For a long time, sports podcasts were dominated by a “talk show” style of podcast. This makes sense — traditional sports radio talk shows have been around ever since cavemen created fire.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But like any talk show, you need compelling personalities to make listening interesting. Essentially, it's the question of how spicy you can make your hot takes on the latest blockbuster trade.
But beyond just the standard talk shows, there’s a surprising amount of unique content out there that goes beyond two guys yakking in front of a microphone. Here’s a few sports podcasts I took a look at this week.
“I am Rapaport: Stereo Podcast”
You can almost hear the decades of being a New Yorker in Michael Rapaport’s accent. He’s like the friend from Manhattan you never had.
Rapaport’s day job is acting — you might recognize him from numerous '90s movies and TV shows, like True Romance or Friends, or the recently released Netflix show Atypical. But his podcast shows a completely different side of him.
In one episode, he might be ranting about LeBron James’ latest game, and the next, he might be talking with fellow actor Wood Harris about some of Robert De Niro's greatest movie roles.
Rapaport's is probably one of the most loosely defined “sports” pods out there, because a lot of times Rapaport and his guests barely talk about sports. Rapaport rants about what he wants to — all in that thick, aggressive New York accent.
This may not be the pod for sports fans that want nitty-gritty analysis on their teams, but Rapaport is definitely an intriguing character.
Rating: 3 out of 5 earbuds
“ESPN 30 for 30: The Podcast”
If you absolutely love ESPN’s awarding-winning 30 for 30 television documentary series as I do, you’ll be happy to know it’s also a podcast. And the producers from the documentary series capture the same storytelling magic in these podcasts.
Just like the television documentaries, the ESPN 30 for 30 podcast tells human interest stories about the people involved in sports, sometimes in a loose way.
For example, it’s not just about the story of the miraculous comeback the Boston Red Sox had in the 2004 American League Championship Series. Instead, it’s about the story of the Boston teenagers who sold bootleg “Yankees Suck!” T-shirts during the series and became rich.
The vivid detail and personal accounts the podcast incorporates into its stories are masterful, and they will make you want to listen for an hour or more each episode.
For all the flak ESPN is receiving for its recent content, 30 for 30 is something it's doing right.
Rating: 5 out of 5 earbuds
“Road Trippin’ with RJ and Channing”
Ever want an inside look into what life is like for NBA players? Look no further than this pod.
Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye are both veteran players for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and, alongside Fox Sports Ohio reporter Allie Clifton, this podcast gets a bit wild.
Jefferson and Frye are like brothers at times, constantly teasing back and forth about how games went, quirky things that happened during team workouts — and Lebron James, of course. It’s incessant.
Without Clifton to steer both of them towards actual conversation topics, this podcast would probably descend into madness. But for NBA junkies and especially Cavs fans, this pod can be refreshing insight into NBA players’ lives.
For example, most people wouldn’t know James likes to drink wine if he hadn’t talked about it during a guest appearance on the podcast. Jefferson and Frye are a bit unorthodox in their hosting methods, and, while I like something different, it can be much at times. But, hey, to each their own.
Rating: 2 out of 5 earbuds
Liam Niemeyer is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. How do you get your sportsball fill? Let Liam know by tweeting him @liamniemeyer.