The rise of the pro-athlete podcast

Even podcasting Most passionate evangelists will have to admit that many podcasts focus on a very basic premise: “There are a few people talking.” The simplicity of the format makes it easy to include almost any famous figure. Actresses Jenna Fisher and Angela Kinsey, for example, host “The Office Ladies,” in which they watch and comment on “The Office,” the NBC sitcom they starred in. One of the most successful podcasts ever, “WTF with Marc Maron,” the host invites other comedians to discuss their work and their stories in interviews whose candor and breadth can resemble therapy sessions. In each show and others like them, part of the appeal is simply hearing familiar voices, but the real appeal is how they demystify what these people do, allowing the talented figures to break down the processes of using their talents. It’s a podcast run by many athletes: Draymond’s, or “Old and Three” (in which former NBA players JJ Redick and Tommy Alter trade stories and discuss the modern league) or “All the Smoke” (former NBA masters Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson trade stories and discuss the modern league), or “I’m an Athlete” (former NFL wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Chad Johnson trade stories and discuss the modern league).

Sports for them is mostly a fun activity that they have or had.

But the process of demystification can sometimes be very Thorough. I, and many others, largely watch sports to admire: sometimes it’s truly incredible that someone like Steph Curry can do what he does, and experience the real-time, act of creation right before your eyes. , gives inexplicable joy. Yet surprisingly, hearing these athletes talk about it is deeply upsetting. For them, sport is mostly a fun job that they have or used to have; They have thoughts on every aspect except the magic of the game itself.

I wonder what it’s like for Green to know, a hundredth of a second before a pass, where the door will materialize, or what it’s like to mentally calculate how quickly to move to the rim to deny an incoming dunk. But on these podcasts, we mostly get the usual experience: “Steph and Klay shot well,” “Boston is a very physical team.” Sometimes the hosts show their emotions, but never for long. Over time, they often become a strange mixture of opacity and transparency: the tone suggests that we are hearing something uniquely sincere, but the content is no different from what an educated outsider might guess. Much of the player perspective, you realize, is rooted in your own existence. They know their staff and what goes on in the locker room and what the game looks like up close; not we. The more they offer their perspective, the more they make it clear that we will never understand their experience. Listening to them feels like listening to a stockbroker running a series of deals for his client – both mundane and exclusive.

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