The Lead

The Lead

The first daily sports news podcast reported from the hometown, not the sports desk. From The Athletic, home to the best storytelling in sports, and Wondery, the company behind "Sports Wars" and "Gladiator", co-hosts Kavitha Davidson and Anders Kelto will take you beyond the box score. With the help of The Athletic’s more than 400 sports writers and editors, we'll bring you the biggest and most fascinating stories of the day, every weekday morning. The Lead. Sports Up Close.... Show More

Episodes

Former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs unexpectedly died in July. An autopsy revealed he had fentanyl and oxycodone in his system. New reporting suggests an Angels employee — who is cooperating with the DEA — supplied drugs for Skaggs and that  two other high-ranking executives knew about Skaggs' drug use as early as 2017. In this episode, The Athletic’s Katie Strang looks back at Skaggs' death, explains how the ... Read more

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As the NBA stays locked in a political standoff with China, the league has also made a big move in another major overseas market: India. The league played its first-ever preseason game in India two weekends ago. The Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings tipped off in Mumbai before a crowd of 4,500 people -- oddly, most of them were children. The Athletic’s Sam Amick joins us to talk about how the game went and how the move fits in... Read more

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October 11, 2019 19 min

Joseph Tsai, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets has become a central character in the NBA-China story. As co-founder and executive vice-chairman of Alibaba, he has close ties to the Chinese government, and recently released a statement in support of China’s policies in Hong Kong. The Athletic's Bill Shea joins us to talk about Tsai's history, his love of sports, and why he's putting NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a tric... Read more

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Big League Chew, the bubble gum made to look like chewing tobacco, turns 40 next year. The gum has a fascinating history that involves an independent baseball team in Portland, the actor Kurt Russell, and two baseball outsiders who used chewing gum to stay connected to the game they love -- and to book their ticket to Cooperstown.


Check out Corey Brock’s story on the origin of Big League Chew:

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Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey created an international incident with a tweet in support of Hong Kong protesters. The backlash was swift and severe, as China broke ties with the Rockets and ceased broadcasting their games. Estimates say the NBA's relationship with China is worth billions, so the league is trying to walk a fine line. We investigate the history, the fallout, and look at what might happen next.

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A nine-month investigation by The Athletic raises troubling questions about abnormally high ADHD rates among University of North Carolina athletes and their use of prescription medications, and asks why these high levels of ADHD were not disclosed in papers coming out of the UNC’s renowned brain injury research center. The investigation calls into question the validity of research papers on concussions, some of which have influe... Read more

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The New York Yankees are one of the most storied teams in all of professional sports. So how did a former player-turned-broadcaster with no managerial experience become the team’s skipper? Hear about Aaron Boone’s unlikely rise to the most iconic job in baseball, learn more about his famous ‘savages in the box’ incident, and find out how he has proven his critics wrong as the team sets its sights on a World Series title.

<... Read more

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have one of the best young teams in professional hockey. The team is also led by a very young general manager who has placed a premium on locking in youthful talent with big contracts. It’s part of a wider movement in the NHL where young players are commanding the type of salaries that were once reserved for veterans. But while today’s young hockey stars are good, it’s the older teams who are winning Stan... Read more

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A joint investigation from The Athletic and WVUE-TV in New Orleans reveals why a football stadium that was supposed to be built in New Orleans' Upper Ninth Ward still has not been completed. The project was intended to be a symbol of recovery after Hurricane Katrina. A decade later, there’s still no field and less than $900 remains in the organization's bank account. In Part Two of the story, we explore what transpired a... Read more

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A joint investigation from The Athletic and WVUE-TV in New Orleans reveals why a high school football stadium that was supposed to be a symbol of recovery after Hurricane Katrina was never completed. Celebrity athletes like Drew Brees and Saints head coach Sean Payton helped provide funding. The project captured the attention of President Obama, Anderson Cooper and news outlets across the country. But a decade later, there’s sti... Read more

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We interview Governor Gavin Newsom about the bill he signed into law that will allow college athletes in California to be paid for the use of their name and likeness. We ask him why he signed the bill, what impact he thinks it will have, and why he agrees with the President of the NCAA that the new law is an “existential threat” to the status quo for college athletes.

Additional Reading:

https://theathletic.com/12550... Read more

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September 30, 2019 15 min

The MLB Wild Card games are set. After a 162-game season, four teams will meet this week in do-or-die matchups to determine who will advance and who will go home. This year's Wild Card games feature two teams that have made the playoffs despite having some of the lowest payrolls in baseball (the A's and Rays), and two teams with remarkable comeback stories (the Brewers and Nationals). We speak with The Athletic's Jay... Read more

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September 27, 2019 20 min

A heart attack scare, a badly broken arm, and the loss of a franchise player were not enough to keep the Washington Nationals from clinching a wild card berth this season. The Nats became just the third team in more than 30 years to make the playoffs after being 12 games below .500. The Athletic's Brittany Ghiroli joins us to talk about how they pulled off their incredible turnaround -- and danced a lot along the way.

... Read more

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September 26, 2019 18 min

The Michigan Wolverines were blown out last Saturday by Wisconsin. It was the latest loss by Jim Harbaugh to a ranked opponent. Since then, questions have swirled about Harbaugh's future with the Wolverines. The Athletic’s Nick Baumgardner joins us to talk about Harbaugh’s journey from Ann Arbor kid to "Michigan Man," and whether or not his job is actually in jeopardy.


Read Nick Baumgardner’s lates... Read more

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The Tampa Bay Rays are currently competing for a Wild Card spot as the baseball season enters its final days. But despite a successful season on the field the team is struggling to get fans into the stands. Attendance has been so dismal that team ownership is considering splitting home games between Florida and Montreal and even moving the team altogether. The Athletic’s Jayson Stark joins us to talk about the dynamics between t... Read more

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September 24, 2019 17 min

Shaquille O’Neal’s was one of the most dominant centers to ever play in the NBA. And now, he wants his post basketball life to mirror his days on the court. Through business investments, strict social media rules and always listening to his mother Shaq is on a mission to become the richest retired basketball player on the planet. The Athletic’s Armen Keteyian joins us to talk about his exclusive interview with The Big Aristotle.... Read more

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September 23, 2019 14 min

Antonio Brown spent just 11 days with the New England Patriots before they released him amid accusations of rape and sexual assault. With so much controversy swirling around the All-Pro receiver, what was the final straw? We look at the history of the Patriots taking on risky players and analyze the famous “Patriot Way.”


In her column, Lindsay Jones says if Antonio Brown never plays in the NFL again, it’s enti... Read more

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September 20, 2019 24 min

 A reporter goes undercover to try out for a G League Basketball team, and let’s just say it does not go well. The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf recounts his hilarious experience trying out for the Texas Legends, a developmental affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks.


And The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson reflects on the remarkable career of Shaun Livingston, who overcame a catastrophic knee injury and won three NBA champion... Read more

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September 19, 2019 28 min

Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney wants his players to talk about themselves and their backgrounds, so he created something called "the safe seat." It's part of a broader effort to address mental health issues among his players. It can be especially hard for college athletes to talk about mental health. And even though colleges are increasingly aware of the challenges, not every player gets the help they need.... Read more

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September 18, 2019 20 min

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? It turns out a women’s college basketball team planted the seeds for the viral internet trend that took over the Internet in 2014. The Athletic’s Steve Buckley joins us to talk about how it all happened and how three men with Lou Gehrig’s Disease inspired millions of people to transform a silly internet trend into millions of dollars for ALS research and awareness.

You can find Steve Buck... Read more

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