Butt Punt, Colts Stun Chiefs in a Bizarre NFL Week 3When you punt the ball off the butt of your own personal protector and still win the game, you know it's a strange week around the NFL. The Dolphins upset the Super Bowl favorite Bills, despite a tuchus-deflected punting mishap that rivaled the "Butt Fumble" in ridiculousness. The Chiefs stumbled against a Colts team that had looked hapless in their first two games. The Raiders dropped to 0-3, making them the only winless team in the league despite splashy off-season moves. And the Eagles proved why they are perhaps the class of the NFC by staying undefeated with a dominating win over the Commanders. Our resident football brainiac Bill Barnwell joins us to break down an NFL Week 3 that seemed to defy any logical explanation.
Sept. 23: Claw & Order: The Ballad of South Carolina Mascot Sir Big SpurWhat's in a name? When it comes to the University of South Carolina's live rooster mascot Sir Big Spur, the answer is a whole lot of ruffled feathers. Over the course of four fowl weeks, the Gamecocks' mascot went from Sir Big Spur, to the Cock Commander (kind of) to The General, to Sir Big Spur again. So with something of an identity crisis hatching in Columbia, we called up Ryan McGee to stick his beak in this story and give us the strange-but-true history of the Gamecocks' mascot.
Sept. 22: The Federer Model: Life Lessons from the Tennis IconWith Roger Federer announcing his retirement following this weekend's Laver Cup in London, most sports fans thoughts will immediately go to his 20 Grand Slam Titles (3rd most all-time) and his storied rivalries with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. But for writer David Epstein, Federer represents something much bigger-a model for how to develop athletes, raise our kids, and discover our individual talents. Rather than specializing in one sport early on, like Tiger Woods did with golf, Federer played many different sports as a child, and didn't focus on tennis seriously until later. Epstein explains why this model of development works, why it might be more effective than the often-cited 10,000 hours model...and why it made Roger Federer into the dominant athlete he is today.
Sept. 21: Brett Favre's Role in the Mississippi Welfare ScandalBrett Favre is a legendary figure in his home state of Mississippi for his Hall of Fame NFL career. But now, Favre is making headlines in Mississippi (and across the country) for very different reasons. Favre, and others, are accused of diverting millions of dollars in welfare funds to go toward the construction of a volleyball stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi. The same school where Favre's daughter played volleyball and where Favre himself is an alum. It is all part of a sprawling investigation into fraud and misuse of money that is meant to assist Mississippi's neediest citizens, the state with the highest poverty rate in the nation. Anna Wolfe, a reporter from Mississippi Today who's been investigating the case from the very beginning, joins us to unpack a story that is about much more than just a famous football player.
Sept. 20: The NBA's Robert Sarver Problem, ExplainedLast week, after the NBA announced a one year-suspension of Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, many NBA players and stakeholders spoke out: saying the punishment wasn't strong enough. Sarver was accused of racist, sexist, and misogynist behavior by scores of employees, chronicled by ESPN in an investigation from fall 2021. It's a situation that in some ways mirrors that of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was banned for life from the NBA when audio tapes revealed he had made racist statements. But thus far, the NBA has maintained that Sarver's behavior does not warrant the same punishment as Sterling's. So today, Brian Windhorst explains why the NBA ruled as it did with Sarver, whether the backlash from the players will amount to anything, and what the whole affair says about the balance of power in the NBA.
Sept. 19: Alex Smith Comes Back for Week 2 in the NFLWeek 2 in the NFL saw not one, but TWO 20-point comebacks. The Las Vegas Raiders somehow blew a 20-0 halftime lead to fall to Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals in overtime, while the Miami Dolphins overcame a signature Lamar Jackson performance thanks to Tua Tagovailoa's 400 passing yards and six touchdowns. The 49ers lost Trey Lance for the season, extending the Jimmy G era in San Francisco for another year. We called up Alex Smith, our Monday morning QB, to help us make sense of everything that happened.
Sept. 16: The Survivor: From the Holocaust to the Munich Massacre, One Athlete's Incredible Story50 years ago this month marks one of the darkest moments in sports history - the Munich Massacre, when Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 members of the Israeli delegation at the 1972 Summer Olympics. Shaul Ladany, now 86, was one of the Israeli athlete's who survived the massacre, just as he had survived World War II and the Holocaust when he was a child. Ladany's life is explored in the new E60 documentary, "The Survivor." Jeremy Schaap traveled to Israel and Germany to profile a man of unmatched endurance and perseverance, someone who still competes to this day after surviving the worst horrors of the 20th century. "The Survivor" will debut on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, and will be available on ESPN+ following the premiere.
Sept. 15: Bill Barnwell Makes You Smarter About NFL Week 2The NFL's Week 2 kicks off tonight with a thrilling AFC West showdown between the Chiefs and Chargers. So what did we learn about Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert in their Week 1 games? Bill Barnwell returns to make us smarter about football, previewing tonight's game and what the Chargers need to do to contain Mahomes...and the Chiefs' tasting menu of solutions for curtailing Herbert. Elsewhere, Bill tells us why we shouldn't be too high on the Steelers after their Week 1 win, what's up with Dak and the Cowboys, and how we should think about Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett after some poor decision making to end Monday night's game in Seattle.
Sept. 14: EuroBasket, Explained: The Tournament Luka, Giannis, and Jokic are Desperate to WinFor years, European players were something of an afterthought in the NBA. They were (often unfairly) labeled as soft, not tough enough and frankly not good enough to hang with their American counterparts. But those days are long gone. Two European players, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic have combined to win the last four NBA MVP awards, and Slovenian Luka Doncic is maybe the NBA's best player under 25. All of which makes EuroBasket 2022 arguably the most competitive basketball tournament in the world after the NBA Playoffs. EuroBasket, which is now played every four years, features the top national teams from across Europe, in an atmosphere that is akin to a mix of March Madness and Soccer's World Cup. Former Vice President for Strategic Research with the San Antonio Spurs, Kirk Goldsberry was reporting on the ground from EuroBasket, and explains why understanding Europe is essential to understanding the modern NBA.
Sept. 13: Sue Bird on the WNBA Finals, Retirement, and a Career Like No OtherIt has been an all-time WNBA playoffs, full of historic performances and dramatic upsets...as well as one reluctant farewell. So, today, ahead of Game 2 of the Finals, with the Connecticut Sun trying to even the series in Vegas against the Aces, we bring you someone who knows this league better than anyone else. Someone who dominated it over 21 years, and 13 All-Star Games, and 4 titles, and more assists *and more wins than anyone else in the history of her sport: Sue Bird, who also tells us what it's really like to say goodbye.
Sept. 12: NFL Week 1: Kicking and Screaming with Alex SmithThe NFL's first Sunday of 2022 kicked off in chaotic fashion...and we mean literally. The Dallas Cowboys were embarrassed on their home field by Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, losing QB Dak Prescott to a hand injury in the process. Chargers QB Justin Herbert showed off his superpowers against the Raiders, while Aaron Rodgers and his new receivers worked through some chemistry issues. The Bengals and Steelers went to overtime and saw a missed extra point and two missed field goals...while Trey Lance's first start for the 49ers was a wash in Chicago. Our Monday morning QB Alex Smith returns to make you smarter about the NFL's opening Sunday.
Sept. 9: Will Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel's Unconventional Style Work in Miami?New Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel doesn't look or sound like other NFL head coaches. He's young, self-deprecating, and his press conference sound bites are plastered all over social media. But just a year ago, few NFL fans knew who he was at all. So we called up our Dolphins beat reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques, to understand how McDaniel made the jump from boy-genius offensive coordinator with San Francisco...and whether his unconventional style can work now that he is the man in charge in Miami.
Sept. 8: Bill Barnwell's Super-Sized NFL Preview: Part 2 - The NFCIn the second part of our two-part mega NFL preview, Bill Barnwell joins us to take a look at what's going on in the NFC. As the Los Angeles Rams prepare to defend their Super Bowl title in year two of the Matthew Stafford era, the San Francisco 49ers are all-in on Trey Lance as QB1...or are they? Tom Brady retired, then just as quickly un-retired to come back for his 21st season in the NFL, but will he still be the Tom Brady we all know and hate at age 45? Will Aaron Rodgers keep up the psychedelic highs on the field that led to his MVP season a year ago, or will the Packers come down after losing Davante Adams and ZaDarius Smith? And then there's the NFC East...which may just be the worst division in football. And of course, we couldn't let Bill leave without getting a way-too-early Super Bowl LVII prediction out of him.
Sept. 7: Bill Barnwell's Super-Sized NFL Preview: Part 1 - The AFCOur NFL regular season preview with our old friend Bill Barnwell is so big that we couldn't even fit everything into one episode. So in today's edition, we talk all things AFC. In the East, there's Josh Allen and the Bills trying to finally get over the hump, the Dolphins are finally going all-in on the Tua Tagovailoa experiment, there's whatever the hell is going on with the offense in New England, and the Jets are also a football team. In the group of death, aka the AFC West, there should be no shortage of offensive firepower with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Derek Carr, and Russell Wilson at the helm. The Baltimore Ravens look to bounce back in the AFC North after injuries derailed their 2021 campaign and Lamar Jackson enters his contract year, while the Bengals try to make it back to the Super Bowl. And in the AFC South, a new regime in Jacksonville hopes to get the most out of second-year QB Trevor Lawrence...and Bill explains why he thinks the Tennessee Titans are one of the teams most likely to decline in 2022. Make sure to listen again tomorrow for Bill's preview of the NFC.
Sept. 6: How Davante Adams Ended Up in Las Vegas (hint: Derek Carr)Before Davante Adams became arguably the best receiver in the NFL with Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback, he was a star at Fresno State. But then-Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr wasn't just the guy throwing Adams the ball...he was one of Adams' best friends. They've spent eight years apart in which Adams blossomed and Carr became the franchise quarterback for the Las Vegas (and Oakland) Raiders, but the duo is finally back together...after Carr reached out this offseason to woo Adams away from the Frozen Tundra. Tim Keown gives us the inside story of how one of the NFL's elite playmakers ended up in the desert.
Sept. 5: How Whitney Houston's Super Bowl National Anthem Has Endured (ENCORE)The link between the musical icon Whitney Houston and sports is specific and indelible, through her iconic rendition of the national anthem at Super Bowl XXV. While her performance was breathtaking, much of what made it truly special, and the events surrounding it, have been overlooked. E:60's Jeremy Schaap relives a classic Super Bowl memory, and why Whitney's high notes from that night continue to echo a decade after her passing.
Sept. 2: Albert Pujols' Final Act: 700 Home Runs?Albert Pujols was the most dangerous hitter in baseball for more than a decade, putting up monumental statistics with such precision he earned the nickname, "The Machine." But after signing a massive free agent deal with the Angels, injuries and age caught up with him. Today, Pujols is back in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform and just might be looking like his old self again. With 700 home runs in sight as his career comes winding down, Alden Gonzalez joins the show to help us understand the man and the machine.
Sept. 1: Ryan McGee's College Football BuffetThere is no white tablecloth at the restaurant of college football. Things are going to get messy. From the College Football Playoff contenders, to the happenings at Tony Stark's house, there is a lot to consume here. So ahead of Week 1 of the season, Ryan McGee prepares a multi-course menu and tells us why you might as well unbuckle your Sunbelt right now.
Aug. 31: The Incredible Origin Stories of Aaron DonaldBefore he went virtually unrecruited, before he slid to the 13th pick in the loaded 2014 draft, Aaron Donald was already a Hall of Famer to those who knew him best - but only to them, apparently. Ryan Hockensmith joins the show to share Donald's origin story from kindergarten, through his high school days, all the way to last year's Super Bowl victory...a win that could seal Donald's reputation not just as the greatest defensive player of his generation, but the greatest defensive player of all-time.
Aug. 30: The Long-Awaited Promise of Kelsey PlumKelsey Plum was one of the most dominant college basketball players we have ever seen, a top draft pick, and a would-be franchise savior for the team that picked her, the San Antonio Stars (now the Las Vegas Aces). But the NCAA's all-time leading scorer struggled with her transition to the pros, and it turned out her team didn't need saving...she did. Now in her fifth season in the WNBA, Plum is finally playing to her potential and helped lead the Aces to the #1 overall seed in the playoffs. Katie Barnes tells us the story of how, after years of searching, Kelsey Plum has found herself, both on and off the court.
Aug. 29: Title: Is Coco Gauff the Next Great American Tennis Star?Coco Gauff has been on the verge of greatness ever since she picked up a tennis racket at 6 years old. It was then that her father Corey shamelessly stole the Richard Williams playbook and developed a 10 year plan for his talented daughter. But now, after years of ups and downs, both professionally and mentally, Coco Gauff arrives at the 2022 U.S. Open in New York City as an 18-year-old woman full of expectations and aspirations. All of which she gladly accepts - on her own terms.
Aug. 26: The Thicc Six Episode: The Making of Big Man TDs (Encore)"Thicc Six." It's a phrase that exploded across Twitter last season in the NFL, usually when a quarterback throws a touchdown to an open...and eligible...offensive lineman. But, why are we seeing so many Big Man touchdowns all of sudden? And what makes them so awesome? Mike Golic Jr. takes us into the trenches and into the psychology of the NFL's largest men, and explains why their moment in the spotlight brings so much joy to so many.
Aug. 25: Talking About Practice: What Everyone Got Wrong About Iverson's Rant (Encore)We're talking about practice...no, really. It's been 20 years since Allen Iverson's infamous rant, the one you've seen clips of pretty much everywhere, where Iverson goes off in response to a question about his practice habits. That roughly one-minute sound bite has come to be one of the most lasting moments of Iverson's career...but it was the rest of that press conference that truly offers a window into Iverson's life and career. It was the culmination of frustrating ends to two consecutive seasons, grief over the murder of his best friend...and the microscope he had been under since he was 17 years old. Justin Tinsley joins us to reflect on Iverson's press conference, the fallout from it, and what everyone got wrong in the two decades since.
Aug. 24: Kobe and Alto: A Bond Between Two Champions (Encore)It's been over 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.
Aug. 23: Why NFL Scouts Love Big Butts (Encore)As the NFL preseason rolls along, we're getting a look at several of this year's rookies, both hyped and unsung, franchise saviors and camp invites fighting for a roster spot. But when it comes to evaluating these prospects, there is one BIG feature that NFL scouts have been obsessed with. Yes, NFL scouts love big butts, and they cannot lie. But there's a lot more to it than scouts simply gossiping about gluteals. There's plenty of science behind why rear ends matter for athletic performance. And ESPN's Dave Fleming joins us to share the data that can back it up.
Aug. 22: "TuAnon" Unmasked: The Secretive Star of Dolphins Twitter Speaks (ENCORE)Over the course of two seasons in the NFL, a story has been brewing around Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. For a while, the beats of the story were pretty familiar--promising young quarterback comes into the league, has his ups and downs, and leaves so many wondering if he'll ever be the star they dreamed he could be. But last season, that story took a turn unlike any we've ever seen. That's because a subset of fans decided to take control of the narrative themselves and, via Twitter, launch "TuAnon," a conspiracy theory fixated on an alleged plot inside the Dolphins and throughout sports media to undermine Tua at every turn. So ESPN's Dolphins beat reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques set out to find the mystery superfan at the center of the entire thing. And what he got was not just an interview, but a journey down a rabbit hole that gets deeper each day.
Aug. 19: From Refugee to the Boxing Ring: Ramla Ali Is Fighting To Make HistoryRamla Ali doesn't know when her birthday is. Born in Somalia, she and her family became refugees after fleeing during the country's civil war in the early 1990s, leaving all important documents behind. Ali grew up in London where she developed a love for boxing - and she got really, really good at it. Eventually, Ali became the first Somalian woman to box at the Olympics...and outside of the ring, Ali became a model and humanitarian, founding a women's boxing club that exploded in popularity around London. This Saturday, Ali is attempting to make history, where she'd be one of the first women to box professionally in Saudi Arabia. Michael Rothstein shares how Ramla Ali got here, and how she's already made history.
Aug. 18: A Miami Billionaire, Big-Time NIL Money, and the Changing Face of College SportsCollege athletes being able to strike deals profiting off of their name, image and likeness promised to change college sports, for better or for worse. Since the rules were altered more than a year ago, names are starting to emerge as players in the field. One of those names belongs to John Ruiz...a Miami area business man who is striking some pretty hefty deals with student athletes at his beloved alma mater, the University of Miami: the kinds of deals that have some wondering if a line is being crossed. John Barr joins the show to tell us who Ruiz is, and why he believes that he can profit off his love of the U, without breaking any rules in the process.
Aug. 17: WNBA Playoff Preview with LaChina RobinsonThe WNBA playoffs tip off tonight, after a season dominated by stories about Brittney Griner's detainment in Russia. On the court, legends such as Sylvia Fowles and Sue Bird are retiring and stars like A'ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum are lighting up the next generation. Could this finally be the year for the Connecticut Sun? Or will the Chicago Sky become repeat champions? LaChina Robinson joins the show to explain the changes to the WNBA's playoff format, and tells us what we should be watching this postseason.
Aug. 16: Patriots' Playcalling Mystery: Who is New England's Offensive Coordinator?Question: who's calling offensive plays for the New England Patriots this season? Head Coach Bill Belichick has dodged the question thus far, saying that the team is "going through a process." And while assistant coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge split playcalling duties in the Patriots' first preseason game...the answer may lead right back to the man who's always been considered a defensive mastermind: Bill Belichick himself. Seth Wickersham explains what's going on in Foxborough, and whether Bill Belichick is secretly a master of the other side of the ball as well.
Aug. 15: The Rise of the Black QuarterbackThere is no bigger job in America than NFL quarterback. No position is so disproportionately influential on the field or visible off of it, and no job is so culturally ingrained in our national imagination. A quarterback is a star athlete, a team spokesman, a locker room leader and a prom king: a main character, in other words. But the NFL spent literal decades refusing to cast Black players in that role. As we see QBs like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson prepare for the upcoming season, we ask Jason Reid to examine the unique, oft-forgotten history of the Black quarterback, and how it explains some ongoing conversations that the NFL still cannot escape.
Aug. 12: Why Sylvia Fowles is Looking Forward to Life, and Death, after BasketballMuch of the attention in the WNBA this season has gone to the farewell tour of Sue Bird, but she's not the only legend retiring this year. Sylvia Fowles is hanging up her sneakers after 15 seasons, 8 all-star appearances, an MVP award, and countless other accolades. Fowles may be the best pure center to ever play in the WNBA, but her excellence hasn't drawn the same spotlight as some of the league's other top stars. Kevin Van Valkenberg explains why "Mama Syl" is one of the most beloved figures in the WNBA, and the surprising plans she has for her post-basketball life...becoming a mortician.
Aug. 11: How Serena Williams Changed the GameThe word "GOAT" gets thrown around a lot, but when it comes to Serena Williams, it's not hyperbole. From her first major in 1999 at the age of 17, to her record-breaking 23rd major in 2017 (the most in the Open Era), Serena has been synonymous with dominance. On Tuesday, Serena announced her "evolution" away from tennis in a Vogue article and plans to step away at the conclusion of this year's US Open. ESPN Senior Writer and tennis encyclopedia Howard Bryant looks back on Serena's legendary career one more time...before it comes to a close.
Aug. 10: Aaron Judge Chases 61 HRs and MLB History* (Kind Of)For 37 years, Roger Maris' single-season home run record of 61 stood alone as possibly the greatest single-season achievement in baseball. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa broke the record in 1998, and so did Barry Bonds three years later. But those achievements came at the height of the steroid era, and in the more than two decades since, no player has topped Maris' mark. But this season, the Yankees' Aaron Judge is on pace to comfortably surpass Maris. Jeff Passan joins us to explain what Judge topping Maris would mean for Major League Baseball, and whether fans might come to regard Judge as the true single-season home run king.
Aug. 9: Sean McVay's a Super Bowl Champion. Now What?For many, becoming an NFL head coach is the career pinnacle... and then it completely takes over your life. The hours, the pressure, the volatility, the responsibility for the jobs and families riding on the team's success. It can be overwhelming. Even if you are the boy genius. Seth Wickersham explains how Rams Coach Sean McVay, the youngest coach ever to win a super bowl, is now facing questions no 36-year-old has confronted before. What do you do after you've reached the summit at such a young age? Is it possible to have a life outside of football? Or are the demands of the job - the obsessiveness, the anxiety, the adherence to a round-the-clock schedule where you're never fully unplugged - necessary prerequisites for NFL head coaching success?
Aug. 8: The NFL's Appeal in the Deshaun Watson Case, ExplainedWhen former federal Judge Sue L. Robinson handed Deshaun Watson a six-game suspension last week, the reaction from many was clear: it wasn't enough. Robinson's ruling acknowledged Watson's "egregious" behavior, which had been chronicled in dozens of accounts of sexual misconduct, but said she was bound by precedent of punishment in previous NFL cases. Now, the league is appealing Watson's suspension - hoping for a stronger punishment while setting a new precedent for how the National Football League handles cases like these going forward. ESPN's Cleveland Browns reporter Jake Trotter tells us what the NFL's appeal means for Watson's future, whether he might take the league to court, and what it all says about how the NFL administers player discipline going forward.
Aug. 5: Sam Alvey Keeps Losing. So Why is the UFC Fighter So Happy?Losing night after night isn't easy for any athlete, but veteran UFC fighter Sam Alvey's winless streak is something to behold. Alvey, whose nickname is "Smile'n," hasn't won a fight since 2018. After going 0-7-1 in his last 8 fights, if Alvey loses tomorrow night against Michal Oleksiejczuk, he'll own the longest winless streak in UFC history. So why is Alvey still smiling? That's the question Ryan Hockensmith wanted to answer when he traveled to Alvey's farm in Tennessee where he lives with his wife, a former America's Next Top Model winner, six kids under the age of 10, and a menagerie of animals. What emerges is a portrait of a fighter whose life philosophy flies in the face of every cliche we've come to expect from an athlete.
Aug. 4: The Wild Chase for the LeBron James Triple Logoman Card, feat. DrakeThe lucrative world of sports collectibles has gone from 0 to 100 in the past two years. And just this summer, the chase for a rare LeBron James Triple Logoman Card that ended up selling for $2.4 million saw nonstop hype as bids included multiple bounties, an offer of a Lamborghini for the person who discovered the card... and even rap megastar Drake is goin' in on the hunt, intriguing both experienced collectors and novices who are starting from the bottom. So today, ESPN collectibles expert Dan Hajducky takes care to bring us a massive story about sports cards as investments, and one dance between card collectors that has seemed to last forever.
Aug. 3: Tampering, Tom Brady, and the NFL's Miami Dolphins InvestigationAnother NFL punishment has been doled out just a day after QB Deshaun Watson's suspension: the Miami Dolphins were stripped of two draft picks, their owner Stephen Ross was suspended until October, and fined $1.5 million. The discipline came as a result of the league investigators finding tampering violations of "unprecedented scope and severity." The allegations first surfaced from former head coach Brian Flores' lawsuit against the NFL and the Dolphins, which suggested the team tampered with an unnamed QB, later revealed to be Tom Brady. The league also found that Dolphins improperly contacted former Saints head coach Sean Payton about joining the team. Jeff Darlington explains the origins of the investigation, what it means for the Dolphins, and what happens next.
Aug. 2: Deshaun Watson Suspended 6 GamesIn the history of sports punishment, there is no case quite like the one of Deshaun Watson. The Browns had acquired the star quarterback from the Texans back in March, amid dozens of civil lawsuits, filed by dozens of women who accused him of sexual assault and misconduct. And even though Watson wouldn't face criminal charges, the question was never if Watson would be suspended by the league this season: it was for how long. ESPN's Cleveland Browns reporter Jake Trotter explains how a quarterback's "predatory conduct" only warranted a six-game suspension, potentially returning him to America's televisions by October 23rd. And what the NFL might do next, as a result.
Aug. 1: Is Jalen Rose the First Jalen? We Solve a Sports Name Mystery (CLASSIC)Generation Jalen is officially upon us. At the NBA Draft in June, three different Jalens were selected. Four more were picked in the NFL Draft in April. And then there's Jalen Brunson, who just signed a $100M contract with the Knicks. Jalen Hurts, who's at camp right now, is the starting quarterback for the Eagles. Jalen Ramsey, who just won a Super Bowl with the Rams. And Jaylen Brown, who is in the middle of trade rumors for Kevin Durant. So, what caused this name to spread across not just sports, but all of society? For years our colleague, friend and basketball veteran Jalen Rose has maintained that today's Jalens are named for him (whether they know it or not). We honor Jalen Rose's mother, Jeanne Rose, exploring the history and mystery of his name in sports and beyond. With data, experts, and extensive interviews, the Jalen question is finally resolved.
July 29: The Yankee Legend Lost to HistoryNo organization in sports takes their history more seriously than the New York Yankees. And it's no wonder why. They've won 27 championships. Legendary names like Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Rivera, all are enshrined in their Monument Park in Yankee Stadium. But there's one Yankees legend the organization hopes to forget: Dandy, their short-lived, and almost entirely forgotten, mascot. Jeremy Schaap tells Dandy's story, whose brief existence has been all but scrubbed from pinstripe history.
July 28: How a Fake Cricket League Scammed Online BettorsIt's a story so crazy it seems destined for a Hollywood treatment. Several weeks ago, reports of a mysterious fake cricket league run out of a rural town in India captured worldwide attention. The fake league reportedly broadcast their matches on the internet, and purported to be legitimate matches from the Indian Premier League, the most lucrative cricket league in the world. To anyone with a passing familiarity with the game, it should have been obvious that something wasn't right - because the actual IPL had concluded their season weeks earlier. But the target of the scam, according to police, were online bettors from countries like Russia, without a strong cricket tradition. Jarrod Kimber has been covering the sport for 15 years, and he explains how and why this scam happened...and why those who know cricket know this kind of thing is par for the course.
July 27: LIV Golf Arrives at Ground Zero's DoorstepThe LIV Golf Tour makes its latest stop this week at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, bringing all the drama that this Saudi Arabian-funded venture has fostered since its inception. However, this week's tournament not only adds the controversial brand of our former President, but it's all being held at the doorstep of New York City's hallowed Ground Zero, inciting even larger protests from families of 9/11 victims. Alan Shipnuck, the reporter who has followed this league from the start, tells us what all this means for the present and future of golf.
July 26: Will Juan Soto be Baseball's Biggest Trade Ever?At 23 years old, Juan Soto is the type of generational talent that hasn't been available this early in his career since maybe Babe Ruth. But the Washington Nationals are seeking to do just that after Soto turned down a 15-year, $440 million contract extension a few weeks ago. Several teams are interested, but only a few can even afford to give up players and prospects necessary to make it all work, let alone give him the contract he wants. So with a week to go until the MLB's trade deadline, Jeff Passan tells us which teams are all-in on the Soto sweepstakes...and how his contract negotiations even got to this point.
July 25: Mina Kimes on NFL Training Camp-A-PaloozaNFL training camps are open and the storm clouds of drama are swirling. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have yet to work out a deal to extend his contract, making him the last big name left with his future up in the air, after Kyler Murray agreed to a massive extension with the Cardinals just last week. All eyes are on the quarterback competition in Carolina, between Baker Mayfield, who's gearing up for a revenge tour, and Sam Darnold, who started for the Panthers last season. Mina Kimes takes us through all the QB shakeups and shares her complicated feelings on Seattle's QB battle between Geno Smith and Drew Lock, and addresses Russell Wilson's move to Denver. Let's ride!
July 22: Tim Kurkjian: A Baseball LifeThere are many ways to describe ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian: Brilliant. Hilarious. Competitive. And above all, passionate. Passionate about the game of baseball. But as of tomorrow, there's another way to describe Tim Kurkjian: Hall of Famer. This weekend, as baseball inducts a new class into the Hall of Fame, Kurkjian will receive the Career Excellence Award from the Baseball Writers Association of America. So today, we celebrate the life and career of our favorite baseball nerd: the story of a short, skinny kid who took a love of baseball, and not much else, and made it all the way to Cooperstown.
July 21: Brian Windhorst on Russ, LeBron, and Durant's Hidden AgendaThe NBA's offseason started off in an absolute frenzy, with Rudy Gobert being shipped from Utah to Minnesota and several other superstars such as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Donovan Mitchell have been brought up in perpetual trade rumors. And then there's the ongoing soap opera between the Lakers and Russell Westbrook. Since then however, the market has gone quiet...almost too quiet. So we asked our NBA fortune teller (and meme legend) Brian Windhorst to tell us what's really going on in front offices around the league, if the reports of an alliance between LeBron and Westbrook are actually true, and whether Kevin Durant has had a hidden agenda all along.
July 20: Trinity Rodman Owns Her Last NameWhen people hear the name Rodman, they quickly think of NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman. But there's another Rodman making headlines: 20-year-old Trinity has exploded onto the scene of women's soccer, quickly becoming one of the faces of the NWSL. She's also nominated for Best Breakthrough Athlete at tonight's ESPY Awards. ESPN reporter Charlotte Gibson tells the story of how Trinity rose out of her humble beginnings to set records and take home titles, all while still in her teens.
July 19: The Case of Henry Ruggs III and a Family Seeking AnswersNFL fans woke up on the morning of November 2, 2021 to the news that Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III had been involved in a fatal car crash that took the life of a 23-year-old woman named Tina Tintor. The news of Ruggs' involvement rocked the NFL, and left many unanswered questions: questions not just from the family of Tina Tintor, but also how Ruggs, who lost his best friend in another fatal crash in Alabama years earlier, could allegedly be so reckless behind the wheel. Eight months later as Ruggs faces multiple felonies including driving under the influence resulting in death and reckless driving, ESPN's Liz Merrill shares the details of this story.
July 18: What MLB Could Learn From the Savannah BananasAsk any fan what they'd want to change about Major League Baseball and you'd hear mostly the same answers: The games take too long. The pace of play is too slow. Too many strikeouts leading to less action on the field... Enter the Savannah Bananas, a team that is thrilling fans by turning baseball into part-circus, part-professional wrestling with a dash of Harlem Globetrotters mixed in. Since arriving in the Coastal Plain League in 2016, the Savannah Bananas have sold out every night with over 4,000 fans in attendance and have a waitlist for tickets in the thousands. The team has become known for their Dancing Players, Dad Bod Cheerleading Squad, Banana Nanas Senior Citizen Dance Team, and Breakdancing First Base Coach. In 2021, The Bananas even launched a new version of baseball, Banana Ball - a new spin on the sport with a two-hour time limit where there are no walks, no bunting, and fans can catch foul balls for outs. It's all part of a philosophy that puts fan entertainment first, and isn't afraid to break any of baseball's sacred traditions - and Alden Gonzalez joins us to explain how the Bananas could be changing the sport for the better.
July 15: The Olympics, an NBA Veteran, and a Medical Mystery (ENCORE)NBA veteran Aron Baynes arrived at the Tokyo Olympics as one of Team Australia's most trusted big men. But during a group stage game against Italy, Baynes mysteriously fell in the bathroom during a break. When he was discovered by team staff, he had lost the ability to walk and had to be carried out on a stretcher. No one knew what was wrong. Brian Windhorst tells the story of Baynes' medical mystery and the ordeal that followed: from being isolated in a Japanese hospital, weeping in pain day after day, to learning how to walk again...and what his path back to the NBA looks like.
July 14: College Football and the Multiverse of MadnessThe college football universe is in flux. Entire schools, entire conferences and even entire rivalries have apparently entered their own version of the transfer portal. With the latest news that USC and UCLA, once the marquee universities of the Pac-12, are headed to the Big Ten, everyone else is panicking and wondering what's next. So to help decipher all this chaos, Spencer Hall gives us a tour of the college football landscape and he shares his spiteful dream for what happens next.
July 13: The Great Imposter and Me (Part 2)The story of Barry Bremen, a.k.a. "The Great Imposter" was already sufficiently ridiculous. Bremen was an average, suburban dad, husband, and insurance salesman who'd risen to national fame by sneaking into major sporting events. But in 2019, nearly a decade after Barry Bremen's death, his family received a mysterious letter that changed everything. The Barry Bremen legacy was bigger and more profound than any of them had ever realized. Jeremy Schapp brings us Part 2 of a tale unlike any other: one of family, and identity, and how technology has changed so many lives...and revealed so many secrets.
July 12: The Great Imposter and Me (Part 1)It's a story so wild we couldn't fit it into one podcast. If you're of a certain age, you probably remember Barry Bremen. In the late 70's, Barry was best known for dressing up as pro athletes and sneaking into televised sporting events...beginning with the 1979 NBA All-Star Game, where he shot layups on the court with stars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Moses Malone. And while his "Great Imposter" persona brought him fame, an appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and more adventures, Barry was also a totally normal family man...and a beloved dad. Bremen died of cancer in 2011, but his story didn't end there. The latest E60 special "The Great Imposter and Me" reveals the most unbelievable part of the Barry Bremen story, which came long after he'd hung up his phony uniforms and disguises. Jeremy Schaap brings us this story in two parts, for ESPN Daily.
July 11: Party of One: Why Chet Holmgren is the Talk of NBA Summer LeagueWe might never have seen anyone quite like Chet Holmgren in the NBA. This year's second overall pick in the NBA Draft is over 7 feet tall, but he's only 190 pounds. With a 7' 6" wingspan, Holmgren can dribble up the floor and take step-back threes like a guard. There is so much hype around Holmgren...but there are also just as many questions. Will he be the prodigy that showed up and dominated in his first Summer League appearance? Or will he be bullied and pushed around by stronger big men once the season starts? Only one thing is certain about Chet Holmgren: we want to see more. ESPN's Tim Keown joins us to profile the biggest (literally) storyline out of this year's rookie class.
July 8: Brittney Griner's Guilty Plea, ExplainedWNBA star Brittney Griner has been held in Russia on drug charges since February. Since then, her family, teammates and fans have implored President Biden to do everything in his power to bring Griner home. But yesterday, Griner pleaded guilty in a Russian courtroom, raising questions about Griner's case, and her status as "wrongfully detained." TJ Quinn explains why Griner chose to plead guilty...and what the United States might have to give up to bring her home.
July 7: What's Going on in Brooklyn? Meme God Brian Windhorst ExplainsIf you were on social media at all last weekend, you've seen the clip of Brian Windhorst on "First Take" - palms in the air, looking to the heavens like he's the subject of a Renaissance painting and questioning what exactly the Utah Jazz were planning following the trade of Royce O'Neale. Hours later, Jazz All Star Rudy Gobert was traded to Minnesota, and Windhorst instantly became Twitter's NBA Nostradamus. Given his new fame, Windhorst took the time for us little people at ESPN Daily, and tells us about how he's handled life in the limelight...oh, and also what's going on with the Brooklyn Nets.
July 6: Is the Starting Pitcher Going Extinct?The starting pitcher has long been baseball's marquee attraction, the guy who fans come out to see...but the job description has begun to change in recent years. Complete games are almost nonexistent, and the average outing for a starter has shrunk to barely scratching five innings. The numbers say pitching fewer innings is smart strategically...but is it good for the game and for fans? Jeff Passan explains to us how the position that was once the workhorse, has been reduced to a show pony...and what, if anything, can be done to fix it.
July 5: Anthony Robles' Unstoppable Quest for Pullup GloryThe pullup has humbled all of us - from our middle school gym classes to any attempt to get back into shape. Doing one, for many, is considered a victory. And then there's Anthony Robles. The NCAA wrestling champion who was born with one leg and an unbreakable will to take on not just the pullup bar, but one of Guinness's most-hallowed records. So today, Ryan Hockensmith takes us to Arizona and tells the story of one man's final pursuit of athletic immortality.
July 4: After Jackie: What Happened with Baseball and Black America? (Encore)Today on the 4th of July, we revisit a special episode. It's been 75 years since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, becoming the first Black player to take the field in Major League Baseball in 1947. Jackie was a specific player chosen at a specific time, when baseball was highly aligned with Black popular culture. But what happened between baseball and Black America in the decades after Jackie's pivotal act? Why didn't baseball become a majority Black sport, like basketball and football? Why didn't MLB follow the culture into hip hop or grow its Black fan base? Jesse Washington uses his own lapsed baseball fandom to explore these questions with guests like Public Enemy's Chuck D, Jackie's son David Robinson, and current players and executives.
July 1: The Greatest Rule in Sports: Hockey's EBUGIt's the dream of every sports fan: the star player on your favorite team goes down with an injury. The coach is desperate, and someone needs to step up. Somehow you, the average sports fan, get picked out of the stands to hit with the bases loaded, or step in at quarterback, or take the game winning shot. Obviously, that never happens in real life, or in sports, really...except for extremely rare occasions in hockey, thanks to the EBUG rule: which stands for Emergency Back-Up Goaltender. It's a rule that requires NHL teams to have a random person standing by in the arena, ready to hit the ice should either team's two goalies both get injured. Jeremy Schaap interviewed some EBUGs who have been called to action, and he brings us the stories of the lucky few who have lived every fan's dream.
June 30: The New York Mets: Best Worst Team In Sports (Encore)The New York Mets and their fans have been sports punchline fodder for decades. Case in point: Bobby Bonilla Day. Every July 1, this player who's been retired for many years gets paid more than a million dollars. And it's seen as the epitome of Mets dysfunction. But Mets fans are a resilient (if occasionally delusional?) bunch, and keep coming back for heartbreak. Author Devin Gordon refers to the team as the "Best Worst Team in Sports" in his book, "So Many Ways To Lose," and he shares his research into the highs and lows of the Mets, their passionate fans and unique legacy.
June 29: Stop Saying Commish Rob Manfred Hates BaseballIt is a universal truth that commissioners of pro sports leagues will face deafening boos when they appear in public. Rob Manfred, MLB's commish, is no exception. A lawyer and seemingly mild-mannered bureaucrat, Manfred has become one of the most hated figures in American sports thanks to a number of public gaffes and unpopular responses to baseball's various scandals. Today, Don Van Natta takes us inside the world of Rob Manfred (after sitting down with him nearly ten times this year!) and what Manfred thinks his job really is.
June 28: Who Gets to be the Face of the WNBA?Jonquel Jones has won almost every on-court WNBA accolade there is. Since being drafted sixth overall in 2016, Jones has been named the WNBA's Most Improved Player, Sixth Woman of the Year, and MVP. Before that, she was Maryland's Gatorade Player of the Year in high school, and a WBCA All-American. But despite being one of the most decorated players in basketball, many people outside of diehard WNBA fans may not have heard of Jones. Being Black and gay and describing herself as more masculine, Jones sits at an intersection that has traditionally struggled to attract brands and media, even though the WNBA is the most inclusive American professional sports league. ESPN's Katie Barnes talks to us about Jones' identity, and they tell us if this will finally be the season that Jones wins a title...and if she'll finally get to be herself.
June 27: Unrivaled: Inside Hockey's Bloodiest RivalryThe Avalanche beat the Lightning to win the Stanley Cup last night, sending the trophy back to Colorado for the first time since 2001. It was an era when the Avalanche, and their archrivals the Detroit Red Wings, were engaged in a multi-year blood feud that became the center of the hockey universe. It was a rivalry perhaps best remembered for a game played 25 years ago, on March 26, 1997 in Detroit's Joe Lewis Arena, and is now better remembered as "Fight Night at the Joe." During the first period, Detroit's Darren McCarty sought revenge on Colorado's Claude Lemieux for a violent check in the previous year's playoffs on the Red Wings' Kris Draper. The hit caused severe injuries to Draper's face, enraging the Red Wings, who were furious that Lemieux refused to even apologize to Draper. Now, a quarter-century later, those who were part of it are opening up about what made the rivalry so intense, as part of the latest E:60 special "Unvrivaled." Detroit native Dave Fleming joins us to discuss the trajectory of the rivalry and why we may never see anything like it again.
June 24: Title IX @50: Who Gets to Play? Trans Youth in SportsFor all the strides Title IX helped women make in sports, it's never been a more contentious time for who gets to compete as a woman. In Part 4 of the documentary "37 Words," filmmaker Clare Marash met transsexual kids whose right to participate in society as themselves is in question by dozens of state legislatures - on the field and in life. And in our final episode to mark 50 years since Title IX became law, host Allison Glock and Clare Marash look at the future of civil rights around education and sports through families fighting for their kids to play.
June 23: Title IX @50: From the Basketball Court to the Supreme CourtIn the fifty years since Title IX became law, countless women and allies have fought for gender equality in sports and civil rights protections. Filmmaker Dawn Porter shares more about her "37 Words" documentary with host Allison Glock. They dig into the ways Title IX shows up in the lives of legends like Dawn Staley and Abby Wambach, as well as unknown heroes like a Georgia mom who took her daughter's harassment case to the Supreme Court. Plus, what the new Angel City Football Club in L.A. seeks to do for women's sports as a business.
June 22: Title IX @50: How Yale's First Women Rowers Exposed DiscriminationYale's campus in the 1970s was a complex place for women. The school had only recently admitted female students, and even attending class could feel like a battle. To then take up space in sports as well? It was all very new. ESPN's Allison Glock and "37 Words" filmmaker Nicole Newnham share how some bold Yale women found a valuable tool to seek equity: Title IX legislation. The Yale women's crew team invoked the law when they stripped naked in front of the school's athletic director, a protest against inadequate resources. And around the same time there was Alexander v. Yale, a groundbreaking case that established sexual harassment as gender discrimination, and required procedures to address it.
June 21: Title IX @50: Billie Jean King + Gloria Steinem: How Sports Met the Women's MovementWhen Title IX became law 50 years ago, just 37 words of legislation established gender equity in education and athletics. ESPN Films' new documentary series "37 Words" explores how that fight was won, and the impact it had across sports and society. In the first of four episodes with ESPN's head of W Studios Allison Glock, documentary director Dawn Porter breaks down how sports converged with the women's equality movement in the 60s and 70s. We focus on two icons: Gloria Steinem, the feminist author and activist, and former World No. 1 tennis champ and women's advocate Billie Jean King.
June 20: NBA Draft Preview with Jonathan GivonyAs the Golden State Warriors swim in champagne after their NBA Finals win, the rest of the league turns its attention to the NBA Draft. The top three picks are clear, but it's anyone's guess on what order. Will the Orlando Magic take Jabari Smith, a dynamic shooter who just looks like the perfect fit for the modern NBA? Or will they take Chet Holmgren, the 7-footer out of Gonzaga with the skinny frame? What about Paolo Banchero, perhaps the most NBA-ready player in this draft class? Jonathan Givony has been an NBA Draft expert for 19 years. He tells us how he thinks the Draft is going to play out...and what the teams picking these players should expect from them.
June 17: The Boy Who Lost His AutographsPicture yourself going to a ballpark as a kid. You remember how big everything felt, how you were just in awe of being so close to the players. That's how 11-year-old Elyjah Blankenberg felt when he went to a spring training game between the Yankees and the Orioles, and he worked up the courage to get several autographs...including one from his favorite player, DJ LeMahieu. But the euphoria was short lived, when Elyjah lost his binder full of autographs...and nobody could find it. Ryan Hockensmith tells us the story of Elyjah's lost treasures...and how the power of the internet rallied to help a young boy reclaim the magic of the game.
June 16: Andrew Wiggins: From Bust to Finals MVP?The Golden State Warriors are one win away from their fourth NBA title in the past eight years. And while Steph Curry has been the consensus favorite to win the Finals MVP, his rough shooting performance in game 5 has opened the door for another Warrior teammate: Andrew Wiggins. Not only has Wiggins managed to slow down Jayson Tatum on defense, but he was undoubtedly the best player on either team in game 5. Malika Andrews sat down with Wiggins, and she tells us how he has shed the "bust" label from his days in Minnesota and how he has resurrected his career in the Bay Area.
June 15: Stanley Cup Final Preview: Can Lightning Strike Thrice?The Stanley Cup Final begins tonight! The Tampa Bay Lightning are chasing history as they look to be the first team to three-peat as champions in 40 years...but standing in their way are the Colorado Avalanche, who just might be the NHL's next IT team. It's the Final matchup that many expected we'd get, so we call up our NHL expert Greg Wyshynski to tell us how these teams got here, and let us know what else we might see as they face off.
June 14: Phil Mickelson, Saudi Arabia, and the Battle for the Future of GolfThe PGA Tour has long been the gold standard of professional golf, rooted in tradition and nostalgia. But that may all be changing with the arrival of LIV Golf, the flashy new league with an unlimited bankroll thanks to its funding by the government of Saudi Arabia. ESPN's Kevin Van Valkenberg was in London this weekend to cover LIV's inaugural tournament, and he joins us to describe what he saw, and where the league...and golf's moral compass...might go from here.
June 13: "TuAnon" Unmasked: The Secretive Star of Dolphins Twitter SpeaksOver the course of two seasons in the NFL, a story has been brewing around Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. For a while, the beats of the story were pretty familiar--promising young quarterback comes into the league, has his ups and downs, and leaves so many wondering if he'll ever be the star they dreamed he could be. But last season, that story took a turn unlike any we've ever seen. That's because a subset of fans decided to take control of the narrative themselves and, via Twitter, launch "TuAnon," a conspiracy theory fixated on an alleged plot inside the Dolphins and throughout sports media to undermine Tua at every turn. So ESPN's Dolphins beat reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques set out to find the mystery superfan at the center of the entire thing. And what he got was not just an interview, but a journey down a rabbit hole that gets deeper each day.
June 10: How NBA Finals Announcer Mike Breen Found His "Bang!"Hall of Fame announcer Mike Breen is back with his infamous "Bang!" call for the NBA Finals. The first two games went sadly "Bang!"less (as Breen was out due to Covid), and frankly they didn't feel the same. That's because Breen has called more NBA Finals games than anyone. So ahead of the Warriors-Celtics Game 4 tonight, we got the origin story of his single-syllable exclamation, and how his Hall of Fame career took shape.
June 9: Hope, Heartbreak, and Ukraine's Quest for the World CupIn the midst of war, residents of Ukraine were able to rally around something that gave them hope: their national soccer team. Ukraine beat Scotland 3-1 to set up a chance at a World Cup bid, but ultimately fell short in heartbreaking fashion to Wales. Wright Thompson was there to witness it all, and he tells us what he saw in Kyiv, and what sports can mean to a country in the face of war.
June 8: Why Celtics Star Jayson Tatum Was Born Believing in HimselfNow it seems obvious that Jayson Tatum was destined for NBA stardom, the one to watch for the Celtics as they square off against Golden State in Game 3 of the NBA Finals tonight. But Tatum beat the odds on a few levels to get here, thanks in large part to the dedication and relentless confidence of his mom, Brandy Cole. ESPN's Liz Merrill gives us insight on Tatum's deepest relationship, and how he grew from the roots planted by his mother.
June 7: The Life and Legend of Rickey HendersonRickey Henderson is not only the MLB's all-time stolen base king, not just the all-time leader in runs scored, he's one of the best players the game has ever seen...or as baseball writer Bill James once said, "you could cut him in half and have two Hall of Famers." But Henderson wasn't always as revered as he is now, as his bold personality clashed with baseball purists at the time. Howard Bryant, author of the new book RICKEY: The Life and Legend of an American Original, looks back on Rickey's 25-year career and tells us why baseball was never able to control him...no matter how hard it tried.
June 6: Julie Foudy Explains Equal Pay (At Last) in US SoccerThe US Women's National Team has fought for equal pay in soccer for more than 20 years. And it seems to be here at last. A new labor agreement with US Soccer levels pay across gender, and could be a template for equity on the global stage. Guest host Sarah Spain joins two-time World Cup champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist (and Laughter Permitted podcast host) Julie Foudy to explain how the deal happened, how it works, and how it'll benefit the men's and women's teams. Plus, Sarah and Julie talk owner-to-owner (Red Stars and Angel City FC, respectively) about the current National Women's Soccer League season.
June 3: Mina Kimes and the First PitchThe ceremonial first pitch is a tradition almost as old as baseball itself, with presidents, celebrities and non-MLB athletes taking to the mound to aim for home plate. But the only person who may truly care about any first pitch...is the one throwing it, with the gut-wrenching feeling that they might biff. Our very own Mina Kimes will be in that position soon, throwing a first pitch for her beloved Seattle Mariners. So we called up MLB Insider Jeff Passan and enlisted legendary pitching coach Tom House to help us understand just what Mina's getting into.
June 2: The NBA's Top Bettor Handicaps the FinalsThe NBA Finals tip off tonight, and we caught up with Bob Voulgaris. The alleged former shadow GM of the Dallas Mavericks is of course also one of the most successful bettors in NBA history. He breaks down the matchup between the Boston Celtics, who are looking for their 18th championship in franchise history, and the Golden State Warriors, who return to the Finals for the sixth time in the past eight years. Voulgaris tells us what each team needs to do to get their hands on the Larry O'Brien Trophy...and lets us in on his favorite to win it all.
June 1: Steph Curry: The College YearsSteph Curry is vying for his fourth NBA title. But ever wonder what he was like in college? At tiny Davidson College in North Carolina, he was kinda just like everyone else: going to the library, eating late-night chicken parm, helping his friend pack CDs...all while his basketball star was rising. Andscape's David Dennis Jr. has known the NBA 3-point record holder, three-time champion and expected 2022 Finals MVP since those days. He hops in the time machine with stories of Steph that reveal his personality and character, before he was an NBA legend.
May 30: Blood in the Garden: How the 90s Knicks Gave Rise to the Modern NBA (ENCORE)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.
May 27: Sound Sports: A Blind Man's Journey to the Broadcast Booth (ENCORE)Bryce Weiler grew up listening to the likes of Brian Barnhart call Illinois basketball games, and as a young man who'd been blind since infancy, he fell in love with the pictures painted on the radio. During college in Indiana, Weiler forged a relationship with the basketball team, and then found his way to the broadcast booth himself. ESPN's Sam Borden went to visit Weiler and learn more about his process as a live game analyst for college hoops (see more coverage from College GameDay here). He shares the story of a broadcaster motivated to prove that everyone deserves opportunity.
May 26: 10,000 Hours of Lying: The Myth of Mastering a Skill (ENCORE)Practice, practice, practice. The theory goes that with enough repetition, time, and hard work, anyone can become the master of their craft. 10,000 hours has long been heralded as the golden benchmark to achieving greatness in almost anything. But best-selling author and ESPN Daily mythbuster David Epstein puts the theory to the test again, and explains why the 10,000 hours myth has gained so much attention.
May 25: Crying Jordan: The GOAT of Memes (ENCORE)When Michael Jordan began to cry during his Basketball Hall of Fame induction speech, that moment would turn one of basketball's greatest players to the meme seen 'round the Internet. Now, 10 years after Crying Jordan first became a meme, it's still just as popular as ever, popping up anywhere and everywhere. ESPN's Dave Fleming once again brings us the origin story of this legendary meme, and tells us why every corner of society just can't get enough of it.
May 24: The Guy Behind the Guy: Sachin Gupta's Groundbreaking NBA JourneyWith over 20 million people from 20 different countries across the most populated continent on the planet, you can make a pretty good case that the very concept of an "Asian-American" is incredibly oversimplified. There are some experiences however, that happen to unite Asian-Americans. For example, almost any Asian-American working in sports media can tell you about their shared experiences, from media personalities to NBA point guards...to the guy who ran the Minnesota Timberwolves until yesterday, Sachin Gupta. As part of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander Heritage Month, SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi tells us the story of the first Indian-American to ever be President of Basketball Operations for an NBA team, why the smartest people in the NBA respect him so much, and what his still-unfolding journey says about all of us.
May 23: NBA Playoffs: Time to Believe in "Heat Culture?"When Jimmy Butler didn't return to the second half of Game 3 vs. the Celtics, the Heat showed no signs of cooling down. Career performances from Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo and yes, even Max Strus, gave Miami the surge it needed to take the series lead, up 2-1. Ahead of Game 4 in Boston, Nick Friedell dissects the finest sample of Heat Culture we've seen so far...and he tells us what it means for the rest of the series. Then, a check in on the Western Conference Finals...where the Mavs are in danger of turning into dust...on the verge of being swept by the Warriors, now down 3-0.
May 20: Will Novak Djokovic Ever Be Beloved?Novak Djokovic is arguably the greatest men's tennis player of all time. His 20 Grand Slam titles place him just one behind Rafael Nadal for the most ever. He's been ranked #1 in the world for a record 370 consecutive weeks. And he's the defending champion heading into the French Open, which begins this weekend. But despite his brilliance on the court, Djokovic has never been beloved by tennis fans in the same way his rivals Nadal and Roger Federer have been. This past January, Djokovic found himself the center of controversy ahead of the Australian Open, when he was deported by the Australian government because of his vaccine status. Sam Borden traveled to Djokovic's native Serbia to learn how he is preparing for his return to Grand Slam tennis following the fiasco in Australia. Borden also explains how Djokovic's upbringing in a country that was torn apart by war has shaped his identity.
May 19: The Rat Trick: The Legend of the Florida Panthers' Rodent TraditionThe Florida Panthers are at home tonight for Game 2 of their 2nd round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. And while the Panthers are down 1-0 in the series...Florida's league-leading offense has reinvigorated their fans for the first time in a generation. They are so excited, in fact, that they have begun throwing rats onto the ice. It's a hair-raising tradition that dates back to the '95-'96 season, when a Cinderella Panthers team made the Stanley Cup Final in just their third year of existence. Emily Kaplan is here to explain how the Panthers rat tradition started, if it may or may not have contributed to the team's long misfortunes...and the ways in which this generation's Panthers are trying to write a new ending to their own tale.
May 18: What it Could Take to Bring Brittney Griner HomeWNBA All-Star Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia since February. She's been accused of carrying vape cartridges that contained cannabis oil in her luggage...charges that could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Last week, news came out that Griner's pretrial detention in Russia had been extended by another month, and the US State Department announced that it now regards Griner as wrongfully detained. ESPN's T.J. Quinn explains what these developments mean for Griner's case, and what the US government may be doing to help win her release.
May 17: GOAT Skier Mikaela Shiffrin's Mental TransformationMay is Mental Health Awareness Month and it's a major topic in sports right now, as more elite athletes share personal struggles. Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin is one of the greatest of all time, hurtling down the slopes at breakneck speed. But in Beijing this year she stopped just seconds into a race where she was expected to take gold. Alyssa Roenigk talked to Shiffrin about this moment in Beijing, and how she's taken a new approach to speaking her mind, public scrutiny and processing family grief.
May 16: Windhorst: Celtics, Mavs Advance + Conference Finals PreviewThe best two words in sports are Game Seven, and we got two...in the form of major beatdowns. Grant Williams and the Celtics shut down Giannis and the Bucks at home to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals. In the West, Playoff Luka added to his growing legacy with a shower of 3s to lead the Mavericks past the Suns. Brian Windhorst helps us process what happened Sunday, and sets up the Conference Finals.
May 13: Gabe Kapler: The Most Interesting Man in BaseballPicture a baseball manager. Whatever image you've conjured in your mind of, say, a slightly out of shape, older man who's all business - it probably doesn't match Gabe Kapler, who manages the San Francisco Giants. Kapler is an enigma: an uber-buff fitness geek who only eats red meat. He sports well manicured facial hair and speaks in verse, sounding more like a poet than a baseball player. Tim Keown introduces us to Kapler, and how he's rewriting baseball's unwritten rules...and reimagining what it means to be a manager.
May 12: The Most Hated Man in Hockey (Update)Brad Marchand contains multitudes. Sure, the Boston Bruins winger could be called the most hated man in hockey...he's served two suspensions in just this season. But Marchand is also one of the top scorers in the NHL, integral to the Bruins' offense. He's known for cheap shots, punching opposing players, licking faces, and was once given the nickname "Little Ball of Hate" from former President Barack Obama. With the Bruins facing elimination from the playoffs tonight, Greg Wyshynski tells us what Marchand can do to help his team, and explains his complicated legacy.
May 11: JJ Redick: Inside the Flopper's StudioThese NBA playoffs are full of flopping. You've seen it: the flailing of the arms, the swing of the head, or the legs going akimbo. NBA players over the years have honed their skills in making it look like they got fouled, and some take it to the level of an artform. Retired NBA veteran, current ESPN analyst and "Old Man and the Three" podcast host JJ Redick gives us a masterclass in flopping, from his time in the game and a professional giver of takes today.
May 10: 'It's the Wild West': How NIL Money is Changing College SportsWhen the Supreme Court ruled last summer that college athletes could earn money from their Name, Image, and Likeness, it was hailed as a positive breakthrough in college sports. But now that the NIL era is here, the reality is not so binary...rather, this new economy in college sports is getting very messy, very quickly. ESPN's David Hale is here to tell us what's really going on across the collegiate landscape, what the hidden cost of NIL is for athletes, and how to fix a system that might already be broken.
May 9: Windhorst on NBA Playoffs: Eight Teams StandingThe NBA playoffs are bringing it! The 76ers held off the Heat on Sunday to tie the series at two games apiece, while the Mavericks stayed hot at home and beat the Suns 101-111. In Milwaukee the Bucks took Game 3 against the Celtics in a Saturday buzzer beater and face off again Monday night. Plus, with Ja Morant likely out for Monday the Grizzlies are in poor position to win against the Warriors, coming off a 30-point Game 3 loss. ESPN's Brian Windhorst is here to tell you what to watch for as the playoffs remain open to many paths ahead.
May 6: Talking About Practice: What Everyone Got Wrong About Iverson's RantWe're talking about practice...no, really. It's been 20 years since Allen Iverson's infamous rant, the one you've seen clips of pretty much everywhere, where Iverson goes off in response to a question about his practice habits. That roughly one-minute sound bite has come to be one of the most lasting moments of Iverson's career...but it was the rest of that press conference that truly offers a window into Iverson's life and career. It was the culmination of frustrating ends to two consecutive seasons, grief over the murder of his best friend...and the microscope he had been under since he was 17 years old. Justin Tinsley joins us to reflect on Iverson's press conference, the fallout from it, and what everyone got wrong in the two decades since.
May 5: What's Next for Sue BirdIf Sue Bird's WNBA career was a person, it would be old enough to drink. The 12-time All-Star, five-time first-team All-WNBA selection, Olympic Gold Medalist, four-time world champion, and recent NCAA women's tournament megacast star may (or may not) hang it up after this 21st season. As the WNBA tips off, Bird and Pablo discuss her legendary career, how she's seen the league change, and important ephemera like AOL screen names.
May 4: All the F1 Drama as Drivers Take on MiamiLast season's F1 drama was off the charts. The controversial, showstopper ending crowned Max Verstappen champion even as fans grumbled that all-time great Lewis Hamilton got robbed. Now, it's mechanical challenges causing grief for Hamilton as he heads to the first-ever Miami Grand Prix with half a dozen drivers ahead of him. ESPN F1 editor and lifelong fan Laurence Edmondson catches us up on all the racing gossip, what to expect in Miami, and why US fans are finally catching on to Formula One.
May 3: Reffing the Refs: Examining the NBA's Most Scrutinized JobWhen it comes to NBA referees, especially in the postseason, it's hard not to think of that proverb about children: "They should be seen, and not heard." But in recent days, NBA fans have been hearing plenty about the refs. Everyone from Draymond Green to Chris Paul to Joel Embiid have weighed in, frustrated by how the playoffs have been called. But in the eyes of NBA writer Ben Dowsett - our referee whisperer if you will - there's also a lot more to this fraught dynamic than meets the eye. Dowsett takes us inside the world of NBA officiating to show us why everyone is frustrated with them, whether or not the league's quest for accountability is doing anything...and why some teams are quietly redefining what it means to "work the refs."
May 2: Lapsed Fan's NHL Playoff Preview: Greg WyshynskiThe NHL playoffs begin tonight and if you, like us, need to play catch up, ESPN's Greg Wyshynski is here to give us his annual lapsed fan's guide. From the back-to-back defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning to the Alex Ovechkin-less Washington Capitals, to the surprising resurgence of the LA Kings, Wyshynski has everything you need to know about whichever team you're backing.
April 29: Doc Rivers on the 30th Anniversary of the LA Riots30 years ago today, April 29, 1992, the city of Los Angeles went to war with itself. Riots erupted on the streets following the acquittal of four LAPD officers in the beating of motorist Rodney King. It was a verdict that provoked outrage because the incident was captured on video, triggering a national debate over police brutality. Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers was a guard for the Los Angeles Clippers in 1992. Doc shares how the sports world at large reacted to the verdict and the riots that followed, and how the social responsibilities of an athlete have changed in the 30 years since.
April 28: Top Prospect Derek Stingley Jr.'s Complex NFL LegacyDerek Stingley Jr. is one of the most coveted defensive backs in tonight's NFL Draft, and his name might sound familiar to older NFL fans. Derek Jr. is the grandson of Darryl Stingley, a young New England Patriots wide receiver who was paralyzed by a notorious, vicious hit from Oakland Raiders safety Jack Tatum in 1978. ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski brings us the story of how the Stingley family endured despite that tragedy, and continued to pursue an NFL legacy.
April 27: Why NFL Scouts Love Big ButtsWith the NFL Draft just one day away, you'll likely hear all about a player's hand size, or their 40-yard-dash time, or their wingspan...but there's one measurement that NFL scouts pay more attention to than you might realize...and it's right behind you. Yes, NFL scouts love big butts, and they cannot lie. But there's a lot more to it than scouts simply gossiping about gluteals. There's plenty of science behind why rear ends matter for athletic performance. And ESPN's Dave Fleming joins us to share the data that can back it up.
April 26: Mina Kimes Previews the 2022 NFL DraftWhen the NFL Draft kicks off Thursday night from Las Vegas, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be first on the clock. What happens from there is pretty much anyone's guess. Will Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson be first off the board? Or will Georgia's Travon Walker complete his rapid ascent to the very top of draft boards? Will Liberty's Malik Willis or Pitt's Kenny Pickett be the first QB taken? Like so much in Vegas, the answers are very much up in the air. Mina Kimes has been grinding tape in preparation for NFL Draft 2022 and was courteous enough to let us copy off her homework.
April 25: Why a Sweep is the Least of the Brooklyn Nets' ProblemsThe Celtics-Nets series started off as one of the more intriguing matchups in the first-round of the NBA playoffs. But after a pair of late-game meltdowns by Brooklyn, the herculean efforts of Jayson Tatum, and a blowout at home in Game 3, the Nets find themselves facing a sweep at home. We called up our Nets correspondent Nick Friedell ahead of Game 4 to get a sense of what's at stake for Brooklyn in this series...and why a broom might not be enough to clean up this mess.
April 22: When Giannis Met Milwaukee: A Love StoryAthletes often say they love the city where they play, but Giannis Antetokounmpo takes it to a new level. He's called Milwaukee home since the team drafted him in 2013. It wasn't a given that the Greek native, a son of Nigerian immigrants, would stay in the midwestern city. But his massive 2020 contract extension shows the love is mutual. As the Bucks seek to defend their NBA title, our own ESPN Daily producer (and Wisconsin native) Ryan Nantell digs into a legendary anecdote from Giannis' rookie season that shows why he and Milwaukee have been such a good fit.
April 21: How Aidan Hutchinson Wrote His Way to the NFL DraftAidan Hutchinson made football his destiny. His childhood dream was to follow in the footsteps of his father Chris Hutchinson, the former Michigan linebacker who won a Rose Bowl and has the fourth-most sacks in Wolverine history. This dream was much more than just a passive thought: it was one of the many written goals that Aidan used as a guiding principle in his life and led him to breaking his dad's records, bouncing back from a season-ending injury, and being a Heisman finalist. Ryan Hockensmith tells us about Hutchinson and the path that presumably will culminate in him being the first pick in this year's NFL Draft.
April 20: Nets Owner Joe Tsai and the NBA's China ConundrumFor decades the NBA has been in an intricate, expensive dance with China's government. While the league has become wildly popular in China, its business there is increasingly complicated over issues like free speech and China's record on human rights. If there's one man who personifies the layers and complexities of NBA-China relations it's Joe Tsai, the Chinese billionaire who owns the Brooklyn Nets. ESPN investigative reporter Mark Fainaru-Wada breaks down the ties of Tsai's company, Alibaba, to the Chinese government, and his stance on social and political issues in China compared to the US.
April 19: Why Congress is Investigating the Washington CommandersIf ever there was an NFL team that was going to be investigated by the United States Congress, it was going to be the Washington Commanders. From allegations of fostering a toxic workplace environment to sexual harrassment to their long overdue name change, the franchise under owner Daniel Snyder is constantly in the news...and not for success on the field. But if previous scandals and offenses haven't seemed to move the needle enough for the league, now Snyder and the Commanders are under scrutiny for something we know the NFL cares about: money. ESPN's Commanders reporter John Keim explains why politicians on Capitol Hill are now digging into the team's finances, and whether this latest scandal could finally bring the league to step in and force out owner Daniel Snyder.
April 18: Being Mel Kiper Jr. (Re-Spin)The NFL Draft is an American institution. And for the past 40 years, the unmistakable voice of that institution has been Mel Kiper Jr. His "Big Board" and mock drafts have become a rite of spring, a yearly ritual that signals your team will soon be "on the clock." It is a remarkable climb for someone who used a typewriter to compile draft reports as a teenager, before the NFL Draft was even televised. Mel joins the show to explain how he helped turn his personal obsession into a national obsession...and made us all draft nerds in the process.
April 15: After Jackie: What Happened with Baseball and Black America?It's been 75 years since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, becoming the first Black player to take the field in Major League Baseball in 1947. Jackie was a specific player chosen at a specific time, when baseball was highly aligned with Black popular culture. But what happened between baseball and Black America in the decades after Jackie's pivotal act? Why didn't baseball become a majority Black sport, like basketball and football? Why didn't MLB follow the culture into hip hop or grow its Black fan base? Jesse Washington uses his own lapsed baseball fandom to explore these questions with guests like Public Enemy's Chuck D, Jackie's son David Robinson, and current players and executives.
April 14: Why NCAA Women's Gymnastics Suddenly Looks Like the OlympicsThe NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships begin today in Fort Worth, but you'd be forgiven if you mistook it for the Tokyo Olympics this past summer. That's because no sport has been transformed by the Name, Image and Likeness revolution across college athletics as much as Women's Gymnastics. Previously, Olympic stars like Tokyo All-Around Gold Medalist Suni Lee had to choose between cashing in on the lucrative endorsement deals that come with Olympic success, or competing in college. Now, under NIL, that is no longer an issue, meaning Lee will compete for an NCAA title this weekend as a freshman at Auburn. And Lee is not alone. Fellow US Olympians Jade Carey (Oregon St.), Jordan Chiles (UCLA), and Grace McCallum (Utah) will all be competing in Fort Worth, in what is shaping up to be perhaps the most competitive NCAA championships ever. Alyssa Roenigk breaks down how the sport is being transformed, as well as the names and teams you need to know before this weekend's championship.
April 13: What it Takes to Catch Sports Betting CheatsSports betting has become exponentially more popular and accessible, with gambling on games now legal in more than 30 states. It's a wildly difficult industry to oversee, though, with a patchwork of legislative details in each state, and varying rules on the types of bets that are legal or not. Even who has jurisdiction over what changes when you cross state lines. Paula Lavigne took a deep dive into the private companies that sell their services for oversight and fraud detection. She explains what they do - and don't do.
April 12: Crying Jordan at 10: The GOAT of MemesWhen Michael Jordan began to cry during his Basketball Hall of Fame induction speech, that moment would turn one of basketball's greatest players to the meme seen 'round the Internet. Now, 10 years after Crying Jordan first became a meme, it's still just as popular as ever, popping up anywhere and everywhere. ESPN's Dave Fleming brings us the origin story of this legendary meme, and tells us why every corner of society just can't get enough of it.
April 11: Masters: Scottie Scheffler's Win, Tiger Woods' Wild ReturnWe catch America's Caddie, Michael Collins, fresh off the Masters in Augusta. He breaks down how Scheffler staved off the competition, and what got him his first winning green jacket. Plus, why Tiger Woods' return was full of a different kind of love than we've seen from him in the past, even as all of us fans managed our greedy expectations. And what can we expect from the all-time great, as he continues to recover from a harrowing 2021 car accident.
April 8: The Legend of the Red Panda - NBA Halftime's Can't Miss ActAn NBA halftime lasts just 15 minutes. It's a time for players to leave the court, fans to run to the bathroom or grab another beer, or, a break, for all intents and purposes. But for Rong Niu - it's her time to shine. Rong, better known to audiences as the Red Panda, has been astounding NBA fans around the country for thirty years, with her 7-and-a-half-foot-tall unicycle, a stack of white bowls, and not much else. Rong Niu, the Red Panda herself, joins the show today to tell us her story - and how she became an NBA legend.
April 7: Jeff Passan Hacks the 2022 MLB SeasonAfter a lockout that put the entire 2022 MLB season in jeopardy, Opening Day has miraculously arrived. The start of a new season represents a blank slate for all teams, both contenders and pretenders. MLB Insider Jeff Passan makes sense of the offseason's most dramatic moves and shares which teams he finds most intriguing this coming season. Are the Dodgers setting up for a World Series repeat? Will Pablo's beloved Yankees be able to overcome their AL East rivals, the talented Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays? Plus, Jeff fills us in on MLB's new tech to fight sign-stealing.
April 6: This was a Failed Coup." Inside Phil Mickelson's Exile from GolfThe 2022 Masters Tournament tees off Thursday, but it will be without at least one of golf's all-time greats: Phil Mickelson, who has won three times at Augusta and in 2021 became the oldest major champion ever by winning the PGA Championship at the age of 50. Mark Schlabach shares the stunning story of how Mickelson flirted with joining a breakaway golf league funded by the Saudi Arabian government, and in the process took aim at the PGA itself. It's a saga that has made Mickelson a persona non grata in the golf world, essentially an exile from golf, and uncertain future on the PGA tour.
April 5: Can the Lakers' Season Be Saved? Storylines from the NBA's Home StretchAs the NBA regular season winds down, there's plenty of drama unfolding across the league. In Los Angeles, LeBron and the Lakers' experiment continues to implode, hampered by injuries and a porous defense. Is there enough time for the team to bounce back and sneak into the postseason? And in the Eastern Conference, where Kyrie Irving is now free to play in Brooklyn's home games: could the Nets be the most dangerous last-team-in in NBA postseason history? Brian Windhorst helps us parse through these questions and more, as we inch closer to the NBA playoffs.
April 4: South Carolina Are Women's CBB Champs + Kansas-UNC Men's Final PreviewDawn Staley's South Carolina Gamecocks are your women's NCAA basketball champions! Katie Barnes joins us from Minneapolis to break down how Aliyah Boston and company steamrolled over the Huskies, and handed UConn head coach Geno Auriemma his first ever loss in a championship game. Then, Myron Medcalf sets the scene for the men's championship tonight, after a pair of semifinal matchups which saw Duke and Coach K taken down by their rival UNC in a thriller, and Villanova falling to David McCormack and the Kansas Jayhawks.
April 1: NCAA's Wake Up Call: A Reckoning on Gender Inequity in BasketballShocking upsets. Buzzer beaters. Cinderella stories. This year's Women's NCAA Basketball Tournament has been overflowing with drama and thrills. But last March, Oregon's Sedona Prince posted a TikTok revealing the drastic differences between the women's and men's college basketball weight rooms during the NCAA tournament. After the video went viral, and reports of other disparities circulated, the NCAA was forced to apologize, and promised to review and remedy inequities throughout the game. So as the Women's Final Four tips off tonight, ESPN's Dan Murphy explains how much progress has been made in the past year, and how the business of women's college basketball is still limited, economically, in ways that have nothing to do with the quality of their game itself.
Mar. 31: Blue Blood: Inside the Duke/UNC RivalryDuke vs. UNC: when a rivalry is as storied as the one, it's hard to find ground that hasn't already been tread. However, through the grace of the sports gods, that rivalry is headed towards uncharted territory. This Saturday, Duke will face UNC in the NCAA's Final Four - and it's the very first time these two teams have met in the tournament. ESPN Senior Writer and North Carolina native Ryan McGee explains why one of college basketball's longest-running rivalries means so much to so many, and how excited UNC is at the prospect of playing spoiler to Coach K one more time.
Mar. 30: "WHAT ARE WE DOING!?" Taylor Twellman on the Rebirth of the USMNTIn the fall of 2017, the US Men's National Soccer Team lost a decisive qualifying match against Trinidad & Tobago, and with it, a spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It was a humiliating defeat for a team that hadn't missed a World Cup since 1986. Afterwards, ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman delivered an epic rant, blasting the culture of US Soccer that, in his view, had grown complacent and arrogant. Now, more than four years later, the Americans are on the cusp of redemption. Barring a complete blowout loss tonight against Costa Rica, the Americans can book their ticket to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Taylor Twellman explains how the USMNT has changed their ways following the debacle in Trinidad, and what we can expect from a young roster that appears to be just getting started.
Mar. 29: The Olympics, an NBA Veteran, and a Medical MysteryNBA veteran Aron Baynes arrived at the Tokyo Olympics as one of Team Australia's most trusted big men. But during a group stage game against Italy, Baynes mysteriously fell in the bathroom during a break. When he was discovered by team staff, he had lost the ability to walk and had to be carried out on a stretcher. No one knew what was wrong. Brian Windhorst tells the story of Baynes' medical mystery and the ordeal that followed: from being isolated in a Japanese hospital, weeping in pain day after day, to learning how to walk again...and what his path back to the NBA looks like.
Mar. 28:We'll Get the First-Ever Duke vs. UNC Final Four GameThe Final Four is set! On Sunday, we learned UNC and Duke will meet for the first time ever in the NCAA tournament. And the Kansas Jayhawks punched their ticket to the next round, taking down Miami 76-50. And this year's Cinderella story, the Saint Peter's Peacocks, finally got turned back into a pumpkin by UNC. On Saturday, Duke beat Arkansas 78-69, sending Coach K to his 13th and final Final Four. And Villanova stuck to their fundamentals in their takedown of Houston, 50-44. Myron Medcalf takes us inside all of the tournament action and tells us what to watch for in the Final Four.
Mar. 25: From Coach Peck to Dawn Staley - Women's NCAA Tournament TrailblazersThe South Carolina Gamecocks are the women's number one overall seed, and take the court in the Sweet Sixteen tonight. After blowing out their first two opponents by an average of 37 points, SC coach Dawn Staley will be looking to take another step towards her second national title. But before Staley won her first championship came coach Carolyn Peck, the first Black woman to coach a team to an NCAA basketball title, with Purdue in 1999. Today, Carolyn Peck shares her story with us, and explains how she actually invited Dawn Staley to become the second member of her all too exclusive club ... and what came next for both of these trailblazers.
Mar. 24: Revisiting A Murder in Memphis - The Lorenzen Wright StoryIt's been over a decade since NBA veteran Lorenzen Wright was murdered. Wright's twin sons, Lamar and Shamar were just ten years old when their father was killed. Their mother, and Wright's ex-wife, Sherra pleaded guilty to facilitating the murder of her husband in 2019, then attempted to reverse her plea to not guilty, but has since dropped the bid and will serve out the remainder of her sentence. And this week, one of the suspects who was accused of the crime, Billy Ray Turner, was found guilty of murder by a Tennessee jury. Through the loss of their father and the arrest of their mother, Lamar and Shamar Wright have pushed on, and are now playing college basketball together. Lisa Salters shares the story of Wright's murder and the family he left behind, also covered in the E:60 A Murder in Memphis, available on demand now in the ESPN app.
Mar. 23: How Gonzaga's Drew Timme Became College Basketball's Biggest StarGonzaga's Drew Timme might be the biggest star in college basketball. From his questionable facial hair to his taunting theatrics, Timme is more than just the top scorer on the #1 team in the country. He's an entertainer who is part of a dying species in the one-and-done era: a star upper-classman who lives and plays like he never wants college to end. Timme and the Zags are in search of redemption after last year's loss in the NCAA Championship game to Baylor. But first, they'll have to get past Arkansas in the Sweet 16. Tim Keown explains what makes Timme tick, how the tournament's going for him, and what we should expect to see next.
Mar. 22: Sound Sports - A Blind Man's Journey to the Broadcast BoothBryce Weiler grew up listening to the likes of Brian Barnhart call Illinois basketball games, and as a young man who'd been blind since infancy, he fell in love with the pictures painted on the radio. During college in Indiana, Weiler forged a relationship with the basketball team, and then found his way to the broadcast booth himself. ESPN's Sam Borden went to visit Weiler and learn more about his process as a live game analyst for college hoops (see more coverage from College GameDay here). He shares the story of a broadcaster motivated to prove that everyone deserves opportunity.
Mar. 21: Mina Kimes on Deshaun Watson, Baker Mayfield, and NFL Free Agency FrenzyOn Friday, the Cleveland Browns acquired QB Deshaun Watson, in a massive trade that sent shockwaves across the NFL. Last year, Watson was accused of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior by multiple massage therapists, and there are currently 22 pending civil lawsuits against him. The Watson trade comes on the heels of a Texas grand jury declining to indict Watson on criminal charges, which re-ignited interest for several NFL teams, including Cleveland, who went big to make the trade happen. However, Watson could still face disciplinary action from the NFL as a result of the allegations. Mina Kimes discusses the timeline of events surrounding Watson, and what his deal means for the NFL at large. Mina and Pablo also unpack the other biggest NFL trades from the last week, including Davante Adams to the Raiders and Von Miller to the Bills.
Mar. 18: Surviving a Moose Attack on the Way to the IditarodThe Iditarod is the most famous dog sled race in the entire world, run across 1000 miles through the Alaskan wilderness. And while the event brings to mind images of furry dogs and beautiful landscapes, the race is incredibly challenging and dangerous. Liz Merrill traveled up north and spent time with Bridgett Watkins, an ER nurse who is competing in the race for the first time this year despite her team enduring a brutal attack by a bull moose in February. Merrill shares Watkins' experience and story of survival.
Mar. 17: The Debate Over Swimmer Lia Thomas at the NCAA ChampionshipsThis week, University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, will compete in the NCAA championships. It's the culmination of a season that has included records and conference championships, as well as backlash and outcry from those who believe she should not be allowed to compete on the women's team. The NCAA had considered making changes to its policies around trans athletes ahead of this week's NCAA Championships, but kept their current guidelines in place, clearing the path for Lia to swim for a national title. ESPN's Katie Barnes joins us from the Women's Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta with the very latest on Lia's story, the potential public protests, as well as the ripple effect in state legislatures across the country, where Thomas has been invoked as an example for lawmakers seeking to restrict trans youth participation in sports.
Mar. 16: Betting the NCAA Tournament with Chris "The Bear" FallicaEvery year, when the calendar turns to March, it's time for just one thing in the world of sports: college basketball....a lot of it. And for Chris "The Bear" Fallica, March is a time when numbers reign supreme. From seeds to statistics, to of course, betting odds...Fallica is a college basketball savant. He joins the show to share his path from research producer to sports betting analyst, where he is frequently seen making picks against the spread on College Gameday, and helps guide us through the NCAA Tournament action based on those numbers.
Mar. 15: Tom Brady - Un-RetiredTom Brady has done it to us AGAIN. It's been mere weeks since he supposedly hung up his cleats, but now he's ready to lace them back up and play another season in Tompa Bay. We called up our resident Brady expert Seth Wickersham to tell us why we probably should've seen this coming...what we might expect from Brady and his Bucs this season...and whether Cristiano Ronaldo had anything to do with it.
Mar. 14: WNBA's Brittney Griner Detained in Russia: What We KnowWNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was arrested by Russian police at an airport near Moscow last month. Griner is being held on charges that she was transporting hashish oil, a marijuana concentrate, which is illegal in Russia. The details of Griner's arrest were not public until early March. That sparked outcry over the lack of attention around Griner's case, but also concern that publicity could further endanger her. ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn explains what we know and how a delicate dance plays out from here, as government officials and those closest to Griner fight to bring her home.
Mar. 11: Hockey's Russian Backlash + Jack Eichel's Return to BuffaloAlexander Ovechkin tied Jamomir Jagr this week for the third most goals in NHL history. But just as Ovi is climbing the ladder of hockey immortality, he is facing scrutiny like never before following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Ovechkin, like the 40 other Russian players in the NHL, have avoided directly condemning the war, which has invited public backlash. But it's an almost impossible situation for Russian players, knowing that opposition to the war could invite harassment for their families back in Russia. Emily Kaplan explains how the hockey world has been shaken by the war in Ukraine. Then, she updates on a different kind of controversy: Jack Eichel's return to Buffalo to play against his former team following a bitter fight over how to treat his neck injury.
Mar. 10: Sixers-Nets Preview + NBA Round-Up with Zach LoweAll eyes will be on Philadelphia tonight when James Harden and the Sixers take on Harden's former team, the visiting Brooklyn Nets...who may or may not have simply been a cog in a long-play by Harden and Daryl Morey to get to Philly all along. Oh, and Ben Simmons will be there too, though he won't be playing due to an injury. Zach Lowe tells us all about this possible conspiracy and catches us up on what's been going on around the league, including a couple of pantheon performances by LeBron James.
Mar. 9: Bill Barnwell on NFL Mega Deals: Aaron Rodgers and Russell WilsonAaron Rodgers is staying in Green Bay, and Russell Wilson is heading to Denver to the Broncos! While the details of the Rodgers deal are still being ironed out, Russell Wilson will call the Mile High City his new home, and he enters an AFC West that's loaded with star QBs like Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. Bill Barnwell unpacks the latest in these blockbuster NFL moves and explains how they've upended the seats of power in the NFL. Plus, Calvin Ridley's gambling suspension.
Mar. 8: March Madness is Wildly Wide OpenThe thrill of March Madness has long been the allure of upsets - the single-elimination Cinderella runs and David v. Goliath battles. ESPN's Myron Medcalf is about to cover his 12th straight NCAA tournament, and he shares why this year's potential for dramatic upsets is high. We break down this season's unprecedented parity, and which teams and divisions deserve more eyes as the tournament begins.
Mar. 7: Saving the Regular Season - Live from the Sloan Sports Analytics ConferenceIt's a special live episode of ESPN Daily! This weekend in Boston, some of the brightest minds from across the sports world gathered for the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. One of the panels, led by our own Pablo Torre, focused on the growing concern that many of the major sports' regular seasons feel like they don't matter as much as they used to, with players and media focused solely on championship rings. The panel entitled "Maximizing Competitive Meaning" featuring the NBA's Evan Wasch, Brad Pursel of MLS, and Sam Schwartzstein, formerly of the XFL, addressed this very question, and examined how fixing the regular season just may require tinkering with some of sports most sacred traditions. We're excited to bring you this panel, in podcast form!
Mar. 3: Baseball Opening Day Canceled: How We Got HereMLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Tuesday that the first two series of the regular season, over 90 games in total, would be canceled. Negotiations between MLB and its Players Association have dragged on since the lockout began in December, and the current tensions have been brewing for years. MLB Insider Jeff Passan called it one of the darkest days in baseball. He tells us why the players are upset, whether or not this was inevitable...and just how far both sides are from an agreement.
Mar. 2: How Vladimir Putin Uses Sports to Maintain PowerThe entire world has watched in shock and horror this past week as the Russian Army invaded Ukraine. At the center of it stands one man, whose thinking and motivation everyone is seeking to better understand: Russian president Vladimir Putin. But as it turns out, there may be no better way into the mind of Putin than through his deep, deliberate impact on the world of sports. Investigative reporter TJ Quinn traveled to Russia in 2018 to report on Putin's ties to the sports world, and how he has used major events like the World Cup and the Olympics to maintain his grip on power. Quinn explains what we can learn about Putin through the lens of sports, and why athletes and officials are finally fighting back against him.
Mar. 1: NFL Combine Confidential with Domonique FoxworthThe NFL combine: an annual spectacle that is part job interview, part gym class, and part reality TV show. It is also a critical moment in deciding the future of a new class of NFL draft prospects. An exceptionally good or bad performance in the combine will make a prospect's draft stock rise or fall, meaning millions in potential salary is on the table. But just how useful is the combine in actually predicting a player's NFL career? And what is it like for the players to run the gauntlet of medical evaluations, physical tests, and character evaluations? ESPN's Domonique Foxworth went through the process in 2005. He shares all the secrets from inside the scouting combine, and why it may not be as important as we think.
Feb. 28: Cowboys Cheerleaders Accuse Top Executive of Locker Room SpyingFor six years, the Dallas Cowboys had a secret. One of their top executives was accused of spying on several cheerleaders in a locker room: and the team wrote a big check to make it all go away. Don Van Natta investigates this story for ESPN and shares the other bombshell accusation that was made, what it reveals about Jerry Jones' team, and what happens next for the women at the center of this incident.
Feb. 25: What If Every NBA Rule Was Up For Grabs...While NBA players and their style of play have changed drastically in the league's 75 years of existence, the rules that govern the game have mostly stayed the same. The popularity of the All-Star Game's "Elam Ending" shows that changing many of basketball's long-standing rules could improve the game for fans, players and the league. ESPN's Kirk Goldsberry dives deep into which rules should get scrapped and what to do instead.
Feb. 24: The Most Hated Man in Hockey...ReturnsBrad Marchand contains multitudes. Sure, the Boston Bruins winger could be called the most hated man in hockey, back on the ice tonight after serving his latest suspension - his second of the season. But Marchand is also one of the top scorers in the NHL, integral to the Bruins' offense. He's known for cheap shots, punching opposing players, licking faces, and was once given the nickname "Little Ball of Hate" from former President Barack Obama. Greg Wyshynski joins us to discuss Marchand's reputation, his impact on the Bruins, and how we'll look back on his legacy.
Feb. 23: Catching the Wikipedia Sports VandalsWe've all turned to Wikipedia, the massive volunteer-run database, for more answers than we'd care to admit. And we're so often reminded that anyone - anyone - can edit Wikipedia entries whenever they want. So when massive sporting events like the Olympics happen, and sports become a shared cultural touchstone, you can bet that Wiki-vandals will pounce. They edit Wikipedia entries and turn them into a modern-day, digital bathroom wall. ESPN's Dave Fleming takes us inside the secret world of Wikipedia sports vandalism, shares how this phenomenon began, and tells us what Wikipedia is trying to do to stop it.
Feb. 22: The Battle Over "Play Like a Champion Today" (Re-Spin)"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 disputes Holtz's claims. ESPN's Dave Wilson tells us who might - or might not - deserve credit for one of the most famous sentences in sports.
Feb. 21: How to Survive 135 Miles: The World's Most Impossible Run (Re-Spin)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 of 2021. She wrote about her Badwater experience for gdcut.com, and shares what she lost - and found - in her 37 hours of running, chafing, chugging flat Coca-Cola, and flat out surviving.
Feb 18: Trae Young: The Making of the NBA's Favorite VillainWith a 3-pointer and a bow at Madison Square Garden's center court, the Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young added to his growing legend in last year's playoffs. To understand that moment, and the 23-year-old NBA All Star that authored it, ESPN's Dotun Akintoye traced Young's roots back to tiny Pampa, Texas and a love for basketball passed down through generations. Akintoye explains the mental makeup and leadership potential of a young man who's not afraid to play the villain.
Feb 17: Former Angels Staffer Stands Trial for Death of Pitcher Tyler SkaggsWhen Angels' pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in July of 2019, it sent shock waves across baseball. There was an outpouring of grief and sorrow for the loss of a promising young player, teammate, and husband at just 27 years old. But the shock of Skaggs' death was only compounded when Eric Kay, who had been the Angels' own director of communications, was arrested and accused of supplying the oppiods that lead to Skaggs' death. Now, more than two years later, Kay is on trial in federal court, and could face upwards of 20 years in prison if convicted. The trial has also seen testimony from a number of Skaggs' former teammates, including former Mets' ace Matt Harvey, who also acknowledged that he received drugs from Kay. ESPN investigative reporter TJ Quinn joins us from the site of the trial in Fort Worth, Texas to explain what Eric Kay, and baseball at-large, is facing.
Feb 16: Swimmer Lia Thomas and NCAA Transgender PolicyThis season, University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas took to the pool for first time as a transgender woman, on the women's team. Thomas' gender transition was several years in the making, and she adhered to guidelines from her sport's governing bodies as she returned to competition. But when Thomas started winning and breaking records this season, her story made news well beyond the swimming world, and critics of transgender inclusion in sports took particular note. As Thomas heads to the Ivy League championships, ESPN's Katie Barnes tells the story of this barrier-breaking swimmer, the policies and politics that surround her.
Feb 15: "Stay on the f---ing phone!" Inside the Harden/Simmons Trade TalksIt was the blockbuster trade NBA fans had been waiting for: James Harden for Ben Simmons. It was a seismic swap that finally came together in the closing moments ahead of the trade deadline, with Sixers president Daryl Morey shouting "Stay on the f---ing phone!" to Nets GM Sean Marks. ESPN's Ramona Shelburne takes us inside all of the conversations that led to James Harden becoming a 76er, and shares how the trade's actually been brewing for years. And while both Ben Simmons and James Harden are getting a fresh start: is this truly the final chapter of their sagas?
Feb 14: LAst Team Standing: Bill Barnwell on Rams ChampionshipThe Los Angeles Rams have won Super Bowl LVI! Bill Barnwell tells us what it took for LA to bring home the Lombardi Trophy. The Rams went all-in on the NFL's biggest season in history, and after injuries to key players and struggling to establish the run, it was none other than Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford, and Cooper Kupp who put the team on their back. How did they beat the Bengals? And what does Bill make of this dramatic season?
Feb 11: Super Bowl Preview with Alex Smith (Almost Live From Disneyland)The NFL season ends this Sunday in Inglewood, when the Los Angeles Rams host the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. Pablo met up (in person!) with our resident QB Alex Smith to get his perspective on how these teams match up, and how the view is different one year removed from his own time on the field. We dig into the qualities of Rams underrated QB Matthew Stafford, and what it's like to line up against the force that is Aaron Donald. With the Cinderella Cincinnati Bengals, we explore how Joe Burrow got here this quickly.
Feb 10: How Whitney Houson's Super Bowl National Anthem Has EnduredIt has been ten years since Whitney Houston died on February 11, 2012. The link between the musical icon and sports is specific and indelible, through her iconic rendition of the national anthem at Super Bowl XXV. While her performance was breathtaking, much of what made it truly special, and the events surrounding it, have been overlooked. E:60's Jeremy Schaap relives a classic Super Bowl memory, and why Whitney's high notes from that night continue to echo a decade after her passing.
Feb 9: Welcome to the Jungle - How the Bengals became Super Bowl CinderellasOutside of maybe Joe Burrow himself, there are not a lot of people who thought the Cincinnati Bengals would be playing for the Lombardi Trophy this Sunday. The franchise is just a couple years removed from having the worst record in the NFL and prior to the 2021 season, they hadn't won a playoff game in more than three decades...and they entered this season with 125-1 odds of making it to the Super Bowl. It all adds up to one of the most shocking Super Bowl appearances ever, one that has even stunned the city it calls home. ESPN's Bengals reporter Ben Baby explains how the franchise turned it around so fast (hint: Joe Burrow), and just what the city of Cincinnati is making of their unexpected success.
Feb 8: Simmons For Harden? Possible NBA Trade Deals, ExplainedThe NBA is in a frenzy, as the trade deadline approaches. Rumors have swirled about some of the league's biggest stars and ESPN's Brian Windhorst has the latest from his reporting. He pulls back the veil of the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets front offices, as the Ben Simmons saga may continue past the deadline. With some teams already making moves, Windhorst has the details on some possible deals that could tighten the arms race.
Feb 7: Matthew Stafford's Second Chance (Re-Air)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, and they're on the cusp of reaching that goal. 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, a look back at the play that changed not only Tom Brady's career...but also the NFL itself.
Feb 4: Conflicted about the Beijing Olympics? You're not alone.The Beijing Olympics began this week, and while many will be supporting their country's athletes from afar, the shadow of China's complicated human rights record will be dimming the glamour of the games. From the disappearance of tennis star Peng Shaui to the horrific treatment of the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang province to China's anti-democracy and free speech crackdowns, the moral and ethical complications of placing the games in China have highlighted tensions within the International Olympic Committee. Sam Borden explains the sociopolitical context of the Beijing Olympics, and why these games feel so much more complicated.
Feb 3: Brian Flores' NFL Discrimination Lawsuit, ExplainedFormer Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit this week against the NFL and three teams, alleging discrimination and racism in their hiring practices. The suit includes shocking details, alleging that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered Flores $100,000 per loss to improve the team's draft position. Flores also allegedly learned that the New York Giants' head coaching job he was set to interview for was no longer available, through an accidental text from Bill Belichick. Ryan Smith explains the lawsuit, its relationship to the NFL's Rooney Rule for coach hiring, and what's next.
Feb 2: Why Ja Morant's Grizzlies Are the Most Entertaining Team in the NBAIf you're not paying attention to the Memphis Grizzlies this season, you might want to start now. Led by the electric Ja Morant, the Grizzlies have the NBA's third best record, and have earned a reputation for their swagger and fearlessness. Tim MacMahon shares why things are finally clicking in Memphis, tracks Ja Morant's rise, and explains what makes this team so entertaining - and if they can make a run in the NBA postseason.
Feb 1: 2022 Winter Olympics Viewer's Guide - What to Watch for in BeijingThe Winter Olympics begin this week, but if you're anything like us, you probably need some help getting up to speed on who to watch out for in Beijing. There's Red Gerard, defending gold medalist in snowboarding from the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, whose family just might be the Gronkowskis of the Olympics. There is the most decorated American skier ever, Mikaela Shriffin, who finally gets the spotlight to herself with the retirement of Lindsey Vonn. And then there's Chloe Kim, who famously won gold in 2018 at the age of 18...but her path back to the snow has been a rocky one. Our resident Olympics correspondent Alyssa Roenigk is here to fill you in on everything you need to know for the 2022 Winter Games.
Jan 31: Bengals, Rams Are Super Bowl Bound: Alex Smith on Conference ChampionshipsThe Bengals and Rams are going to Super Bowl LVI! In the AFC Championship, Joe Burrow and the Bengals' defense took the Chiefs to overtime and won in Arrowhead, sending Cincinnati to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1988. And, in the NFC Championship in Los Angeles, the Rams capitalized on a lackluster performance from Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers' offense. Alex Smith breaks down the games, and shares his memories of the maybe-soon-to-be-retired Tom Brady.
Jan 28: The Thicc Six Episode - The Making of Big Man TDs"Thicc Six." It's a phrase that has exploded across Twitter this NFL season, usually when a quarterback throws a touchdown to an open...and eligible...offensive lineman. But, why are we seeing so many Big Man touchdowns all of sudden? And what makes them so awesome? Mike Golic Jr. takes us into the trenches and into the psychology of the NFL's largest men, and explains why their moment in the spotlight brings so much joy to so many.
Jan 27: 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 Staples Center Crypto.com Arena to answer all of our questions, and game out solutions.
Jan. 26: Kobe and Alto - A Bond Between Two ChampionsIt 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. 25: 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. 24: Alex Smith on the NFL's Epic, Insane, Unbelievable Playoff WeekendThe 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. 21: Mina Kimes on NFL Divisional Playoff MatchupsThe 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. 20: Longsnappers - The NFL's Unsung Special Teams ArtistsThe 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. 19: Blood in the Garden - How the 90s Knicks Gave Rise to the Modern NBADespite 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. 18: The Last Save - Inside The Blue Jackets Goaltenders Friendship and TragedyWhen 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.
Jan. 17: Alex Smith + Louis Riddick on NFL Super Wild Card GamesThe 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. 14: Bill Barnwell Tames the NFL's Wild Card WeekendNFL 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. 13: What Went Wrong for Brian Flores and the DolphinsThe end of the NFL regular season inevitably means a round of firings of head coaches from the leagues 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 made it to the playoffs in 2020, and bounced back from an 0-7 start this season to finish 9-8 in 2021. ESPN's Marcel Louis-Jacques explains what led to Flores' ousting...and why it may have had nothing to do with football.
Jan. 12: DeMar DeRozan - The MVP Candidate Fueling the Chicago BullsThe 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. 11: How Georgia Beat Bama to Be College Football ChampionsThe 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. 10: Alex Smith on Wild End of NFL Regular SeasonThe 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. 7: Bill Barnwell on NFL Week 18, Playoff Picture, and a Bizarre NFL SeasonThe NFL finishes its first seventeen 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. 6: Behold, the Porta Potty - Meet the Unsung Heroes of Stadium EventsIf 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. 5: 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. 4: 10,000 Hours of Lying - The Myth of Mastering a SkillPractice, practice, practice. The theory goes that with enough repetition, time, and hard work, anyone can become the master of their craft. 10,000 hours has long been heralded as the golden benchmark to achieving greatness in almost anything. But best-selling author and ESPN Daily mythbuster David Epstein joins the show to put the theory to the test, and explain why the 10,000 hours myth has gained so much attention.
Jan. 3: Our Monday QB Alex Smith on NFL Week 17The 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.
Dec. 31: What We're Made Of: A Vaccine Pioneer and Her Olympian Daughter (Re-Air)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."
Dec. 30: 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 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.
Dec. 29: 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 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.
Dec. 28: 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. 27: The Purrfect Tale of Baseball's Rally Cat (Re-Air)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 Cit 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.
Dec. 24: 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. 23: How the World's Biggest Sportsbook Makes the OddsSports 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. 22: Momentum - An Odyssey into the Most Overused Word in SportsMomentum: 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. 21: Why College Football Crowds are Storming the FieldStorming 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. 20: Covid+Sports: Why It's Not March 2020 All Over AgainSports leagues around the world have seen a surge of positive 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 some policies and taking concerted action to curb the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant. ESPN's Stephania Bell lays out impacts and changes in the NFL plus 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. 17: Urban Fired: Bill Barnwell on Why Meyer Crashed and Burned in NFLIn 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. 16: Tiger Woods Returns to Golf Alongside His SonTiger 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. 15: 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. 14: Fistful of Steel - The Rise of Bubba WallaceThe 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. 13: Formula One Racing's Shocking Finale + Alex Smith on NFL Week 14Formula 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. 10: How the Heisman Trophy Lost its Luster + F1 Season FinaleThe 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. 9: Bill Barnwell on NFC Playoff Picture + College Coaching CarouselThe 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. 8: Most Powerful Curse in the NFL? The 1925 Pottsville MaroonsExtra, 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. 7: How Kevin Durant is Breaking NBA AnalyticsKevin 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. Durant's efficiency from midrange is defying everything NBA analytics has preached for years, and has made him mostly unstoppable. Kirk Goldsberry dissects Durant's unique midrange skills, and 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. 6: Alex Smith on NFL Sunday; Louis Riddick on Monday Night FootballThe 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. Then, 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. 3: College Football's Week of Chaos: Playoff Finalists, Format Changes, and Coaching CarouselCollege 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. 2: How JJ Redick Sees the NBA LandscapeJJ 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. 1: Jeff Passan on MLB's Massive Deals, Looming Lockout, and Offseason ChaosIt'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.
Nov. 30: How to Survive the World's Most Impossible RunThe 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 of 2021. She wrote about her Badwater experience for gdcut.com, and shares what she lost - and found - in her 37 hours of running, chafing, chugging flat Coca-Cola, and flat out surviving.
Nov. 29: Monday QB Alex Smith on NFL Week 12The 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. 26: 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. 25: 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. 24: Four Days of Sports Gluttony: Your Thanksgiving Weekend GuideThanksgiving 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. 23: 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. 22: China's Missing Tennis Star + Week 11 in the NFLChinese 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. 19: The NBA's Invasion of Alien Big MenOnce 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. 18: Louis Riddick on Mac Jones - The Patriot Way ReduxThe 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. 17: Why Are Players Hoarding Kobes? Saga of a Shoe ShortageIt'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. 16: 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. 15: The NFL's New Normal - Monday QB Alex Smith on Week 10The 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. 12: The Warriors Are BackAfter losing the 2019 NBA Finals, the Warriors had two lost seasons and all but disappeared from any conversation about contenders. But ESPN's Nick Friedell assures us that the Warriors are back with star point guard Steph Curry and former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green bringing their unique synergy to the long road that leads to the NBA's mountaintop. Friedell discusses why 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, Sam Borden discusses the cherished USMNT vs. Mexico rivalry that will ultimately evolve due to structural changes following Friday's World Cup in Cincinnati.
Nov. 11: To Punt, or Not To Punt? Football's Age-Old QuestionPresbyterian 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. 10: Allegations of Racism and Misogyny Within the Phoenix SunsAn 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. 9: A Season of Change For Men's College BasketballThe 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. 8: Monday QB Alex Smith on NFL Week 9From 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. 5: Should Barry Bonds Be In The Baseball Hall of Fame?Barry Bonds' baseball achievements are staggering: from home run records to MVP awards to Golden Gloves to mind-boggling slugging and on-base percentages, the numbers place him squarely among the 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. 4: Bill Barnwell on Rodgers' Vaccine Status, Chiefs Struggles and MoreIt'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. 3: Braves Win World Series! Then: How New NBA Rules Truly Change The GameThe 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. 2: NHL Blackhawks Sexual Abuse Case - ExplainedWhen 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. 1: NFL's Halloween Belongs to the Backup QBsHalloween 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.
Oct. 29: 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. 28: The Mystery of the Backyard Bowling BallsDavid 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. 27: 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. 26: Houston's Empire Strikes Back - World Series Preview With Jeff PassanDeep 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. 25: 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. Alert Text:
Oct. 22: SPECIAL SERIES - The Legacy of PTIIntense 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 enduing impact of PTI.
Oct. 21: 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. 20: 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. 19: 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. 18: Alex Smith on Wild NFL Week 6 + Chicago Sky Win WNBA FinalIt 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. 16: SPECIAL SERIES - PTI's Star PowerFrom the beginning of PTI, viewers recognized that Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon had 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. Segments like Five Good Minutes, PTI was unknowingly building an era of opinion-based sports shows while simultaneously attracting high-profile fans and colleagues along the way. Additionally, the PTI team reminisces about how a casual trip to the White House led to meeting an unexpected fan.
Oct. 15: Zach Lowe's NBA Season PreviewThe 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. 14: The Last Save - Inside the Blue Jackets Goaltenders' Friendship and TragedyWhen 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. 13: Jon Gruden's Emails - What Happens Next in Vegas and WFT ImplicationsLast 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. 12: NHL Begins - Catching the Great One? Fear the Kraken? Lightning Dynasty?The 2021-22 National Hockey League season gets going tonight, with a double header on ESPN for the first time in 17 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. 11: NFL Week 5 - Bills Hurdle Over Chiefs, Chargers Comeback, Kickers' NightmaresAfter 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. 9: SPECIAL SERIES - PTI Gets a Life of Its OwnTony 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. 8: A Reckoning in Women's Pro SoccerFormer 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 describes the history and impact of this reckoning across the league, and where it may go from here.
Oct. 7: 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. 6: Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins, and the NBA's Vaccine DilemmaThe 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. 5: Jeff Passan - MLB Wildcard Games PreviewMLB 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 that they never relinquished.
Oct. 4: Alex Smith on NFL's Week 4: Brady Back in NE, Murray Magic, and Jets WinBack 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. 2: The Birth and Life of Pardon the InterruptionYou know the show PTI, you love the show PTI. But how did it all start? Celebrating 20 years of Pardon the Interruption, co-hosts Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon and a cast of media luminaries share the untold tale of this duo's meeting at The Washington Post. Hear how the dynamic in the legendary newsroom unexpectedly set them up for success at ESPN. Kornheiser and Wilbon reflect on their apprehensive beginnings in television, and how they were convinced to make the iconic sports studio show that changed their lives forever.
Oct. 1: Bill Barnwell's NFL Rookie QB Report CardIn 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 with us...and you might just hear them on the show. Leave us a message at 424-438-0717, and tell us about your weird and wacky sports superstitions.
Sep. 30: Major Problem in the Minor Leagues - Baseball's Big MythBaseball 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. 29: How the Patriots Dynasty Unraveled with Seth WickershamIt 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. 28: MLB Playoff Chaos with Jeff PassanWith 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. 27: Alex Smith on Rodgers' Magic, Mahomes' Stumble...and a Wild NFL Week 3In 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. 24: Spencer Hall on SEC Madness, Week 4 CFB Matchups, and the Best NIL DealsFall is finally here, and your autumnal Saturday agenda might be packed with trips to pumpkin patches and apple picking...or.... it could be spent watching wall-to-wall college football. We know what gentleman and SEC scholar Spencer Hall will be doing. Today, Spencer joins the show to dissect last 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. 23: WNBA Playoffs Preview - Liberty's Path to Upset, Sun Seeks 1st Championship, Storm's Quest to RepeatThe 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. 22: The Purrfect Tale of Baseball's Rally CatCats 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 Cit 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. 21: An Olympic Runner's Fight to Stop Her StalkerAny 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. 20: NFL Week 2: Monday QB with Alex SmithThis 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. 17: Super League Rage, Ronaldo Mania and the Fight for the Soul of Man UnitedWhen 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. 16: 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. 15: Vlad Guerrero Jr.'s Home Run Race, All-Star Dad, and Clutch AbuelaVladimir 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. 14: 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. 13: NFL Week 1 With Alex Smith, Domonique Foxworth and Louis RiddickNFL 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 highliights 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. 11: 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. 10: 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. 9: The 2021 Dallas Cowboys: David or Goliath?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. 8: Mina Kimes' NFL Season PreviewThe 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. 7: Why States are Sending Transgender Athletes to the SidelinesAmerican 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. 6: ICYMI: 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 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. 3: 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. 2: ICYMI: Love in the Time of Hockey Riots10 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. 1: ICYMI: The Great Super Bowl Rings HeistIt'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.
Aug. 31: ICYMI: Funny Money, a Secret Recording, and the Unraveling of a Powerhouse Football ProgramWhen 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. 30: How Dale Earnhardt's Death Changed NASCAR Forever (Best-Of)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. 27: Paul Finebaum on College Football ChaosAs 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. ESPN'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. 26: Card Tricks - Why Topps Got Toppled + The $6.6mil Record-SetterIn 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. 25: Matthew Stafford's Second ChanceWhen 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. 24: Murder at the U - Arrest Made in Bryan Pata CaseOn 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. 23: What's Next for Deshaun Watson Investigations and TexansTexans' 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. 20: The Fight of Manny Pacquiao's LifeThere 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. 19: The Magic of the Little League World SeriesThe 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. 18: 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. 17: 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. 16: Court Hearings Begin in Trevor Bauer Assault CaseIn 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.13: Matthew Berry's 7 Habits of Highly Effective Fantasy DraftersAugust 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 last night, ESPN Daily's own Ryan Nantell shares a story of his time on the storied diamond from the 1989 film...that turned into something closer to a nightmare.
Aug. 12: The "New" Tom Brady - How the G.O.A.T. Found his Voice in Tampa BayIt's not often you hear about a 7-time Super Bowl champion re-inventing himself, but that's exactly what Tom Brady is doing...at 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. 11: Russell Westbrook's Long, Secret Road to the LakersRussell 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. 10: 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. 9: Why Barcelona Legend Messi is LeavingIn 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. 6: 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. 5: The Sound and the Fury of College Football's SECCollege 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. 4: How NFL Teams are Combating Vaccine HesitancyAs 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 health...it'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. 3: Olympic Skateboarding vs. Skate Culture, ExplainedSkateboarding'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. 2: Tokyo Games Week Two Begins + NBA Free AgencyAs the Olympics move into their 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.
Jul 30: Faster, Higher, Stronger - Exploring the Limits of Olympics AthletesThe 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 29: Tonight's NBA Draft: Everything You Need to KnowIt'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 28: Why Simone Biles Withdrew And What's NextThe 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 27: Barnwell on Aaron Rodgers Latest + NFL Training CampsAaron 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 26: 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 24: RE-AIR - Is Jalen Rose the First Jalen? We Solve a Sports Name MysteryYou'll find several "Jalens" in the NFL draft this week, the NBA draft this summer, and any number of games you turn on...from Jalen Suggs to Jalen Green to Jalen Mayfield. For years our colleague, friend and basketball veteran Jalen Rose has maintained that today's Jalens are named for him (whether they know it or not). We honor Jalen Rose's mother, the recently passed Jeanne Rose, exploring the history and mystery of his name in sports and beyond. With data, experts, and extensive interviews, the Jalen paradox is solved.
Jul 23: Why USA Men's Basketball Faces an Uphill Climb for Olympic GoldThe 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 22: On the Ground in Tokyo for the Pandemic OlympicsThe 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 21: Bucks are Champions + The Power of WNBA's Layshia ClarendonThe 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 20: 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 19: The Legend of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick Is Still Being WrittenRyan Fitzpatrick has 22 helmets in his Zoom background...and that just makes sense. The veteran quarterback has been in the NFL since 2005, as both a star and an also-ran in a career 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 16: A Murder in Memphis - The Lorenzen Wright StoryIt'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 15: 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 14: Zach Lowe on the NBA Finals Biggest Battle - Deandre Ayton vs GiannisPhoenix 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 post back-to-back 40-point games. Lowe breaks down how this matchup of two big men may just hold the key to the rest of the series.
Jul 13: Marvel's Moneymaker Sisters - Stuntwomen Who Bring Superheroes to LifeMeet 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 12: ShoTime - How Ohtani Will Dazzle at Home Run Derby and All-Star GameThe 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 9: How Sports Owners Use Their Teams to Avoid Millions in TaxesSports 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 utilized to lessen an owners' tax liability. Investigative reporter Robert Faturechi of ProPublica walks us through how the tax code allows owners to frequently end up paying lower tax rates than not only the players for whom they write their checks, but sometimes 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 8: Definition Please? Inside the Scripps National Spelling BeeIt'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 7: The Point God has Spoken: How CP3 Took Control of the NBA Finals Game 1It 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. He also explains what the Bucks need to do to slow down the Suns, and why the series isn't over just yet. Then, we check in with Sam Borden in London, who brings us a soccer (and culinary) update from the 2020 Euros semifinals.
Jul 6: 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 5: RE-AIR - Ali-Frazier: The "Fight of the Century" 50 Years Later50 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 2: 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 1: Jeff Passan on MLB's Sticky Stuff WarMajor 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.
Jun 30: P.K. Subban on the Stanley Cup FinalP.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 29: Simone Biles to Tokyo - The Road to More GoldSimone 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 28: CP3 Powers Suns, Middleton Invigorates Bucks - NBA Conference FinalsThe 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 26: Bonus Episode - Olympic Training During a PandemicIt's a dream year in the making. High jumper Priscilla Frederick-Loomis will do anything to support her training for the 2020 Olympics, even clean strangers' houses. But as the postponed Tokyo Games approach, she's still suffering mysterious health problems months after contracting COVID-19. In collaboration with ESPN, we follow Frederick-Loomis' progress and ask: What will it take to safely pull off the Olympics? For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? Follow Priscilla Frederick Loomis and her journey to the 2021 Olympics on Instagram @priscilla_frederick. And hear more from Pablo Torre at ESPN Daily, ESPN's flagship podcast. Leroy Sims recently appeared to talk about leading the vaccine rollout for the NBA. For more of ESPN's reporting on the Olympics, meet the USA Rugby player who works as a pediatric nurse. And learn how Japanese athletes are getting the vaccine before the general public. The Olympics has had a turbulent history. Read our story about it and explore if a curse could explain why the Olympics gets disrupted so often. If you like what you hear and want to support more content like this, please consider a National Geographic subscription. Go to natgeo.com/explore to subscribe today.
Jun 25: Americans in Blazers: Roger Bennett on Stars, Stripes, and SoccerAhead of his book, "(RE)BORN IN THE USA: An Englishman's Love Letter to His Chosen Home" Roger Bennett, of Men in Blazers fame, shares how his love for American 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 the magic of sports and its 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 24: What We're Made Of: A Vaccine Pioneer and Her Olympian DaughterEvery 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 23: Basketball Heat Check - Is the Hot Hand Fact or Fiction?From the playground to the gym to the NBA Conference Finals...the basketball court is ruled not by an iron fist, but by the "hot hand." Shooters demand the ball when they get a hot hand. Teammates feed the player with the hot hand. Coaches draw up plays for the hot hand. But what if there is actually no such thing as the "hot hand?" For decades, that's been the belief of Nobel Prize winning scientists who insist that what looks like a player who can't miss...is really just a statistical fluke. Author Ben Cohen penned a book on the subject, "The Hot Hand," and he joins the show for a scientific heat check now that the conference finals are in full swing. Is the burning sensation is a verifiable reality, or just a puff of smoke? Then, Pablo seeks to turn his park hobby into disc golf pro Paul McBeth's million dollar endorsement deal.
Jun 22: The Supreme Court College Sports Ruling, ExplainedOn 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 21: Devin Booker Dominates, Giannis Delivers, Hawks Soar: NBA Playoffs with Brian WindhorstThis 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 19: RE-AIR - The Rise Of The Suns'Devin BookerPhoenix 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 18: Formula 101 - Everything You Need To Know About F1 Racing...and Why It's Having a MomentFormula 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 the world's most popular motorsport has never had much of a following in the U.S. But thanks in part to the hit Netflix series "F1: Drive to Survive," Formula 1 has now begun to make converts out of Americans, who have been sucked in by the high speed danger, as well as the soap opera drama behind the scenes. Ryan McGee takes the wheel and gives us a crash course on everything we need to know about Formula 1. Then, Marc Spears explains what Juneteenth means to him.
Jun 17: How Pro Surfer Tyler Wright Made Her Own WavesSummary: 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 16: Beef at the U.S. Open - Inside the Koepka/DeChambeau FeudThe 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 15: Love in the Time of Hockey RiotsIt'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 14: Suns Sweep, Bucks Bounce Back - NBA Playoffs with Kirk GoldsberryAnother 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 11: Inside Euro 2020 - Soccer's Month of Drama, Passion, and Geopolitical TensionNever 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 10: MLB's Sticky Situation - Spider Tack, Pelican Grip and Baseball's Open SecretThe 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 9: NFL Offseason Drama - Aaron Rodgers, Julio Jones, and MoreThis 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 8: NFL Plans to End Race-Norming in Concussion Claims - What Happens NextThe 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 7: NBA Playoffs Breakdown: Trae Triumphs, Kawhi Dominates, Harden InjuredThe 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 4: Mayweather vs. Paul: What Influencers Mean for BoxingThe 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 3: How the Mascot Hall of Fame Came to Furry FruitionMascots 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 2: Jeff Passan on the Story Behind MLB's Inaugural Lou Gehrig DayLou 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 1: 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.
May 31: Rocky Bleier - From The Steelers To Vietnam And Back (Re-Air)For generations, countless men and women from around the sports world have served in our nation's military. But none have a story quite like Rocky Bleier. Bleier won a college football national championship with Notre Dame, but during his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Three months into his deployment to Vietnam, Bleier was shot through the thigh and suffered a grenade blast to his foot. Doctors told him he'd never play football again. But Bleier would go on to rejoin the Steelers and win four Super Bowls with the team in the 1970s. In 2018, Bleier and 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 28: Boban Marjanovic is Your Favorite NBA Player's Favorite PlayerDallas 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 27: 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 26: The Bromance Behind the Knicks Rebirth + Aaron Rodgers LatestNew 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 25: The WNBA's Minnesota Lynx Found Their VoiceOne year ago on 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 24: 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.
May 21: The NBA Play-In and Most Enticing Playoff MatchupsWhen 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 20: 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 19: Why John Daly's Miracle 1991 PGA Championship Lives on Through One FamilyWhen 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 18: Stephen A. Smith Dishes Knicks + Play-In TournamentNo 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 17: Michael Wilbon on Basketball Hall of Fame WeekendThe 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 Garnett...as well as our own Michael Wilbon, who was given the Curt Gowdy Media Award. Wilbon joins the show to share some behind-the-scenes moments from a historic basketball weekend. Then, ESPN's Dan Hajducky reflects on a connection he shares with Hall of Fame inductee and WNBA legend Tamika Catchings.
May 14: Medina Spirit's Kentucky Derby Drama, ExplainedMedina 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 "" podcast, shares more on his time with Baffert, and the state of racing.
May 13: 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 12: WNBA At 25 - From "We've Got Next" to the Orange Hoodie...and BeyondThe 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 Cheryl Swoops 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, and joins the show to reflect on her experiences, the growing pains associated with the league's early days, and what comes next for the players on the floor. Then, Pablo examines the validity of Russian president Vladimir Putin's eight goal performance from a recent exhibition game.
May 11: 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 10: The View from Center Ice: NHL Drama + Playoff PrimerThe 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 8: Alive - The Drew Robinson Story (Re-air)Twenty-eight-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." NOTE: This episode originally aired on February 2nd, 2021
May 7: Aaron Rodgers Drama - The View From Green BayThe 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 6: The Most Important Shots In The NBA - VaccinesAs 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 5: The Russell Westbrook ParadoxThere 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 4: Protesters on the Pitch - Why the Failed Super League is Haunting SoccerAs 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 3: Shohei Ohtani's Baseball Experiment is WorkingAngels pitcher Shohei Ohtani is breaking MLB records that have been held for a century. He just became the first player since Babe Ruth to start a game as a pitcher...while also leading the league in home runs as a hitter. As Ohtani takes the mound again in Anaheim tonight, Alden Gonzalez explains what 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.
Apr 30: Bill Barnwell Sizes Up Round One of NFL DraftThe 2021 NFL Draft first round is in the books, and prospects are on their way to their new teams. From the 49ers' secretive plan to take QB Trey Lance as the number three pick, to the Bears trading up for QB Justin Fields, quarterbacks remained the story at the center. And then there are the other wins down the roster, like the Falcons' new tight end Kyle Pitts. But we also have to talk about Aaron Rodgers' surprise pre-draft gripes about Green Bay, don't we? Bill Barnwell sizes up the surprises and key storylines of draft night.
Apr 29: What Richard Sherman Can Teach Us About the NFL DraftThe Seattle Seahawks drafted Richard Sherman with the 154th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, behind 24 other cornerbacks. 10 years later, Sherman is still punishing the league for letting him fall that far, and created a legacy that will one day send him to Canton. But what did everyone miss when they were evaluating Sherman in 2011? And why didn't they see his potential? On the day of the 2021 NFL Draft, Domonique Foxworth explains what Richard Sherman, the prospect, can teach us about what we'll see during these next three days of drafting...and everything we won't.
Apr 28: Is Jalen Rose the First Jalen? We Solve a Sports Name MysteryYou'll find several "Jalens" in the NFL draft this week, the NBA draft this summer, and any number of games you turn on...from Jalen Suggs to Jalen Green to Jalen Mayfield. For years our colleague, friend and basketball veteran Jalen Rose has maintained that today's Jalens are named for him (whether they know it or not). We honor Jalen Rose's mother, the recently passed Jeanne Rose, exploring the history and mystery of his name in sports and beyond. With data, experts, and extensive interviews, the Jalen paradox is solved.
Apr 27: Who Inspires QB Trevor Lawrence? Artist and Big Brother, ChaseTrevor Lawrence's greatest inspiration? Artist brother Chase Summary: The sports world is ripe with famous siblings--the Watt brothers, the Williams sisters, the Currys, the Gasols, and on and on. But a superstar's non-athlete sibling doesn't usually make news. Enter Chase Lawrence, the offbeat older brother of the top player in this week's NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence. Brother Chase is an artist worth knowing and the single biggest influence on Trevor Lawrence himself. ESPN's Dave Fleming joins the show to explain how the bond between these two is a hidden factor in Trevor's rise, and the new collaboration that's bringing their worlds together.
Apr 26: NFL Draft Preview with Mina KimesFor the 2021 NFL Draft this week, we won't have family cams or yacht cameos. Live and in-person from Cleveland, teams will match with top talent, including a handful of historically great young quarterbacks. And we'll see what franchises that traded up for higher draft picks have in mind. ESPN analyst Mina Kimes previews all the drama. Then, goodbye to a goat who's truly a GOAT.
Apr 23: Jokic, Curry, or Embiid - Zach Lowe Breaks Down Their Rival Claims for NBA MVPIt's been a strange and turbulent NBA season, and the race for MVP is no different. While Nikola Jokic is leading the pack at the moment, familiar names like Steph Curry, Joel Embiid and even James Harden are all still very much in the race. Today, Zach Lowe breaks down the MVP favorites, and also explains how the New York Knicks, yes, the New York Knicks, became the hottest playoff team in the NBA.
Apr 22: UFC 261 - The Reign of Kamaru UsmanAfter squaring off on Fight Island last year, Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal prepare to fight once again this Saturday at UFC 261 with the welterweight title on the line. Usman retained his belt by unanimous decision the first time around -- but simply beating Masvidal was not enough for Usman: this time, he wants to break Masvidal's soul. ESPN's Dotun Akintoye joins the show to share the story of Usman, the man known as the Nigerian Nightmare, and tells us what fuels one of the greatest MMA fighters on the planet.
Apr 21: Deion "Coach Prime" Sanders' First Season at Jackson StateDeion Sanders was one of the NFL's most flamboyant characters, where he earned nicknames like "Prime Time" and "Neon Deion." Now, he's just finished his first season as head coach at Jackson State (yes, spring football due to COVID-19). Our guest, sports writer Jean-Jacques Taylor, covered Sanders' career for the NFL and reported on his coaching season for The Undefeated. Then, Myron Medcalf joins us from Minneapolis on the sports world's reaction to a guilty verdict for the man who killed George Floyd.
Apr 20: Why Everyone Seems to Hate Soccer's New "Super League"Over the weekend, news broke that 12 of the biggest soccer teams from across Europe are attempting to break away and create their own "Super League." The backlash was immediate and widespread, from politicians and royalty to fans across the world. Sam Borden joins the show to explain if the creation of the new league is even possible, and why it's got the soccer world in an uproar. Then, Pablo shares the story of Gary Payton, a former NBA guard who doesn't partake in cannabis at all, yet is the face of one of the most popular legal strains of marijuana.
Apr 19: How Modern Pitchers Are Breaking BaseballMLB's 2021 season is delivering wild numbers: eye-popping speed on the average fastball, and crazy-low batting averages. Look no further than the dominance of New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom. ESPN Baseball Insider Jeff Passan tells us why fastballs are faster and sliders more nasty. Hear how it's all changing today's game in ways that could harm its appeal, if MLB doesn't take action. Then, an all-time hockey record is breaking tonight, and the two players involved and their careers couldn't be more different.
Apr 15: The Dual Narratives Around Deshaun Watson's MassagesAllegations of sexual misconduct and assault against Deshaun Watson have until this week played out through lawyers' statements and accuser anonymity. Now, more women are attaching their names to court filings and speaking in public. While some of Watson's corporate sponsors are suspending deals with him, some women are speaking in support of Watson, saying their experiences with him were not inappropriate. Investigative reporter John Barr walks us through the conflicting narratives at play in these developments. Then, ahead of the WNBA draft Thursday night, Kevin Pelton weighs in on the league's eligibility rules.
Apr 14: The Next Great Quarterback Prospect (Is Someone You've Never Heard Of)Quarterback Trey Lance is projected to be a top-10 pick in this year's NFL draft. But the 20-year-old from North Dakota State has largely flown under the radar, overshadowed by big names like Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. Lance and his family have bucked trends from the start, and his path to the NFL has seemed fast, and yet also circuitous. Tim Keown shares Lance's story, and why he's captured the attention of NFL scouts everywhere.
Apr 13: Daryl Morey On the Sports Analytics RevolutionDaryl Morey, Philadelphia 76ers general manager, co-founded an event 15 years ago that's become the hub of all things data-driven in sports. At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, researchers, athletes, coaches and commentators swap takes on the digital trends changing how games are played, and how business is done. Morey joins Pablo to definitely not apologize for anything, to discuss the rise of sports analytics, and how data can make teams and the NBA game itself even better. Then, Myron Medcalf gives us a view from Minnesota, where Twin Cities teams postponed games in the wake of the police shooting of Daunte Wright.
Apr 12: How Breaking Baseball's Unwritten Rules Is Changing The Game (For Good)Baseball is steeped in time-honored traditions and a code of unwritten rules. But players in today's game are starting to break those rules: flipping their bats, admiring their home runs, and, say, hitting a Grand Slam when up 10-3 in the 8th inning. Ok, that last one was just Fernando Tatis Jr. ESPN's Joon Lee explains how baseball's youngest generation is challenging the establishment and injecting their personalities into the game - and why that's changing the sport for the better. Then, Pablo shares the story of a prison basketball game where an unlikely play-by-play star was born.
Apr 9: Full Circle - The Freddie Freeman StoryYou might know about Freddie Freeman, the baseball player...the gold glover and four time All-Star...who battled back from covid to win NL MVP last year. But the Freddie Freeman you don't know is even more remarkable. Buster Olney joins the show to take us inside Full Circle: The Freddie Freeman Story: airing this Sunday on E:60, and presents an exclusive and emotional portrait of one of the 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 of a family of their own.
Apr 8: Sports and Georgia: MLB, the Masters, and BeyondMLB moved the All-Star Game out of Georgia, after the state passed a law hampering voting access. As MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred takes heat from many directions, baseball's move has cast a different kind of spotlight on the Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. It's teeing off as scheduled, and that's not surprising to ESPN senior writer and baseball historian Howard Bryant. He breaks down the business side of MLB's decision, how it's reverberating, and the many stakeholders in play. Then, Pablo shares a personal connection with the pimento cheese sandwich, a time-honored staple at the Masters.
Apr 7: Field Yates On The NFL Draft QB ChaosWhen the Jets traded Sam Darnold to the Panthers on Monday, they essentially announced to the world that they will be selecting a quarterback with the 2nd pick in the upcoming NFL draft. And at the top of this year's draft...they're not alone. The 2021 QB Draft class is one of the deepest in memory, and the top 5 QB prospects could all potentially be picked in the top 10. Some, like Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, are considered as sure a bet as any prospect since Andrew Luck. Others, like North Dakota State's Trey Lance may not have the big program pedigree...but are still projected to be among the first players taken. Field Yates joins the show to assess the top 5 QB prospects...and makes his prediction for where they might end up. Then, ahead of the Masters Tournament, Sam Borden shares the story of Tim Tucker, golf genius
Apr 6: Baylor Bears Are NCAA Champs - How Gonzaga Lost Its Perfect SeasonThe Baylor Bears are your NCAA champions, for the first time in the program's history. After decimating Houston in the Final Four, Baylor put on an offensive showcase powered by impressive scoring runs, and ended Gonzaga's quest for a perfect season. Jalen Suggs and the Zags' offense were unable to get anything going against the stalwart Baylor defense. Myron Medcalf joins us from Indianapolis to break down the title game and reflect on the 2021 tournament. Then, Pablo remarks on Aaron Rodgers' self-aware debut as Jeopardy guest host.
Apr 5: NCAA - Gonzaga Buzzer Beater, Baylor Blowout, and Stanford Women's ChampsGonzaga and Baylor tip off tonight in the NCAA Championship after a thrilling pair of Final Four games. Gonzaga's Jalen Suggs hit a wild game-winning buzzer-beater in overtime on Saturday vs. UCLA that sent Sports Twitter into overdrive, as Gonzaga furthered its quest for a perfect season. Also on Saturday, Baylor blew out Houston with Jared Butler landing 17 points, and five players recording double figures. Jeff Borzello recounts Suggs' 3 heard 'round the world. And LaChina Robinson breaks down how Stanford bested Arizona in another neck-and-neck game to become the women's champions.
Apr 2: Final Four Weekend - Gonzaga's Perfect Run + Paige Bueckers' MagicThis weekend, the men's and women's NCAA Final Four games tip off in Indianapolis and San Antonio, respectively. On the men's side, Gonzaga will look to fend off surprising UCLA, who just upset #1 Michigan, while Baylor and Houston face off in a rare Lone Star State showdown. Myron Medcalf is on the ground in Indianapolis and shares his insights on each Final Four matchup. For the women, powerhouse UConn, lead by star freshman Paige Bueckers, will do battle with Arizona, who's making its first Final Four appearance. And Dawn Staley's South Carolina Gamecocks look to continue their defensive stand against tournament favorite Stanford. LaChina Robinson is on site in San Antonio to preview the pair of games, and reflects on the women's tournament thus far. Then, Katie Barnes updates us on the BFFs of the tournament: Gonzaga's Jalen Suggs and UConn's Paige Bueckers, as they each prepare for the semifinals.
Apr 1: MLB Opening Day - Tim Kurkjian on Fans' Return, Houston's Reckoning, and Playoffs for the...Mets?Baseball's Opening Day is finally here! After a shortened 2020 season, MLB is back with a 162 game schedule and plenty of exciting storylines. With fans back in the stands, will the Houston Astros finally receive the reckoning many thought they'd get following their cheating scandal? Will Francisco Lindor live up to the hype and take the Mets to the postseason? Can the upstart Padres match up with the defending champion Dodgers? Tim Kurkjian runs through everything you need to know heading into this baseball season, and even gives Baltimore Orioles fans something to hope for. Then, new Cubs TV play-by-play announcer Boog Sciambi talks with Pablo about taking up the iconic broadcasting mantle at Wrigley Field.
Mar 31: Funny Money, a Secret Recording, and the Unraveling of a Powerhouse Football ProgramWhen the winningest team in high school football hired the most controversial coach in high school football, heads turned all over the state of Georgia. What ensued was a 15-month saga of small-town, big time football that ended up dividing an entire town. Mark Schlabach brings us a story of funny money, a secret recording, and the unraveling of a powerhouse high school football program in Valdosta, Georgia.
March 30: The New York Mets - Best Worst Team In SportsThe New York Mets and their fans have been sports punchline fodder for decades. But Mets fans are a resilient (if occasionally delusional?) bunch, enduring heartbreak after heartbreak in the long history of the organization. Author Devin Gordon refers to the team as the "Best Worst Team in Sports" in his new book, "So Many Ways To Lose," and he joins the show to discuss his research into the highs and lows of the Mets, their passionate fans, and unique legacy.
Mar 29: How Far Will Nationals Star Juan Soto Go?Nationals superstar Juan Soto has won a World Series, made a highlight reel's worth of big hits, and holds a batting title. All that at 22 years old. A fan favorite in Washington, Soto is known for his swagger and disregard for baseball's traditional decorum, as well as his megawatt smile. Jeff Passan recently talked with Soto for ESPN's Cover Story, and he joins the show to explain how Soto's swing - and his presence - are changing baseball for good. Then, Bill Barnwell runs through the biggest NFL news in trades and free agency.
Mar 26: Gonzaga Greatness, Cinderellas and Sister Jean: Sweet 16 PreviewThe men's Sweet 16 begins this weekend, full of unlikely contenders and March stalwarts. Oral Roberts is the Cinderella of the tournament so far, but Loyola Chicago has the power of 101-year-old nun Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt on their side. Gonzaga's on the brink of a perfect season, but they'll likely have to get through another #1 seed like Baylor. Myron Medcalf joins us from Indianapolis to preview the next set of matchups, based on his analysis on the tournament so far. Then, Ryan McGee tells us why Bristol Speedway's become a dirt track this weekend -- the first NASCAR race on dirt in 50 years.
Mar 25: Deshaun Watson Faces Assault AllegationsTexans QB Deshaun Watson has been named in over a dozen civil lawsuits filed by a number of Houston area women over the last several days, alleging varying degrees of sexual misconduct and assault. ESPN investigative reporter John Barr takes us through the timeline and details of the cases, and where the legal action could go from here. Then, Texans reporter Sarah Barshop brings us up to speed on the team and NFL's responses, and what this means for Watson's future on the field in Houston and around the league.
Mar 24: Jeremy Lin and Pablo Torre on Asian-American Identity and RacismIn the time since we reached out to basketball pro Jeremy Lin about the mass shooting in Atlanta where eight people died - six of them women of Asian descent - ten more people have died in a Colorado shooting. Jeremy Lin joins us to share experiences with Pablo as first generation Asian Americans. Lin details his evolution on speaking out against stereotypes, understanding systemic injustice, and framing his identity in the limelight of sports during the NBA's "Linsanity" period. Plus, what he's focused on now around levers of social change and his basketball career. Then, Pablo pays tribute to a bird that met its demise via a pitch from Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, 20 years ago.
Mar 23: The Evolution of Zion WilliamsonIn his second NBA season, at just 20 years old, Zion Williamson is putting up numbers that land him alongside legends like Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal. Maybe you caught him in the All-Star Game, but if you haven't been watching Pelicans games, you're missing the evolution of a unique basketball talent. ESPN's Andrew Lopez shares Zion's accomplishments, and what it'll take to get him to MVP status. Then, the most famous bowler of all time is retiring after 41 (yes, 41!) years. We remember Pete Weber's career.
Mar 22: What's In a Name...Image, and Likeness? Social Media and College AthletesThis year's March Madness hasn't come without its share of controversy. Michigan's Isaiah Livers and others have tweeted and donned shirts with the phrase #NotNCAAProperty. And women's players cried foul online over a paltry weight room and other disparities with the men's team. It was just the latest example of social media's power for college athletes, and that includes growing followings across all sports and types of schools. ESPN college sports reporter David Hale details new options and support for player empowerment and profit. And he explores what NIL (name, image, likeness) reform can look like.
Mar 19: College Basketball's BFF's Jalen Suggs and Paige Bueckers + Sue Bird on Women's BracketGonzaga freshman Jalen Suggs and UConn freshman Paige Bueckers are the faces of the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments. But the two stars go way back: they grew up in neighboring Minnesota cities, and first met when they both were in elementary school. As their basketball careers took off, Suggs and Bueckers stayed in touch and have relied on each other for support, and have remained friends off the court. Katie Barnes shares the story of their unique friendship, and whether NCAA championships are in their future. Then, Sue Bird makes a case for her UConn Huskies to win another women's championship.
Mar 18: Louis Riddick on NFL Free Agency (And the Mind of Bill Belichick)We're still many weeks away from the 2021 NFL Draft, and free agency is in full swing. Bill Belichick and the Patriots have been aggressive in acquiring new pieces, while his ex-QB Tom Brady and the Bucs have been focused on bringing back the roster that won the Super Bowl. Louis Riddick breaks down the latest moves as only he can, shares insights from behind the scenes, and tells us what comes next. Then, as the NCAA tournament kicks off, Dave Fleming confirms a trend among male fans ... who get a certain surgery in vast numbers every March.
Mar 17: Serena Williams, Tom Brady, Roger Federer: The Surprising Science Behind Epic AthletesSerena 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.
Mar 16: NBA Coastal Elites: The Geography of Basketball SuccessAre all NBA superstars destined to leave smaller market teams for Brooklyn, L.A. or Miami? Across the league, high-performing players are gravitating to coastal teams and bigger markets. The trend's been building for years, increasingly splitting the league into teams that "have" or "have not." Kirk Goldsberry plots the map and salary data, why this trend is bad for the NBA, and what strategies could turn things around. Then, as part of ESPN's Women's History Month celebration, hear from Lisa Salters' sit-down with NFL referee Sarah Thomas.
Mar 15: 2021 Bracketology With Jay BilasThe NCAA Tournament is set! It's been anything but a normal college basketball season, and March Madness will continue the trend. Gonzaga could become the first team since 1976 to go undefeated and win a national championship, with Baylor, Illinois and Michigan also at the top. Georgetown, led by legendary Hoya Patrick Ewing, is back in the Big Dance. Duke is not in the tournament for the first time in decades. Jay Bilas breaks down the field, region by region, and the path to win it all. Then, insight from the WNBA's Natasha Cloud as heard on LaChina Robinson's "I'm Speaking" podcast series, one year since Breonna Taylor's death.
Mar 12: Dak Prescott's New Deal and the NFL's Shrinking Salary CapThe Dallas Cowboys have finally signed Dak Prescott to a four-year, $160 million deal, just five months after his season ending injury. For years, the Cowboys' front office had refused to give in to Dak's contract demands...until now. ESPN's NFL analyst Mina Kimes breaks down one of the biggest deals in quarterback history and looks at how a shrinking salary cap is impacting NFL rosters. Then, Tottenham superfan (and mom to Mina Kimes) Sun Min Kimes shares her English Premier League takes ahead of this weekend's match vs. Arsenal.
Mar 11: 2020, One Year Later: Rudy Gobert On Being The NBA's Patient ZeroOne year ago today, on March 11, 2020, the NBA...and the entire world...suddenly stopped. That night, there was one athlete who found his way to the spotlight, and inadvertently became the face of the COVID pandemic as we knew it then: Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Lisa Salters joins the show to share Gobert's personal perspective on that night, and Gobert opens up about what it was like to be branded as Patient Zero of American sports. Then, a reflection on what it was like to cover the day in sports on March 11, 2020.
Mar 10: Has the NBA's 3-Point Obsession Gone Too Far?In basketball there is no greater symbol of the 3-point shot than Golden State's Steph Curry, who's spawned a thousand imitators with his prowess. But for every 3-point attempted, is a more dynamic dunk lost? That's what's got the NBA on notice. Because, as with any trend, the 3-point obsession may be going too far. ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz explores a new sentiment around the NBA: that the 3-point shot is draining the game of the exact excitement it was meant to deliver. Then Pablo shares the story of a hockey mom who came to the rescue of a man who helped her kids on the ice.
Mar 9: March Madness Preview: Who Can Beat Gonzaga?It's March, and the 2021 Madness is almost here. Excited beyond belief after a cancelled 2020 tournament, ESPN's Myron Medcalf is your guide. What's happened with the bluebloods, as Duke, Kentucky, and Michigan State fight to make it to the Big Dance? Which standout stars might lead their teams to glory? Will 24-0 Gonzaga hold onto its dominance? How have the starts and stops of this pandemic season helped or hurt contenders? Then, Pablo breaks down Dak Prescott's new deal with the Dallas Cowboys.
Mar 8: Ali-Frazier: The "Fight of the Century" 50 Years LaterFifty years ago today, 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 sports' biggest moments.
Mar 5: 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 Then, Pablo shares his excitement (or lack thereof) for this weekend's NBA All-Star festivities.
Mar 4: Can Claressa Shields Make Women's Boxing Must-See TV?At just 25 years old, Claressa Shields might already be the best women's boxer of all time. The Flint, Michigan native is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. She's undefeated in her professional career. And she's already won titles in three different weight divisions. But this Friday, she is attempting something that could fundamentally change the entire sport. Shields is headlining the first ever all-female pay-per-view boxing card...and doing it without the backing of a major broadcast network. She's hoping to prove that women's boxing can draw viewers and put female fighters on a path to one day making the same money as their male counterparts. ESPN's Michael Rothstein joins the show to tell us about Claressa Shields' rise as a fighter and how the trail she is blazing might take her to a whole new sport entirely. Then, Pablo reflects on his beloved New York Knicks in their current, fleeting moment of triumph.
Mar 3: James Harden Returns to Houston With New Boo: BrooklynTonight James Harden enters his former basketball home, Houston's Toyota Center, as a member of the Brooklyn Nets. It's his first time facing the Rockets since his very messy trade in January. After a slow start, Harden and the Nets are thriving. He's notched seven triple doubles in their recent eight-game winning streak. And that's even with star Kevin Durant sitting out for injury. ESPN's Malika Andrews explains how Harden has gone from being a bonus for the Nets, to a reliable asset and leader. Then, Pablo interviews new co-owner of the National Women's Soccer League's Chicago Red Stars, Sarah Spain.
Mar 2: Future UConn Star Azzi Fudd is UnbreakableMeet Azzi Fudd, number one women's high school basketball player in the nation. Fudd has won medals for USA basketball, was the first sophomore to win Gatorade National Player of the Year, and dominated Steph Curry's camp as one of only two girls participating. Despite her unlimited potential, Fudd has endured setbacks, from major injury to the loss of friends and mentors, including Gigi and Kobe Bryant. Katie Barnes shares their ESPN Cover Story, "Azzi Fudd is Unbreakable," about the young star's journey and next steps.
Mar 1: Bill Barnwell Breaks Down NFL Quarterback MovesThe NFL quarterback carousel is in full rotation. Russell Wilson reportedly hasn't requested a trade, but may want out of Seattle. The Deshaun Watson Texans saga has hit a stalemate. Carson Wentz has been shipped off from Philly to Indianapolis. And there are more marquee names likely on the move. Bill Barnwell makes a triumphant return to help us make sense of this chaotic offseason. Then, Pablo reflects on Renee Montgomery as the first former WNBA player to become a team owner and executive, buying a stake in the Atlanta Dream.
Feb 26: Zach Lowe on NBA Midseason + Top Shot UpdateThe Utah Jazz are surprisingly the best team in the NBA. After demolishing the Los Angeles Lakers this week, the Jazz claimed the top spot in the Western Conference -- while the Philadelphia 76ers reign in the East. However, this season is far from over. ESPN's senior NBA writer Zach Lowe joins the show to dissect the biggest NBA storylines in his midseason report, including potential trades. Then Brian Windhorst returns for an update on NBA Top Shot, where more than $200 million dollars has now traded hands for "digital collectibles."
Feb 25: An NHL Star Is Accused of Assault. Is He Being Targeted For Opposing Vladimir Putin?It's a hockey story that spans from Manhattan to Moscow. Here in America, Artemi Panarin is a star winger, an MVP candidate, and arguably the best player on the New York Rangers. But back home in Russia, the 29-year-old is something far more dangerous: the most vocal athlete opponent of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Today, Emily Kaplan explains the explosive accusations that have sidelined Panarin from the National Hockey League. Then, The Washington Post's Moscow correspondent, Isabelle Khurshudyan, gives us the view on Panarin from inside Russia...and whether the Kremlin could actually be involved.
Feb 24: Tiger Woods - Latest Updates + "America's Son" DocumentaryOn Tuesday morning, Tiger Woods was involved in a serious car accident outside of Los Angeles, where he was taken to a hospital to treat his injuries. ESPN's Ramona Shelburne brings us the latest from her reporting on the scene. Then, another listen to Pablo's conversation with ESPN's Lauren Stowell about her documentary on Tiger Woods, "America's Son." She re-examines "Tigermania," which only grew after Woods' Masters win in 1997, through the prisms of race and history. "America's Son" can be screened on ESPN+.
Feb 23: Inside the Dual Legacies of NFL Players Union Boss DeMaurice SmithLast year's CBA should have been a defining moment for DeMaurice Smith and the labor force of America's most popular sport. Instead, some players -- and some owners -- have come to see Smith as an asset to management. Don Van Natta explains Smith's negotiations with the NFL on behalf of the players union...and whether or not Smith is ultimately in an unwinnable position.
Feb 22: Spring Training 2021 - Dominant Dodgers, Upstart Padres, and Everybody ElseMLB spring training is upon us! After a long offseason of big trades and bigger contracts being signed, baseball has finally returned. The defending World Series champion Dodgers bolstered their already deep rotation by signing Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer, but the biggest threat to their potential dynasty might be 122 miles down the 5 Freeway. The Padres locked up Fernando Tatis for the next 14 years in addition to adding Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell to their pitching rotation. In the American League, the Yankees are poised to finally get over the hump...if they can stay healthy. Jeff Passan joins us to break down everything we need to know about spring training. Then, Pablo reflects on Naomi Osaka's speaking against violence toward Asian-Americans.
Feb 19: The Game Before - One City's Soccer Obsession And Its COVID CrisisThe 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.
Feb 18: Can NBA Top Shot Become Basketball's Bitcoin?Pelicans star Zion Williamson has starred in almost super-humanlike highlights in his young NBA career, but are they worth hundreds of thousands of dollars? It's a concept that the NBA is banking on, with their newest digital memorabilia venture: NBA Top Shot, a marketplace that is something of a cross between trading cards and Bitcoin. ESPN's Brian Windhorst explains what NBA Top Shot is, its value, and the risks involved when entering the volatile world of crypto. Then, a preview of Friday's show: where Sam Borden takes us to Bergamo, Italy, a sports-crazed town devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Feb 17: Paige Bueckers Dominates at UCONN + WNBA Free Agency MovesPaige Bueckers + WNBA Free Agency Summary: UCONN freshman Paige Bueckers has notched three straight 30-point games. This historic run has placed her in conversation with all-time great UCONN stars like Diana Taurasi and Breanna Stewart. Could she catapult to greatest UCONN player...ever? ESPN's LaChina Robinson breaks down how Paige makes plays. Then, over in the WNBA, it's a hot free agency season. Candace Parker left L.A. after 13 years. The Liberty signed Natasha Howard. And there are more major moves to discus. And Howard University men's basketball coach Kenny Blakeney explains why his team cancelled the rest of their season.
Feb 16: The Life of Legendary Georgetown Coach John Thompson Jr.Jesse Washington Remembers Coach John Thompson Jr. Summary: The late John Thompson Jr. was one of the most legendary coaches in the history of college basketball. As head coach at Georgetown, Thompson was the first Black coach to win a championship. And his towering influence off the court might even surpass his basketball success. Jesse Washington joins the show to remember Coach Thompson's impact and share stories from their co-authored autobiography, "I Came As A Shadow." And check out the new initiative from ESPN and The Undefeated, .
Feb 15: Former NFL Players Say Process for Concussion Claims DiscriminatesThe NFL's concussion settlement set terms for compensating retired players who show cognitive impairment after playing football. But two NFL veterans have taken legal action because they say the claims process discriminates against Black players, making it harder for them to be compensated. Ryan Smith joins the show to discuss the cases of Najeh Davenport and Kevin Henry, why and how race was factored into their claims, and how the NFL has responded.
Feb 12: 20 Years Later - How Dale Earnhardt's Death Changed NASCAR ForeverNASCAR is back this weekend, with the 63rd running of The Great American Race...The Daytona 500. But the excitement this year is tempered by the sobering reminder that it's the 20th anniversary of the death of Dale Earnhardt. When Earnhardt died in an accident on the final lap of Daytona in 2001, the tragedy finally prompted a change in NASCAR that many thought was long overdue.de Safety standards and equipment designed to prevent the type of injury that killed Earnhardt became widely adopted. There may not be a bigger example of how far the sport has come than last year's Daytona 500, when Ryan Newman's car flipped, was driven through, 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 joins us to talk about the latest E:60 film, "Intimidator," examining Earnhardt's legacy and how his death changed NASCAR forever.
Feb 11: The Great Super Bowl Rings HeistIt'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 to take a look back at how Murphy pulled off the steal...and how he got caught.
Feb 10: The Rise Of The Suns' Devin BookerPhoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is perhaps the most overlooked superstar in the NBA. At age 24, Booker is the only active NBA player with a 70 point game, and his dominating eight game stretch in the NBA Bubble this summer earned him a reputation as one of the league's premiere scorers. ESPN analyst Michael Wilbon takes us back to Booker's roots in the latest "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. Then, a close read of Tom Brady's Instagram as he basked in his reaffirmed G.O.A.T status.
Feb 9: New Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson's Next ChapterCalvin Johnson is officially a Pro Football Hall of Famer! Johnson (a.k.a. "Megatron") spent nine seasons with the Detroit Lions, and is regarded as one of the greatest wide receivers of all time. During his NFL career, he sought solutions for pain management and found cannabis. He's now teamed up with former Lion Rob Sims for a new post-NFL chapter: a cannabis startup. ESPN Detroit Lions reporter Mike Rothstein joins us to explain Johnson's relationship with his old team five years after his retirement, and go behind the scenes of his new venture. Then, Howard Bryant shares a remembrance for the late Pedro Gomez, the beloved ESPN baseball reporter who passed away this weekend.
Feb 8: Super Bowl LV - How Tom Brady's Bucs Upset The ChiefsTom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are Super Bowl champions! Tampa's defense held the Chiefs to three field goals, while Gronk and Brady's historic connection catapulted the Bucs to victory. Despite Patrick Mahomes' acrobatic throws on the run while battling a lingering foot injury, the KC offense looked lackluster. And the Chiefs' defense had no answer for Brady, who's now earned his seventh Super Bowl ring. Plus we had (some) fans in the stands, an eye-popping halftime show by The Weeknd, and even a fan on the field. Bill Barnwell takes us through the biggest factors in the Big Game. Then Pablo pays homage to basketball scout Tom Konchalski, known for his hand-mailed newsletters and commitment to his craft.
Feb 6: REPLAY - Laurent Duvernay-Tardif - From Super Bowl Champ to the COVID FrontlineAs a bonus episode on the eve of Super Bowl LV, we are respinning our December show on Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. In February 2020, Duvernay-Tardif was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV...and then, everything changed. With the world coming to a standstill as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Duvernay-Tardif, the only player in the NFL today with a medical degree, immediately took action and began working at a long-term healthcare facility in his native Quebec. In July, Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020-21 regular season to continue his efforts on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. Canada's TSN feature producer Matt Dorman has covered Duvernay-Tardif's singular journey up-close, and shares his remarkable story.
Feb 5: Super Bowl LV - Can the Bucs Slow Down Patrick Mahomes?Super Bowl LV is finally here! After a turbulent season, Tom Brady and his newfound Bucs host Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, who are seeking their second-straight title. What's changed for these teams since they met in Week 12? Do the Bucs have a new plan to stop the Chiefs' explosive offense? And can Tom Brady walk away with yet another Super Bowl ring? Mina Kimes brings us her insights and previews the big game. Then, 50 years ago astronaut Alan Shepard's took a golf shot on the surface of the moon. Victoria Nenno of the US Golf Association Museum details the only out-of-this-world sports moment.
Feb 4: Travis and Jason Kelce - Bond of BrothersLove him or hate him, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is one of the best in the NFL. But beyond the flamboyance and flash, there's a side most people haven't seen...especially when it comes to his big brother, Eagles center Jason Kelce. Ahead of Travis's second-straight Super Bowl appearance, Lisa Salters brings us inside the relationship between the two brothers. In fact, Patrick Mahomes' favorite target may never have made it to the league if not for big brother Jason's interventions along the way. Then, director Ken Rodgers explains how he used deepfake technology to bring former Raiders owner Al Davis and former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle "back to life" for the new 30 for 30 film "Al Davis vs. The NFL."
Feb 3: Why 10 Super Bowl Appearances Won't Satisfy Tom BradyThis Sunday, Tom Brady will make his tenth Super Bowl appearance, where he's seeking his seventh ring. It's a season that began with doubts about whether Brady could succeed away from New England and Bill Belichick...and has only strengthened his case as the greatest QB of All-Time. Seth Wickersham has covered Brady up-close for two decades, and joins the show to explain how Brady's acknowledgment of his own limitations on the field has led him to a career of seemingly unlimited success. Then, Doug Kezerian takes us inside the incredibly popular, sometimes bizarre world of Super Bowl prop bets.
Feb 2: Alive - The Drew Robinson StoryTwenty-eight-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 is re-engaging with pro baseball. ESPN's Senior MLB Insider Jeff Passan shares his reporting behind the ESPN+ special from E:60, "Alive: The Drew Robinson Story."
Feb 1: Matthew Stafford Blockbuster - Will the Rams' Massive Gamble Pay Off?The NFL's biggest trade in years broke Saturday night, with Detroit Lions QB Matt Stafford heading to the LA Rams in exchange for Rams QB Jared Goff, two future first-round picks, and a third-round pick. It's a move that some say vaults the Rams immediately into Super Bowl contention...but if it fails to pay off, it could hamper the franchise for years to come. Bill Barnwell breaks down whether the Rams' gamble was worth it...and just how the Lions might go about their rebuilding process under new head coach Dan Campbell. Then, ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk and Marc Spears pay tribute to the late NBA reporter Sekou Smith, who passed away last week due to complications from COVID-19.
Jan 29: Deshaun Watson's Next Destination + Inside the Mind of Bill WaltonOne day after the Houston Texans announced David Culley as their new head coach, reports emerged that QB Deshaun Watson has officially requested a trade from the team. Bill Barnwell outlines the three most intriguing destinations for the QB. Hint: two of them are in the AFC East. Then, we take a trip inside the mind of basketball icon and ESPN personality Bill Walton. He takes us on a journey through his career and beyond, and offers his advice to Pablo on life, the universe and everything.
Jan 28: Is G League Ignite the NBA's New Star Factory?The G League Ignite is the first of its kind: a developmental team, attempting to implement an alternate track to the NBA, outside of the college basketball pipeline. The idea is that players gain skills at the pro level, while earning a salary. Four top prospects are on board, and ESPN's NBA draft expert Mike Schmitz scouted them ahead of the G League "bubble" next month. He lays out the stakes for the players, the NBA, and the NCAA. Then, more from Pablo on the GameStop financial story that's all over the internet, and how it's connected to sports.
Jan 27: How 9/11 Set Robert Saleh on the Path to Coaching the New York JetsIt's been just days since Robert Saleh began his tenure in possibly the most challenging job in football...head coach of the New York Jets. But the former 49ers Defensive Coordinator is already drawing praise from players and analysts alike, who think he may just be the guy who can turn around the long struggling franchise. But 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. Then, Domonique Foxworth joins us to discuss the lack of diversity in NFL coaching hires.
Jan 26: Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol - Black Mamba and White SwanOne year ago the world lost Kobe Bryant. Few knew about the bond Kobe shared with Pau Gasol. He remembers his former Laker teammate as a true friend, father and competitor. Gasol has spent time with Bryant family over the past year, and shared his insights on Kobe's life and loss with ESPN NBA Insider Ramona Shelburne. Hear what her reporting revealed about the softer side of the Black Mamba.
Jan 25: Super Bowl is Set - Brady Beams & Mahomes MagicKansas City has a date with Tampa for Super Bowl LV. It'll be the first Super Bowl in NFL history with a home team also hosting the big game. Bill Barnwell breaks down the games that got them there. Tom Brady threw three interceptions, but looked every bit the GOAT in the Bucs' win over the Packers. And Patrick Mahomes looked as healthy as ever in the Chiefs' rout over the Bills. Plus, Hank Aaron's legacy in baseball and beyond with Dr. Damion Thomas of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Jan 22: NFL Conference Championship PreviewThe NFC and AFC Conference Championship games kick off this weekend with some of the best matchups...and most compelling storylines in recent memory. Will Aaron Rodgers redeem his abysmal Week 6 performance against Tom Brady and the Bucs? With Patrick Mahomes' status in limbo, who will be the X Factor between the Chiefs and Bills? Mina Kimes explains why she's more excited for this weekend than the Super Bowl, and gives her prediction for who will play for the Lombardi Trophy. Then, Bucs superfan and legendary broadcaster Dick Vitale shares his wisdom going into the weekend.
Jan 21: Deshaun Watson's Murky Future with the TexansDeshaun Watson is everything the Houston Texans want in their quarterback. But after a lackluster season, Texans leadership has made this once-happy marriage look tough to fix. Tensions rose as owner Cal McNair excluded Watson from the new GM decision, after saying he'd have input. Now fans are looking for signs as to whether Watson wants out. ESPN Texans reporter Sarah Barshop shares where Houston management went wrong, what Watson's thinking, and what it'll take to patch things up. Then, Mina Kimes takes us through the career, legacy, and faces of the now retired Phillip Rivers.
Jan 20: The Evolution of Joel Embiid + Mets Fire GMPhiladelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid is known as the NBA's biggest troll. But new Sixers coach Doc Rivers is committed to Embiid as the face of the franchise. And while the star's stock remains volatile, it's now trending up. Ramona Shelburne shares insights from her recent reporting and conversations with Embiid. Then, Jeff Passan takes us behind his story on New York Mets general manager Jared Porter's harassment of a female reporter, and what the fallout says about baseball culture.
Jan 19: Which Conor McGregor Will Show Up at UFC 257?Saturday's UFC 257 main event is Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier in a much-hyped fight. It's McGregor's first bout since the pandemic lockdown last March, and ESPN's Ariel Helwani shares insight from his sit-down with the fighter nicknamed "Notorious." The roller coaster of McGregor's moods, scandals, wins and losses all factor into what we could see this weekend. Then, why the Flat Earth F.C. says a lot about the shape of misinformation.
Jan 18: NFL Divisional Playoffs - Air Aaron, Henne-thing Is Possible, and Brees Says Goodbye?The NFL divisional playoffs went down to the wire, and the conference championship games are set! Tom Brady and the Bucs made the Saints pay for some costly turnovers, as Tampa finished off New Orleans. Led by backup QB Chad Henne, the Kansas City Chiefs held on to beat the Cleveland Browns after Patrick Mahomes went down with a concussion. Aaron Rodgers played like he was immortal, with the Packers proving the mortality of the Rams defense. The football cosmos favored the Buffalo Bills against the Baltimore Ravens. So what's all this mean for who keeps winning? Bill Barnwell brings his best takes. Then retired MLB player Doug Glanville shares what being a Black father means for his next move in baseball.
Jan 15: Lake Erie's Revenge - The Cleveland Browns' Date With AFC DestinyWhen the Cleveland Browns took down their rivals the Steelers last weekend, decades of football angst was released. The Browns got their first playoff win since the 1990s, and now they'll face reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. Led by quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Browns are desperate to prove that this team and this season is different. ESPN Browns reporter Jake Trotter brings us inside their historic season, and traces Baker's rise. Then, head to Buffalo with ESPN Bills reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques and a fan very close to ESPN Daily, for a look at Bills mania ahead of their second home playoff game.
Jan 14: Harden to the Nets - Behind the Massive NBA TradeJames Harden will reunite with Kevin Durant and become a member of the Brooklyn Nets. In a blockbuster three-way deal, the landscape of the entire NBA has shifted. Harden will also join new teammates Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan, bringing new hope to the Nets organization. Ramona Shelburne brings us her reporting on how the deal went down, plus what this means for Brooklyn and the entire NBA.
Jan 13: NHL Drops the Puck! Hockey's Old Rivals and New DivisionsThe NHL is back tonight! This shortened season boasts new (corporate sponsored) divisions, including an all Canadian division, plus old and unique rivalries rekindled. After completing its 2020 season in two Canadian city bubbles, it feels like anything can happen in hockey for 2021. Can the Leafs finally advance to the playoffs? Will #1 overall pick Alexis Lafrenière spur on the Rangers? Greg Wyshynski brings us up to speed on everything we need to know to follow NHL action. Then, in honor of Nick Saban's most recent championship win, Pablo shares a rare moment when the iconic coach opened up for the cameras. Alert Text: Hockey is back tonight! Greg Wyshynski has everything you need to know to follow the NHL's 2021 action. Custom Category: NHL, hockey Keywords: NHL, hockey, Alexis Lafrenière, Toronto Maple Leafs, Gary Bettman
Jan 12: Crimson Tide are 2021 Champions in Extraordinary College Football SeasonThe Alabama Crimson Tide are your 2021 College Football Champions! Spencer Hall hashes the 52-24 win over Ohio State, and reflects on the teams' paths to the end. In a season unlike any other, Monday night's championship game marked a finish line that at times seemed out of sight. Then, Pablo reflects on sports and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Alabama is the 2021 College Football Champion! Spencer Hall details the win over Ohio State, and what both teams faced in their path to the finish.
Jan 11: NFL Wild Card Playoffs - Who Won, Who Got Slimed, And WhyThe NFL's Super Wild Card Weekend was filled with heartbreak for some - like Indianapolis and Washington. Others saw particular triumph, like Ravens' QB Lamar Jackson, who earned his first playoff victory, and the Cleveland Browns, who won in their first postseason appearance since 2002. Bill Barnwell shares insights on what we saw from the first slate of postseason games, as we look forward to the divisional round. Then, Andrea Adelson previews tonight's College Football Championship, Ohio State vs. Alabama, on the scene from Miami.
Jan 8: Francisco Lindor - New Hope For Mets Fans?With the 2021 baseball season still months away, the Cleveland Indians dealt two of their stars, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, to the New York Mets in a blockbuster deal. Could this be the hope Mets fans are looking for? Buster Olney joins the show to explain how the trade went down. Then Atlanta Dream forward Elizabeth Williams reflects on the Georgia race for US Senate, and Raphael Warnock's defeat of Dream co-owner Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
Jan 7: Replay - The National Anthem in SportsIn the wake of insurrection at the US Capitol, we are respinning our September episode focused on sports and the national anthem. We hear it before every major game: "The Star Spangled Banner." Throughout sports history, the national anthem has unified the U.S. in historic moments. It's also served as a platform to call for change. And right now, athletes are staking their claim on the anthem more than ever, to make history themselves and protest peacefully. We explore the topic with guests Dr. Damion Thomas, sports curator of the National Museum of African American History and Culture; Jon Batiste, musician and band leader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (who performed the national anthem for the NBA's 2020 restart); and Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce.
Jan 6: Golden State Warriors' Path to Regain GloryTonight, the Golden State Warriors start a two-game home stand against the Los Angeles Clippers, on the heels of a hot streak from star Steph Curry. After 18 months of bad luck, this Warriors team still finds itself uncertain of when they'll be real title contenders again. But Curry and company are heating up, and rookie James Wiseman is gaining wisdom. ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz shares just how good this team can be. Then Pablo reflects on Jerry Jones' positive spin on a dubious record held by the Cowboys this season.
Jan 4: Bill Barnwell - The Stakes of NFL Week 17That's a wrap on the NFL's regular (and yet highly irregular) season! The final playoff berths in each conference have been claimed, with the Washington Football Team taking the hotly contested NFC East crown. In the AFC, Cleveland secured its first trip to the playoffs since 2002, and the Miami Dolphins missed the window in a blowout loss to the Bills. Bill Barnwell gives us his playoff picture, plus who had the most to gain or lose in the world of Week 17 contract incentives. Then, Pablo pays tribute to the late Gerry Marsden, former anthem singer for Liverpool FC.
Jan 1: Breaking Down Tonight's College Football Playoff Semifinals2020 is over. 2021 is here....and things are already looking up because New Year's Day brings us the College Football Playoff Semifinals. Will Ohio State avenge last year's playoff loss to Clemson? Can Notre Dame hang with Alabama's high powered offense? ESPN's CFP guru Heather Dinich has the answers. She joins the show as Ryan McGee fills in for Pablo Torre.
Dec 31: The Great Athlete Autograph ExperimentIt's a simple question that athletes have been asked for decades: "Can I have your autograph?" But in the era of selfies and TikToks...athlete autographs aren't prized like they used to be. And when the pandemic hit, athletes were put even further out of reach from fans, in bubbles and empty arenas. ESPN writer Ryan Hockensmith was an athlete autograph hound as a kid, and decided to embark on a project with 14-year-old Bentley Baker and his dad, Andy. Bentley wrote letters to players and coaches across basketball, sent them to the bubble, and eagerly awaited responses. Hear the story of who wrote back. Then, Pablo shares what he's most looking forward to in the world of sports.
Dec 30: The High School Runner Who Fought the Legacy of Robert E. LeeIn Tyler, Texas, a high school runner named Trude Lamb decided she could no longer race for her team wearing the name of a losing Confederate general: Robert E. Lee. The admittedly shy young woman spoke out to change her school's name. Her words gained national attention, along with harmful comments and threats. In a year marked by social justice activism from athletes, hear one teenager's story of fighting for change, and what it took to win. Then, ESPN's Holly Rowe reflects on a historic year of action on and off the court for the WNBA.
Dec 29: How Sports Trading Cards Went from Hobby to Asset ClassIn August 2020, a rookie year baseball card for Angels superstar Mike Trout sold for nearly four million dollars. The modern-day card broke a record previously set by a much older rare Honus Wagner card of the early 1900s. And the eye-popping price could be surpassed again soon. Trading cards have transformed into investments, fueled by a mysterious rating system and eccentric power brokers. Dan Hajducky tells us strange stories from the world of sports trading cards. Then Mike Greenberg shares his thoughts on why the return of baseball meant so much in 2020.
Dec 28: Stefon Diggs Is Buffalo's Miracle ManThe Buffalo Bills are headed to the playoffs having won their first AFC East title in 25 years. The not-so-secret ingredient to Buffalo's success in 2020? Receiver Stefon Diggs. After leaving Minnesota on a down note Diggs has found a home In Orchard Park - and clicked especially well with Josh Allen, the Bills young QB. Sam Borden profiled Diggs for ESPN Cover Story, and joins the show to tell us about Diggs' success in Buffalo, love for Bills Mafia and search for a favorite chicken wings spot. Then, Mina Kimes pays tribute to Patrick Mahomes, and his impact on sports and beyond in 2020.
Dec 25: 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? Outside the Lines' Jeremy Schaap joins Mina Kimes to reflect on the enduring legacy of the Philadelphia Santa.
Dec 24: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif - From Super Bowl Champ to the COVID FrontlineIn February, Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after his team won Super Bowl LIV...and then, everything changed. With the world coming to a standstill as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Duvernay-Tardif, the only player in the NFL with a medical degree, immediately took action and began working at a long-term healthcare facility in his native Quebec. In July, Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020-21 regular season to continue his efforts on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19. TSN feature producer Matt Dorman, who has covered Duvernay-Tardif's singular journey up-close, shares the story of a remarkable talent and his incredible sacrifice.
Dec 23: Why Athletes Want Trademarks for EverythingTompa Bay. Danny Dimes. The Process. You've heard these names and phrases. But do you know think of them as a business? ESPN's Ryan Hockensmith takes us into the strange world of athletes and the trademarks they seek, as they try to turn viral moments and images into income. Hear why trademark applications are booming, how they work, and the "all-time" trademark story of 2020 (hint: Lou Williams plus chicken wings). Then, Stephen A. Smith ponders Lebron James's tumultuous and triumphant 2020.
Dec 22: Zach Lowe On NBA Season TipoffThe NBA tips off tonight, in time to ensure Christmas basketball in 2020! Headed into the season, LeBron's Lakers still sit atop the West, and maybe the entire league. Mavericks star Luka Doncic appears to be the early frontrunner for MVP, but does he have what it takes to earn that status? And with Giannis Antetokounmpo signed and Kevin Durant returning from injury, can Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo repeat last year's surprising playoff run? Zach Lowe brings us the latest on the James Harden situation, and more. Then, Josh Hermsmeyer breaks down the best and worst of movie football coaches.
Dec 21: So Many Touchdowns - Bill Barnwell On High-Scoring NFL OffenseThis Sunday in the NFL solidified the post-season fates of teams like the Seahawks and Bills. The games also showcased high-scoring offenses across the league like the Chiefs, Saints, Ravens, and Cowboys. Bill Barnwell joins the show to assess how and why scoring has increased, and how these high powered offenses will fare in each conference come playoffs. Then, the Muppets take Monday Night Football! Pablo talks with ESPN's Rico Labbe, who directed and produced the Muppets for a special guest appearance.
Dec 18: Who's In? Who's Out? CFB Playoffs On The Line This WeekendIn one of the strangest college football seasons ever, the most recent college football playoff rankings have stirred up new controversy. And the stakes are now raised: not just for each of the teams in Saturday's conference title games, but also for the playoff committee itself. SEC Network's Spencer Hall sorts through what may or may not be influencing these powerbrokers, and looks at how strong each of the title contenders really are. Then Sean Gibson, great-grandson of legendary baseball player Josh Gibson, discusses MLB designating Negro Leagues as major leagues, his great-grandfather's career, and the impact on baseball.
Dec 17: The Infinite Race - What Drives the Legendary Tarahumara RunnersThe latest 30 for 30 documentary "The Infinite Race" explores the story of the Tarahumara. The indigenous runners in Mexico are famous for running incredible distances on mountain trails, often barefoot or in sandals. Director Bernardo Ruiz takes us behind the making of the film, which grapples with the impact of modern, Western ultrarunners taking interest in the Tarahumara, and the pressures on their villages from drug cartels and violence.
Dec 16: Why Shaq Barrett's On A Mission For NFL Defensive GreatnessShaq Barrett's road to the NFL was anything but a given. Joining the Broncos after many childhood and college challenges, Barrett struggled to distinguish himself through his first seasons in the NFL. But a special summit for pass rushers set him on a path to greatness. Now he's a key factor in Tampa Bay's stout defense. ESPN's Sam Borden shares what motivates Barrett, and how he's upped his game with the Bucs. Then, Dave Fleming brings his "Tao of Poo" to Lamar Jackson's situation vs. the Browns on Monday night.
Dec 15: Malika Andrews on Kyrie, KD, and the Brooklyn NetsIt's been nearly a year and half since superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant both signed with the Brooklyn Nets, a move that promised to reset the balance of power in the NBA's Eastern Conference. But with Durant recovering from a ruptured achilles tendon, it wasn't until this Sunday that basketball fans finally got to see these two on the same court. Durant and Irving both looked sharp in their preseason debut, but there are still plenty of question marks about how these two stars will co-exist. Kyrie has spent the better part of training camp refusing to fulfill his contractually obligated media availability. And Durant hasn't played in an NBA game in 18 months. Add to that first time head coach Steve Nash, and rumors swirling around James Harden's interest in joining the Nets, and it's clear--this season in Brooklyn will be anything but boring. Malika Andrews brings us the latest from inside Barclays Center. Then, Cleveland native Jeff Passan joins the show to discuss how his hometown is reacting to their baseball team changing its name.
Dec 14: Bill Barnwell on NFL Week 14Sunday's NFL action had it all: the Bills won their second primetime game in six days, handing the Steelers their second loss of the season. And we saw a number of upsets, like Jalen Hurts and the Eagles beating the Saints, and surprise performances, like Mitch Trubisky and the Bears. Elsewhere, the Dolphins revealed some weaknesses in Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, and the Raiders were blown out by the Colts. Bill Barnwell joins the show to explain what it all means for the playoff picture as the regular season nears a close. Then, more on Florida basketball player Keyontae Johnson, who collapsed during a game on Saturday.
Dec 11: The Inheritance of Archie ManningArchie Manning is a beloved football icon, known as the father of NFL QBs Peyton and Eli Manning, and for his own success at Ole Miss and with the Saints. Archie grew up in tiny Drew, Mississippi and was vaulted to college football stardom in 1969 just a few weeks after suffering a dire family tragedy. Wright Thompson spent time with Archie and his wife Olivia during close-to-home pandemic life, and shares his reporting on the formation of a football patriarch.
Dec 10: Is Hope Building For The Washington Football Team?In an NFL season full of unlikely things, the Washington Football Team notched a real head-scratching outcome when they handed the Pittsburgh Steelers their first loss of the season, 23-17. The victory came as a surprise, since Washington's record is just 5-7. But it seems that hope is starting to brew for Washington fans, and even the NFC East as a whole. ESPN's John Keim has covered the NFL in Washington since the 1990s. He breaks down how far the team might go, the amazing return of QB Alex Smith after a near-fatal injury, and how head coach Ron Rivera has run the team while battling cancer. Then, author Tim Wigmore of "The Best: How Elite Athletes Are Made" talks about younger siblings' athletic advantage.
Dec 9: Twice The Fight: A Football Family Battles With CancerAndy Hoffman and his family found the national spotlight back in 2013 when his 7-year-old son, Jack, who was battling a brain tumor, scored a 69-yard touchdown in a Nebraska Red and White intrasquad football game. Since then, Andy has made it his mission to help his son and children like him to beat this disease, by raising funds for pediatric brain cancer research through his Team Jack foundation. Seven year later, Jack, now 15, is healthy enough to pursue his dreams of playing high school football. But over the summer, his father Andy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Now, Andy Hoffman is still fighting: to raise awareness for pediatric brain cancer, to savor the time he has left, and to cheer for his son on the football field. As part of ESPN's V Week, Chris Connelly joins the show to bring us this story, as told by E:60.
Dec 8: Where In The World Is James Harden?On December 1, the Houston Rockets opened up training camp without their star James Harden. After requesting a trade, the face of the Rockets franchise has been spotted partying in Atlanta and Vegas. After an off-season full of upheaval, the Rockets are searching for a new identity: with a new front office, head coach, and supporting cast of characters. Tim MacMahon joins the show to tell us about the current, turbulent state of the franchise, including why Harden wants out, and how this season might play out for Houston. Then, Pablo reflects on the anniversary of John Lennon's death, which was announced during Monday Night Football.
Dec 7: Bill Barnwell on NFL Week 13, Redemption, and the Playoff PictureAs the NFL playoff picture gets in focus, Sunday's Week 13 games brought redemption for some. Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield threw five touchdown passes in the Browns' rout over the Titans. The Jets found a bizarre new way to remain winless, losing in the final seconds to Derek Carr and the Raiders. And in a day seemingly full of NFL weirdness, Jalen Hurts took over at QB for the Eagles, and the Seahawks lost to the Giants. Bill Barnwell details the "why" and "how" of Sunday's action, with implications for this year's playoffs. Then "Laughter Permitted" podcast host and former USWNT soccer player Julie Foudy explains the recent legal settlement between US Soccer and the women's team.
Dec 4: The Curious Case of Frank GoreFrank Gore might be the most underrated legend in the NFL. He sits number 3 on the all-time rushing list behind only Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton. He's been to a Super Bowl and made 5 Pro Bowls. But now, in his 16th NFL season, Gore finds himself on a team that might not win a single game. Tim Keown joins the show to examine why Gore has remained so under appreciated despite putting up Hall of Fame level numbers, how he manages to keep pushing forward despite playing on the NFL's worst team, and whether he can continue playing into 2021 and beyond. Then, Ryan McGee joins the show to talk about tomorrow's surprising matchup between BYU and Coastal Carolina, and educate us on the ways and customs of Myrtle Beach, SC.
Dec 3: Tiger Woods - America's SonAt just 14 years old, Tiger Woods once called himself the "Michael Jordan" of golf. His rise to sports superstardom in the late 1990s sparked "Tigermania" across America, which only grew after his Masters win in 1997. "Tiger Woods: America's Son" is a special from The Undefeated airing on ESPN and coming to ESPN+ next week. It's the story of Woods' ascendence, through the prism of race and history. The documentary's director, ESPN's Lauren Stowell, shares how she made the film, and why she wanted to tell this side of Tiger's story.
Dec 2: Beyond Soccer - Why Diego Maradona Meant EverythingThe world lost one of the biggest names in sports when Diego Maradona died on November 25th, at age 60. Early in his career, Maradona was a young soccer star for a struggling Argentina. As his country reinvented itself, he went on to become an infamous global icon. Known for his creativity and dominant goal scoring, Maradona brought Argentinians a World Cup victory when they needed it most, all while becoming entangled in scandal after scandal. ESPN senior writer Wright Thompson shares his reporting on the soccer legend, and what his death means to his home country of Argentina.
Dec 1: Rachel Nichols on NBA's Return to Action Outside The BubbleIt hasn't even been two months since the LA Lakers were crowned NBA champions, and the league is already gearing up for a new season. Today, as teams open up training camps amidst a surging pandemic, Rachel Nichols joins the show to discuss if basketball can safely happen outside of a bubble, and how free agency has shifted power in the league after the shortest offseason in NBA history. Then, Mina Kimes tells us what it was like to be a lifeline on David Chang's history-making episode of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"
Nov 30: Bill Barnwell on NFL Week 12 + COVID ChangesSunday's slate of NFL games ranged from the completely normal to increasingly bizarre. Aaron Rodgers aimed to send the Bears back to hibernation, with a dominant Packers victory. The 49ers started to get their groove back, beating the LA Rams on a last-second field goal. COVID chaos was in the mix, too, with the Broncos starting a wide receiver at QB due to a team coronavirus outbreak, and the Ravens-Steelers game moved yet again. Bill Barnwell breaks down everything we saw on Sunday, and what to expect as the league grapples with its biggest bout of COVID chaos yet. Then, Pablo examines a different kind of chaos in Saturday's boxing bouts.
Nov 27: A Rare Conversation with Former Philadelphia 76ers GM Sam Hinkie (Re-Air)When the Philadelphia 76ers announced they were hiring Daryl Morey to be their president of basketball operations, it turned heads across the NBA. Not just because of Morey's track record with the Houston Rockets, but because of his close relationship with former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie. Hinkie's tenure with the 76ers was polarizing. With some accusing him of tanking and turning the team into a laughingstock, and others admiring his long-term vision for the team's success...a vision that has come to be embodied by the now ubiquitous phrase "Trust the Process." Hinkie, who was ousted from the franchise in 2016, now works not in basketball but in business, and has founded a venture capital firm called Eighty-Seven Capital. In a re-spin of an ESPN Daily bonus episode, Hinkie joins Pablo Torre for a rare, wide-ranging interview that covers his time with the Sixers, his exit from basketball, and his perspective on life away from the game.
Nov 26: Rocky Bleier - From The Steelers To Vietnam And Back (Re-Air)For generations, countless men and women from around the sports world have served in our nation's military. But none have a story quite like Rocky Bleier. Bleier won a college football national championship with Notre Dame, but during his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Three months into his deployment to Vietnam, Bleier was shot through the thigh and suffered a grenade blast to his foot. Doctors told him he'd never play football again. But Bleier would go on to rejoin the Steelers and win four Super Bowls with the team in the 1970s. In 2018, Bleier and 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-spin this show as the Steelers continue their undefeated 2020 season.
Nov 25: Jeremy Lin on His NBA Hopes, "Linsanity," and a Season in ChinaJeremy Lin rocketed to basketball stardom with the Knicks, and "Linsanity" ensued. But in 2019 when his Toronto Raptors won it all, free agent Lin couldn't land a contract in the league. He spent the last season in China with the Beijing Ducks, where he says he gained fresh perspective on the game, from technical skill to his mentality. Lin now hopes to return to the NBA, and he's entered free agency for the 2020-21 season. He joins the show to reflect on the ups and downs of his career, and why he feels more ready than ever for the NBA.
Nov 24: College Basketball's Uncertain Return to the CourtWhen the COVID-19 pandemic hit last March, it forced sports everywhere to shut down. And while the NBA, NHL and MLB were all eventually able to return to action, college basketball was forced to cancel the rest of their season...including their marquee event, the NCAA Tournament. Now, more than eight months later, college hoops makes its cautious return with a tipoff on Wednesday. Myron Medcalf tells us the teams and players to look out for on the court, and also whether the sport itself will be able to complete its season...and what March Madness might look like in a pandemic. Then, Heather Dinich sets the scene for tomorrow's college football playoff rankings, amidst another round of postponements and positive COVID tests.
Nov 23: NFL Insider Dan Graziano Breaks Down Week 11Week 11 in the NFL brought plenty of drama. Two overtime finishes, a last-second touchdown on the Vegas strip, a devastating injury to Cincinnati Bengals' quarterback Joe Burrow, and the benching of Miami Dolphins signal caller, Tua Tagovailoa. Oh and Taysom Hill made his long-awaited debut as a starting quarterback in New Orleans. ESPN NFL Insider Dan Graziano joins the show to break down Sunday's action. Plus, more on the legacy of the Ice Bucket Challenge, and saying good-bye to its second co-founder, who just died from ALS.
Nov 20: Can the Pittsburgh Steelers Go Undefeated?The Pittsburgh Steelers (9-0) are the NFL's last remaining unbeaten team, thanks to a stingy defense and an offense loaded with talented skill players. After narrow victories over Tennessee, Dallas, and Baltimore created quite a bit of skepticism, the question still remains: can the Pittsburgh Steelers go undefeated? Former Steelers defensive back Ryan Clark joins the show to discuss the evolution of Ben Roethlisberger, the rise of Chase Claypool, why Mike Tomlin is under-appreciated, and whether a team that is carried by its defense can prevail over the high-powered offenses in today's NFL. Then, on the news of the Warriors' Klay Thompson's injury, Andre Iguodala weighs in on his friend's road to recovery.
Nov 19: Seahawks' DK Metcalf: Chasing Down GloryNo athlete in the NFL is quite like Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf. He's a terrifying combination of size, and strength, and speed. But how did Metcalf become this incredible threat for Seattle? ESPN senior writer Dave Fleming tells us what drives 22-year-old Metcalf, and how the Seahawks are turning him into even more: Fleming profiled Metcalf for ESPN Cover Story, out today on gdcut.com. Then, Tim Keown talks to us from inside the Ball family compound, on the night LaMelo Ball is drafted into the NBA.
Nov 18: Breaking Down Tonight's NBA Draft - The Players, The Picks, and Virtual FashionTonight, in a studio in Bristol, Connecticut, the 2020 NBA Draft will (finally) unfold. After a five month postponement, tonight's draft will no doubt look different from drafts past: no cheering fans or players shaking the commissioner's hand on stage. But with top prospects Lamelo Ball, James Wiseman, and Anthony Edwards all still in play for the number one pick, and players still donning their finest suits over Zoom, there will be no shortage of entertainment. ESPN's Mike Schmitz, who scouts draft prospects around the globe, tells us what to expect from the top three picks -- Minnesota, Golden State, and Charlotte -- and shares which prospects will have an immediate impact on the league. Then, Pablo shares the story of a racing pigeon who was sold at auction for a record *beaking* $1.9 million.
Nov 17: Woj On NBA Trades And His Giannis Podcast SpecialThe NBA's trade moratorium ended Monday, with rumored trades of huge stars like James Harden and Russell Westbrook, and the shuffling of Chris Paul to the Suns. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski brings us the latest as he doggedly works his sources and gets trade tips. Plus, as the draft approaches, Woj dishes about his new series on reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the 2013 draft that brought him to the NBA. Hear how Giannis got into basketball as a child in Greece, and what he's done in two seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Nov 16: Murray Magic and the Return of Jameis: Domonique Foxworth on NFL Week 10The NFL's play of the season is being called the "Hail Murray." Kyler Murray's 43-yard prayer was answered by DeAndre Hopkins among and above three Bills defenders to give the Cardinals a 32-30 win. It was perhaps the craziest moment in an already wild day in the NFL...a day that saw the return of Jameis Winston after Saints starter Drew Brees left the game with a rib injury, as well as a Ravens-Patriots game that was almost invisible at times, thanks to some wacky New England weather. ESPN analyst and former NFL cornerback Domonique Foxworth takes us through Sunday's biggest moments, and examines the NFL's new proposal for diversity in coaching and management. Then, Pablo discusses the path of new Marlins GM Kim Ng, MLB's first female GM.
Nov 13: Is This Kyler Murray's Moment?He's maybe 5' 10"....he's just 23 years old...but in only his second season, Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray has been playing at MVP level. The first overall pick from the 2019 draft is starting to deliver success to a Cardinals team that hasn't been competitive since Carson Palmer was under center. Coached by Kliff Kingsbury, who mentored QBs like Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield in college, much of the Cardinals' magic relies on the relationship between Kingsbury and Murray. Ahead of their matchup with the 7-2 Buffalo Bills, we examine what's made Murray so effective this season, his unique abilities (including his baseball background), and if 2020 has the makings of a Murray MVP season, with ESPN Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss. Then, Bob Ryan shares a special tribute to late Boston sports legend Tom Heinsohn.
Nov 12: Jeff Passan on MLB Offseason ScandalsThis week, news of recently re-hired White Sox manager Tony La Russa's second drunk driving arrest sent shockwaves through the baseball world. La Russa is among a group of MLB decision makers which includes newly rehired Red Sox manager Alex Cora, and former Astros GM AJ Hinch, who seem to be getting second chances, in spite of their past questionable actions. As we make our way through this MLB offseason, Jeff Passan joins the show to bring us the latest on the La Russa story, and also break down new Mets owner Steven Cohen's introductory press conference. Then, Katie Barnes explains women's college basketball prospect Azzi Fudd, and her decision to commit to UConn.For generations, countless men and women from around the sports world have served in our nation's military. But none have a story quite like Rocky Bleier. Bleier won a college football national championship with Notre Dame, but during his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Three months into his deployment to Vietnam, Bleier was shot through the thigh and suffered a grenade blast to his foot. Doctors told him he'd never play football again. But Bleier would go on to rejoin the Steelers and win four Super Bowls with the team in the 1970s. In 2018, Bleier and 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. Today, in honor of Veterans Day, Tom Rinaldi joins the show to recount Bleier's incredible football comeback in the wake of a devastating combat injury, and how his return to Vietnam helped him reconcile with the past.
Nov 10: Scott Van Pelt on a Masters Unlike Any OtherThe 2020 Masters Tournament tees off Thursday from Augusta, and it's going to look, sound and feel very different from its traditional April home. Gone are the pastel azaleas and the roar of the patrons; in are fall foliage and sounds of silence from Amen Corner. But it's still The Masters, and someone will be getting a green jacket. Will Tiger Woods repeat his 2019 victory? Or will current favorite Bryson DeChambeau win his second straight major? We check in with Scott Van Pelt as he prepares to make the journey to Augusta, and ask him what he's watching for in this year's tournament. Then, ESPN's Bonnie Ford brings us her reporting on the Vendée Globe, one of sailing's most grueling races, and is considered the ultimate socially distanced sporting event.
Nov 9: Bill Barnwell - NFL Week 9 + Midseason AwardsThe NFL's regular season is more than half done, and Bill Barnwell gives us a clearer picture of who's leading, who's trailing behind, and why. The Saints decimated Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. The Steelers clung to victory against the Cowboys to remain undefeated. And the Bills upset MVP-frontrunner Russell Wilson and his Seahawks. Hear more on Bill's midseason awards, and what could make Monday's Patriots-Jets game interesting. Then, Pablo explores the relationship between sports and White House, and how it might change.
Nov 6: Death At The U - Who Killed Bryan Pata?Bryan Pata was a standout defensive lineman for the University of Miami Hurricanes, and the 22-year-old was projected to be a 2nd or 3rd round pick in the NFL Draft. But on November 7th, 2006, after returning home from football practice, Pata was shot and killed in the parking lot of his apartment complex. 14 years later, Pata's murder remains unsolved. Over the years, police have pursued multiple leads in Pata's case, but they have never made an arrest, or even publicly named a person of interest. But now, during a recent court hearing, police say they believe they know who was responsible for Pata's death, and that an arrest will come in the foreseeable future. ESPN's Paula Lavigne, who reported extensively on the case, brings us up to date on the investigation.
Nov 5: Clemson's Rising Star QB: DJ UiagaleleiWith QB Trevor Lawrence sidelined with COVID-19, Clemson's freshman backup QB DJ Uiagalelei steps into the spotlight this Saturday vs. Notre Dame. Uiagalelei has been touted for his arm strength and decision making, and received his first Power Five offer in the sixth grade. David Hale brings us everything you need to know about Clemson's rising star, from his early beginnings to what he's contributed to Clemson so far. Then, "Ted Lasso" star Jason Sudeikis joins the show to tell us about being a bright spot in the pop culture/sports world in 2020.
Nov 4: Replay: The National Anthem in SportsWe hear it before every major game: "The Star Spangled Banner." Throughout sports history, the national anthem has unified the U.S. in historic moments. It's also served as a platform to call for change. And right now, athletes are staking their claim on the anthem more than ever, to make history themselves. In a respin of our September episode, we explore the topic with guests Dr. Damion Thomas, sports curator of the National Museum of African American History and Culture; Jon Batiste, musician and band leader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (who performed the national anthem for the NBA's 2020 restart); and Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce.
Nov 3: Doc Rivers on the Rise of Athletes' Focus on VotingElection Day 2020 has arrived. It's an unprecedented one in many ways, including that dozens of stadiums and arenas are serving as polling places. That's a direct result of athlete attention on voting, which took off this summer across sports leagues, but particularly in the NBA. Veteran NBA player and coach Doc Rivers takes us behind the scenes, to tell the story of how - against a backdrop of social and political unrest, as players gathered in the "bubble" due to the pandemic - voting took center stage. Plus we hear from voters outside Staples Center in Los Angeles. You can find information on where and how to vote .
Nov 2: Bill Barnwell on NFL Week 8Halfway through the NFL's regular season, its power players look the same...but somehow different. The once mighty Patriots have now lost four in a row, and the Bills lead the AFC East, with Tua Tagovailoa's Miami Dolphins gaining traction. The Steelers remain undefeated and sit atop their division, so how good are they? Then in the NFC East, the Eagles lead the pack with a stunning 3-5-1 record. Bill Barnwell brings us up to speed on all of Sunday's NFL action. Plus US Soccer alum, Angel City FC co-owner, and "Laughter Permitted" podcast host Julie Foudy talks about the rise in viewers for women's sports.
Oct 30: Bonus Episode - A Rare Conversation with Former Philadelphia 76ers GM Sam HinkieWhen the Philadelphia 76ers announced this week they were hiring Daryl Morey to be their president of basketball operations, it turned heads across the NBA. Not just because of Morey's track record with the Houston Rockets, but because of his close relationship with former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie. Hinkie's tenure with the 76ers was polarizing. With some accusing him of tanking and turning the team into a laughingstock, and others admiring his long-term vision for the team's success...a vision that has come to be embodied by the now ubiquitous phrase "Trust the Process." Hinkie, who was ousted from the franchise in 2016, now works not in basketball but in business, and has founded a venture capital firm called Eighty-Seven Capital. He joins Pablo Torre for an extremely rare, wide-ranging interview that covers his time with the Sixers, his exit from basketball, and his new life away from the game.
Oct 30: Trevor Lawrence, COVID-19, and College FootballOn Thursday, Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence announced he had tested positive for COVID-19, shocking the college football world. David Hale explains what the diagnosis means for Lawrence and the rest of the sport. Then, after the Big Ten decided to reverse its initial decision to not play this fall, their season is underway...and the conference is now dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 on the Wisconsin Badgers, leading them to cancel their game this weekend with Nebraska. In another Big Ten showdown, Ohio State plays Penn State this Saturday, featuring possible Heisman challenger QB Justin Fields. Kirk Herbstreit joins the show to preview that matchup, and to assess the college football landscape so far. Plus, a preview of our first-ever bonus episode. Former 76ers basketball executive Sam Hinkie gives a rare interview, as his friend and colleague Daryl Morey takes his old job.
Oct 29: Is Antonio Brown Worth the Risk for Brady and the Bucs?Antonio Brown is back in the NFL after agreeing to a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday. On the field, Brown is one of the most prolific wide receivers in NFL history, with over 11,000 receiving yards and 80 touchdowns in a career that began as a humble 6th round pick. But off the field, Brown has had ongoing issues: from social media outbursts to troubling sexual assault allegations and an arrest. After serving an eight-game suspension for violating the NFLs Personal Conduct Policy, Brown will reunite with Buccaneers QB Tom Brady, who was Browns teammate for one game in New England last season, before Brown was released by the Patriots. Mina Kimes, who profiled Brown back in 2015 for ESPN the Magazine, joins the show to discuss his tumultuous journey to this point, and to assess whether the hall-of-fame caliber wide receiver is worth the risk for an already surging Buccaneer offense. Then, Pablo weighs in on the surprising news that the Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly about to hire former Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey.
Oct 28: L.A. Dodgers Are World Series ChampionsThe Los Angeles Dodgers are your 2020 World Series Champions. After a thrilling come-from-behind victory in Game 6, including a solo Mookie Betts home run, LA finally earned its first championship ring since 1988. But the victory was as strange as the season which preceded it, with Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner receiving COVID test results and getting pulled from the game. Jeff Passan joins the show from the scene in Arlington to break down what happened in Game 6. Why did the Rays pull pitcher Blake Snell? And what does the completion of this season mean for MLB going forward? Then: a tribute to Edmonton Oilers great Joey Moss.
Oct 27: Tua Time Has Finally Arrived in MiamiAfter drafting rookie Tua Tagovailoa fifth overall this April, the Miami Dolphins immediately envisioned him as their franchise quarterback of the future. But with Tua coming off a hip injury that ended his college career, the Dolphins decided to start the season with veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who led the team to a surprising 3-3 record heading into their bye week. Now, despite Fitzpatricks success, Miami is starting Tua against the LA Rams on Sunday. Whats behind the roster change, and how is the locker room reacting? ESPN Miami reporter Cameron Wolfe explains whats at stake for the Dolphins at QB, and how the team and fans alike are responding to the prospect of Tua Time in Miami. Then, how Mike Tysons podcast might surprise you.
Oct 26: Bill Barnwell: NFL Week 7 and Trades:Sundays slate of NFL games brought a few wild endings and surprising upsets. The Cardinals beat the Seahawks in the final minute of overtime. The Browns defeated the Bengals thanks to a last second Baker Mayfield touchdown pass. Todd Gurley accidentally scored a touchdown for the Falcons, setting up Matthew Stafford to deliver a Lions touchdown on the final play of the game - giving the Falcons another new way to lose. Bill Barnwell breaks down this Sundays NFL action, and whats at stake ahead of the NFL trade deadline, just 8 days away. Plus, Khabib Nurmagomedov claimed his 29th straight victory on Saturday. Hear why hes retiring.
Oct 23: Jon Gruden's Raiders and Tom Brady's Bucs: A Special RelationshipThe Las Vegas Raiders take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday, pitting Raiders head coach Jon Gruden against both his former team and former "Tuck Rule" game foe, Tom Brady. Gruden's personality and coaching style has long been a part of NFL lore, throughout his first stint with the Oakland Raiders, time in Tampa, and now a return to the newly moved Vegas team. ESPN's Paul Gutierrez gets at what makes Gruden tick, brings us up to speed on the 2020 Raiders, and weighs the impact of a rash of positive COVID tests. Plus, how the Raiders are settling into their Nevada home (and how Gutierrez is settling into his Vegas digs).UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov is 28-0 inside the octagon. He is the UFC Lightweight Champion and viewed by many as the best pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts. But on Saturday at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi, Nurmagomedov will face his greatest challenge yet: defending his title against his highly-skilled opponent, Justin Gaethje, and doing so just a few months removed from the death of his father and trainer, who passed away from COVID-19 in July. ESPN's Brett Okamoto previews Saturday's highly anticipated showdown, and tells us how Nurmagomedov is guided by his "father's plan." Then, Sam Borden shares the story of former Packers backup QB Graham Harrell playing flip cup with Aaron Rodgers at a fraternity party.
Oct 21: The Most Epic Mascot Fight in College Football HistoryAs the Big Ten kicks off this weekend, we remember the time Ohio State's Brutus Buckeye and Ohio University's Rufus the Bobcat got into a mascot brawl for the ages. It was 2010, and regardless of who won, the fight went viral. Did Rufus attack Brutus unfairly and without warning? Or was it simply a loveable underdog taking a jab at a college football powerhouse? Dave Fleming brings us the epic tale of that fateful September day, and the years of rivalry behind it. Plus: rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa was named starter for the Miami Dolphins, making veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick a backup yet again.
Oct 20: Jeff Passan on a World Series Unlike Any OtherTonight, Game One of the 2020 World Series gets underway between the Dodgers and Rays. It's a series that promises to be as strange and intriguing as the season it concludes. Will Clayton Kershaw exorcise his playoff demons and lead the Dodgers to their first title in three decades? Or will the aggressively unconventional Tampa Bay Rays upset LA to claim their first-ever championship? And with a neutral site location and limited fans in the seats, will it feel like a real World Series? Jeff Passan explains how LA and Tampa made it this far, and what the fall classic in a pandemic will look like. Then, an ode to hockey's preeminent broadcasting scholar, Mike "Doc" Emrick, who announced his retirement on Monday.
Oct 19: Bill Barnwell on NFL Week 6The NFL's sixth Sunday saw Aaron Rodgers suffer at the hands of the Buccaneers relentless defense, while Ryan Tannehill and the Titans clung to victory over the Texans in overtime. The Titans and Steelers both remain undefeated at 5-0, but the hapless Jets fell to 0-6 amidst drama between head coach Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Bill Barnwell brings us his insights on this weekend's football action, and if this season has met expectations surrounding the pandemic. Then, the weirdest college football commitment video we've ever seen (if that is even what it was?).
Oct. 16: How Saban's Absence Will Affect Georgia vs. AlabamaOn Saturday, #3 Georgia visits #2 Alabama in what could be the biggest game of the college football season. Despite not playing each other every year, the Bulldogs-Crimson Tide rivalry has a rich history in recent seasons, with numerous high profile matchups that have all ended in heartbreak for Georgia. But this year might be different. Especially because Alabama will be without head coach Nick Saban, who will miss the game after testing positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. ESPN's Bill Connelly explains how Saban's absence will affect the Crimson Tide, and what the Bulldogs need to do to finally come out on top. Then, Max Kellerman joins Pablo to preview this Saturday's big fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez.
Oct. 15: Tyrann Mathieu: How the "Honey Badger" Became an NFL LeaderChiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu earned the nickname "Honey Badger," for his fearlessness, speed and dynamic play on the football field. But one trait he doesn't share with nature's biggest badass is not caring. Mathieu's dedication to his teammates and community have made him a leader, on and off the field, in spite of battling and injuries and skepticism about his character. Domonique Foxworth wrote a Cover Story on Mathieu for gdcut.com, and joins the show to break down what makes him a model modern NFL defenseman. Then, how the saga of the LSU-Florida cancellation plays into the bigger story of sports safety and the SEC.
Oct. 14: Closing Out the NBA Bubble With Malika AndrewsThe NBA bubble has finally come to a close, with the LA Lakers crowned champion, and no positive COVID tests throughout. The impressive feat has set a high bar for sports in the pandemic. ESPN's Malika Andrews was the longest tenured reporter inside the NBA bubble, and she returns to the show to chronicle her exit from Orlando, and reflect on what it all meant. She's joined by ESPN producer Malinda Adams, who was also on site from Day One. And, we get some insights on what's next for the 2021 NBA season.
Oct. 13: Buffalo Bills: Super Bowl Contenders?As if 2020 couldn't get any weirder....the undefeated Buffalo Bills sit atop the AFC standings. The Bills take on the Tennessee Titans tonight in a rare Tuesday evening game, the result of multiple recent positive COVID tests on the Titans. With a win on Tuesday, the Bills would join Seattle as the only 5-0 teams in the NFL, a feat that surprisingly has not been due to their highly touted defense, but rather from their the play of their offense, and its leader, QB Josh Allen. After several years of inconsistency, Allen's play has improved dramatically this season, and he now ranks 3rd in the NFL in quarterback rating. ESPN Bills reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques makes the case for why these Bills could have what it takes to make a potential Super Bowl run. Then, Mike Schur, mind behind "The Office" "Parks and Recreation" and "The Good Place" remembers Reds legend Joe Morgan.
Oct. 12: Lakers Are NBA Champions + Bill Barnwell on NFL Week 5LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are NBA champions, after a six game final series against Miami. Many dedicated the win to deceased Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. Hard to believe, but the longest season in NBA history began almost one year ago. The league has struggled with a pandemic hiatus, creating a bubble, and navigating a social movement against racial injustice that swept all of sports. And the Lakers, after all of it, came out on top, in a 106-93 win. Dave McMenamin shares all the things this victory means. Then Bill Barnwell brings us the latest on this week in the NFL: the impact of Dak Prescotts injury, how the Raiders were able to contain Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, and to what degree NFL schedule changes affect which teams.
Oct. 9: Is This D'Eriq King's Heisman Moment?When the #7 Miami Hurricanes take on #1 Clemson on Saturday night, it will be a matchup of two of this year's top contenders for the Heisman Trophy. One is a household name to college football fans: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, whose golden boy image and physical gifts have made his success seem preordained. The other, is shorter, less heralded...and has been underestimated his entire career...Miami QB D'Eriq King. King's road to this marquee matchup has been anything but normal. After beginning his career at the University of Houston, King was asked to redshirt as a senior when the team got off to a rocky start. Instead of returning to the Cougars, King transferred to Miami for his senior year. Off the field, he's faced personal tragedy: his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, and his father died this February of a heart attack. Sam Khan Jr. has covered King since his high school football days, and joins the show to share King's unique story. Then: an ode to Dion Waiters, the most unlikely possible NBA champion, ahead of Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Oct. 8: From the Air Raid to Bigfoot: Is the SEC Ready for the Mike Leach Experience?Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach is unlike anyone else in college football. After nearly two decades at Texas Tech and Washington State, he's now taken his talents to the SEC, where his team has upset reigning NCAA champions LSU and lost to lowly Arkansas through the first two weeks of the season. Ryan McGee brings us some of his all-time Mike Leach stories, and discusses how his unique personality might be received in the toughest conference in college football. Then: Scottie Pippen helps you fall asleep.
Oct. 7: MLB Divisional Storylines + Rising Latino StarsMLB's divisional series saw tons of action on Tuesday. In the ALDS, the New York Yankees fell to the Tampa Bay Rays, bringing that series to 1-1. Earlier, the Houston Astros went up 2-0 over the Oakland A's, thanks to George Springer's homers. ESPN baseball insider Jeff Passan brings us his playoff insights from Arlington, Texas, where he's covering the NLDS: Ronald Acuna Jr. and the Atlanta Braves defeated the Miami Marlins 9-5, then the LA Dodgers won the first game of their series with the San Diego Padres. Later, Mauricio Pedroza joins the show to explore the rising prominence of Latino players in MLB.
Oct. 6: Inside the Bubble with Malika Andrews for Game 4 of the NBA FinalsAfter Jimmy Butler's dominant performance in Game 3 of the NBA Finals and the trash talk that came with it, Tuesday's Game 4 promises to turn up the heat (pun intended) on the Lakers. Miami has ruined LA's chances of a sweep, and now hopes to ride the wave of momentum to even the series. The Heat are also looking to get their injured stars Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic back from injury. Malika Andrews joins the show from inside the bubble, where she's been for nearly 100 days, to tell us what she expects to see in Game 4, and what she's learned from covering the strangest postseason in NBA history.
Oct. 5: Bill Barnwell on NFC East + Impact of COVID-19A crisis over coronavirus spread across the NFL in recent days. Following a rash of positive tests on the Tennessee Titans, Patriots QB Cam Newton also tested positive, as did the Chiefs practice QB Jordan Ta'amu. The Titans-Steelers game, scheduled for Sunday, has been postponed to later in the season, and the Patriots-Chiefs game, also scheduled for Sunday, is now tonight, in a Monday doubleheader. Bill Barnwell breaks down the impact of COVID-19 on NFL teams' schedules and rosters, and assesses the NFC East, currently the worst division through four Sundays of action. Then, a remembrance of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson.
Oct. 2: WNBA Finals + Satou Sabally on Her Rookie SeasonThe WNBA finals tip off tonight in the Bradenton, Florida bubble. The Seattle Storm, led by Sue Bird in her bid for a fourth championship, take on 2020 MVP A'ja Wilson and the Las Vegas Aces. ESPN's LaChina Robinson previews the contenders and the path that got them here. Then, Dallas Wings All-Rookie star Satou Sabally shares stories from inside the WNBA bubble. We talked to her throughout the summer, to get a portrait of a rookie season unlike any other. Plus, Josh McCown on what it's like to be with the Eagles as the NFL's only "Quarantine Quarterback."
Oct. 1: The Life and Trials of Oscar PistoriusRunner Oscar Pistorius became the first double leg amputee to compete in the Olympic Games, when he took the track in London in 2012, inspiring athletes around the world. Then in 2013 Pistorius' girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead at his home, and he was convicted of her killing, in one of South Africa's most infamous trials. Dan Williams was a correspondent for ESPN in South Africa from 2007 to 2013, where he covered Pistorius' athletic career and court proceedings. Williams is featured in the four-part documentary "The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius," available on ESPN+ now.
Sep. 30: LeBron James and the Miami Heat: From Champions to Breakup to NBA Finals OpponentsThe NBA Finals tip off tonight between the Miami Heat and LA Lakers. And while the series is loaded with intriguing storylines, perhaps none is bigger than the drama surrounding LeBron James facing off against his former team. LeBron won two rings in Miami, and with the help of superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, seemed destined for years more of dominance. But in 2014, LeBron decided to take his talents back to Cleveland, stunning many within the Heat organization: Heat team president Pat Riley was furious that a team he thought would be a decade-long dynasty went up in smoke. ESPN's Brian Windhorst takes us inside the complicated relationship between LeBron and Riley...and what it means for one of the most unexpected NBA Championship matchups we've seen in years.
Sep. 28: Bill Barnwell on NFL Undefeated Teams + Monday PreviewThrough three NFL Sundays only a handful of teams remain undefeated. Russell Wilson led the 3-0 Seahawks to a thrilling win over Dak and the Cowboys. The 3-0 Bills blew a 28-3 lead, but Josh Allen's 4th quarter heroics secured the victory for Buffalo. Meanwhile, the 3-0 Bears scored three touchdowns in the 4th, coming from behind to beat the Falcons. Bill Barnwell compares the league's leaders, and previews tonight's Chiefs-Ravens game. Plus, a few words show the power of LeBron James.
Sep. 25: SEC Football Kicks OffAfter months of debate and uncertainty, the SEC kicks off this weekend, three weeks later than originally planned. It promises to be a strange season in so many ways...there are no non-conference games, limited fans will be allowed in stadiums, and tailgating will be forbidden on campus. Meanwhile, coaches like LSU's Ed Orgeron and Alabama's Nick Saban focus on preparing their players for the new normal. And new coaches like Mississippi State's Mike Leach and Ole Miss's Lane Kiffen promise to bring even more intrigue to the conference. Spencer Hall from the SEC Network's "Thinking Out Loud" brings us all the updates you need to know about the SEC, and everything else happening around college football.
Sep. 24: A Football Family Carries On After Coronavirus Takes CoachIn football-obsessed Oxford, Mississippi, Nacoma James was a beloved high school football coach and math teacher at Lafayette High School. In August, James died due to complications of coronavirus. In September the school decided to play football this season. James' widow Laticia supports the team, even as she struggles to find her way back to social life in a town centered on the sport. ESPN's Elizabeth Merrill shares the story of James' life and untimely death at age 42, and weighs the community's pain over his loss, alongside the risk of the pandemic and a deep love of football.
Sep. 23: The Stanley Cup Final and NHL Bubble ConfidentialThe Stanley Cup playoffs have been a major success in the age of the pandemic, as the league's bubble sites in Toronto and Edmonton returned little to no positive tests since their launch in early August. With Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars set to take place on Wednesday, ESPN's Emily Kaplan joins the show as one of the few American sports reporters currently in Edmonton, to talk about the action on the ice and give us a glimpse at life inside the NHL bubble. Among her revelations: why fly fishing is a running joke amongst players, why avoiding eye contact is critical, and something called "the prison yard." Plus, why Michael Jordan believes the timing is "perfect" for him to become a NASCAR owner.
Sep. 22: Inside Jimmy Butler's PsycheThe Miami Heat lead the Boston Celtics 2-1 in the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals, thanks largely to a dominant postseason performance from Jimmy Butler. Through his ten seasons in the league, Butler's ferocious competitiveness and polarizing personality have contributed to departures from his previous three teams. But now, in the Miami Heat, Butler seems to have found a home and team that is as passionate about the game as he is. With the Heat two wins away from a trip to the finals, and Butler as their unquestioned leader on the court, the 31-year old may finally rise to the next level of NBA stardom. Nick Friedell has covered Butler since he first came into the league, and takes us inside Butler's psyche. Then, an ode to golfer Danny Lee's 6-putt Saturday.
Sep. 21: Injury Updates and 0-2 Lessons with Bill BarnwellThe NFL was hampered by injuries to stars around the league on Sunday. Among them? Saquon Barkley going down for the Giants, Carolina RB Christian McCaffrey, and many, many 49ers, including Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Bosa, and Raheem Mostert. Considering the impact of those injuries, many teams have now dropped to 0-2. Bill Barnwell discusses the severity of injuries around the league, and explains what's at stake for football's winless teams. Plus, a tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg: athletic inspiration.
Sep. 18: Are the Denver Nuggets The Team To Beat?The Denver Nuggets are the Cinderella story of this year's NBA playoffs. After overcoming back-to-back 3-1 deficits in their series vs. the Jazz and the Clippers, and squashing any hopes for a potential "Battle of LA," the Nuggets tip off tonight against LeBron James and the Lakers. Zach Lowe explores how Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets got here - and whether they have what it takes to get past the Lake Show. Then, how "Quarterback Whisperer" Bruce Arians is finding new ways to loudly motivate Tom Brady.
Sep. 17: The 1970 USC-Bama Game Broke (Some) Racial BarriersIn September 1970 the USC Trojans, a racially integrated team, traveled to Birmingham, Alabama to take on the Crimson Tide, where only white players were allowed on the roster. And the game - a blowout by USC - put college football in the South on solid ground toward desegregation. Sam Borden spoke to several players who suited up that day for USC and Alabama, and shares their account of the legendary game with Pablo Torre. In this current moment of national dialogue on racial justice and police violence, and with college athletes speaking out more than ever before, these alums also consider how much progress has been made in the past 50 years, or not. Plus, how politics plays into the Big Ten college conference decision to hold a season, after all.
Sep. 16: The Legend of MLB Umpire Joe WestJoe West is the MLB's longest tenured umpire, and certainly the most recognizable. Over the course of his 40-year-plus career, he's been at the center of numerous controversies, and his confrontational style has made him a figure that both players and fans love to hate...even if they grudgingly respect him. Tim Kurkjian recently profiled West, who is on track to break the all-time record for games as an umpire early next year, and joins Pablo Torre to tell the story of one of baseball's all time characters.
Sep. 15: Dan Le Batard on Heat-Celtics RivalryGame 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals tips off tonight between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. The Heat have been one of the biggest surprises in this year's NBA playoffs, after first sweeping the Indiana Pacers, and then knocking off the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in the second round. Now, in taking on the Celtics, the Heat renew a bitter rivalry from earlier this decade, when the two teams faced off in three consecutive playoffs. Dan Le Batard joins Pablo Torre to explore the buildup behind this series, as well as how Miami is embracing this new underdog version of the Heat, a role they certainly never played when they were winning championships with LeBron and Dwyane Wade.
Sep. 14: NFL QBs Report: Week OneThe NFL's season kicked off to a thrilling start, as Tom Brady earned his first loss as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer to the New Orleans Saints. Meanwhile, Cam Newton rushed for two TDs in his debut as a New England Patriot. Around the league, 2018's draft class had a chaotic day, with Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson squaring off while Josh Allen took on Sam Darnold...and Josh Allen. Bill Barnwell surveys the weekend's football action, and examines where these quarterbacks stand following their week one performances.
Sep. 11: Trevor Lawrence Has The Loudest Voice in College FootballIn any normal year, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence would already have an enormous voice in college football. He is the most well-known player in the country, a Heisman Trophy favorite, and is widely expected to be the first overall player taken in the 2021 NFL Draft. But 2020 is no ordinary year, in college football or anywhere else: and Lawrence is increasingly speaking out on issues ranging from the global pandemic to racial injustice. It's not a role Lawrence has asked for, but it found him, as fellow players, the media, even the President of the United States want to hear what Lawrence has to say. Hallie Grossman joins the show to explain just how Lawrence found himself in the middle of every issue in college football, and how he plans on using his massive platform.
Sep. 10: The Anthem in Sports: What's NextWe hear it before every major game: The Star Spangled Banner. Throughout sports history the national anthem has unified the U.S. in historic moments. Its also served as a platform to call for change in our country. And right now athletes are staking their claim on the anthem more than ever, to make history themselves. We take a deep dive into this present moment, and how it speaks to the past and future of the anthem's role in sports. Our guests are Dr. Damion Thomas, sports curator of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Jon Batiste, musician and band leader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (who performed the national anthem for the NBA's 2020 restart), plus Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce. As the NFL lines up to start its season, we also explore playing Lift Every Voice and Sing in the pregame, and whether anthems should continue as part of sports.
Sep. 9: Deshaun Watson Is Ready To Be HeardQB Deshaun Watson takes the field for the Texans on Thursday night, armed with a fresh 4-year deal worth over $177 million, the second biggest in NFL history behind only the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes. Watson has found success at every level of his football career...from the public housing project in Georgia where he grew up, to Clemson where he won a national championship, and now in the NFL, where he's made two straight Pro Bowl appearances. Through it all, Watson has remained quiet off the field, rarely speaking on anything outside of football. But following the killing of George Floyd, Watson has begun to use his voice. He marched in the streets of Houston with Floyd's family, and helped lead a campaign to remove the name of a pro-slavery politician from a building at Clemson. Tim Keown interviewed Watson about his career and impact as a Black quarterback, and discusses his reporting with Pablo Torre.
Sep. 7: The Secret History of the Korean Bat FlipKorean baseball energy is very much about the audience, performance and celebration. That includes big time bat flips. Mina Kimes traveled to Korea to get to the bottom of how a taboo in MLB became a signature of KBO play. In a re-spin of one of our favorite episodes, Pablo Torre asks Mina about her journey to Korea to investigate how bat flipping became part of their game, tied to the bigger history of the sport abroad.
Sep. 4: Kentucky Derby Runs Amid Racing CrisisThe 146th running of the Kentucky Derby is Saturday, resuming after a four month delay due to the pandemic. While the event brings more attention and eyeballs to the sport of horse racing, the Derby also invokes a conversation surrounding the sports biggest crisis. The new ESPN podcast series "Bloodlines" looks into the deaths of horses at Californias Santa Anita racetrack, since a spike in fatalities began in 2019. Animal rights activists have been calling for reforms and even pushing for horse racing to be shut down altogether. The controversy has raised numerous questions about the complicated relationship between horses and the Bloodlines, and how the 'sport of kings' found itself in jeopardy.
Sep. 3: Inside the Washington Football Team's Workplace CultureThe Washington Football Team's offseason has been anything but quiet. In July, the team changed its name after years of public protests. And in the past couple weeks, a series of exposés in the Washington Post have highlighted the team's workplace culture, which a number of current and former female employees have alleged is rife with sexism and harassment. Jeremy Schaap interviewed four of these women this week, and brings us their stories of working for an organization that they say was openly hostile to the women employed there.
Sep. 2: College Football Season: What Comes Next?College football is off to a strange and uneven start. The SEC, ACC, and a few other conferences kicked off their season last weekend. Meanwhile the Big 10, which cancelled its season, seems to be muttering about regrets or even reconsidering, and the Pac-12 remains firmly out of the picture. Paul Finebaum explains the decisions and power struggles still at play even as college football kicks off, which stars are opting out to prepare for the NFL draft instead, and what it will take for the season to stay on course in coming weeks.
Sep. 1: Why Lionel Messi Wants Out of FC BarcelonaLionel Messi is arguably the most famous athlete on the planet. The soccer superstar has claimed practically every individual and team accolade at the club level, and has rewritten the record books in his 17 years with FC Barcelona. But now, the man who many consider the greatest player in soccer history, says he wants to move on from the club he has played for his entire pro career. Messi's discontent with Barcelona has been brewing for months, but after a humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals, his frustrations seem to have finally come to a head. ESPN's Sam Borden explains the origin of Messi's breakup with Barcelona, and explores where the Argentine star might be headed next. Then, J.A. Adande shares his experience as a young reporter covering the late John Thompson, Georgetown basketball coaching legend.
Aug. 31: Michael Jordan's Role as NBA MediatorNBA players wanted team owners to listen. That's what they told the GOAT. Following the Milwaukee Bucks' boycott over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, and the further postponement of more NBA playoff games last week, next steps were unclear. LeBron James, a go-to leader on activism, reportedly walked out of a players meeting. Then, a surprising ally reached out from the ownership side: Michael Jordan. With the playoffs now resumed, Jackie MacMullan breaks down why MJ was suited to work as a mediator, and how leadership and activism play into Jordan and James' legacies.
Aug. 28: Kelly Loeffler vs. the Atlanta DreamOver the summer, Georgia Senator and Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler criticized the WNBA's support for Black Lives Matter via a letter sent to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. The letter prompted Dream players to wear shirts emblazoned with "Vote Warnock," Loeffler's political rival, and sparked a war of words between Loeffler and the players. As of now, Loeffler remains a co-owner of the Dream - and the players remain as politically engaged as ever. On the anniversary of Martin Luther King Junior's speech from which the Atlanta Dream take their name, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne takes us inside the battle between Loeffler and the Dream's players. Will Loeffler's stance ultimately be a gift or liability for her on election day? And what comes next when a team's own players are actively fighting to end their owner's political career?
Aug. 27: How the Bucks' Boycott Sparked a Wave of Sports PostponementsOn Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks sent shockwaves around the world when they did not take the floor for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic as an act of protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Shortly afterwards, the other two NBA playoff games slated for Wednesday were postponed - with each team's players refusing to play. From there, games across the WNBA, MLB, and MLS were postponed, as athletes everywhere expressed their solidarity. Later last night, NBA players met to discuss their next moves, and how to move forward together. Malika Andrews brings us the latest from the bubble on how things are playing out.
Aug. 26: How to Stop Lamar Jackson in 2020 (Hint: Pray)Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson seemed like he'd finally put the doubters to rest, after a jaw-dropping season where he became just the second unanimous MVP in NFL history. But following a shocking early exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Tennessee Titans, Jackson has once again faced questions about whether he can ever be a championship quarterback. Now entering his third season under center for Baltimore, Jackson will be drawing maximum attention from opposing defenses....who have had an entire off-season to scheme for him. The question is: will any of it work? Or is Jackson simply too transcendent a talent to be contained? ESPN's Domonique Foxworth discusses whether Jackson and the Ravens can live up to the hype, and what defenses can try to do to prepare.
Aug. 25: Do It For the 'Gram: How Social Media is Transforming High School HoopsSocial media has given national audiences a front row seat to high school basketball players like never before. Instagram accounts belonging to UConn recruit Paige Bueckers and California's Kyree Walker have reached half-a-million followers and climbing. Then there's LaMelo Ball and Bronny James (LeBron's son) who've used the hype surrounding their families, plus their own on-court highlights to propel their follower counts to over 5 million. But behind the scenes, coaches are concerned that the appeal of social media fame is warping how players approach the game. Scouts and recruiters are wondering if the skills actually match the hype. And experts are questioning if these kids can handle the pressure and pain that comes with added online scrutiny. ESPN's Joon Lee joins the show to explore how Instagram is changing the culture of basketball, and if it's for better, or for worse.
Aug. 24: Luka and the Point God: NBA Playoffs Wild WeekendLuka Doncic arrived in style on Sunday, hitting an overtime buzzer beater to even the series between his Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers at 2 games apiece. It capped off a historic 43 point triple double for the 21 year old prodigy. Meanwhile, Chris Paul bullied his way past the Houston Rockets keeping the Oklahoma City Thunder in the fight. ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz joins the show to discuss these standout performances from the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Aug. 21: Enes Kanter: Enemy of the StateIn a time when athletes everywhere are speaking out about causes that are personal to them, perhaps no one has risked more...and been more outspoken...than Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter. Kanter grew up in Turkey, which has been embroiled in a years-long fight over leadership of the nation. Kanter became involved in Turkish politics when he voiced support for Fethullah Gulen, a US based Muslim cleric who was blamed for a coup attempt by Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Since the coup attempt, the Turkish government has cracked down on anyone with ties to Gulen, and has sought to extradite Kanter back to Turkey where he would almost certainly face severe punishment. Jeremy Schaap reported on Kanter's struggles for E:60 last year, and joins the show to discuss his findings. Then, Enes Kanter himself brings us his firsthand perspective on what it's like being a fugitive from his homeland. Episode Alert Text: Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is a man without a country. Jeremy Schaap reported on Kanter's battle with the Turkish government for E:60 last year, and joins the show to discuss his reporting. Then, Enes Kanter brings us his firsthand perspective.
Aug. 20: LaMelo Ball: The Most Famous Mystery in BasketballTonight, the NBA holds its draft lottery, when the hopes and dreams of 14 franchises hinge on a set of bouncing ping-pong balls that will decide their fate. And while we don't know which team will be picking first...many suspect the first player selected will be 18-year-old LaMelo Ball. LaMelo, his older brothers Lonzo and LiAngelo, and their father LaVar Ball, have become basketball's most famous...some would say most infamous...family. They have millions of followers on social media and their own reality show, "Ball in the Family." But somehow, LaMelo has remained something of an enigma for hoop fans, largely because he's spent the past several years playing in Lithuania and Australia, instead of committing to a big time college program. In January, ESPN's Tim Keown spent time with Ball in Australia, and shares his up-close reporting on Ball as a person and as a player
Aug. 19: Alex Smith's Return to FootballThe injury that Washington Quarterback Alex Smith suffered to his right leg on November 18, 2018 not only threatened his football career, it nearly cost him his leg, and even his life. This week, more than a year and a half later, he returned to the practice field, cleared to resume football activities. ESPN's Stephania Bell joins the show to chronicle Smith's rehabilitation, and explain just what drove him to return to action.
Aug. 18: NFL 2020 Season Preview with Mina KimesAugust plays host to NFL preseason in a normal year. However, 2020 is anything but ... normal. While the NFL isn't planning a bubble, it is adapting practice and training around coronavirus risk. With no full preseason scrimmages, how ready is each team to jump right in, and how are coaches vetting their lineups? ESPN NFL analyst (and former ESPN Daily host) Mina Kimes runs through the chances for Joe Burrow and the Bengals, how things are going in Tampa for Tom Brady, and whether her Seahawks have improved this offseason.
Aug. 17: Doris Burke on NBA PlayoffsThe NBA's shortened regular season has wrapped and now, it's on to a uniquely historic playoffs. The matchups are set and all the action tips off tonight in Orlando. The Bucks and Lakers were the teams to beat before the pandemic. Are they still? Will Giannis Antetokounmpo walk away as MVP? How will the Lakers fare against Damien Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers, surprise bubble darlings? Doris Burke brings us her analysis and context from Orlando, insights on which teams are poised to succeed, and her reflections on what it's taken to get to the postseason.
Aug. 14: Desus & Mero on Sports Fandom in a PandemicDesus Nice and Kid Mero, aka The Bodega Boys, make New York sports fandom - in all its glory and shame - a big part of "the brand" they've built during their rapid rise as comics. The podcast hosts turned Showtime stars join the show to talk sports and life, like what's lost when you can't attend Yankees game in person, their NBA bubble fantasies, why new faces in Madison Square Garden can't fix the Knicks' fortunes, and what's it like to be wined-and-dined by that other basketball team across town.
Aug. 13: UFC 252: The Fight for Daniel Cormier's LegacyThis Saturday is UFC 252 in Las Vegas, where Daniel "DC" Cormier will fight Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title. Now 41-years old, Cormier has been on the brink of retirement for over a year, and is hoping to win and leave the sport on top. DC's career has been turbulent -- filled with personal tragedies and countless second-place finishes. Can a victory on Saturday alter the narrative for Cormier, or will DC forever be remembered as second best? ESPN's Ariel Helwani, who profiled Cormier last year for E:60, joins Pablo Torre to discuss DC's life and legacy. Then, Pablo shares his experience as a virtual fan at Monday's Pacers-Heat game.
Aug. 12: MLB Eyes Playoff Bubble and the Rise of Fernando Tatis Jr.Major League Baseball has already weathered multiple outbreaks of COVID-19, prompting the league to update its protocols, after the integrity of its season was threatened. Now, the league is considering taking the same route as the NBA and NHL to ensure a successful postseason: playing inside a bubble. Jeff Passan brings us the latest on MLB's efforts to contain the coronavirus. Then, Jeff shares his reporting on the breakout star of this MLB season, the San Diego Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. Jeff's recent profile of Tatis Jr. for ESPN Cover Story took him to the Dominican Republic to tell the budding superstar's story.
Aug. 11: The Fate of College Football's 2020 SeasonCollege football's 2020 season hangs in the balance. Over the weekend, the Mid-Atlantic Conference cancelled its season. Today, big meetings and movements are expected from the Big Ten, PAC-12, and other conferences as they consider their options amidst growing concern around coronavirus. It's a decision that's become both political and personal, as conferences across the country have navigated the variations in protocols at the state, city, and university levels. On Monday, President Trump even weighed in on the situation, tweeting "Play College Football!" Adam Rittenberg brings us the latest, specifically on the Big Ten. Then, Cal offensive lineman Valentino Daltoso, who helped organize the PAC-12's "We Are United" movement, weighs in with the player perspective.
Aug. 10: Tom Brady, Buccaneer: Inside the QB's New RoutineAs the NFL regular season looms, QB Tom Brady is adjusting to his new role in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pocket. Different playbooks, unfamiliar facilities, and a new climate all present challenges to the veteran QB. Meanwhile, his Buccaneer teammates are adjusting to a new play caller under center. ESPN's Jenna Laine brings us her reporting on how Brady is getting used to working in Tampa with a new team. Then, 18-year NFL QB veteran Josh McCown explains how difficult it is to learn a new playbook - considering McCown has learned 16 different ones over the course of his long football career.
Aug. 7: Pete Alonso: Poking the Polar BearNew York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso set the record for rookie home runs in 2019, and announced himself as New York's other young superstar alongside the Yankees' Aaron Judge. But before the "Polar Bear" took MLB by storm, as a child growing up in Tampa, he was the target of bullying. Baseball became Alonso's escape, but even as his career took him to the University of Florida, bullying followed him. ESPN baseball insider Buster Olney spent time with Alonso ahead of his E:60 profile, which airs this Sunday at 5pm ET on ESPN, and joins the show to discuss the struggles Alonso battled on his journey to MLB.
Aug. 6: Allegations of Abuse at NBA China AcademiesA recent ESPN investigation uncovered allegations of abuse, as well as a lack of schooling for athletes at three NBA China basketball academies. The report comes at a time when scrutiny on the NBA's relationship with China has never been greater. In October Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweeted his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, prompting a severe reaction from China, which included pulling NBA broadcasts from the airwaves despite the league's widespread popularity in the country. Investigations into human rights abuses in the Xinjiang province, where one of the basketball academies was located, have also prompted many to criticize the NBA's ties to China. ESPN investigative reporter Steve Fainaru brings us his latest reporting on what happened inside the NBA China academies, and how the league is addressing these concerns.
Aug. 5: How PAC-12 Player Demands Will Impact College FootballCollege football continues to grapple with how to proceed with a season, with plans that vary in conferences across the country. A group of PAC-12 players published a document in the Players Tribune with a list of demands surrounding a number of issues: player health and safety, wealth inequality, and racial injustice. The players are threatening to opt out of the season if their concerns are not addressed to their satisfaction, posing an unprecedented challenge to the conference and the NCAA. UCLA football players Elisha Guidry and Otito Ogbonnia join the show to explain why they got involved with the movement. Then ESPN's Mark Schlabach gives more context on the PAC-12 players' actions within the college football landscape.
Aug. 4: MLB and NFL: COVID-19 Impact on AthletesAs live sports resume, pro athletes are grappling with the threat of coronavirus, to their own health, their families and their careers. MLB has suspended multiple games due to COVID-19 outbreaks, and the NFL has seen several players opt out of training camp and the 2020 season. While frequent testing and other protocols have been enacted across pro leagues, there is still a lot that's unknown about the physical impact of the virus, even on a healthy, young athlete's body. ESPN injury analyst Stephania Bell has been paging through medical studies and the leagues' protocol documents. She has an insider's take on how teams and players are making decisions in the face of the pandemic.
Aug. 3: JJ Redick: Life with the Pelicans in the NBA BubbleThe NBA has made it through its first games of the restart, and JJ Redick of the New Orleans Pelicans is happy to be hooping once again - with rookie star Zion Williamson, no less. We get an inside look from the bubble in Orlando (including Redick's third-best hotel situation), and all the reasons the 14-year pro says this season is unlike any other. Hear how Redick and his teammates are keeping momentum and focus, on and off the court, including actions around racial justice issues. Plus, Redick talks to Pablo about future podcast plans and finding his voice.
Jul. 31: Why the NHL Restart Can Work (Hint: Canada)Lace up your skates and throw on your sweaters, hockey fans...well, at home anyway. This weekend kicks off the league's return to play, beginning with round robins for the top four seeds in each conference and qualifying rounds for the remaining teams. Edmonton and Toronto play host to the Western and Eastern Conference bubbles. ESPN NHL insider Greg Wyshynski gives us the lowdown on how the playoffs will work, what hockey will look, sound, and feel like without fans, and why the league chose Canada. Greg also tells us who he thinks will take home the Stanley Cup.
Jul. 30: Dr. Anthony Fauci on the Return of Sports in AmericaDr. Anthony Fauci joins Pablo Torre to discuss the challenges, risks, and rewards of the return of sports in America after more than four months of shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. It's an issue that has become increasingly stark in recent days with the outbreak of COVID-19 on the Miami Marlins. Dr. Fauci weighs in on MLB's response to the Marlins' situation and what it means for the rest of the baseball season. He also discusses leagues operating in a bubble, like the NBA, and assesses the NHL's decision to play in Canada. While the NFL commences its training camps and college football considers its options, Dr. Fauci explores the possibilities surrounding football season, and describes the long term effects of coronavirus on athletes. Then, one of Dr. Fauci's high school basketball teammates gives us some insight on what Fauci was like as an athlete.
Jul. 29: NBA Restart: Which Teams Have the Advantage?After more than four months on hiatus, the NBA returns to play tomorrow night from its bubble in Orlando. The players have acclimated to their resort setting - minus Clippers guard Lou Williams, who ventured outside of the clean site for some wings - and the teams are finally set to tip off. Which teams will benefit most from the long pause? Which players have the most to prove? And will we see Zion Williamson in action with the Pelicans on Thursday? ESPN's Jackie MacMullan picks the top contenders, and explains why she believes Lou Williams about his wing journey.
Jul. 28: MLB Marlins' Coronavirus Outbreak, Plus Dodgers v. Astros RivalryOn Monday, at least 11 players and two coaches for MLB's Miami Marlins tested positive for coronavirus, after completing their opening series against the Philadelphia Phillies. The positive tests resulted in several MLB game postponements, and raised larger concerns about the league's health and safety protocols. ESPN's Alden Gonzalez joins Mina Kimes to discuss what happened, and whether the league's 60-game season could be in jeopardy. Then, Alden and Mina preview Tuesday's highly anticipated rematch of the 2017 World Series, which the Astros won, but was thrown into question by the sign-stealing scandal, and left the Dodgers very sore. Houston hosts Los Angeles (a matchup that would not have happened in the regular 2020 season plans) for the first of a two-game series.
Jul. 27: Next Steps for NFL in Place: Training Camps Will OpenThe NFL and its players union have reached an agreement, and pro football is moving forward with a 2020 season. Training camps are set to open this week. There won't be a football bubble, as teams plan to play in their home markets. There won't be a preseason, as that has been eliminated. There won't be a lot of time to decide, with just seven days for players to announce if they'll report to camp. But, as of now, there will be football. ESPN NFL Insider Dan Graziano explains how the deal came together, what training camp will look like, and the latest news from around the league.
Jul. 24: Boxer Christy Martin's Fight For Her LifeWorld champion boxer Christy Martin is a trailblazer in her sport, just named as an inductee into the Boxing Hall of Fame. She was perhaps the first female fighter to make national headlines. But behind her successful career, Martin faced emotional and physical abuse from her trainer and then-husband, Jim Martin. In 2010, Jim violently attacked Christy, and left her for dead. ESPN's Allison Glock interviewed Christy Martin about her career and harrowing fight for survival, and how she has moved forward with her life and love, a decade later.
Jul. 23: Play Ball! MLB Opening Day is (Finally) HereIt's a day that seemed like it would never come. But somehow, improbably, MLB's Opening Day is finally here. ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan joins us from Washington, DC where tonight the Yankees and Nationals will begin what promises to be the oddest season in baseball history. From testing and safety, to Mookie Betts' massive new deal, and where the Blue Jays will be playing...Passan breaks down everything you need to know about baseball in 2020.
Jul. 22: Inside the WNBA Bubble + Season PreviewAfter a months-long delay, the 2020 WNBA season finally tips off this Saturday when the New York Liberty and and no.1 overall pick Sabrina Ionescu take on the Seattle Storm and veteran star Sue Bird. But aside from the action on the court, the season promises to be unlike any other in the league's history. Every game will be played from the league's "clean site" at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. In addition, some of the league's most notable names have chosen not to play, either for health reasons, or to focus their attention on issues of social justice and racism. ESPN's LaChina Robinson joins the show to explain how the WNBA's bubble compares to their NBA counterparts in Orlando...and also breaks down what to expect on the court in a season where everyone is figuring it out on the fly.
Jul. 21: How Simone Biles Showed a New Way to WinWinning a combined 30 Olympic and World Championship medals, Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast, full stop. And her story intersects with the two most infamous and winning coaches of USA Gymnastics, Bela and Martha Karolyi. The Karolyis are the subject of a new 30 for 30 investigative podcast, "Heavy Medals: Inside the Karolyi Gymnastics Empire." It includes a look at their complicity in the rampant sexual abuse of athletes by medical director Larry Nassar, and how Biles navigated their restrictive culture and spoke out against abuse. ESPN's Alyssa Roenigk shares the story of how Biles found a way to win outside the norms of USA Gymnastics and the Karolyis.
Jul. 20: With College Football's Season at Stake, Who Makes the Call?While pro leagues around the US are getting back to play, college football leaders are taking several different approaches to the risk of COVID-19. Some schools and conferences have already cancelled fall sports altogether, while others have announced they're limiting games to in-conference opponents. And there are some conferences, big ones like the SEC, which have yet to make a decision on how or whether to have a fall 2020 college football season. ESPN's college football reporter Heather Dinich walks Pablo Torre through the gamut of options and why there's such a patchwork of possibilities, including the scenario of a spring 2021 season. Then Emily Applegate, former employee of the Washington football team, discusses her experiences of harassment within the organization after being named in last week's Washington Post article.
Jul. 17: What Will Sports Sound Like Without Fans?The roar of the crowd has always been the soundtrack of sports. Whether it's a hearty "De-FENSE!" chant in football, or a cascade of boos after a blown call in baseball...the crowd is the emotional heartbeat of any game. But now, with the coronavirus pandemic making crowds impossible...and MLB, NHL and NBA on the verge of returning to play...sports are suddenly going to sound completely different. And for athletes and fans alike, it's going to take some getting used to. Mina Kimes chats with players, broadcasters, and writers from around the sports world about the impact of the sound of sports - before, during, and after the pandemic.
Jul. 16: The Future is Now: Christian Pulisic is America's First Global Soccer StarThe soccer world was stunned last year when the English Premier League powerhouse Chelsea FC forked over 73 million dollars for 20-year old American Christian Pulisic. It was a record amount of money paid for an American...and immediately made the Hershey, PA native the most visible American ever on the soccer stage. And while Pulisic has shown unparalleled potential at every step of his career thus far, since the EPL's post-quarantine restart, he seems to have fully hit his stride: earning three goals and a beautiful assist in 7 matches. ESPN's Sam Borden explains why Pulisic's signing with Chelsea was so unique, and how his talent combined with soccer's global reach could one day make him the biggest American sports star worldwide. Then, Bill Barnwell discusses how the deadline for Dak Prescott to sign a contract extension with the Dallas Cowboys came and went....without a new deal for Dak
Jul. 15: MLB's Black Voices and the Exile of Oakland A's Bruce MaxwellIn the fall of 2017, Oakland A's catcher Bruce Maxwell was the only MLB player to kneel in protest of racial injustice, in support of Colin Kaepernick. Maxwell was not backed up by his teammates, or by MLB at large. A high-profile encounter with police further complicated Maxwell's career, and he wound up leaving MLB. Now, the killing of George Floyd has led. Black players to organize in a whole new way, while Maxwell remains apart. Howard Bryant shares Maxwell's story, the history of Black player voices in baseball, and today's Players Alliance.
Jul. 14: Inside Washington's Name ChangeIt's official: after 87 years, the NFL team from our nation's capital will be getting a new name. Many have felt the change was long overdue, but team owner Dan Snyder has always staunchly resisted the possibility. ESPN NFL reporter John Keim explains why this time the franchise finally decided to move on from the name, along with reactions from players and fans, and what it may mean for other teams with Native American nicknames.
Jul. 13: What Life is Really Like in the NBA BubbleAs NBA players report to the league's clean site in Orlando, they are entering a whole new world of isolated life in a Disney resort. There's the daily coronavirus testing and constant monitoring of health data just to be allowed to move around. There are some strong opinions about the meals and accommodations. Plus, there are pool parties, bike rides, and fishing to fill the time between practices and workouts. How are the teams handling it? And will the bubble work to allow for actual basketball later this month? ESPN's Malika Andrews talks to us from her room in Orlando (where she's spending a LOT of time) to give a view from inside the bubble.
Jul. 9: Makur Maker on Why He Chose Howard UniversityFive-star basketball recruit Makur Maker shocked the sports world with his decision to commit to Howard University in Washington, DC. That makes him the highest profile prospect in recent memory to choose an HBCU. In his first interview since the announcement, Makur joins the show today to explain his historic decision and discuss its significance with Pablo Torre. Then, Howard coach Kenny Blakeney talks about how he's built the program at Howard, along with the landscape for athletics across HBCU programs.
Jul. 8: MLS is Back: Details on the Tournament, Bubble, and MoreMLS is back! The aptly titled MLS is Back Tournament kicks off tonight in Orlando, Florida at Disney World's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Despite FC Dallas being forced to pull out of the tournament after a rash of positive coronavirus tests, as well as the postponement of multiple matches, squads are set to square off in the Florida heat and humidity. ESPN's Taylor Twellman shares what life in the MLS bubble has been like so far: from training, anxiety around injury and COVID-19, to questionable sandwiches. Then, Taylor and Mina discuss the tournament format, and which teams are most primed to succeed.
Jul. 7: The Hero of Goodall ParkGoodall Park in Sanford, Maine is the type of ballpark that feels like sacred ground. Over its more than 100 years of history, Goodall Park has seen its fair share of iconic baseball moments, including a home run hit by Babe Ruth that locals swear went 700 feet. But in 2018, Goodall Park became famous for something else. During a Babe Ruth League baseball game, a woman drove her car onto the field in the midst of a psychotic episode, and a 68-year-old man, Douglas Parkhurst, was killed while trying to protect the young ballplayers. In the aftermath, Parkhurst was hailed as a savior: that is, until a 50-year-old secret came to light, raising questions about fate, redemption, and what it means to be a hero. Tom Junod joins Mina Kimes to share the incredible story of "The Hero of Goodall Park."
Jul 6: The Chess Grandmaster's Extreme Workout (Rebroadcast)Chess grandmasters need incredible amounts of brain power, and also extreme physical endurance, to take on their rivals. Major tournaments can run six hours a day, ten to twelve days in a row. Players might burn up to 6,000 calories and lose two pounds a day during these grueling matches. Today's chess world champions might train with two hours a day of running, swimming, or tennis, plus a strict diet. In a respin of one of our most popular episodes, ESPN's Aishwarya Kumar joins Mina Kimes to break down how top chess players meld mind and body.
Jul. 3: Movie Rudy vs. Actual Rudy (Rebroadcast)For today's show, a respin of one of our favorites. "Rudy" is a sports movie classic. And it defined the life of the actual man who inspired the story, Rudy Ruettiger, now in his 70s. Revered by many Notre Dame fans, Ruettiger is also plagued by critics over whether the movie exaggerated a plot point or two. ESPN's Ryan McGee spent time with the real Rudy to find out more, and he joins Mina Kimes to discuss what's fact and what's fiction, from Rudy's point of view.
Jul. 2: Keys to the NBA's RestartAs NBA rosters take shape, the league and its players inch closer to a restart in the "clean site" of Orlando, Florida. The NBA is addressing players' concerns around recent movements against racial and police injustice by painting "Black Lives Matter" on the courts, and many players are expected to kneel during the national anthem. As the league also finalizes its coronavirus testing protocol and rules for players participating in the clean site games, Pablo Torre breaks down the major concerns, as well as the strength of the teams. Then, Pablo and Mina share some exciting news about the future of this very podcast.
Jul. 1: MLB Restart: Everything You Need to Know About Spring Training 2.0Today is the day. After a more than a three month hiatus away from baseball, MLB players will report to their team facilities. There, they will first be tested for the coronavirus, as baseball makes its first steps toward playing a 2020 season. But questions remain about how the restart will play out. Considering baseball has eschewed the "bubble" plan to play in teams' home stadiums across the country, how are players working to prevent an outbreak? What will spring training 2.0 (a.k.a. "summer camp") look like? How will the necessary rule changes affect the product on the field? And what could bring it all to a screeching halt? Jesse Rogers provides the answers to these questions, and more. Then, Joon Lee explains that baseball's recent focus on analytics has also led to an increase in white male Ivy League graduates being hired in front offices.
Jun. 30: How Will Cam Newton Make the Patriots Better?Former Panthers QB Cam Newton is signing with the New England Patriots. Yes, you continue to read that correctly. After a quiet offseason for New England, many believed the Pats were sticking by their QB, Jarrett Stidham, thus leaving the AFC East wide open. But now that Newton is en route to Foxborough, many factors point to this being a match made in football heaven. Bill Barnwell discusses Cam's strengths as a QB and what he'll bring to the Patriots' existing squad.
Jun. 29: Sue Bird on the WNBA's Plan for the 2020 SeasonAfter winning three WNBA championships, two NCAA championships, and four Olympic gold medals, Sue Bird has seen it all in basketball. But. as she gets ready for her 19th season in the WNBA, Bird and the rest of the league are preparing for a season unlike any ever played before. After delaying opening tip-off by more than two months, the WNBA is combating the coronavirus pandemic by playing the 2020 season at a "clean site" in Bradenton, FL. Add that to the increased focus by players on social justice causes and a new CBA signed this offseason, and it's no wonder why this is shaping up to be a historic year for the WNBA. The Seattle Storm guard joins the show to discuss how the league and its players came to an agreement, the impact of their new CBA, and how the WNBA has evolved over the course of her epic career.
Jun. 26: Behind the Scenes of LeBron's "Decision"Ten years ago, on live television, LeBron James made his now infamous decision to leave Cleveland and "take his talents to South Beach." It was one of the most consequential, most awkward, and most divisive moments in sports media history. The long, drawn-out broadcast drew ire from Cavaliers fans - who felt their homegrown star had betrayed them - and also from casual observers who disliked the idea of an athlete wielding that level of influence. So how did "The Decision" actually come to be? Ahead of this Sunday's new episode of "Backstory," Don Van Natta takes us behind the production, introduces its key players, and examines how the event forever changed the way NBA stars interact with the public.
Jun. 25: College Football's Winding Path for 2020College football faces a unique challenge to return. With hundreds of schools and thousands of players, there's no centralized "bubble" possible or even any centralized guidelines or decisions. At college programs throughout the country, schools are presenting players with waivers to sign that they accept the risks of training and playing amid the pandemic, while teams are seeing more and more positive tests for the coronavirus. Spencer Hall explains the variety of approaches and impacts we are seeing already, and how players are finding their voices on the return to play, just as they have in recent weeks around other social issues.
Jun. 24: X Games at 25: Tony Hawk on His Skate CareerIn skateboarding, one name still stands out above the rest: Tony Hawk. Hawk's career made him a superstar and brought newfound popularity to the sport in the 1990s. When the X Games started, it was a big change for the skate world, and Hawk was part of that evolution. On the 25th anniversary of the X Games, Tony Hawk chats with Mina Kimes about his skating career, landing his historic 900 at the X Games, and the future of his sport.
Jun. 23: NASCAR's Response to RacismNASCAR is fighting to abolish racism from its culture, and its only full-time Black driver, Bubba Wallace, is at the forefront of that change - as well as the backlash against it. On Monday, drivers pushed Wallace's car to the start line together, after a noose was reportedly found in his garage at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. Wallace was the driving force in NASCAR's recent ban of the Confederate flag, Ryan McGee gives us the latest on NASCAR's response to the racist act in its garage, and Bubba Wallace's career in racing. Then, former global soccer star Thomas Beattie shares his decision to come out as gay after decades of pressure related to his commitment to the sport.
Jun. 22: What Will It Take to Save the 2020 Baseball Season?Negotiations between MLB and the players picked up last week, with both sides swapping proposals. The latest plan from the league is in the hands of the players, but we haven't seen a vote yet. On Sunday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred sent a letter to MLBPA director Tony Clark with additional concessions. Meanwhile, a flurry of positive coronavirus tests further complicates matters. So...no vote. Is there still time left in the proposed calendar to play 60 (or more) games? Jeff Passan updates us on where talks go from here, how the latest COVID-19 outbreaks have impacted things, and how sustained animosity around labor issues has factored into all of it.
Jun. 19: After the Storm: Marquise and Morgan Goodwin's Journey Through Loss, Hope, and ParenthoodOn the field, NFL wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is known for his game-breaking speed. The new Philadelphia Eagle is not only one of the fastest players in the NFL, but also a former Olympian in the long jump. What's less known, is that Marquise and his wife Morgan work as advocates for parents who have suffered the loss of an infant. It's work that is rooted in the Goodwins' own personal journey, one which they've shared with rare openness. Dave Fleming joins the show to reflect on the Goodwins' story, which is also featured on this Sunday'e episode of E:60, and explains how it ultimately became a story of hope.
Jun. 18: WNBA Star Maya Moore Left the Game for JusticeMaya Moore was a WNBA superstar with multiple championships, Olympic gold medals and pretty much every achievement in the sport to her name...when she walked away from the game in 2019. Her reasons were mysterious at the time, but Moore's focus became clear: to free a man from prison who she believes has been wrongfully convicted. ESPN's Katie Barnes tells us about Moore's impact on the case, what it means for a player of her talent to have left basketball, and how her activism ties to the current moment around sports and social justice.
Jun. 17: Roger Bennett (Men In Blazers) on the return of the Premier LeagueThe world's most popular sports league, the English Premier League, returns to action Wednesday, and who better to join ESPN Daily on this occasion than an original member of suboptimal radio, Men In Blazers' Roger Bennett? Roger and Mina discuss Liverpool's remarkable season thus far in their quest to win their first league championship in 30 years. The two also explore the slew of health and safety protocols that have been put in place for the Premier League to return to action, as well as the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that are expected across the matches in England. And in this mad dash to finish the season, who will qualify for Champions League and Europa League? Is Son Hueng-min the greatest Korean soccer player ever or just the greatest soccer player ever? Rog has all the answers.
Jun. 16: Inside the Downfall of the XFLFour months ago, the XFL kicked off with hopes of becoming the league that would finally make spring football work. With big money backing them from WWE's Vince McMahon and veteran leadership from commissioner Oliver Luck, signs pointed to success. Then after just five weeks of play, the coronavirus forced the XFL and sports leagues everywhere to press pause. While other major sports are either on their way to resuming play or fighting out the details, the XFL decided to shutter its doors for good. What went wrong? ESPN's Kevin Seifert gives a behind-the-scenes look account of the XFL's downfall, and discusses whether it could have been saved.
Jun. 15: NBA Players Debate the BubbleWith approval from the players union, the NBA's plan for a 22-team restart in Orlando seemed like it was all systems go. Then, a group call surfaced deeper concerns from many players about health and safety protocol, and who would (or wouldn't) face restrictions on life in the Orlando "bubble." That conversation included discussion that a return to play would stall the momentum around the anti-racism movement that has accelerated since the killing of George Floyd. ESPN's Brian Windhorst breaks down what's happened along the path to basketball's comeback. We start the with the player side, then detail what we know about the NBA's plans for virus testing, logistics and other realities -- if a late July start stays on track.
Jun. 12: Long Gone Summer: Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa's 1998 Home Run ChaseIt's been 22 years since the summer that changed baseball forever. After the strike of '94 threatened to turn off an entire generation to the game, the tape measure theatrics of McGwire and Sosa made fans fall in love with the national pastime again. The latest 30 for 30, "Long Gone Summer," which premieres this Sunday, chronicles the 1998 chase between the two dueling sluggers...and their very different approaches to making history. Buster Olney reflects on what that summer meant for baseball, and how its perception has changed over the years as baseball's steroids problem came to light.
Jun. 11: Inside UFC's "Bubble" and Fight IslandFight Island. It's happening. UFC President Dana White first brought it up as a live event solution for the pandemic, and everyone's been curious. Where is this island? How will the fights work? This week, White announced that Fight Island debuts on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi this July. ESPN's Ariel Helwani explains just how it's going to work, and why it's worth it. Plus, how UFC got back up and running so much faster than other live sports, and the issues fighters are facing upon returning. Then, Ryan McGee on the significance of NASCAR's new Confederate flag ban.
Jun. 10: College Athletes Are Refusing to Stay SilentOver the past two weeks, America has seen countless professional athletes speak out about racial inequality and police brutality. But increasingly, it's not just the pros who are making their voices heard. College players are becoming more and more vocal about issues of injustice within their own programs, and across campuses as well. Former Missouri safety Ian Simon was a pioneer in many ways to the current movement: he explains how he and his football teammates helped to create change in leadership at Mizzou when they threatened to boycott and not take the field. Then, ESPN's David Hale discusses why college football players are responding in ways we've never seen before.
Jun. 9: Goodell's Apology, Colin Kaepernick, and the Shifting Perception of NFL ProtestsOn Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized for not listening to players' concerns about police brutality and systemic racism, as well as their right to protest these issues. Unmentioned during Goodell's apology was Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers QB whose protests during the national anthem in 2016 brought attention to issues of racial injustice...but also created a backlash from those who believes he was disrespecting the flag and the military. Kaepernick has remained unsigned since the 2016 season, leading many to believe he has been effectively exiled from the league. Flash forward to 2020: protests around the world echo Kaepernick's message...and now many NFL players want their voices heard. Could we see players kneel during the anthem this season? And will they meet a different reaction than Kaepernick did? ESPN's Domonique Foxworth reflects on the new balance of power between players, owners, and executives. Then, The Undefeated's Jerry Bembry discusses George Floyd's time as a high school two-sport athlete in Houston, and his athletic impact on the community.
Jun. 8: Which NBA Teams Will Succeed in the Return-To-Play Format?The NBA is finally set to return in July, and players and owners have agreed on a format for the comeback. But which teams actually stand to benefit from the standings, what's the fate of those facing play-in games, and where does the draft lottery come into play? ESPN basketball insider Zach Lowe (and host of "The Lowe Post" podcast) explains what's at stake in the East and West. Plus, which bubble teams could make it in, and whether this year's NBA champion deserves an asterisk due to the weirdness of the season.
Jun. 5: Athletes, Anger and Activism: How George Floyd Has Changed SportsThe death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer has spurred an outpouring of grief and anger across the sports world...and incited a conversation about race, power and privilege. Comments made by Drew Brees and others have been met with backlash from athletes, and the players everywhere are demanding their voices be heard. Bomani Jones joins the show to discuss a week in sports that felt historic, even if few games were actually played. Then, ESPN basketball reporter and Minneapolis native Myron Medcalf reflects on the devastation in his hometown.
Jun. 4: The MLB Hall of Famer Who Shepherds Families Through GriefMajor League Baseball superstar Andre Dawson was known as "The Hawk" in a stellar 21-season career with the Expos, Cubs and more. But, Dawson didn't know what life after pro ball would look like. Today, the Hall of Famer - who brought legions of fans to their feet in his day - owns and operates a funeral home in Florida. It's an unexpected turn for a famous athlete, but get to know him - as ESPN's Peter Keating did - and you see how Dawson's unflagging spirit on the field translates to a life shepherding families through grief. Keating tells us about Dawson's work, including what it's like to bury members of his community amid the pandemic.
Jun. 3: Dak Prescott's Future With the CowboysBy many measures, quarterback Dak Prescott holds the keys for the Dallas Cowboys' success in the 2020 season. As of right now, he still doesn't have a contract extension. ESPN NFL insider Bill Barnwell calls the situation between Prescott and his team the "highest-stakes game of chicken in NFL history." He joins Mina Kimes to explain why Prescott has been a salary bargain compared to peers like Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, and what it'll take for the Cowboys to get a deal done. Then, NFL linebacker Brandon Marshall discusses why he protested police violence and racial inequality alongside Colin Kaepernick in 2016, and what's changed since then.
Jun. 2: MLB's Next Steps and Minor League CrisisIn recent days, the prospects for Major League Baseball's return in 2020 had looked increasingly shaky. MLB's plan to return to baseball was rejected by the players, and MLBPA's counter-proposal was met with equal skepticism by the owners. But yesterday, there appeared to be at least some reason for hope, as sources say MLB is willing to pay players their full prorated salaries...if the players agree to a much shorter schedule. ESPN's Jeff Passan weighs in on the latest in the negotiations, and tells us whether the players are likely to buy in to playing baseball for what could be just a 50-game regular season. Then, Jeff talks about the fate of the minor leagues, as hundreds of players have lost their jobs ahead of a potentially canceled season.
Jun. 1: A Minnesota Head Coach Listens on RaceProtests that began in the Twin Cities over the killing of George Floyd continue to spread and intensify across the United States and beyond. We're joined by Ryan Saunders, head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 34-year-old Minnesota native grew up in the world of basketball, as son of the late Minnesota college and NBA coach Flip Saunders. The young coach has made public statements in recent days about the need for white sports figures, like himself, to speak out in support of black colleagues and communities of color. He shares what he's learned as he's listened to his team's thoughts and experiences on race, violence and policing, as well as the work that lies ahead.
May 29: Imperfect: The Roy Halladay StoryFormer Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay made baseball history in 2010, pitching the 20th perfect game in MLB history. But behind his on-field success, Halladay struggled with addiction, depression and anxiety before his fatal plane crash in 2017. Ahead of tonight's E:60 on Halladay, "Imperfect: The Roy Halladay Story," ESPN's John Barr discusses his months of in-depth reporting for the piece, time spent with Halladay's family, and the gap between public perception of the pitcher and his private struggles.
May 28: Josh Allen and the Bills: AFC East Favorites?!The Buffalo Bills have long stood in the looming shadow of their AFC East rivals, the New England Patriots. But now, with Tom Brady departed for Tampa Bay, the division is up for grabs for the first time in nearly a decade. For the Bills, it all comes down to third year quarterback Josh Allen, who's earned his fair share of admirers and skeptics in an up-and-down career thus far. ESPN Bills reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques assesses Allen's strength and weaknesses, and explains how Allen's improvements could mean this is the season Bills fans have been dreaming of.
May 27: NBA: The Latest on a RestartThe NBA, team general mangers and the league's players seem close to agreement on a plan to restart the 2019-20 season. GMs have met virtually and filled out a survey on different options and formats for basketball's comeback. Players have been in lengthy calls with each other and their union leader, who says a vote won't be necessary. NBA insider Ramona Shelburne brings us the latest on the NBA's potential comeback scenario, how an Orlando-based plan came together, and which teams could benefit most from this version of a restart.
May 26: Murder-for-Hire, an Unmarked Grave, and the Boxing Coach Who Faked His Own DeathRamon Sosa was a beloved boxing coach based in Houston. He ran a gym with his wife and served as a mentor to many young fighters. So how did he end up in the middle of nowhere, lying at the bottom of an unmarked grave, and live to tell the tale? ESPN's Tisha Thompson shares a wild story of murder-for-hire, secret recordings and the staged death that uncovered it all.
May 25: LANCE: What the New Film Reveals About ArmstrongA 7-time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor advocate, Lance Armstrong's fame skyrocketed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Then, it plummeted when he admitted to doping and to lying about it. In the new 30 for 30 film "LANCE," director Marina Zenovich explores Armstrong's own story of what happened, alongside accounts from teammates, journalists and those close to him. Zenovich tells Mina Kimes what it was like to conduct hours of interviews with Armstrong, and how the film aims for new territory around his very public rise and fall.
May 22: Scott Van Pelt on Tiger/Peyton vs. Phil/TomChampions collide this weekend as golf legend Tiger Woods and Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning tee off against golf legend Phil Mickelson and...Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady. ESPN's own golf expert Scott Van Pelt breaks down "The Match: Champions for Charity," which will raise over $10 million for coronavirus relief efforts. Van Pelt discusses how he believes The Match's competitors will fare, as well as the PGA's plans to bring golf back soon. Then, Mina chats with 2020 Madden Bowl winner Raidel "Joke" Brito on how his no-passing strategy paid off.
May 21: 2020 NFL Offseason Winners and LosersPretty much all of the big moves are in the books for the NFL offseason. Brady and Gronk now call Tampa Bay home. DeAndre Hopkins' trade to the Arizona Cardinals continues to baffle fans and experts. Teams like Carolina and Jacksonville seem to be starting their rebuilds. ESPN's NFL guru Bill Barnwell ranks all NFL teams by which ones made the most of this offseason, and which ones' moves left fans scratching their heads.
May 20: Falcons TE Hayden Hurst Opens up About Depression and Attempted SuicideAtlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst played competitive sports for his entire life. But in January 2016, after a season of college football, he tried to take his own life. Since getting professional help and support, he's been open about his struggles with anxiety and depression, and stays active in decreasing the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Hurst joins the show to discuss his demons and how he's committed to helping others, as part of Mental Health Awareness Month.
May 19: Paul Finebaum on College Football's Road to ReturnCollege football has a different path to return than pro sports. It's hard to say where hundreds of academic institutions with thousands of players will be in a few weeks, much less by autumn. The NCAA isn't like, say, the NFL or MLB in terms of its power or say-so over college sports. Paul Finebaum joins the show to discuss the many obstacles, options and high stakes for this college football season. Would players return, even if the general student body isn't back on campus? Would some conferences start, even if other teams remain under "safer at home" orders? What's the financial risk of a short season, or none at all? Then, European soccer correspondent Gab Marcotti weighs in on the return of Germany's Bundesliga.
May 18: Where Michael Jordan's Coming FromMichael Jordan's legendary drive and relentless work ethic inspired conversation throughout all ten episodes of "The Last Dance." But how, when and where was MJ molded into His Airness? Wright Thompson, who's spent time with Jordan and wrote a definitive profile for ESPN, recently looked for answers in Michael's family history, in the history of his hometown of Wilmington, NC, to find how those roots have informed his path to greatness.Check out ESPN Daily's full "The Last Dance" Jordan Collection here: bit.ly/DailyLastDance
May 15: Jalen Rose on Jordan's Last Dance1998's NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers took the Bulls to their first Game 7 since 1992. Former Pacers player Jalen Rose recalls what it was like to play against Michael Jordan at the twilight of his career, and why Rose considers MJ to be the G.O.A.T. Then, Dave Fleming tells the story of what might be the most devastating trash talk one liner in NBA history, courtesy of Scottie Pippen.
May 14: UFC's Walt Harris and His Quest for JusticeUFC heavyweight contender Walt Harris faces Alistair Overeem in the main event of this weekend's UFC Fight Night. It's a fight that was originally supposed to take place this past December, until Harris was forced to pull out of the fight for the most difficult reason imaginable. Last year, Harris and his family were gripped by tragedy: the disappearance and homicide of his stepdaughter, Aniah. Tom Rinaldi discusses his in-depth reporting on Harris's career as a fighter, and his recent quest for justice. Then, legal analyst Ryan Smith provides an update on Zion Williamson's case, and explains why he's been asked to admit that his family accepted gifts and money from Nike, Adidas, and Duke.
May 13: Can NASCAR's Restart Help It Turn a Corner?As live sports tiptoe their way back, there's one revving up this weekend that could uniquely benefit: NASCAR. This Sunday, Darlington, South Carolina plays host to NASCAR's first actual-cars race since the shutdown began. Could this 11-race experiment be a cure for NASCAR's declining audience and ratings? It'll be sans fans, with stripped-down crews, and broadcast live. ESPN's Ryan McGee breaks down the challenges in this mid-pandemic return, and why NASCAR needs to race back into live events more than just about anyone.
May 12: MLB's Plan to Save the 2020 SeasonBaseball could be on its way back. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is ready to present the players with an owner-approved proposal on how to play a partial 2020 season, with some additional stipulations. Jeff Passan explains how it's all going to work, and gives an update on timing, revenue split, the use of home stadiums, and more logistics. Then, Passan chats with Minnesota Twins star OF Nelson Cruz on how he's been waiting out the pandemic.
May 11: Would Michael Jordan Rule in Today's NBA?"Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time." It's a common sentiment, especially as "The Last Dance" docuseries gives a new showcase for MJ's dominance. But the naysayers remain. "Well, that was the 90s," you might hear, "and the league has changed." ESPN basketball analyst and writer Kirk Goldsberry (admittedly in the Jordan G.O.A.T. camp) brings big data to the argument. He details how Jordan would stack up on shooting, defense, and other aspects of today's game. And he argues that while today's stars (LeBron?) have amazing talent, Jordan basically invented the modern NBA.
May 8: Michael Jordan's Brief, Strange Life in BaseballIn the midst of becoming the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan retired from the NBA and set his sights on baseball. The reason? To pay homage to his recently slain father. Jordan training with the White Sox and joining the minor leagues created major media buzz, as ball players and fans criticized the move. ESPN senior writer Steve Wulf was with Sports Illustrated at the time, and his 1994 coverage of Jordan's foray into baseball made news of its own, as it angered MJ himself. Wulf tells us about Michael's efforts to succeed with the Double-A Birmingham Barons, and how Jordan may have been closer than we know to being called up to bigs, had he not returned to basketball.
May 7: The Patriots' Quarterback QuestionWith Tom Brady leaving the Patriots for the Buccaneers, a void has been left in New England at quarterback. Both free agency and the NFL Draft came and went without the Patriots adding another QB option, making it appear that head coach Bill Belichick is leaving the team's offense in the hands of last year's backup, Jarrett Stidham...who's completed just two passes in his short NFL career. Patriots reporter Mike Reiss revisits the situation surrounding Brady's departure and explains why the Pats think Stidham is their man.
May 6: A New Path to the NBA: Woj on the G League's ProgramTop basketball prospects have followed the same path for years: high school, one year of college, and then the NBA. But now, the NBA is disrupting the traditional one-and-done model. Today, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski tells us about a new option for players: the NBA G League Professional Pathway Program, and examines why the NBA launched it in the middle of a pandemic. Woj weighs the pros and cons of the program for elite NBA talent, and explains how its success might be determined by high profile entrants like top 2020 prospect Jalen Green.
May 5: The Secret History of the Korean Bat FlipBaseball is back! Well...in South Korea, where the KBO has started its season, with games broadcast live on ESPN. No fans are in attendance, but Korean baseball energy is very much about the audience, performance and celebration. That includes big-time bat flips. Our own Mina Kimes got to the bottom of how a taboo in MLB became a signature of KBO play. In a switcheroo, Pablo Torre asks Mina about her travels to Korea to investigate how bat flipping became part of their game, tied to the bigger history of the sport abroad.
May 4: Michael Jordan, Race and Activism: "Republicans Buy Sneakers, Too""Republicans buy sneakers too." It's considered by many as Michael Jordan's most infamous quote, a jab that showed how his commercial interests stacked up against politics or social and racial justice. Episode 5 of "The Last Dance" docuseries focuses on Jordan's history and legacy around these issues, with MJ confirming he did indeed say those cutting words. Jesse Washington wrote about the origins and ripple effects of Jordan's comments for The Undefeated, and today he shares his reporting. Plus, Justin Tinsley shares a personal story of watching Jordan's last championship, and the end of a family era.
May 1: Alex Smith on His Life Threatening InjuryIt was one of the most gruesome injuries in NFL history. On November 18, 2018, Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith suffered a compound fracture to his right leg, which became dangerously infected. The injury would threaten to cost Smith his leg, and potentially, even his life. Ahead of tonight's E:60 episode, "Project 11," which documents Smith's ordeal, the former No. 1 overall pick reflects on the injury, his recovery, and his desire to return to football. In addition, ESPN reporter Stephania Bell analyzes how Smiths injury turned life threatening.
Apr. 30: New Norm; Ricky Williams and Marijuana Policy in SportsMarijuana use by athletes used to be considered taboo, and punishments for violating drug policies were severe. But now, as laws and attitudes around the country change, leagues are adjusting their rules. Former NFL RB Ricky Williams recounts how his marijuana use once dominated football headlines, and assesses the NFL's changes to the league's policy in the new CBA. Then, ESPN's Emily Kaplan breaks down the marijuana policy reforms across pro sports.
Apr. 29: The Mystery of Baseball Star Don Mattingly's BirthdayCollecting baseball cards is a cherished pastime. ESPN baseball writer Sam Miller first got hooked on the game by studying the backs of cards growing up. And when he learned about a Don Mattingly card with a curious factoid on Mattingly's alleged birth year, Miller began a quest to uncover the truth. When was the former Yankees star first baseman born? And did this one baseball card have the inside scoop, or a crucial error? Miller tells us how he solved the mystery of Mattingly's real birth date.
Apr. 28: Is the Clock Ticking on Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay?When the Green Bay Packers selected Utah State QB Jordan Love late in the first round of this year's NFL Draft, the pick sent shockwaves throughout the league. The Packers current signal caller, Aaron Rodgers, is under contract for several years, and is destined for enshrinement in Canton. But that's not unusual in Green Bay. When Rodgers was drafted in 2005, the Packers already had the legendary Brett Favre at the helm. Is history doomed to repeat itself? ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovsky examines why the Love pick was so surprising, and what it means for Green Bay's future.
Apr. 27: Inside Dennis Rodman's Wild 90sDennis Rodman. Loved and hated by basketball and pop culture fans alike, he's known for his off-court antics perhaps more than his success with the Chicago Bulls. ESPN's Tim Keown got a super up-close view when he helped write Rodman's 1996 autobiography, "Bad as I Wanna Be." As the Rodman-focused installment of the docuseries "The Last Dance" debuts, Keown tells the story of his weeks living with Rodman, and what he learned.Round one of the 2020 NFL Draft is in the books! The virtual draft made us extremely familiar with Commissioner Roger Goodell's basement, and quarterbacks like Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa have found new homes in Cincinnati and Miami, respectively. Mike Golic Jr. reacts to all of the standout moments from the first night.
Apr. 22: Tiger King: Joe Burrow's Journey to the Bengals"With the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select...Joe Burrow, quarterback, LSU." It's a sentence we'll most likely hear this Thursday night. What kind of pressure -- and team -- is Cincy about to thrust upon the Heisman Trophy-winning star? ESPN's Ben Baby digs deep into Burrow's football story to find out. Plus, he sets the scene in Ohio, where a long history of disappointment has left Bengals fans hungry for success.
Apr. 21: Jerry Jeudy's Road to the NFL DraftPoised to be the No. 1 wide receiver picked in this year's NFL Draft, Alabama's Jerry Jeudy is sought after for his speed and explosiveness. He has also endured family tragedy alongside football success. Following the loss of his 7-year-old sister, Jeudy became a college star, and is now preparing to enter the NFL. Ahead of Thursday's first round, ESPN's Liz Merrill shares Jeudy's story.
Apr. 20: ESPN Daily's 2020 NFL Draft PreviewWith live competitions mostly canceled, the 2020 NFL Draft is not only happening this Thursday, but it's rallying the sports world in an even bigger way than usual. We'll find out where prospects like QBs Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, and Jordan Love will land, and we'll see a whole new approach as draft prospects work from home like so many of us. ESPN analyst (and pumpkin-pie-for-breakfast lover) Mel Kiper Jr. has covered the draft for decades. He breaks down this year's draft class, explains which teams could actually benefit from a remote draft, and how it could all go down.
Apr. 17: Michael Wilbon on Michael Jordan and "The Last Dance"ESPN's Michael Wilbon covered Michael Jordan for much of the legendary player's career. As a Chicago fan and native, Wilbon is anticipating this Sunday's premiere of the 10-part Jordan documentary, "The Last Dance," more than just about anybody. The series zooms in on the iconic 1997-98 Chicago Bulls and the quest for another championship, even as key relationships falter. It also chronicles Jordan's rise to greatness and unassailable legacy. Wilbon shares his personal memories of MJ, what the docuseries means to him, and how he sees Jordan's career in its totality.
Apr. 16: Sabrina Ionescu on Her Next MoveBasketball superstar Sabrina Ionescu joins Mina Kimes to reflect on her history-making career at Oregon, her run at a college championship cut short, and how joining the WNBA will be unlike anything she's experienced. In Friday's WNBA Draft, a bright spot amid the live sports shutdown, Ionescu is the top prospect and is expected to join the New York Liberty. Hear how she's preparing for her pro career and training during this time. Plus, a look at the biggest stories in the draft overall, and what the season - whenever it starts - might hold.
Apr. 15: The Day Baseball Stood Still for Clayton KershawESPN's Wright Thompson was set to profile Clayton Kershaw ahead of the 2020 season, with a focus on Kershaw and the Dodgers recovering from their 2019 postseason collapse. They spent the day together just as spring training got shut down, and Thompson witnessed firsthand as Kershaw reacted to the news that MLB would delay its season. Thompson tells the story of Kershaw's fate in baseball through the lens of what this stalled time means for his life and legacy.
Apr. 14: Gambling on Sports When Sports Are Shut DownUkrainian table tennis. League of Legends. Madden computer simulations. These were not the options you were expecting to see on your gambling apps come springtime. But since all major sports were shut down in mid-March, sportsbooks in the U.S. and offshore are seeing a wide array of unconventional betting lines serve their starved clientele. "Daily Wager" host Doug Kezirian joins the show to tell us about the stranger sports gambling options being offered, as well as the heightened interest in the NFL Draft, and the impact of a live sports hiatus on the industry as a whole.
Apr. 13: Michael and Bruce Buffer: How the Most Famous Voices in Fighting Found Each OtherYou've probably heard boxing announcer Michael Buffer's rumbling catchphrase at every major boxing match. And if you haven't heard announcer Bruce Buffer's signature UFC fight night line, well...it's time. But you might not have heard how the most famous voices in fighting found out they were brothers, much later in life. Devin Gordon joins the show to trace the careers of both Michael and Bruce, how they met, and the story of the successful business they built together.
Apr 10: Vinsanity: Is This How Vince Carter's Epic Career Ends?The suspension of the 2019-2020 NBA season not only means no games for the time being, but also potentially the end of the longest career in league history. Vince Carter was in the midst of his 22nd, and final, season. ESPN Columnist and NBA Analyst Jackie MacMullan joins us to take us through 22 seasons of "Vinsanity."
Apr. 9: Finding Darko Milicic: Life After His NBA BustDarko Milicic was the second pick in the 2003 NBA Draft...and maybe the biggest bust in basketball history. After leaving the pros in 2012, Darko started a new life in Serbia that's almost completely free from basketball. ESPN's Sam Borden joins the show to tell the story of Darko's transformation from legendary bust and party guy to apple orchard-owning family man.
Apr. 8: What's Not to Love? Sizing Up Utah State QB Jordan LoveJordan Love is one of the most divisive QBs entering this year's NFL Draft. He's known for his deep passes on the run...as well as his numerous interceptions. Fans and critics alike are curious to see if Love will live up to his potential, or if his flaws as a player will prove too big to ignore. ESPN's Tim Keown joins the show to explore Love's football prowess, as well as his complicated past.
Apr. 7: MLB Has Plan to Play in May & Lessons from Korean BaseballSources tell ESPN Senior MLB Insider Jeff Passan that Major League Baseball has a plan to resume in May, gathering all teams and isolating them in Arizona to minimize coronavirus risk. Hear the story of how that might work, and who's on board. Then, a firsthand look at how baseball has returned to South Korea. Scrimmages there are leading up to preseason games slated for later this month. Jeff Passan talks to pitcher Dan Straily, formerly of MLB, now of the Korean Baseball Organization's Lotte Giants, to detail the precautions his team is taking to keep their season on track amidst the pandemic.
Apr. 6: 2020 NCAA Championships: If OnlyWhat if champions of men's and women's college basketball were somehow able to be crowned in 2020? The NCAA canceled both tournaments due to COVID-19. If you can't help but wonder what "might" have happened, we have you covered. FiveThirtyEight's Neil Paine shares results from the data-crunching site's highly precise tournament simulations. And ESPN's Myron Medcalf gets to dream about who should hold the title from the men's and women's brackets this year.
Apr. 3: The Show Must Go On: Wrestlemania Is Still HappeningNo sports during quarantine? WWE begs to differ. It's broadcasting Wrestlemania 36 this weekend -- after recording it on a restricted set -- with no audience. How did WWE pull this off, and why does Wrestlemania seem to be such a touchstone in this moment? ESPN's Greg Wyshynski steps out of the crease and into the ring to talk about how and why WWE is carrying on through the crisis.
Apr. 2: Big Lessons of NFL OffseasonTom Brady is a Buccaneer. DeAndre Hopkins is a Cardinal. And Cam Newton is still looking for a new home. NFL free agency in 2020 has been a wild ride so far, all while the uncertainty of this sports hiatus plays out in the background. ESPN NFL Insider Bill Barnwell joins the show to discuss how the coronavirus pandemic has affected team decisions in the offseason, and the successes and failures in team deals so far.
Apr. 1: ESPN Daily - The Essentials: The Fire That Saved the PackersThe Green Bay Packers are seen as one of the NFL's most traditional franchises. Their midwestern, mom-and-pop approach to running the team sets them apart in today's cynical times. But did that reputation rise from the ashes of arson? Today, ESPN Senior Writer Dave Fleming tells a tale of a mysterious blaze that helped the Packers survive potential extinction.
Mar. 31: UFC Champion Jon Jones Faces His DemonsHe's been called the best fighter of all time, but UFC champion Jon Jones is in trouble again. Arrested on charges of drunk driving and negligent use of a firearm, the light heavyweight is far from the media-friendly image many hoped he'd bring to UFC. ESPN's Ariel Helwani dives deep on Jones' career, controversies and how good he could be for mixed martial arts if he'd stay out of his own way.
Mar. 30: What Trevor Bauer Really Thinks About MLBWe should be in the first week of baseball season, but...try not to think about that. Instead, ponder the future with Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer and ESPN baseball insider Jeff Passan. On the heels of MLB's hiatus deal with players around pay, service time and other issues, hear how it sets up the 2021 collective bargaining agreement. Plus, Bauer gets into the issues with training during all this uncertainty, whether baseball is too slow, and the sport's need for a media makeover.
Mar. 27: Rex Chapman: The Content We're Here ForYou might know Rex Chapman as a social media star, the guy who shares "Block or Charge" memes with his 600,000 followers. He's also THAT Rex Chapman, a college basketball superstar for Kentucky and NBA great. And he's yet another Rex Chapman, one who's struggled with addiction and gambling behind the scenes. ESPN's Ryan McGee got to know the many sides of Chapman in an extended profile for E:60, and traces his journey in sports, media and life.
Mar. 26: Was the "Battle of the Sexes" a Racket?The "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs is one of the most iconic moments in American sports history. Set against the backdrop of the women's liberation movement, King's 1973 victory over Riggs transcended sports. But a news tip from an unexpected source, 40 years later, sent ESPN's Don Van Natta Jr. down a path that led him to investigate whether the match was rigged. Van Natta details his reporting on the lead-up to The Battle of the Sexes, and how Riggs' own agenda may have impacted the historic outcome.
Mar. 25: Can Esports Seize the Moment?While pro sports leagues remain on hold, esports (aka competitive video gaming) faces some similar obstacles. Leagues have canceled live events, team practice and more. But esports has also managed a pivot. It's put global operations and matches entirely online for players, leagues and millions of fans worldwide. While esports has struggled to break through to the more mainstream sports audience, this could be a moment of growth for the industry. ESPN's Tyler Erzberger explains how esports has responded to the pandemic, and how it might seize an opportunity with pro athletes, celebrities and fans stuck inside.
Mar. 24: Pro Basketball's Return in ChinaWhile most of the sports world remains on hiatus, China could restart live basketball in a matter of weeks. What would allow that to happen safely? And what will it take to bring pro sports back across the rest of the world? ESPN's Jonathan Givony joins the show to explain the timeline, stakes, and challenges that basketball faces, and how it's all being handled in leagues overseas. Plus, how the coronavirus will impact the upcoming NBA Draft.
Mar. 23: The Running Back's StruggleWe just saw 2017 Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley released by the LA Rams, and former Chargers star running back Melvin Gordon found a new home in Denver. Behind that shakeup is growing evidence that the role of running backs in the NFL is changing. A renewed focus on pass-heavy offenses, among other factors, is shifting the weight given to the position. FiveThirtyEight's Josh Hermsmeyer outlines the current landscape for running backs, from all angles.
Mar. 20: The Italian Scout: Baseball and the Center of the PandemicMajor League Baseball's season went on indefinite hiatus last week in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In parts of the world beyond the US, that chaos had already brought life and work to a halt. ESPN's Jeff Passan brings us the story of René Saggiadi, a Red Sox scout based in the Italian city of Bari. As his country deals with increasing contagion, we hear what happens when life and baseball pause, and how he's staying connected to the sport he loves.
Mar. 19: Inside the US Soccer Equal Pay FightA two-time World Cup and Olympic soccer champion, US team alumna Julie Foudy gives a candid inside look at the battle over fair pay for female players. US Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro just resigned amidst controversy over sexist language in USSF's legal filings. Since filing that suit in March 2019, the USWNT won its fourth FIFA World Cup and continued its streak of global dominance. Foudy details what it's taken to move the case forward, while the team continues to play at a top level.
Mar. 18: Tom vs. Team: Why Brady is Moving OnTom Brady's early morning announcement that he's leaving New England echoed around the league all day Tuesday. But his breakup with the Patriots was a long time coming and when you look closely, the signs were there. ESPN Senior Writer Seth Wickersham shares the winding, tension-laden tale of Brady's departure, and sizes up what's next for Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
Mar. 17: NFL Free Agency Fireworks(Note: we published our show today before Tom Brady announced he's leaving the Patriots. More to come on that!)NFL free agency has kicked off with a bang, with the biggest deal so far sending Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals in return for RB David Johnson. Teams across the league have been using franchise tags on players, signing free agents and conducting trades throughout the past few days, getting even more attention than usual as most sports are suspended. ESPN's Bill Barnwell tracks the most dramatic storylines.
Mar. 16: Future of Football: NFL Players Vote and 2020 PlansWhile most sports are on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL got some certainty this week, with players voting to approve a new collective bargaining agreement. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith talks about the major points of the new deal. Then, ESPN NFL Insider Dan Graziano discusses how the league is responding to risks of COVID-19, and how the upcoming football schedule could change.
Mar. 13: Sports on Hiatus: The Economic FalloutMarch Madness has been canceled. The NBA, NHL, and MLB seasons are currently on hold. The entire sports world has essentially ground to a halt, in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. And while leagues, players, coaches, and fans will all be affected by the hiatus, so will thousands of behind the scenes workers who are critical to the sports industry. Adelaide Avila is a cashier at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings play, and joins the show to discuss how the lack of games will impact her. Then, sports economist Patrick Rishe explains just how far reaching the damage from the coronavirus will be to the wider sports world.
Mar. 12: Sports and COVID-19: NBA Suspends Season, What Happens Next?The NBA shocked the sports world Wednesday night, announcing the season would be suspended due to a player's positive test for coronavirus. ESPN's Tisha Thompson joins to discuss how the NBA reached that decision, and if other leagues will follow suit.
Mar. 11: Dodgers 2020: World Series or BustThe Los Angeles Dodgers need a championship in 2020. Nothing less will do. Even Mookie Betts says so, and with his arrival in L.A. the roster is more formidable than ever. After losing two World Series to the Red Sox and Astros - both teams embroiled in MLB's sign stealing scandal - and a string of appearances in the playoffs, the stakes have never felt higher. As the world watches to see if they'll finally bring home a title, ESPN's Jeff Passan sets the stage for this fired-up Dodgers team, and what could possibly stop them.
Mar. 9: Bye Bye, Brady? 2020 Options for New England's Star QBSince the Patriots got eliminated in the first round of this year's NFL playoffs, Tom Brady's future with the team has been a constant, looming question. Will he return to New England, where he's won six Super Bowls? Or will he head for a new destination like San Francisco or Las Vegas? ESPN's Bill Barnwell joins the show to break down the possibilities and their implications for Brady and the Patriots organization.
Mar. 6: Is Zion Living Up to the Hype for the Pelicans?Rookie Zion Williamson's return to the court came with a lot of excitement and hype. Bouncing back from injury, the Pelicans forward continues to show he can be an NBA star. But he and his team have a long way to go, as New Orleans sits at 12th in the Western Conference. Guest host Jason Fitz is joined by ESPN's Andrew Lopez to discuss Zion's impact so far and his future trajectory.
Mar. 5: Sho Time: Angels' Shohei Ohtani Returns to FormShohei Ohtani is one of the Angels' biggest stars, who, at the peak of his game, excels as both a pitcher and batter. Last season, Ohtani was only able to contribute at the plate, as his recovery from Tommy John surgery kept him off the mound. Will the 2020 season see Ohtani participate in both phases of the game, and why is that so unique in MLB? ESPN's Alden Gonzalez traces Ohtani's career and explains what makes him an exceptional talent.
Mar. 4: How Coronavirus Could Change the 2020 OlympicsCoronavirus, or COVID-19, has touched nearly every continent and industry since it broke out in China in December. Major sporting events have been canceled or rescheduled. Teams are playing matches to empty arenas, as officials aim to slow the spread of the disease. Japan is one of the leading countries infected, with big questions now swirling around the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. Could the Olympics be postponed, or even canceled? ESPN's Kelly Cohen walks us through what's known and what's not, from the International Olympic Committee and other sources.
Mar. 3: Is Jayson Tatum Boston's Next Superstar?Celtics power forward Jayson Tatum seems to be on track for NBA stardom this season, putting together a string of dominant performances. But, after a slow start in the league, can his explosive skills sustain? ESPN's Jackie MacMullan explains how and why Tatum has taken off.
Mar 2: Is Duke Done? A Season of NCAA Basketball SurprisesMen's college basketball is in a state of flux this season, with regular powerhouses like Duke suffering upsets and falling in the rankings, and names like Dayton and San Diego State showing up as contenders. Just a few weeks away from Selection Sunday, ESPN senior college basketball reporter Myron Medcalf breaks down the biggest stories and surprises in men's college basketball.
Feb 28: Pascal Siakam: The Raptors' New King of the NorthAfter the Raptors lost superstar Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers this off-season, the outlook for the reigning NBA champs was bleak. But fueled by the surprising performance of power forward Pascal Siakam, the Raptors currently sit at second place in the east. ESPN's Tim Bontemps explains how Siakam and the Raptors have managed to shrug off the loss of Kawhi and become unexpected contenders heading into the playoffs.
Feb 27: NFL and Players Negotiate: What's at StakeThe NFL owners have drafted a new labor agreement for players that adds a 17th game to the NFL season, expands the playoffs and raises player pay and other benefits. NFL Players Association representatives have now sent the CBA for a majority vote to all the union members. ESPN analyst and former NFLPA negotiator Domonique Foxworth joins the show to explain what's at stake, who's for the agreement and who's not, and what a 17th game means to both sides.
Feb 26: Manny Pacquiao's Next FightBoxing great Manny Pacquiao dominated the sport for years. Now, he's a senator in the Philippines, his home country, and could be gearing up for a presidential run there in 2022. So how did one of the most prolific boxers become a political leader? ESPN's Tim Keown joins the show to share his reporting from the Philippines and explain Pacquiao's rise.
Feb 25: The Myth of Quarterback Hand SizeThe NFL combine is in full swing, and scouts are focused on all types of metrics and measurements. Chief among them? Quarterback hand size. But how much do those digits really matter to a quarterback's success? ESPN's Dave Fleming joins the show for a hands-on discussion about this flawed measurement and its impact on the upcoming draft.Today, mourners gather at Staples Center in Los Angeles to honor Kobe and Gigi Bryant. The Lakers legend, 41, died in a helicopter crash last month, along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others. ESPN's Ramona Shelburne covered Kobe for almost all of his 20 years with the team. She shares what it's been like inside the Lakers organization since his death, with stories from longtime friends like general manager Rob Pelinka, and those more newly close to the Bryants, like LeBron James.
Feb 21: Astros Scandal: MLB's Nightmare ContinuesAs baseball's latest scandal continues to unfold, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and others are coming under more fire. Criticism has grown around whether the Houston Astros' players deserved more blame and punishment for the sign stealing scheme, and how much it helped the team win the 2017 World Series. ESPN's Buster Olney breaks down the latest developments, as 2019 champs the Nationals face the Astros in a spring training game this weekend.The NBA enters the home stretch after the All-Star Game. The Bucks boast the league's best record, and the Clippers are making moves to overtake the Lakers in the west. As the race to the playoffs begins, what's at stake for the rest of the year? Doris Burke breaks down some of the most intriguing storylines in basketball.
Feb. 19: Sabrina Ionescu Wants to Win the Whole Damn ThingUniversity of Oregon senior guard Sabrina Ionescu is a generational college basketball talent. She is the frontrunner for National Player of the Year, the projected No. 1 pick in April's WNBA Draft, and last week, became just the second player in NCAA basketball history - male or female - to record over 2,000 points and 1,000 assists. ESPN Senior Writer Liz Merrill joins us to discuss Ionescu's run of triple-doubles, her relationship with Kobe Bryant, and her ultimate quest to deliver the Ducks their first-ever NCAA women's basketball championship.
Feb. 18: Tua Tagovailoa's Recovery Shakes Up the NFL DraftTua Tagovailoa came into the college football season with Alabama as "most likely to be the next number one overall pick" in the NFL draft. Then came a season-ending hip injury. With reports that his recovery is on track, Tua enters the draft as a game-changing wild card. Ahead of this weekend's NFL combine, ESPN's Todd McShay breaks down Tua's history and weighs where he'll end up in April's draft.
Feb. 17: Myles Garrett: The Interview, Response, and FalloutCleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett sat down with Mina Kimes for an interview first broadcast on ESPN's "Outside the Lines." Speaking the day after he had been reinstated by the NFL, following indefinite suspension, it was the first time Garrett spoke publicly since his on-field altercation with Mason Rudolph. In November, Garrett struck the Steelers QB in the head with Rudolph's own helmet. Today, ESPN Daily offers an extended version of Garrett's interview. Then, Adam Schefter discusses the response to Garrett's remarks from Mason Rudolph, his coach Mike Tomlin, and the NFL.
Feb. 14: All-Star Bam Adebayo Heats Up MiamiMiami Heat center Bam Adebayo is having a breakout season. And it's happening quicker than most expected, just his third year in the NBA. ESPN's Zach Lowe explains what makes the first-time All-Star a remarkable talent on the court, and what's behind his incredible motivation off of it.
Feb. 13: Michael and Pele Bennett: Life of an NFL FamilyNFL defensive end Michael Bennett has been to three pro bowls and he's a Super Bowl champion. But after the wear and tear of 11 seasons in the league, the free agent is undecided on whether he wants to play again. Bennett and his wife, Pele, host the new podcast, "Mouthpeace." They join us to talk about how the physical realities of Michael's career have affected them, and how they and their daughters have navigated life in the NFL.
Feb. 12: How Baseball Chaos Will Impact 2020As pitchers and catchers assemble for spring training, the MLB continues to see fallout from the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal, from "Codebreaker" revelations to new hires. ESPN baseball insider Jeff Passan tells us how the 2020 baseball season will be affected, and also weighs in on other storylines around the league.
Feb. 11: What's Next for Veteran QBs Brady, Brees, And Rivers?Philip Rivers is officially ending his run with the Chargers and entering free agency. Fellow veteran QBs Tom Brady and Drew Brees are considering their options. The NFL quarterback market is filled with possibility, as the golden era of pocket passers may be ending - and the era of mobile quarterbacks just beginning. ESPN's Dan Graziano runs down the different destinies the elder statesmen of the NFL might be headed for this offseason.
Feb. 10: Will Ovechkin Outscore Hockey's Great One?The Capitals' Alex Ovechkin is close to joining an elite club in hockey, as just the eighth player in NHL history to score 700 goals. Ovi's had his stumbles, but he's on track to beat none other than Wayne Gretzky for the all-time scoring record. ESPN's Greg Wyshynski tells Mina Kimes how Ovechkin's durability, longevity, and high-scoring power have dazzled over time, and what it'll take for him to best The Great One's legendary record of 894 goals.As the XFL kicks off, this 2.0 incarnation hopes to stand in stark contrast to the 2001 football league that failed. ESPN's Kevin Seifert dives into the thinking behind the XFL. Before, it leaned on wacky theatrics. But the new version aims for much more serious fans. Plus, the XFL Tampa Bay Vipers' Aaron Murray breaks down the appeal of the league for players like him.
Feb. 6: Michael Vick: A Complex PathAfter being named a captain in this year's Pro Bowl, Michael Vick faced a new wave of criticism. Animal advocates and football fans alike point to Vick being sent to federal prison for his involvement in dogfighting. Between Vick's initial NFL run, his time served and his return to football following that sentence, he has a complicated story. Ahead of tonight's "30 for 30" documentary, ESPN's Bomani Jones explores the context of Vick's career, his ongoing path to redemption and what his legacy will be.Ja Morant is in the news for trading Twitter barbs as the NBA trade rumor mill runs amok. A shoe-in for Rookie of the Year, he's a growing presence in the league. And he's leading the surprisingly successful Memphis Grizzlies in a promising rebuild. ESPN's Tim MacMahon tells us how Morant almost got overlooked as a young player, and how his electrifying presence is lighting up Memphis.
Feb. 4: Talking Trades in the NBAAhead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline, rumors swirl about some of basketball's biggest names, causing fans and NBA Twitter to lose their minds. ESPN NBA senior writer Zach Lowe breaks down the buyers, sellers, and targets as the February 6 deadline draws near.
Feb 3: Kansas City, Comeback ChampionsThe Chiefs are Super Bowl LIV champions! NFL insider Bill Barnwell joins Mina Kimes to discuss how a pair of Damien Williams touchdowns and a fourth quarter defensive stand contributed to Kansas City's comeback Super Bowl win.
Jan. 31: Liberty City: How One Miami Neighborhood Spawned Legions of NFL PlayersAhead of Super Bowl weekend, Mina Kimes takes you to the local Miami neighborhood that has given rise to some of the most famous NFL players in recent history: Chad Johnson, TY Hilton, Antonio Brown and Teddy Bridgewater, just to name a few. Hometown heroes Bridgewater, Hilton and Johnson give their insights into this Florida football hotbed.
Jan. 30: Super Bowl LIV PreviewWith the Super Bowl looming, Mina Kimes and Domonique Foxworth are in South Beach tackling important questions about Sunday's game: Will Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense pick apart the Niners stalwart defense? Can Jimmy Garoppolo be trusted to lead San Francisco? And who will end up hoisting the Lombardi Trophy? Find these answers and more in ESPN Daily's Super Bowl Preview.
Jan. 29: Low-Key Super Coach Andy ReidChiefs head coach Andy Reid has been an NFL fixture for 20 years, and his homespun personality has inspired countless stories. There's the iconic punt-pass kick video from Andy's childhood, his legendary appetite, and the obsessive journals and coaching binders he keeps. ESPN's Dave Fleming chronicled legends of Big Red from around the league, and shares them with host Mina Kimes.
Jan. 28: Kyle Shanahan's Super Bowl ComebackThe 49ers' Kyle Shanahan is making his first Super Bowl appearance as a head coach. But he's been to the big game before, as the Falcons offensive coordinator when Atlanta infamously lost a 28-3 lead to a Patriots comeback. ESPN's Seth Wickersham explains how Shanahan can shake the ghosts of his football past.
Jan. 27: Kobe Bryant's Life and LegacyKobe Bryant's death shocked the world on Sunday. In the wake of the news, ESPN NBA insider Ramona Shelburne traveled to the site of the tragic helicopter crash, and to Kobe's Mamba Sports Academy. She joins Mina Kimes to reflect on the life, career, and legacy of this five-time NBA champion.
Jan. 24: Shortest NBA Career, EverJamesOn Curry holds a dubious record: shortest NBA career, ever. Just 3.9 seconds. And he didn't even touch the ball. How did Curry go from legendary high school superstar, to twists and turns and criminal setbacks, to his one shot on the court for the L.A. Clippers? The tale of his remarkably brief career holds bigger truths about life and basketball. ESPN basketball writer Royce Young shares the fascinating story of JamesOn Curry with host Mina Kimes.
Jan. 23: The End of UConn's Dominance?The UConn Huskies have long reigned supreme in women's college basketball. But where they once seemed invincible, cracks have started to show. The Huskies have exited the tournament in the semi-finals the past three seasons, and recently suffered their first double-digit loss in years. ESPN basketball analyst LaChina Robinson explores the legacy of UConn, and whether the Huskies' dynasty is near its end.
Jan. 22: The Glamorous Lakers' Unlikely LeaderLakers head coach Frank Vogel was not first pick for the job. Or second. Even as he landed the top spot with "The Lake Show" and LeBron, questions swirled over how long he would last. Now, with the team leading the Western Conference, NBA insider Kevin Arnovitz breaks down the understated success of Vogel's leadership.
Jan. 21: Start By Believing: How USA Gymnastics Failed the Survivors of Larry NassarIt's been two years since Larry Nassar was sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting hundreds of girls and women. We are still learning more about how gymnastics organizations and officials enabled his abuse. ESPN investigative reporter John Barr is co-author of the book "Start By Believing," about the culture of gymnastics and Nassar's survivors. He joins Mina Kimes to reveal new findings from his reporting.
Jan. 20: Super Bowl Bound: 49ers and ChiefsSuper Bowl LIV is set! The 49ers sent Aaron Rodgers and the Packers...packing. Then, the Chiefs engineered another comeback victory to steal away the Titans' championship dreams. ESPN NFL insider Bill Barnwell breaks down how we wound up with the teams that will meet in Miami.On Saturday two UFC legends collide on ESPN+ as Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone faces Irishman Conor McGregor, perhaps the most notorious fighter in mixed martial arts. ESPN Senior Writer Kevin Van Valkenburg visited Ireland to see how years of controversy, troubling behavior, and criminal allegations have affected McGregor's folk hero status at home.
Jan. 16: The Rise and Fall of Baseball's Hottest Young ManagerRed Sox manager Alex Cora is out on sign-stealing allegations from the MLB. The charges date back to 2017, when he was the bench coach for the Houston Astros. It's a stunning downfall for a man considered one of the most talented young managers in the game. ESPN baseball insider Buster Olney joins Mina Kimes to explore Cora's career, and his role in this huge baseball scandal.
Jan. 14: Championship and Punishment: LSU Wins and Astros Face ConsequencesCollege football has a new champion: the LSU Tigers. ESPN's Mike Golic Jr. joins Mina Kimes from New Orleans to break down the big game. Then, the Houston Astros face unprecedented consequences after the 2017 sign stealing scandal. Baseball insider Jeff Passan joins to discuss the fallout...and what happens next.
Jan. 13: The NFL's Divisional Weekend DramaThis weekend's NFL action was full of shock and awe. On Saturday, the San Francisco 49ers' defense stymied Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings. In Baltimore, the Ravens were upset by a stout Tennessee Titans defense and ferocious rushing attack. And on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs engineered a breathtaking comeback over the Houston Texans, and Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers held on to defeat the Seattle Seahawks. ESPN insider Bill Barnwell and Mina Kimes break down the highs and lows of the divisional weekend.
Jan. 9: Where Have All the Big Men Gone?For years, the NBA style of play was dominated by "big men," players who stand 6-foot-10 or more and who go to the post to score. Now, the biggest players shoot more from the outside. And it's all by design. ESPN's NBA insider Jackie MacMullan joins Mina Kimes to discuss why simply posting up is going the way of the dodo.
Jan. 8: Can't Stop Lamar Jackson? Hire an Impersonator.Lamar Jackson has stymied NFL defenses with his speed and creativity. To prepare to take down this year's MVP frontrunner, teams are practicing against Jackson impersonators. How do you find a Lamar Jackson imitator who has his speed, accuracy, and athleticism? ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley went around the league to find out.
Jan. 7: Can Clemson Be a Superpower and an Underdog?All eyes are on Clemson as the National Championship draws near, and the team has proven itself to be a powerhouse. But head coach Dabo Swinney always seems to be fighting to get the respect he thinks the Tigers deserve. ESPN's Andrea Adelson joins Mina Kimes to discuss where the program has been...and what's next.
Jan. 3: The NFL's Nice Guy: Russell WilsonSeahawks quarterback Russell Wilson gets many labels: positive, good-natured, nice, wholesome. For some, it's hard to believe Wilson could maintain this attitude in today's NFL and have it be authentic. As Seattle prepares for the playoffs, guest host Domonique Foxworth delves into Wilson's personality and style of play with ESPN reporter Dotun Akintoye.
Jan. 2: An Incredible Reunion + Remembering David SternAs you watch the Chiefs play, look for running backs coach Deland McCullough. He has an incredible story, one that he shared with ESPN's Sarah Spain. After decades of not knowing his birth parents, McCullough's search for the truth led him to an incredible revelation - and reunion - with football at the center. Also, Jeremy Schaap offers a remembrance of legendary NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Jan. 1, 2020: From the Patriots to Prison: Reche CaldwellReche Caldwell made his NFL name with the Patriots. Today, his name is in the news around a federal lawsuit involving medical fraud. ESPN's David Fleming covered Caldwell in 2016, when the former player was incarcerated for buying illegal drugs online. Fleming re-tells the story of how Caldwell Googled his way from the Patriots to prison.
Dec. 31: The Mystery of ESPN's Missing TapesESPN broadcast its first game 40 years ago - but it wasn't the NFL or a big fight. It was a pro softball game, of all things. ESPN's Jeremy Schaap set out to find the tapes...and discovered that they'd been missing for decades. Schaap joins Mina Kimes to share the mystery of the lost tapes.
Dec. 30: The NFL Playoff Field is SetThe NFL's 2019 regular season came to a close, and several teams in both conferences sealed their destinies. With an upset in Foxborough, Philadelphia claiming the NFC East, and a game of inches in Seattle, the playoff picture is in focus. ESPN insider Bill Barnwell breaks down the field.
Dec. 27: The Movie "Rudy" vs. The Actual Rudy"Rudy" is a sports movie classic. And it defined the life of the actual man who inspired the story: Rudy Ruettiger, who is now in his 70s. Revered by many Notre Dame fans, Ruettiger is also plagued by critics over whether the movie exaggerated a plot point or two. ESPN's Ryan McGee spent time with the real Rudy to find out more, and he joins Mina Kimes to distinguish fact and fiction, from Rudy's point of view.
Dec. 26: What's Next for Jalen Hurts?In a dramatic college football career, Jalen Hurts has divided football insiders about his potential upside. From Alabama to Oklahoma, Hurts has always been a serious player and hoped for a future in the NFL. ESPN's Ivan Maisel got insider access to Jalen Hurts, his family, coaches and colleagues. He joins Mina Kimes to discuss the college QB, known as a man of few words.
Dec. 25: When Eagles Fans Booed Santa: The Notorious True StoryIt'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? Outside the Lines' Jeremy Schaap joins Mina Kimes to reflect on the enduring legacy of the Philadelphia Santa.
Dec. 24: Christmasketball: NBA Christmas Day PreviewGet ready for the gift of basketball on Christmas Day, as the NBA settles in under the tree. We tear open five matchups with ESPN NBA Analyst Kirk Goldsberry as he reveals who has been naughty and who has been nice this season.
Dec. 23: NFL: Eagles Fly Over Dallas and Bengals Win by LosingThe Eagles upset Dallas, but can they stay on the path to the playoffs? NFL insider Bill Barnwell joins Mina Kimes to break down how they did it, and whether they can keep the success going. Then, the Bengals have lost their way to first draft pick. And what does that mean for the other teams at the bottom of the league?
Dec. 20: Hot Seat Szn: The NFL Coaching CarouselBlack Monday, the day after the final Sunday in the NFL's regular season, is when head coaches often transition from the hot seat to the unemployment line. And it's approaching quickly. But what lands coaches on the hot seat in the first place? ESPN NFL Insider Dan Graziano joins Mina Kimes to discuss how coaches wind up with job insecurity, and how they can avoid the chopping block.
Dec. 19: How the Milwaukee Bucks Became the Beast of the EastThe Milwaukee Bucks could be the NBA's best team. But after last season's disappointing playoff exit, many thought the squad couldn't repeat its success. NBA writer Chris Herring joins Mina Kimes to explain what the small market Bucks' continued dominance means for basketball.
Dec. 18: The Chess Grandmaster's Extreme WorkoutChess grandmasters need incredible amounts of brain power, but also extreme physical endurance. Major tournaments can run for six hours a day, 10 to 12 days in a row. Players might burn up to 6,000 calories and lose two pounds a day during these grueling matches. To prepare, today's chess world champions endure physical training that would tire out any pro athlete: hours a day of running, swimming or playing tennis while maintaining a strict diet. ESPN's Aishwarya Kumar joins Mina Kimes to break down how top chess players meld mind and body training in more sophisticated and extreme ways, all to best their fierce rivals.
Dec. 17: NFL's Secret Weapon: How Fullbacks Made a ComebackNFL fullbacks are some of the hardest-working and most beloved players in the sport, but they've struggled to find success in the spotlight. This season, things are different. FiveThirtyEight's Josh Hermsmeyer joins Mina Kimes to explore how fullbacks are having their best year ever, and why they've been the key to success for football offenses.
Dec 16: Bill-ieve it! Buffalo in the Playoffs and New England's New ScandalThe Buffalo Bills clinched a playoff spot for the second time in three years. How did they get here, and does their turnaround story hold lessons for other NFL teams? ESPN NFL insider Bill Barnwell joins Mina Kimes to explain the Bills' surprising success. Then, in light of new video evidence, Bill and Mina break down the Patriots "Spygate II" video taping scandal.LeBron James has turned basketball on its head, from the moment he first stepped onto the court. His son, Bronny, is currently a high school NBA prospect. But how much has basketball changed since LeBron got his start - and how much has he paved the way for his son to succeed...or to fail? ESPN's Brian Windhorst joins Mina Kimes to get an inside look at the lives and careers of LeBron and Bronny James, the nature of fame, and the impact of sports on family.
Dec. 12: Heisman Heist: How O.J. Simpson's Trophies Were Lost, Stolen, and FoundAfter O.J. Simpson won the Heisman Trophy in 1968, two statues were made: one for Simpson, and one for his alma mater USC. However, following Simpson's infamous murder trial, both trophies went missing. What happened to O.J.'s Heismans? ESPN's Ryan McGee joins Mina Kimes to share the true story that involves a heist gone wrong, an auction gone right, nameplate switches, legal battles and more.
Dec. 11: Knicks, Nixed: The Future of the New York Knicks with David Fizdale's FiringThe New York Knicks' former head coach David Fizdale is just the latest in a series of coaches and front office types who have tried in vain to turn things around at Madison Square Garden. It is a tempting challenge, however, to become the legendary figure who brings back the Knicks' glory. ESPN NBA insider Ramona Shelburne joins Mina Kimes to discuss Fizdale and what it might take to break the Knicks' two decades of failure.
Dec. 10: The Harden Puzzle: How Houston Rockets Star James Harden Confounds NBA DefensesJames Harden's basketball strengths are varied and, for a defense trying to guard him, frustrating. Now, teams are trying something different against the Houston Rockets' versatile star. ESPN senior writer Zach Lowe joins Mina Kimes to measure Harden's impact on the league this season and to discuss effective ways to stop him.
Dec. 9: Touchdowns and Tigers: 49ers @ Saints Offensive Showdown + LSU is #1The NFL playoffs don't start for another month, but Sunday's 49ers-Saints offensive explosion definitely had an electric playoff feel. ESPN senior writer Bill Barnwell joins Mina Kimes to break down what led to a blockbuster 90-plus point game in New Orleans. Then, ESPN college football reporter Heather Dinich shares an inside look at the college football team rankings, joining us from the scene of the committee's Selection Day in Texas.
Dec. 6: One Conference to Rule Them All: Does the SEC Have Too Much Influence?On Saturday, LSU faces Georgia for the SEC Championship. A Georgia win would most likely earn both teams a trip to the College Football Playoff, and leave the Big 12 and Pac-12 champions on the outside looking in. But should one conference have so much influence? ESPN's Paul Finebaum takes a look at the matchup, and weighs in on who deserves to be in.
Dec. 5: Inside the NHL's Alleged Head Coaching AbusesAfter an NHL head coach got fired, an unexpected outpouring began - with players speaking out on alleged psychological and physical abuses, and also racist remarks from coaches. Given all that's been aired, what's next for the league? ESPN hockey writer Emily Kaplan joins Mina Kimes to break down the culture around the allegations, and what it all means for a sport trying to grow its fan base.
Dec. 4: The Dawn of Luka DoncicLuka Doncic is having an electric second season in the NBA. He's even in the running for the MVP at just 20 years old. But what makes last season's Rookie of the Year so dominant on the court - and why did the skeptics underestimate him? NBA Draft analyst Mike Schmitz joins Mina Kimes to examine Luka's career so far, and what his ascent means for the rest of the NBA.
Dec. 3: Where Does Cam Newton Go From Here?*NOTE: We recorded this episode before news broke that the Panthers are letting go of head coach Ron Rivera.*Cam Newton's season got put on hold following a foot injury this year, and now the quarterback's future with the Carolina Panthers seems up in the air. But there are plenty of teams that could benefit from Newton's unique blend of athleticism and leadership. ESPN Senior NFL Writer Jeremy Fowler joins Mina Kimes to explore Newton's memorable football life and what the Panthers could gain or lose without him.
Dec. 2: Is Tom Brady Slipping? And Who Even Wants to Win the NFC East?After the Texans upset the Patriots we have to ask (again): is it real this time? Is Tom Brady slipping? Host Mina Kimes and ESPN Senior Football Writer Bill Barnwell turn to the numbers for answers. Then, after the Eagles fell to the Dolphins and the Cowboys lost to the Bills, another pressing question: does any team really want to win the NFC East?
Nov. 29: College Football Rivalry Week + "Behold the NHL Dentist" ReplayIt's Rivalry Week in the world of college football! Mina Kimes discusses the unique nature of the bowl system - more than 30 games and we haven't even reached the peak ones. Then: a replay of our story where we enter the world of NHL dentists - the brave heroes who attempt to put hockey players' notorious grins back together. ESPN writer Dave Fleming takes Mina on a gory, grueling journey of mouth molds, chiclets, emergency surgery and more tales of dental hockey horror.
Nov. 28: Thanksgiving Special: NFL Turkey Day Preview + "The Great NBA Heist" ReplayThanksgiving Day NFL games are a tradition unto themselves. Mina Kimes previews the matchups and offers a special appreciation for...Frank Gore. The Buffalo Bills running back just passed Barry Sanders for third in the all-time rushing yards record. Then: it was the perfect crime, and a rising star executive with the Sacramento Kings almost got away with it. ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz explains how an up-and-coming NBA sales guy defrauded the team out of $13 million - and how he got caught by an unlikely sleuth.
Nov. 27: Drop the Gloves? Hockey Fighting Hits Historic LowsNHL hockey is notorious for gnarly fights on the ice. But we're seeing those brawls less and less. ESPN NHL insider Greg Wyshynski joins Mina Kimes to tell you why fewer players are dropping the gloves, how the game itself is moving toward a different style of play, and what that means for the future of the sport.
Nov. 26: Hilinski's Hope: One Family's Football StoryUniversity of South Carolina quarterback Ryan Hilinski has been one of college football's biggest surprises this season. But as Ryan sees success, the family continues to mourn the loss of the older brother, Tyler -- also a college quarterback, for Washington State -- who died by suicide in 2018. ESPN's Jen Lada shares her extensive interviews with the Hilinskis for E:60, documenting the family's tough decisions about football, and their path to hope.
Nov 25: Stop and Go: 49ers Rebuild Defense and Lamar Jackson Seems UnstoppableThe 49ers defense has the rest of the NFC on notice after a dominant win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night. But how did SF's defense get this good, this fast? ESPN NFL Insider Bill Barnwell joins the show to explain the Niners' dynamic defense. Then - Mina and Bill try to answer a question that's got the entire NFL scratching their heads, and that the LA Rams face on Monday Night Football: can Lamar Jackson be stopped?
Nov 22: Get a Grip! NFL QB Secrets to Handling the PigskinIt seems so basic. And yet, it can reveal so much - how an NFL quarterback holds the ball. ESPN Senior Writer David Fleming talked to some of the league's top signal callers to find out their preferences, their quirks, and the unique stories behind their grips.
Nov. 21: Beyond the Helmet Hit: Who is Myles Garrett?After appealing his suspension for hitting Steelers QB Mason Rudolph in the head with his own helmet, Browns DE Myles Garrett awaits the NFL's next decision. In extensive interviews done before this violent incident, ESPN's Ryan Smith gained unprecedented insight into Myles Garrett's personality and life off the field for a profile on E:60. Smith joins Mina Kimes for a closer look at Garrett, and the culture of aggression in the NFL.
Nov. 20: Stealing the Signs: How Allegations Against the Astros Could Change BaseballMajor League Baseball has promised a thorough investigation into the Astros' stealing of pitching signs during their 2017 championship run, using a live video feed and...trash cans. At the owners meetings, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said there is no reason to expand the case to other teams at this time. But the scandal has raised big questions, and could change the game itself. ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan explores tough decisions for the league going forward.
Nov. 19: The Great NBA Heist: How One Man Stole Millions from the Sacramento KingsIt was the perfect crime: steal millions from the Sacramento Kings...to flip houses? Kevin Arnovitz joins Mina Kimes to explain how one up-and-coming basketball exec threw it all away while trying to pull off one of the boldest fraud schemes in NBA history - and how he almost got away with it.
Nov 18: NFL Monday: Kaepernick Works Out, Rivers Looks AheadColin Kaepernick's Saturday workout didn't seem to get him or the NFL what they wanted. But it did put a fine point on the state of quarterbacks around the league. ESPN NFL expert Bill Barnwell breaks down the workout story, and what it means for Kaep and the teams. And, ahead of tonight's game in Mexico City: what does Philip Rivers' future look like with - or without - the Los Angeles Chargers? ESPN Chargers reporter Eric Williams joins Mina to examine Rivers' role in the game... and his uniquely meme-able face.
Nov 15: Lamar vs. Deshaun: Dual-Threat DuelOn Sunday, we will see one of the most anticipated match-ups of the NFL season - Deshaun Watson taking on Lamar Jackson. The last time these QBs faced off, they were in college. Watson on his way to winning a national championship with Clemson. Jackson at Louisville, about to win the Heisman Trophy. Now they are NFL MVP candidates. Domonique Foxworth joins Mina Kimes to breakdown the Sunday showdown that features two of the league's most exciting signal callers.
Nov. 14: Fantasy, Meet Reality: A Running Back Breaks Out, Then DisappearsWhen New England running back Jonas Gray took the field vs. the Indianapolis Colts five years ago, no one could have predicted the incredible outburst of scoring that would land him national attention, and even a magazine cover. Nor could anyone have predicted how quickly that success would disappear, through a series of mishaps. ESPN senior writer Liz Merrill tells Mina Kimes the story of an underdog, his big shot, and how players might always be one step away from glory - or obscurity - in the NFL.
Nov. 13: Rockets Have Liftoff? Harden, Westbrook, and Houston's OffenseTonight on ESPN, the Rockets - led by a reunited James Harden and Russell Westbrook - play host to the LA Clippers. But Houston's superstars share a complex past, which they are hoping will lead to a mutually beneficial future. NBA analyst Kirk Goldsberry joins Mina Kimes to explore how the Harden-Westbrook relationship will shape the Rockets' season.
Nov. 12: The Price of Eligibility: An NBA Prospect, Penny Hardaway, and a Controversial NCAA RulingJames Wiseman is considered a potential No. 1 pick in the NBA. But, as his University of Memphis team gets ready to play Oregon tonight, the focus is on whether Wiseman should be on the court at all. Late last week, the NCAA ruled him ineligible. ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas joins Mina Kimes to discuss Wiseman's situation, the role his coach Penny Hardaway played, and what it all means for the rights of college athletes.
Nov 11: NFC Best? Rams Offense Struggles + Seahawks-Niners Rivalry ReignitesThe NFC West is perhaps the most competitive division in the NFL. The 49ers are the only undefeated team in the NFL (8-0). The Seahawks (7-2) are led by Russell Wilson, having a MVP-candidate season. Then, there are the LA Rams. Just 9 months removed from a Super Bowl appearance, the Rams suffered another disappointing loss yesterday, this time in Pittsburgh, leaving them third in the NFC West. Bill Barnwell joins Mina Kimes to break down the Rams struggling offense. Then, ahead of Monday Night's monster NFC West showdown, former Seahawks DE Cliff Avril goes inside Seattle's rivalry with the 49ers.
Nov. 8: LSU @ Alabama: How the New Tigers Offense Is Upping the Rivalry's StakesCollege football has a storied history of epic rivalries, and none bigger than LSU taking on Alabama. The two powerhouses face-off this Saturday, and the stakes have never been higher. ESPN reporter Ryan McGee joins Mina Kimes to discuss how LSU's newly developed high-powered offense could turn the tide and write the next chapter in this glorious SEC showdown.
Nov. 7: Slapshot, Meet Smile: Inside the Craziest Job in Sports - The NHL DentistPucks to the mouth. Teeth flying to the ice. Hockey players aren't known for their perfect smiles. But have you ever wondered who exactly comes to the rescue mid-game, after a player takes a slapshot to the teeth, and gets him back on the ice? Enter the world of NHL dentists - the brave heroes who put hockey players' notorious grins back together. ESPN writer Dave Fleming takes Mina Kimes on a gory, grueling journey of mouth molds, chiclets, emergency surgery, and more tales of dental hockey horror.
Nov. 6: Golden State of Affairs: No Curry, No Klay. What's Next?In the modern NBA, the Golden State Warriors have been a dynasty. Appearing in five straight NBA Finals and winning three rings in that span, the team became the stuff of basketball legend. But this season, they've won just two games. And with star Steph Curry out with a broken hand, the Warriors' fate has gone from bad to worse. But could a rough 2019-20 lead to more glory in the future? NBA reporter Nick Friedell joins Mina Kimes to explore what's gone wrong with the Golden State Warriors so far, and why there might just be a silver lining.
Nov. 5: Cleveland Chaos: Baker Mayfield, OBJ and the Failing BrownsAnother NFL weekend. Another Browns loss, accompanied by off-the-field headlines. This time, Jermaine Whitehead released after a series of threatening tweets. Cleveland's season was not supposed to go this way. With the addition of OBJ, the team had high hopes going into 2019. But now, the Baker Mayfield-led Browns sit at just 2-6. How did they get here and where do they go now? Browns reporter Jake Trotter joins Mina Kimes to explore why Cleveland fell apart. Plus, Mina wants you to know why Michigan State may be for real this season, as the college basketball season tips off with tonight's Champions Classic.
Nov. 4: NFL COVER 2: Ravens Trounce Patriots and Dak Prescott's Big PaydayAfter Sunday's packed NFL slate, ESPN insider Bill Barnwell joins Mina Kimes to discuss how Lamar Jackson and the Ravens handed Tom Brady and the Patriots their first loss of the season Sunday night. Then, as the Cowboys prepare for a Monday Night Football rematch against the New York Giants, Dallas reporter Todd Archer gives us the latest on quarterback Dak Prescott's contract situation, explaining why Dak not signing prior to the season will lead to a bigger payday.
Nov. 1: UFC 244: Is Jorge Masvidal the Baddest Man in MMA?Saturday night, Jorge Masvidal takes on Nate Diaz in UFC 244. Masvidal owns the record for fastest knockout in UFC history - five seconds - and got his start fighting in backyard brawls organized by Kimbo Slice. Now, he wants to be known as the baddest MF on the planet. After spending time with Masvidal in his hometown of Miami, ESPN's Brett Okamoto talks with Mina Kimes about the man they call "Gamebred" and his rapid rise to superstardom.
Oct. 31: Champs and Chumps: Washington's World Series Comeback and Life Inside Miami's TankAs World Champions, the Nationals are on top of the MLB - and on top of the world. ESPN's Joon Lee breaks down how the Nats completed their epic finish. In contrast, the Miami Dolphins are down in the dumps. After getting off to an 0-7 start, their season has been branded as a "tank." What's it like to be a player on a team that's not trying to win? Dolphins insider Cameron Wolfe explains life inside the tank.
Oct. 30: Kyrie, KD and Company: The Evolution of the New Brooklyn NetsFor the Brooklyn Nets, expectations have never been higher. As they tip off tonight against the Indiana Pacers, the mood in Barclays Center will be electric. They have a new power trio - Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan. After an offseason of cultural changes, ESPN's Jackie MacMullan takes a deep dive into Brooklyn's incredible franchise turnaround and the team's future.
Oct. 29: Not Your Average Robo-Call: Why the MLB Needs an Electronic Umpire SystemThe World Series is back in Houston for Game 6 tonight, but fans are still talking about a controversial strike call from Sunday's Game 5. The call could have cost the Washington Nationals - big time. MLB insider Jeff Passan makes the case for the electronic umpire system and what it could mean for the future of baseball.
Oct. 28: A Glowing Bill of Health: Belichick's NFL Coaching LegacyBill Belichick is considered by many to be the greatest NFL coach of all time. On Sunday, he won his 300th game. So how did Belichick become the standard of excellence in the NFL? ESPN's Bill Barnwell joins Mina to discuss the Patriots' dominant win over the Browns. Then, Senior Writer Ian O'Connor - who wrote the book on the Patriots' coach - takes a deep dive into Belichick's football legacy and where he goes from here.
Oct. 25: #Natitude: DC's Meteoric Rise to the World SeriesThe Washington Nationals are back in D.C. for Game 3 tonight, and they are on the verge of making history. Up 2-0 in the Series, the Nats have a chance to bring a baseball championship home for the first time since 1924. But how did they get here - especially considering their early-season slump? ESPN Senior Writer Tim Kurkjian explores the Nats' journey, how they handled the departure of their star Bryce Harper, their mid-season turnaround, and of course - "Baby Shark."
Oct. 24: "Thank God We Got Osuna!" What One Incident Reveals About the Culture of the Houston AstrosThings have not been going well for the Houston Astros in the World Series. They are down 0-2 - but all the talk has been about how they are handling a team's executive's taunting of reporters over a domestic violence issue. Baseball insider Jeff Passan explains what's really going on, and how this incident reveals much bigger truths about the Astros' culture. Could their insatiable hunger to win cost them more than a championship?
Oct. 23: From Three? Ben Simmons' Woes from Behind the Arc76ers star Ben Simmons' lack of a 3 point shot has other teams around the league daring him to shoot. But if he turns his struggle into success - what will it mean for Philadelphia's season going forward? Mina Kimes and Tim Bontemps tap into what it will take for Simmons to tackle his white whale.
Oct. 22: King James vs. Kawhi: How LA's New Neighbors Ignited the NBA's Hottest RivalryAs the NBA tips off tonight, all eyes turn to the Staples Center in LA. Lakers versus Clippers. LeBron versus Kawhi. Two superstars that could've ended up on the same team, now battling each other for league dominance. Basketball insider Ramona Shelburne breaks down this new rivalry and its implications for LA's sports scene - and basketball at large.
Oct. 21: Season Saved: Can the Cowboys keep Jerry Jones' dream alive?It was do-or-die for Dallas last night, and the Cowboys decided to do. Big time. But a win over Philadelphia might not be the turning point everyone assumes it is. Have the Cowboys really saved their season -- and Jason Garrett's head-coaching job -- in the process? Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Don Van Natta explains, reminding us that Dallas' owner and GM is Jerry Jones.Host Mina Kimes introduces ESPN Daily. Sports never sounded so good.