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In this week’s episode of Slate’s sports podcast Hang Up and Listen, Stefan Fatsis, Josh Levin, and Mike Pesca discuss Golden State’s dominating start to the NBA Finals and evaluate LeBron James’ playoff record. Next, they are joined by the Ringer’s Bryan Curtis for a conversation about how Muhammad Ali changed sports writing. Finally, the New York Times’ Ben Rothenberg joins the show to talk about Novak Djokovic’s historic French Open win and why he still isn’t as beloved as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Here are links to some of the articles and other items mentioned on the show:
- The Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 110–77 to take a 2–0 lead in the NBA Finals.
- FiveThirtyEight writes that LeBron James’ Finals record isn’t a disappointment, statistically speaking.
- Jerry West, who won only once in nine NBA Finals appearances, defends James.
- Follow Bryan Curtis on Twitter and read his work at the Ringer.
- On the Ringer, Curtis writes about how Muhammad Ali “woke up” sports writers.
- In Slate, Stefan writes about one sports writer who never came around to Ali.
- Josh and Tommy Craggs collected the best stories ever written about Ali.
- Listen to and read Josh and Stefan’s interview with the New York Times’ Robert Lipsyte.
- Mike’s favorite Ali book: Mark Kram’s Ghosts of Manila.
- Read Kram’s “Lawdy, Lawdy, He’s Great,” his famous Sports Illustrated piece on the “Thrilla in Manila.”
- Murray Kempton’s “The Champ and the Chump,” his New Republic piece on Ali’s 1964 fight against Sonny Liston.
- In Slate, David Plotz wrote about how Ali became an “Islamic teddy bear.” Follow Ben Rothenberg on Twitter and read his work at the New York Times.
- Novak Djokovic won the French Open, his fourth straight grand slam and 12th overall.
- Djokovic could be the best ever, writes Carl Bialik at FiveThirtyEight.
- Djokovic will have trouble winning a lot of support so long as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are around.
- But tennis fans may be warming up to Djokovic.
Hang Up and Listen’s weekly Blackpool Towers:
Stefan’s Blackpool Tower: Tracking down the origins of Ali’s famous line, “I ain’t got no quarrel with the Viet Cong.”
Josh’s Blackpool Tower: The time Ali won a poetry contest with his own 36-line original work.
On this week’s Slate Plus bonus segment, Stefan Fatsis, Josh Levin, and Mike Pesca discuss their favorite Muhammad Ali clips from YouTube, including a heated conversation about his name, an encounter with Wilt Chamberlain, and a campaign against tooth decay. Visit slate.com/hangupplus and try it free for two weeks.
Podcast production and edit by Mickey Capper.
Our intern is Laura Wagner.
You can email us at email@example.com.