On this week’s episode of Slate’s sports podcast Hang Up and Listen, Joel Anderson, Stefan Fatsis, and special guest Louisa Thomas of the New Yorker discuss the NBA’s bubble season, which ended with LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers lifting the trophy a fourth time. They also talk about Dak Prescott, Alex Smith, and the moral dilemma of watching NFL players suffer gruesome on-field injuries. And finally, they break down the French Open, where Rafael Nadal of Spain won his 13th Roland Garros title and 20th major, while teenager Iga Swiatek of Poland won her first professional tournament of any kind.
• Support Hang Up and Listen by subscribing to Slate Plus.
• Follow Louisa Thomas on Twitter and buy her books Losers: Dispatches from the Other Side of the Scoreboard and Mind and Matter: A Life in Math and Football.
• In The New Yorker, Louisa wrote about LeBron James’s latest championship and his enigmatic teammate Anthony Davis.
• Slate’s Nick Greene on why the Lakers’ championship wasn’t as obvious as it might have looked and the team’s crazy Game 5 win over the Miami Heat.
• Ben Golliver of the Washington Post on why the NBA deserves credit for the competitive, logistical, and messaging success of the bubble.
• In ESPN, Marc J. Spears wrote that social justice issues shaped the entire NBA season.
• Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith returned to the field on Sunday after a gruesome 2018 leg injury, 17 surgeries, and a life-threatening infection.
• Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post and Lauren Thiesen of Defector wrote about the queasiness of watching Smith play.
• On Sunday, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott also suffered a similarly horrifying leg injury.
• USA Today’s Doug Farrar said the NFL should end the Tennessee Titans’ season for flouting coronavirus protocols.
• In chilly Paris, Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek didn’t lose a set en route to winning the French Open.
• Steve Tignor of Tennis.com wrote that Nadal and Swiatek had more in common than it looked.
• In The New Yorker, Gerald Marzorati noted a “somber moodiness” about the French Open.
Hang Up and Listen’s weekly Jadwiga Jędrzejowskas:
Louisa’s Jadwiga Jędrzejowska: On the glamorous—and embellished—life of 1930s tennis champion Alice Marble.
Stefan’s Jadwiga Jędrzejowska: In the taxonomy of 2020 athlete deaths, Horace Clarke’s hit the closest to home.
On this week’s bonus segment, Joel, Stefan, and Louisa discuss whether the Lakers’ title changes the LeBron v. Jordan GOAT debate.
Podcast production and edit by Melissa Kaplan.
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