When you need to go deeper!
Here is a pair of podcasts that dive deep, deep down into the depths of a sports story, leaving no stone unturned and leaving you enlightened by the experience.
Similar to ESPN’s 30 For 30 Longform deep dive into the Bikram Yoga scandals, Season 5 of 30 For 30 was devoted entirely to the Donald Sterling V. Stiviano debacle.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Donald Sterling V. Stiviano debacle, essentially it was an old rich white man getting in some serious trouble after he went on a racist rant in the privacy of his own home with his much younger mistress, with that mistress recording the rant and then leaking it to a sports news outlet when relations with her ‘old man’ and his wife Shelly Sterling got ugly, when Shelly was suing said Mistress for the return of gifts which were given to her by the Billionaire cheating husband (gifts including a million dollar plus home, and a fleet of exotic sports cars). And when the damning audio tapes were made public…… It all looked pretty bad for this old rich white guy- and to make things much much worse, was that said old rich white guy, was the owner of the LA Clippers, a NBA team whose players and coach were African American – the race which was the target of his racist rant. Awkward!
I remember back in 2014 when this first broke, I had heard about this as all the American Sport talk shows were chatting about it, and I remember going to Youtube to listen to the infamous recording in mention. But aside for the 2 day bleep in my consciousness, I hadn’t thought about it anymore since then, until I listened to this 5 part episode.
The ‘Sterling Affair’ is reported by Ramona Shelburne, and over 5 episodes she takes you on a journey to understand what really happened; who was this Donald Sterling guy, leading up to this scandalous affair; how if you actually knew Donald, it wouldn’t have been a surprise; and the fall-out and conclusion, right up to the present day- important for people like me who didn’t follow the Sterling debacle at the time right to its dramatic end.
The real-life story of Donald Sterling was about a quite vile character- a life of greed, the chase of fame, cheapness, racist undertones, and womanising – but it was the reporting, and Ramona’s ability to weave a compelling story, and 30 for 30’s polished productions, that grabbed my attention right from the first episode and sucked me in ’til the end! And although the affair occurred more than 5 years ago, and the world has moved on from Donald Sterling – I think I’m still better off for knowing this tale about an important piece of basketball history and a piece of modern US history. And I think it’s worth your listen.
And over the past weeks I’ve developed a new habit – that being coming home from work and having my Google Home play me the latest episode of ‘ESPN Daily’ as I go about unwinding from a day of work.
ESPN Daily is a daily (Mon-Fri) podcast hosted by the one and only Mina Kimes, a highly respected sports journalist. Where in most cases sports news is reduced to a 30 second video clip highlighting the top plays from the match, ESPN Daily elects one trending Sport story and then goes deep – interviewing a journalist close to that particular sport story and chatting about it for 15-20 minutes. ESPN Daily isn’t focused on a single sport, but is sport agnostic – covering all types of sports from the big four (basketball, football, baseball, and hockey), to motor racing, soccer and more!
Even after only a week, I’d like to think that I’m better educated about sports, particularly on the ones which I don’t usually follow, i.e. baseball (now I know all there is to know about the Astros and Sign stealing). And I’m now aware of Alex Ovechkin – the first time I’ve ever heard of the man, although he’s been a living legend for the past decade. So I think I’m way more informed now, a week on, compared to who I was a few weeks back. And you too can be like me, a wealth of knowledge thanks to the hard work of others!
Long live the sport podcast longform!