Everything in media is changing right before our eyes. Traditional media has long controlled the narratives surrounding our favorite athletes. But now professional athletes are now snatching their power back. Athlete-hosted podcasts are on the rise.
In the increasingly digital world, the ability to connect directly with consumers is essential for businesses and brands. Additionally, athletes have a unique level of social capital and influence. This brings a significant impact on popular culture and the ability to drive social change.
The distance between professional athletes and fans is smaller than ever. Some professionals are using this unique opportunity to build their personal brand.
As a former athlete, I always dreamed that one day we could hear in-depth analysis of games directly from the athletes. However, like many others, the more canned responses I heard at press conferences, the further I drifted from the sport and its players. Admittedly, it was refreshing to hear Marshawn Lynch say he was only at a press conference to avoid a fine when asked a question by a reporter. Many pro athletes have lost trust in the media that covers their sport.
Now, fans have the opportunity to go to YouTube or Spotify and hear the stories their idols want us to hear. These stories and interviews are significantly more compelling and, most importantly, authentic.
In no particular order, here are some of my favorites as we move into the new year.
“The Old Man and the Three” with JJ Redick and Tommy Alter
“Former NBA sharpshooter and Duke legend JJ Redick and his co-host Tommy Alter discuss the NBA, current events and interview some of the biggest names in the NBA, entertainment and political worlds. Launching from inside the NBA bubble, the show offers unprecedented access to the league while telling the stories of an eclectic rotating group of guests.”
JJ Redick routinely has fascinating discussions with his old teammates and opponents. Redick’s sharing stories and insight that us fans rarely h
“ALL THE SMOKE” with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson
“ALL THE SMOKE pairs two of the most outspoken and controversial players of their time. Known as fiery, intense competitors during their on-court careers, Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson are now two of the most widely respected voices by today’s crop of NBA stars. Serving as mentors to numerous players throughout the league and with their hands firmly on the pulse of the game. They have first-hand insight into the minds, lives and pressing issues facing today’s players. Barnes and Jackson, who have played alongside two generations of All-Stars, will dish on the latest news and drama from on and off the court without boundaries.”
Former Detroit athletes have been interviewed in 2023, including, John Salley, Jerry Stackhouse, Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace. You can assume Derek Fisher won’t be a guest anytime soon.
“New Heights” with Jason and Travis Kelce
“Football’s funniest family duo — Jason Kelce from the Philadelphia Eagles and Travis Kelce from the Kansas City Chiefs. [They] team up to provide next-level access to life in the league as it unfolds. The two brothers and Super Bowl champions drop weekly insights about their games. And share unique perspectives on trending NFL news and sports headlines. Plus, entertaining stories from a combined 21 years in the league, off-field interests, and engaging conversations with special guests.”
Barstool Sports Athlete-Hosted Podcasts
“The Pat McAfee Show” with Pat McAfee, AJ Hawk and friends
“On The Pat McAfee Show 2.0, Pat McAfee and his friends deliver one-of-a-kind opinions that won’t be heard anywhere else. Pat, who played in two Pro Bowls during his eight-year NFL career, brings a fresh take on sports and entertainment to listeners and fans. He is known for speaking his mind and is both relatable and refreshing. His player’s insight, electric storytelling, and robust sense of humor have helped him build a huge and loyal fan base with more than 3 million social media followers. Presented by FanDuel, The Pat McAfee Show 2.0 promises to inform, intrigue, and entertain. Cheers.”
“Bussin’ with the Boys” with Taylor Lewan and Will Compton
“Get on the bus with NFL players Will Compton & Taylor Lewan! The Boys let you in on their hilarious, high-energy, and often heartfelt conversations. Topics range from exclusive NFL stories to candid chats with personalities from all industries to out-of-left-field hot takes on things you and your friends only discuss behind closed doors. Sometimes they chat with a guest, sometimes it’s just the two of them, but it’s always a good time when you’re Bussin’ With The Boys.”
Spittin’ Chiclets with Ryan Whitney and Paul Bissonnette
“Former NHL vets Ryan Whitney, Paul Bissonnette, Barstool Sports writer Rear Admiral and Producer Mike Grinnell bring their outspoken and irreverent opinions to the masses. Focusing on the NHL but also touching on pop culture and everything else under the sun. New episode every Tuesday.”
Honrable Mention: Athlete-Hosted Podcasts To watch in 2023…
“The Draymond Green Show” with Draymond Green
Former Michigan State Spartan and 4-time NBA champion Draymond Green sounds off on the NBA. The Golden State Warriors forward goes 1-on-1 with some of the biggest names in basketball, and shares his opinions on all-things-NBA. Altogether, his postgame analysis of his own games are fascinating. They provide a perspective fans rarely get to experience. Green hasn’t posted an episode since October, which is the only reason he’s not on the main list. But it’s looking like Draymond will be returning to the mic in 2023.
“The 2 Robbies” with Robbie Musto and Robbie Earle
“Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle discuss and dissect the top Premier League storylines after every single match week. Together, the former Premier League players and current NBC Sports analysts host ‘The 2 Robbies Podcast’ providing fans with top-class punditry on the most exciting soccer league in the world.”
“NFL Players Podcast” with Logan Ryan, Charles Tillman and Aeneas Williams
“The NFL Players Podcast is a candid, unscripted series sharing the stories and personal journeys of NFL players– as told by the players. Hosted by captain of the New York Giants, Logan Ryan, Legend and Walter Payton Man of the Year recipient Charles “Peanut” Tillman, and Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams, new episodes are released on Wednesdays.”
BONUS: Top Athlete-Founded Media Companies
“Togethxr” media company founded by Alex Morgan, Simone Manuel, Sue Bird and Chloe Kim.
Women make up 44% of all participants in sports, yet only receive less than 10% of sports media coverage. With a focus on rich storytelling, TOGETHXR is an unapologetic platform where representation and equality is the norm. A place where culture, activism, lifestyle, and sports converge. We shatter the often narrow depictions of women in the media with content featuring a diverse and inclusive community of game changers, culture shapers, thought leaders, and barrier breakers.”
“UNINTERRUPTED” by LeBron James and Maverick Carter
“The Sports Emmy Award-winning series UNINTERRUPTED The Shop is back for Season 5. This unique barbershop experience rounds up some of the biggest names in the game for an unfiltered discussion. Surrounding sports, music, world events, business, and other cultural moments.”
“Omaha Productions” founded by Peyton Manning
The brainchild of Peyton “is an entertainment company launched by Peyton Manning following his retirement from the NFL. Omaha focuses on developing content that champions hard work, encourages the pursuit of passion, and celebrates community.”
“I AM ATHLETE” founded by Brandon Marshall, Adam “Pacman” Jones, LeSean “Shady” McCoy and Chad Ochocinco Johnson
“I Am Athlete is a media company focused on the intersection of business, entertainment, music, and sports. Founded by former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Hosted with Adam “Pacman” Jones, LeSean “Shady” McCoy, and Chad Ochocinco Johnson. IAA creates athlete-led content that resembles a “locker room.” A safe space for athletes, entertainers, and celebrities to tell their stories, voice their perspectives and control their own narrative while feeling comfortable amongst one another. All shows are unscripted and candid, unraveling cultural discussions centered around sports, wellness, society, fashion, and mental health. We are #BiggerThanAPodcast”
What are some of your favorite sports-related podcasts?!
Tweet @WoodwoodSports or find us on your favorite social media platform!