The Gist

What Basketball Gave Felipe Lopez

The “Dominican Michael Jordan” didn’t dominate the NBA like his nickname promised—but hoops gave him joy, an education, and an incredible New York story.

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In the interview, Felipe Lopez was once billed the Dominican Michael Jordan. His star power even in high school led the team to play in bigger New York City venues—the better to fit the legions of fans who cheered as he carried Harlem’s Rice High School to a championship victory. But his court domination dwindled in college, and in the NBA. Lopez joins The Gist to talk about the joys brought to him by basketball, not least of which is one that college athletes and recruiters rarely think much of: a degree. ESPN’s The Dominican Dream, a documentary on Lopez by Jonathan Hock, is streaming now on ESPN Plus.

In the Spiel, M&M’s, cannibalism, and the Game of Thrones finale.

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Podcast production by Pierre Bienaimé and Daniel Schroeder.