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The Lo-Down: LeBron James revolutions basketball discourse

Until a few weeks ago, I had never listened to a podcast like athlete empowerment brand Uninterrupted’s newest media venture, the “Mind the Game'' podcast featuring LeBron James alongside JJ Redick.

Nowadays there is a podcast about anything you are willing to look for, narrated by any genre of host you want. Media have largely shifted away from writing and video can be inconvenient when on a traffic-heavy commute or trying to pass time through a long, arduous work day. That’s where podcasts have filled in the gap, allowing anybody to talk about anything for any audience, and needing only a microphone.

For sports fans, the podcast sphere has historically been dominated by fans and media, giving different and valuable perspectives, but lacking the on-the-court experience that only the players can provide. Content is largely predicated around hypotheticals and rumors in the host(s)’s chosen league and its team. It can be entertaining, but repetitive depending largely on the charisma and interpretation of the host.

So what is so different about “Mind the Game?" It starts with the personnel. LeBron is LeBron: inarguably one of basketball’s best players and biggest names, a once 18-year-old draftee turned 21-season tenured NBA great. Redick is a similarly long-tenured player, having 15 NBA seasons under his belt for various teams, becoming one of the game’s greatest shooters.

Following his retirement in 2021, Redick became one of the biggest names in sports podcasting with his podcast “The Old Man and the Three.” In his podcast, he brings on coaches and players, sharing stories and talking about basketball.

In “Mind the Game,” stories take a back seat. The podcast’s own X, formerly Twitter, account describes it as “a celebration of the sport as they discuss the state of the game, dissect X’s and O’s … and wax poetic about the game they love.”

So far, that is exactly what the podcast has been. From James and Redick describing advanced basketball actions to how player personnel changes the way teams approach offense and defense, the emphasis on the game and not narratives is there.

This is, needless to say, good for basketball discourse and should make actual long term change. As someone whose social media feed is almost entirely made up of college and professional basketball, discourse is nearly impossible to take part in seriously.

Almost all conversations devolve into arguments predicated on which narrative the participants choose to side with. Through two episodes, “Mind the Game" has been a complete breath of fresh air from that type of conversation, with its hosts doing exactly what they set out to do: show love and appreciation for the game that they have found so much joy and success in.

Too big a portion of casual basketball discourse stems from narratives, with people painting a picture of seemingly how much they dislike the state of the support. James and Redick choose to do the opposite.

Another large part of this is explaining the game to a much more casual audience. The average person, or even the average NBA fan is not going to comprehend terms like “blind pig” or “stack pick-and-roll” and certainly will not understand what James is talking about when he explains a series of complex defensive shifts he would like to see during a traditional baseline out-of-bounds play.

However, through graphs or clips of what the hosts are describing, Uninterrupted’s crew goes above and beyond to make this kind of talk palatable, and in turn, elevates the knowledge of the podcast’s listeners. It does not hurt to have someone so many people idolize, such as James, be the spokesperson for this kind of basketball conversation.

It has only been two episodes, but there is already so much to learn from James and Redick as they articulate what makes basketball the most beautiful game ever created.

Logan Adams is a sophomore studying journalism. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Logan know by tweeting him @LoganA_NBA.

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