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Sit down with host Todd Jones and other sportswriters who knew the greatest athletes and coaches, and experienced first-hand some of the biggest sports moments in the past 50 years. They’ll share stories behind the stories -- some they’ve only told to each other.

Episodes

May 25, 2022 59 min

Johnette Howard has never been afraid to stand her ground while reporting and writing about sports for four decades. Hear what she told Bill Laimbeer and Kirby Puckett when they challenged her early in her career. Howard has also always followed her curiosity, which has led her to craft award-winning stories and best-selling books. She tells us about hockey goons, the Bad Boy Pistons, and dramatic Olympic moments that remain seared...

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Vito Stellino has been writing about the NFL since the players needed off-season jobs to make a living. He covered the gambling suspensions of stars Alex Karras and Paul Hornung – in 1963. Hear about that and much more as Vito takes us on a ride through the past 60 years of pro football’s growth. The Hall of Fame writer witnessed the moving trucks depart on that snowy night in ’84 when the Colts fled Baltimore for Indianapolis. Vit...

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Jarrett Bell has been writing about the NFL since 1981, including the past 29 years as a national columnist for USA Today. He learned long ago that you get the scoop by getting to know the people. Bell discusses some of the more memorable owners, coaches and players he has encountered in four decades. He takes us behind the scenes as two iconic franchises, the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers, transitioned in the late 80s and...

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Malcolm Moran spent more than 30 years writing sports for NewsdayThe New York TimesChicago Tribune, and USA Today. Yet he feared his career had ended early while covering the New York Yankees of George, Billy and Reggie. Hear why. He shares stories about Lou Holtz, quipster extraordinaire as Notre Dame football coach. He takes us to the NCAA tournament as the event’s popularity soared in the ’80s. Find out what Jack Youngblood ...

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My motto: Any time spent with Vahe Gregorian is time well spent. You’ll enjoy this hour with the sports columnist for The Kansas City Star as he shares highlights from his 35-year career. He puts us courtside in historic Allen Fieldhouse for the rivalry between Kansas and Missouri. He takes us to the Dominican Republic for the funeral of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura. Go with Vahe to the home of Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running ...

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Ron Higgins sure can spin a yarn, and he shares some side-splitting ones from his more than four decades of covering sports in the Deep South. Hear how Bear Bryant responded to Ron asking him to roll his Tide team off the field. Hang out with Steve Spurrier, Dale Brown and other characters who added spice to the gig. Hear about the wizardry of “Pistol “Pete Maravich, about Luc Longley’s strange request at the Olympics, and why Alvi...

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Austin Murphy takes us on a whirlwind ride through his 33 years of writing for Sports Illustrated in the magazine’s halcyon days. Hear how hanging out with Warren Sapp ended in a $150 cab ride. Travel with Lance Armstrong through his reign and fall as cycling’s king. Go with swimsuit models to Necker Island, where a discussion with Heidi Klum turns to . . . the fall of the Berlin Wall. Austin also provides insight about how he rein...

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Hal McCoy is synonymous with the Cincinnati Reds. The Hall of Fame writer for the Dayton Daily News has been covering baseball’s oldest professional franchise since 1973. Hal tells about the egos, talent, and inner workings of the Big Red Machine. Learn why the great Sparky Anderson was fired, and how Vern Rapp learned his same fate. Hear about Pete Rose’s return to Cincinnati and his ultimate downfall. Hal explains why Joe Morgan ...

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We’re talking hockey and much more with Helene Elliott, columnist for the Los Angeles Times and one of the most respected writers in the business. She recounts how Wayne Gretzky set 61 NHL records and triggered a hockey boom in LA as an ambassador. She also has a funny tale about the Great One’s fear of flying. Helene tells us why the Stanley Cup is the most difficult trophy to win in sports, how great players rise to the occasion ...

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January 19, 2022 61 min

Rick Telander is curious by nature, and his drive to learn more through reporting and relationships has served readers well for five decades. He’s always dives deep on stories, and he takes us with him on this episode. Rick puts us in an NFL training camp, where getting cut as a player caused his writing career to bloom. We go with him to the heaven-like basketball playgrounds of New York City in the 1970s for his first book. We ri...

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Jerry Izenberg earned his first newspaper paycheck in 1951, and he’s still writing as columnist emeritus at The Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey. “It has been an active life,” he says. Active? Try one of the most amazing careers in sports journalism. We’re lucky to hear from Jerry in this second of a two-part episode about his 70 years in the business. Part 1 was all about Muhammad Ali. Jerry told tales from covering more of his f...

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If you want stories about Muhammad Ali, you go to Jerry Izenberg. We did, and now you’ll hear tales about Ali in this episode that you’ve probably never heard before. Izenberg’s career in sports media is so special we’re presenting a two-part episode with him. He’s 91 and still writing as columnist emeritus at the Newark Star-Ledger in New Jersey, where he was hired in 1951. We’ll cover his entire career in part 2, but this first e...

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For Bonnie Ford, being a sportswriter is about more than covering games and knowing statistics. She carved out a stellar career by acting on what she felt was a journalistic obligation: Digging into complicated social, cultural and financial topics related to sports. Bonnie did extensive work on doping scandals, especially in cycling, which made her an expert on the Tour de France and its superstar, Lance Armstrong. “I’m grateful t...

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Details always caught the eye of Timothy Smith during his three decades as a sportswriter. Small moments often revealed bigger things about his subjects. Tim recounts how the discipline of Evander Holyfield fueled the fighter’s confidence and warrior mentality. Oh, and hear what Holyfield shared with Tim about why he knew he’d beat Mike Tyson. Tim tells us about experiencing the wild range of Tyson’s emotions, and what it was like ...

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Hoops discusses how he fell in love with basketball, the Big 5 in Philadelphia, and that city’s famed arena, The Palestra. He takes us back to the Big East glory days of the 1980s, and we ride with him on the team plane of national champion Villanova after its upset of Georgetown. Hear about Kobe Bryant the teenage phenom, and how Magic and Bird changed college basketball as well as the NBA. Hoops recounts the season he spent with ...

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Bill Livingston’s goal as a writer was to put readers at the scene. Hear about the memorable places he took them, and characters they encountered, during his nearly 50 years of covering sports. Bear witness to the all-time basketball artistry of Julius Erving and LeBron James. Sit courtside as free-spirited Darryl Dawkins, hailing from the planet Lovetron, shatters a backboard. Feel the emotion of Cleveland clinching a long-sought ...

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October 13, 2021 59 min

Bob Kravitz has been fearless in his 36 years of writing about sports. His strong opinions as a columnist have sometimes produced heated reactions from readers and sports figures since the early 1980s. Hear about some of those moments, including his introduction to Bob Knight that you won’t soon forget.

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September 29, 2021 56 min

History seems fragile when Bud Withers ponders his five decades of writing about sports. A free throw here. A turnover there. Tyus Edney going coast to coast. Small moments could have changed reputations and much more if they had gone another way. Withers recalls some of those March Madness memories from his Hall of Fame career at three major newspapers in the Pacific Northwest. We discuss the old-school coaching styles of legends ...

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Joan Ryan recalls in this episode the harassment that she suffered from pro football players early in her career as one of the first female sportswriters. She tells how that 1985 locker room incident made her determined to prove herself in a male-dominated industry. Ryan did so, and much more, while fearlessly helping to pave the way for other women in sports media.

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September 1, 2021 52 min

Pack your bags and travel back with Mike Lopresti, who globe-trotted for more than three decades as a sports columnist for USA Today and Gannett News Service. He tells us what it was like to slay deadline dragons, to be on a media bus that caught fire, and to hear roars at Augusta as Nicklaus makes an historic charge. He puts us with security guard Richard Jewell – a suspect later cleared – after the ’96 Olympic bombing. Mike puts ...

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