S1: The following podcast includes explicit language, in other words, might get a little blue in here. Hope you can handle it. Hello, I’m Joel Anderson, Slate staff writer and this is Hang Up and listen for the week of May. Twenty fourth twenty twenty one. On this week’s show, we’re going to talk about what’s up with all this damn falling and flopping in the NBA this season. Phil Mickelson going George Foreman on us at the PGA Championship this weekend. And Tim Tebow making a quiet return to football after an almost decade long absence. OK, maybe he was quite all right. But anyway, Stefan is out again this week, and he sent us the lovely picture from some delicate valley where he’s been vacationing. Josh, I don’t know where it is, but it looks really nice. But in our ongoing effort to confuse our listeners ear muscles, we’ve brought in a special guest who’s going to stick around for each and every segment today. But first, I’m in Palo Alto and I’m the host of Slow Burn Season three upcoming Slow Burn Season six. On the nineteen ninety two L.A. riots in D.C. is Josh Levine. He’s the author of The Queen and the host of Slow Burn Season four on David Duke. Josh, how are you?
S2: I’m good. I’m here. I’m an undisclosed location. Unlike Fatsis.
S1: Yeah. Did Stephanie tell us where he was going? And we just don’t remember.
S2: Let’s pretend like he didn’t tell us in that way, OK?
S1: Yeah, he didn’t tell us. It’s mysterious to us. It’s inscrutable. The messages. See, I feel like
S2: the disclosed location gets so much less respect than the undisclosed location. Just because you know where somebody has doesn’t make it less cool.
S1: That’s right. That’s very I mean, if you’re in a disclosed location and you want to send us pictures, go ahead. I don’t want to do that. Andrew Sullivan, view from where you are. Shit, we don’t have to do that anyway. And Atlanta is our very special guest, Spencer Hall. Spencer is part of the shutdown forecast, the world’s only college football podcast, as far as we know. And you can read him and the Moon Crew newsletter. Thanks for joining us today, Spencer. How are you doing?
S3: My pleasure, gentlemen. I’m thrilled in this extremely disclosed location of Atlanta, although I think anybody who knows Atlanta say if I say it’s a disclosed location, that still leaves a wide variety of places to hide within the broad rubric of Atlanta.
S1: Well, I mean, we can just start at the top of Gwinnett County all the way down to like where we’re
S3: where we go. Like Valdosta at this point, says from Atlanta might be from like ninety miles outside Atlanta.
S1: Oh, yeah. Well, I mean, why not? What’s that. What’s that town of seventy five Tifton. Yeah.
S3: Like reading the reading Capital of the World according to Tifton is
S1: the reading capital of the world. I just realized the just three good Southern boys here right now.
S3: So don’t tell them, don’t tell anybody. Sit down around here.
S2: And that’s what I say.
S3: Never heard you say that, John.
S2: All right. The NBA playoffs are underway. And the highlights for me involve our friend LeBron James and the Lakers and the playing game he got raked across the face by Draymond Green. I actually had a little bit of a futures bet with a friend of mine where I guess that Draymond was going to get ejected from that game and I feel like I was robbed a little bit. Didn’t happen. LeBron got hit in the eye. He makes that long distance three after writhing around on the ground for a while and getting some eye drops, the Lakers make the playoffs that on Sunday against the Suns. But LeBron James and his best friend, Chris Paul, managed to injure each other and themselves in the shoulder. And the Suns game one win over the Lakers. Joel, it seemed only appropriate that this opening weekend involved a bunch of injuries and also multiple injuries, whether exaggerated or real, to one LeBron James. What did you make of, you know, LeBron, his performance and also just what you saw out of the playoffs this weekend?
S1: Well, I mean, I definitely think that he looks old and he’s working his way back when person is thirty six thirty seven years old, and all of a sudden they start to look old. You just never know, like, hey, are they having a that they might get enough sleep this week. Are they actually older. They’re never going to be as great as they used to be. So maybe we’re at that point with LeBron right now. I always feel sort of ridiculous. I always feel ridiculous doubting him. But at a certain point, we’re going to look up and we’re like, oh, shit, this guy is thirty six years old. But the thing that really stuck out to me from the play end game is that, yes, he definitely got hit in the face. And more important to me, he felt really weird on his right ankle. And I was just like, how did he avoid getting hurt at that? Because, you know, people focus so much on him getting hit in the face. And, you know, he was all the dramatics and it’s the theatrics of what I was seeing.
S2: Three REM’s.
S1: Joel, have you ever gotten hit in the face by somebody? Six foot seven, two hundred and fifty pounds by going to the rim? Because I like if you have it, I feel like you would have a little bit more sympathy for what LeBron went through there. Right, Spencer? Like, I just like I feel like people like, oh, look. Roll it around on the ground, being a doctor, you know, give him the Oscar for it. I’m like, do you want to go hard at the Hoop and Draymond Green slap you across your face? Because I’m certain you can arrange that on camera. Comparable.
S3: A comparable question for somebody in the normal world would be. Have you ever run into a tree.
S1: How did that feel?
S3: That’s, that’s. I’m not lying. That’s probably as good a compass you’re going to get. Have you ever, like, just flat run into a tree and gone, man, that tree totally. That that tree took me that tree got hands like that’s what every time I’ve been in the woods and accidentally run into a tree, which is an embarrassing number of times over the course of my lifetime, I thought, I don’t want any part of that tree. The collisions adding up after a compressed, locked down schedule, right. Like after the bubble and then a full season, all adding up for a thirty six year old athlete. I don’t really care who you are. It’s going to be difficult. A lot of this is just going to be mental and getting through it. And this was on the heels of a bunch of conversations about whether these were whether it’s in rehab. It’s been talking about, OK, how much volume is really going to lead to how much injury here, who’s following, who’s not, who’s tired, what’s what’s the sort of fatigue add ons? I think that the increased physicality of the playoffs, even on our diminished level. Hello, old heads. Yeah, we have to go ahead. Remark that the increased physicality of the playoffs in twenty twenty one is not the same as it was in nineteen ninety seven. I hope you enjoyed your tire irons
S1: and you’re sixty eight
S3: sixty six games.
S1: OK, they missed Derek Harper. Aren’t boring people up and down the floor for you know forty three minutes a game.
S3: So yeah I mean I do too. But I also miss juice boxes but I’m not a kid. That’s why I don’t drink them anymore.
S2: So Trae Young looked good and spry for the Hawks against the next Loukia Dandrige looked nice and vibrant and beating the Clippers. So maybe this will be a playoffs where youth reigns. There’s always this talk like with, you know, watching the Suns Lakers game about like Chris Paul, like valiantly leading the floor general. All of these like callow youngsters on on the Suns. Meanwhile, like Chris Paul can barely dribble is like flailing, flinging airballs at the end of the clock. And like Michael Bridges is just like flying around and dunking. And Ayton is like grabbing everything and dunking it. And it’s like it’s nice to be young sometimes.
S3: John Morente. John McCain’s going to be fine.
S2: He’s going to be very good. He was so good on Sunday.
S1: Not being old in the NBA is a sign for the most part that you’re probably pretty good. Right. So like we probably over overromanticized there. Yeah. We we romanticize the idea of like veteran leadership, but like to stay in the league for a very long time. You probably have to be a very good player. But what if you happen to run up against very good players that are young, you know, and don’t have a lot of miles on them and can adjust to playing a shitload of games in a short amount of time?
S2: You know who else is? Thirty six years old, uh, Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones, who made a career out of being LeBron James is. Wait a
S1: minute. Wait a minute. I know that I’m supposed to be in sports. James Jones is only thirty six years old.
S2: I might be making that up. Is that right?
S3: OK, I’m going to I’m going to without fact checking. Completely verified that fact here.
S1: Jones was thirty six when he was in the league. Like I just, I don’t know. I felt like he could not move. He was, he did not have like any lateral movement into his game. So I just always kind of figured that he was in his 30s while he was playing.
S3: I do think one advantage of these playoffs, those you’re going to get some and I say this term kindly and based on lack of experience, only some kind of giddily ignorant young squad that has no clue what they’re doing, getting way farther than they have any business getting. And that’s that’s a delight to me. Like last night, the Hawks didn’t expect to win that game. I say that the Hawks didn’t expect to win that game because the Hawks never expect to win a game, even if even if it’s against the Knicks. That’s probably why Trae Young was like so out of his head after the win and saying things like it’s real life and quiet in here up to the entire garden, like nobody’s ever won a game on the road at the Garden. That’s what Madison Square Garden is made for, right? Like Freddie Gibbs has a whole song about people lighting up the Knicks at the garden, different people in different generations. That’s the point. But they don’t know what they’re like. If the Greens get past the jazz right and John Morente is in the second round suddenly, then, yeah, all bets are off like this. Could be amazing.
S2: All right. Sticklers for factual accuracy. We’ll know. Note the James Jones is actually forty. He retired at thirty six. So I was I was mostly right, I’ll say. But the Hawks next series is why God invented the first round of the NBA playoffs. I think we understand, unlike a deep. Cellular level that this series is not going to determine who wins an NBA championship, and yet the fact that one of those teams is going to win and one will lose just brings me like a huge amount of joy, like want one of those teams is going to win a playoff series and the other team is going to be despondent that they lost to the team that won that series.
S1: How is this not to play in game like I mean, I guess like I looked up all of a sudden you could call it that
S2: if you want. I don’t know. Wait a
S1: minute. How are you? Four and five is it didn’t make any sense to me. It doesn’t register. Which speaks to how weird this whole season is. Right. We’re even in the West. The seventh seed is technically the favorite over the second seed. But, you know, I mean, anything could happen. But yeah, just like it’s just it’s all in keeping with this season sort of being weird. And it’s way I think it like people sort of tried to denigrate the Lakers winning the bubble championship last year because it was an off year and off a weird season. I feel this is just as weird. We just it’s just sort of elongated, like we like people are traveling or whatever. But like, I don’t know what to make of this year. And I don’t think that any team that is like on the cusp of a crisis or like trying to make long term decisions about its future, I don’t know that you could really read that much into this season either. Right.
S3: I don’t know if you could. I also don’t know if you’re going to get some apparent results. You know, and I think the real the real X factor in apparent results isn’t youth, and it isn’t a compressed schedule. It’s injury. Injury is the thing where if you look when the NBA’s had real weird results, retirement and injury have been the thing that led to weird championships
S2: while the rockets championships where we were and those were the most those were the most normal championships in human history,
S1: took on all comers, by the way. That’s right. That’s right.
S2: I will admit something embarrassing, and I hope I get credit for it from the listeners. I don’t have to tell you this. I was watching that Jazz Grizzlies game and I was watching it for a while. And then in the fourth quarter, the announcers were like, Donovan Mitchell is out, you know, with an ankle. And he was like, oh, yeah, Donovan Mitchell really hasn’t.
S1: That guy
S2: is really good
S1: for you tonight. Yeah, yeah.
S2: He usually does play for Utah. Now, the now the you mentioned I was like, oh yeah. I mean John Mohanned is really good, but it probably would be useful for Utah if they had Donovan Mitchell. So yes. Injuries, aberrant results, cetera.
S3: Yeah. But we’re not going to remember that. What we’re going to do is we’re gonna go, man, this team made an amazing run. We’re never going to never going to contextualize. I will vow to the end of my days I will never contextualize a team’s single barrel win or championship. Never. I’ll be like, nope, best team that year. No other circumstances explaining it.
S1: Oh, that’s so funny. You mention that because like, pretty much almost every championship is determined in some way, like even going back to that Pistons victory over the Lakers. Like what people forget is that Karl Malone was like basically down to nothing like he couldn’t move. Oh, he can lift his arm above his head.
S3: Shoulder, right.
S2: You consider extenuating circumstances the fact that Karl Malone was old, like like you would like to. Yeah. That.
S1: So if you were the best team over the course and we talk about how the play of the NBA playoffs are probably the best representative sample in terms of determining a championship. Right. Because I don’t think playoffs tend to do that. But the NBA is different. But the caveat to that is that the NBA requires you to play so many more games. So even if you were the best team for the majority of the season, let’s say you were the best team over an eighty two game sample. It doesn’t mean anything in the playoffs because somebody could get hurt again, like I mean, the KAWHI Championship. We heard everybody say, oh now the best player in the league and all this shit. But we know that if Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson had been playing for the Warriors, that he wouldn’t I wouldn’t have won that championship. We also know that we went no rockets. We know that we also lose.
S3: And I feel the right I feel like we can say that. Yeah.
S1: Yeah, right. Yeah. Are you are you one to denigrate with the Warriors do doing Josh what do you do you want Warriors Twitter to come after you. I don’t know. I mean I
S2: thought I was following the Spencer Hall School of Contextualisation is for losers, but
S3: I agree with that.
S2: I’m like pulling you back and forth. I don’t know who to who to believe. I don’t know what you guys are or are telling me to do. But it’s funny, like back to the Knicks and the Hawks being four and five and like the Lakers being that the seven seed or whatever, it almost feels like caring about the regular season is cheating. It’s like it’s like you’re trying to you’re like hacking the NBA or actually winning winning these games and you’re like in the playoffs and you have a higher. Seems like that’s not fair. Like, that’s
S3: weird. I feel like it plays well into the NBA fans innate snobbery because now there are multiple tiers of NBA fandom. You can get the full subscription, you can be the league pass guy. League pass guy is my favorite league, best guy is the hipster. He’ll be like, hey, you weren’t watching the 2017 Orlando Magic on. Vinyl like that, that the guy that I love in the NBA, so I really like
S2: who is the the number one player that league pass guys talk about? I feel like a couple of years ago would have been Buddy Hield, but I’m not not saying that Buddy Hield is the league past guy for twenty point one. Or maybe Darren Fox. It’s always like the best player on the Kings.
S3: Yeah, I think for a while it might have been Devin Booker. For a while it might have been Zach Lavine, but yeah. Yeah.
S1: So good guys.
S2: Devin Booker is on ABC now. He doesn’t know the count anymore.
S3: Yeah, I don’t I really I have no idea who it might be now because I am not that guy. I am the bandwagon here. I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to hop on in the playoffs and act like I know something, you know, like when in fact I’ve only watched one team all season long and it isn’t even the squad that’s in my city.
S1: Wait, what team is that? This is what do you watch?
S3: The Grizzlies. I’m a great.
S1: Oh that’s right. You are a Grizz fan. That’s right. That’s right.
S2: The Grizzlies are the Grizzlies are really fun. And they’ve got they’ve got somebody for everyone. They’ve got someone for the Joel Anderson in your life with Desmond Bane out of TCU go that Dillon Brooks, who is always extremely happy when he makes a basket and is excited to tell everyone about it, about youngness, found Sheerness, who has that like necklace tattoo that I find extremely terrifying, and Jomaa. And of course.
S3: Yeah. And the most exciting player by far in in the current NBA in terms of will make somebody beat him up in the parking lot one day. I do not see anybody who understands their own mortality less than Jom rant against somebody going into the paint, because I don’t think he doesn’t dunk as an abstraction. He dunk at somebody every single time. He embarrasses somebody in the paint. It’s not like I worry about him. It’s not funny. Like I’m like somebody is absolutely going to crack your orbital bone one day if you keep to.
S2: There’s kind of like a young Derrick Rose aspect to his game.
S3: A little bit little red, a little bit like, hey, you know, you have a fifth gear. You also have a fourth and the third. You might want to try to find it.
S1: Well, it’s weird because you said that about Derrick Rose, but I never saw Derrick Rose. And maybe this is revisionist history now, being crafty in the lane, like just being able to decelerate like weave the way into the paint. Like I again, I haven’t watched the Grizzlies play this year and I think I actually insulted them themselves in our last episode. So I’m sorry about that.
S3: Spencer, there’s just more disrespect at all.
S1: I’m talking about Basketball Hipster’s. I was a Tony Allen fan before when Tony Allen was considered the second or third best player on his college basketball team.
S3: So superb. Superb. That is, by the way, of course, you can say that now you’re still on the disrespect list. That’s what the girls do. We do two things to do that and we lose the Spurs in the playoffs. That’s what the Grizzlies do.
S2: Coming up next, Phil Mickelson, old man, major champion. On Sunday at Kioa Islands Ocean Course in South Carolina, 50 year old Phil Mickelson shot a final round. Seventy three to win the PGA Championship by two strokes and become the oldest winner in the history of golf’s major championships. Prior to Mickelson, the oldest major champions were 48 year old Julius Borrus, who won the 1968 PGA and old Tom Morris. That is actually what they called the guy. He was 46 when he won the British Open in 1867. Spencer, after the round was over, Phil replied to a fan on Twitter from his plane flight home. He wrote that he was sipping wine half lit, tweeting, Life is good. Mickelson also
S2: he also said on Sunday that he was inspired by Tom Brady’s longevity, though he did not say like Brady, he refuses to eat tomatoes. My question is, do you, Spencer Hall, find Phil Mickelson inspirational?
S3: And that’s not the word for it. He’s funny. Like Phil’s funny, I think, in terms of inspirational. What Phil is, is I guess he’s inspirational in terms of the no brakes lifestyle. Of course, this is a man who dodged insider trading charges. If you find that if you find that inspiring, you’re going to find Phil inspiring. So you love the free market. Phil Mickelson is your man. That’s why all those finance pros are all about it. I do find the way he plays really liberating, and I always have because, like, the best thing that ever happened is the U.S. Open at Wingfoot when Phil could win the whole thing. But just getting conservative and you can hear him on the broadcast go driver like he could have just laid up and played it safe. And you can’t go driver and you hear everyone in the crowd go because they know what’s about to happen, which is you got loose. He ended up getting a couple of bogeys, double bogeys, and he blows us open. So picking one up, I mean, I guess karmically he was owed one. So I find his style of play has always been inspirational because I think people find it falsely relatable because sometimes off the tee he ends up in the hospitality tent. Sometimes he ends up in he might end up behind the wheel of a golf cart, which happened as recently as this weekend. And yet he always manages through daring do and underrated skill. I think people still underrate the same skill of Phil Mickelson that is the greatest save artist in the history of golf. And I think that’s what people find endearing about him, his longevity. He caught one here like this was a dog who caught the bus because his finishes this year, I think his highest PGA tour finished at this point was twenty first at the Masters, an event where most people labeled him an afterthought like he was a pop in. You’d hear Jim Nance go. Well, let’s check in with Phil. Let’s see how the fellows do it. And he was back on the field. That’s the best he did this year. Just I think three weeks.
S2: You’re buying that the intermittent fasting diet that he went on as the secret of success. I mean, the dude does look better physically. Oh. Than he did for for much of his career,
S3: no doubt known. He’s he’s absolutely taking care of himself and worked, you know, two, two and a half hours in the gym every day just to get out there in prime condition and then better than prime condition for a fifty year old ban. In terms of performance, though, three weeks ago he missed the cut at Valspar. He was he was not looking up at anything resembling an inevitable U.S. Open win or even competition. That would be Brooks Koepka, the guy that he managed to outpace on the back nine, which he did, by the way, with some old man, you wonder it was inspirational. He old man him he slowed him down, kept his real and patient. And Phil citing focus. And if you want to go like, OK, where did he slow Hampus Phil? And a great piece by Brendan Porath on the fried egg, which you can go look at or listen to the shotgun start if I can plug my boy here. But Brendan has written about golf for a long time and loves Phil and understands like the Phil ethos he old man kept Koepka by slowing down because he needed to elongate his focus. In other words, this is like sometimes golfers like to talk about things in these real sort of paraphrase this long, elaborate terms. He’s like, I needed to elongate my focus, but what he was doing was frustrating. Koepka this Kafka’s the guy remember, who like, hates Bryce and Shambo for four, fidgeting and taking so long to do things. And he hates like super like super slow golf. And on the back nine this absolutely killed him.
S2: Joel, did you see what Koepka said when the round was over. So the crowd just totally swarmed onto the 18th fairway which reminded me you remember the Brooks Brothers riot after the 2000 election where all the Republicans in suits swarmed the like Dade County election canvassers? This to me was the khaki shorts riot like all these. And Spencer, in a minute, I’m going to want to get like the anthropology of the Kioa like golf course, Patrón, but like. This this was like the biggest kind of post pandemic, like out of control, close proximity crowd like we’ve seen in sports and when it was over, Joel Kaplan, because it would have been cool if I didn’t have a knee injury and do the few times in the knee in that crowd because no one really gave a shit. Yeah, it’s cool for Phil, but getting dinged a few times isn’t exactly my idea of fun. I was trying to protect my knee and this is the dude who’s known is like the kind of BFE fattiest like athlete in all of golf. To have some respect for yourself, sir.
S1: Oh, I like a little salt. There’s a little salt. Every every meal is a little bit better with salt and Koepka wants to be a little, you know, mad about it. And I mean we really should not be. I mean I’m not to be the covid scold but I mean people outside. But I’ve been just sort of the crowds around people and stuff. I mean you’re not ready for a security issue, just not ready for it. Yeah, I don’t also you know, I don’t know a lot about that. This part this golf course is near Beaufort, South Carolina, correct? Yes. I just I imagine that that is a population of people that probably didn’t rush out to get their their Moderna or shots. Just just, you know, just guessing. I don’t want to, you know, stereotype here too much. I’m just guessing that is a demographic of folk that still have a lot of doubts about Anthony Fauci and the CDC, which some of us still should have doubts and, you know, whatever about the CDC and Dr. Fauci. But we I think I would come and get it from a different place. So that was sort of disconcerting to me. But can I just in the interest of admitting things, because justice did that in the previous segment, and we all know that I’m wildly ignorant about golf, but I had no idea that it was such a big deal for 50 year old to win a golf tournament, because I never looked at golf as a sport where, you know, there are a bunch of Adonis is out there, you know, I mean, like with the exception of, like, Tiger and presentation. So I, I can’t remember in my life ever looking at any major golf tournament and thinking, man, that guy’s kicking their ass with his athleticism, you know, I mean, I just thought golf was a sport for old people and and accordingly, like old people would win. But I guess, like, I looked up and I’m one of those. If I was forty three years old and I want a golf tournament, would that be considered a big deal? They’d be like, man, that forty three. So he really persevered out there and that that would be one of the organizers. Yeah.
S2: Never lets Tiger Tiger Woods when he won the Masters.
S3: Yeah. It’s notable like if you did it would definitely be of note, if not the story that you had done it while being so old. That is Neil and Phil doing this. I mean, that is a testament to his preparation. Dude has worked his butt off to get in the shape that he is in for golf. But the reflexes go like the real like like thirty five plus in golf. You’re firmly old man in it, like the people who have come closer, guys like Tom Watson, who did it through. I think when Tom Watson won the British Open or competed in the British Open, he’s doing it by just laying the ball up and letting the irons in the wind do the rest and putting well that’s it. You’re never, ever going to go long as like a fifty year old dude. That’s what makes feel kind of freakish, is that is iron play has actually been like competitive in long at this age.
S2: But Phil was also driving Koepka. Yeah. On a lot of these holes on Sunday, which the thing that I found to be kind of hard to believe that he was saying is like a dictum of his like old man golf career was like, I can physically do everything that I did when I was younger. And my problem is that I can’t concentrate as much. I can tell you as somebody who is aging at the normal human rate, I cannot do the same things physically that I did when I was younger. I feel like I can concentrate just fine. It sounded a little bit like psychobabble to me. This idea that like oh, like my my physique is and limiting me at all. But my problem is that I just can’t, like, think the same as I used to.
S1: Can we can we say this thing? Because two weeks ago we talked about Albert Pujols. Right. Is this anomaly because, you know, he was great. Now he’s been terrible for a decade. And it’s shocking only because we’re not used to old great athletes looking old and being terrible.
S2: Fifteen minutes ago, you basically were putting LeBron into the retirement home. Don’t forget,
S1: I mean, thirty six years old when I was. Look, did you all see that that meme on the on Twitter this past week, we’d had Jamie Fox with that ball. Did George Jefferson style afro was like, this is how twenty eight year olds used to look in nineteen eighty. Yeah well like that’s, that’s like I mean back in the day like. Yeah. Thirty six. I mean that was then like you were an old person. Robert Parrish looked like he was sixty four years old when he was in the eighties and he’s played then another
S2: sixty four years old when he was eighteen.
S1: But if I would probably do that to you,
S3: I think with Phil you say that that sounds like psychobabble. Oh. OK, Josh, we need it, we need to get you listening to more golfers and their philosophies of how their bodies and minds work, because when you’re left out to compete by yourself in the middle of a beautiful log laced with toxic chemicals, strange things start happening to your psyche and you start telling yourself stories and you get so far down the rabbit hole and so deep with it. Go listen to Bryson. Oh, dear Lord. Bryson DeChambeau is like eight miles deep in a river of bullshit every time he starts talking about what is happening with his body. Tiger Tiger is the epitome of this because remember, there was a long period of glutes not firing. Tiger just failed to fire for about five to six years whenever. And that was the first thing he went to.
S2: Golfers get imagining him like just like turning the key in the ignition.
S3: Yeah. Now they do glutes.
S1: Wait, hold on. Can we can we talk about what’s the obvious without being irresponsible here? I inevitably as a person has followed sports for almost my entire life. When I hear people start talking about their training and their dieting and all of this new cutting edge stuff. And I’m just like, oh, that’s that’s drugs,
S2: you know, on pads. I think that would be the funniest story in sports history. Is there Phil Mickelson juicing
S3: the number of supplements that one could take within the parameters established by the PGA? It’s entirely like it’s entirely probable that someone out there is doing that. How how’s that for a really responsible sentence within the parameters of responsible language? And that is, by the way, I think this is one of those things where I give a Tour de France pass to golf for doping. If anybody in golf wanted to dope, go ahead, take whatever you want because you how hard it is to go out there and just make, like, make the scores you need to make to stay on the Korn Ferry tour. Like everybody goes, oh, golf man. You go out there, make four hundred thousand dollars a year and suck. Yeah, that might be true. Go try it. Go get out there and do it. It is an impossible game that mentally takes as much of a toll on somebody as any sport. I have seen this side of endurance events that’s mentally, by the way, when I say endurance events like ultramarathons, mentally, it’s hard to stay focused that long. So when Phil talks about focus on not completely valid, when he talks about his body not being a limitation, I have doubts about that. I have questions.
S2: I guess chess is a young man’s game, too, if we’re thinking about about mental things. Did you guys notice the Phil Mickelson logo? Do you know the Phil Mickelson like logo on the Polo and on the hat Spencer in
S1: his work day. So he’s got
S2: to work that. You’ve got to work. But he also, like many athletes like Michael Jordan’s, got the Jumpman logo, et cetera and so forth. Phil has his own like a little silhouette, like he looks like Jerry West does the NBA logo. Phil Mickelson has his own logo. And the logo is a Phil Mickelson jumping two inches off the ground when he won the Masters back in the day in 2004. And it just made me think, first of all, like, good for you, that you’re celebrating the time you jumped two inches off the ground. Second of all, I was wondering, Spencer, what would your personal silhouette be if we’re going to get some Spencer Hall logo hats and polos of the at the country club,
S3: permit me looking for my keys. If there was some logo where I could be slightly flustered and looking for my case, it would really reflect the personal brand. I mean, what what would you all be?
S1: Probably for me, leaning, being laying on my side of the bed with my phone out with Twitter so I could have it, you know, have my phone charger, you know? So that probably would be more me. That’s it. Like, I probably spent about eight, nine hours a day like that. So that’s probably my loga.
S2: That’s good. I was thinking the year would be of a ten year old child and starting blocks. But that works to you. Could you could have different.
S1: Yeah. I mean we’ve all kinds of merch so. Yeah. If we can we can.
S2: I was thinking that mine would be hitting myself in the head on a pipe in the basement. Oh that’s
S3: awesome. You could get a little motion, you could do the little impact lines right below. Little coming out from it. Yeah.
S2: That’s very on brand for me.
S1: We need that way. Before you go move on because Margaret didn’t know our producer. Margaret didn’t know that. Josh, just like I’m not going to say freakishly tall, but he’s very tall and that’s that’s why he would hit his head. That’s what makes this very funny. Right, because no, just tell people how tall you are. You’re you’re Desmond Bane height, right?
S2: Yeah. I’m like six, five and a half. I think I’m like a shooting guard. And the modern NBA not not tall enough to be a three and D guy because my I’ve like the JJ Redick like wingspan smaller than smaller than height.
S1: Very embarrassing.
S3: Oh are you. Because of you, I think you’re officially into what Terry Rozier would call tall as hell, you’re Osama Tall Terry Rozier in the greatest, the greatest tweet in NBA history, saying, And so Osama should have whooped instead of trying to murder people because he tall and powerful.
S1: Yeah, that’s a great tweet. I didn’t realize I was here.
S2: Phil Mickelson won.
S1: And in our next segment, Tim Tebow, this time not as a quarterback, not probably as a tight end either. The last time NFL fans actually saw Tim Tebow in a game was December 30th, 2012, he was in for a single solitary special team snap in the New York Jets. Twenty eight to nine loss to the Buffalo Bills. At the time, Tebow was the third quarterback on the Jets roster, putting him behind starter Mark Sanchez and backup Greg McElroy. Today, both Sanchez and McIlroy are working as football commentators to try to that to what was actually pretty good at it. But then Tebow moved on to minor league baseball, where he was a middling prospect who topped out at triple-A ball. So Tebow is now turned back to football with the help of his old college football coach, Urban Meyer. Meyer signed his old Florida Gators quarterback last week to a one year deal worth nine hundred and twenty thousand dollars with the Jacksonville Jaguars. But Tebow will return to football as a tight in a position he has never played at any level. Any will turn thirty four in August. So, Spencer, you’ve basically been following Tebow for nearly 20 years. He’s so old that he appeared in meat market Bruce Feldman’s book about Coach Orgeron when he was at Ole Miss. So, Spencer, are you really surprised to see him back in football?
S3: No, because Urban Meyer is involved and it’s the Jags and they like to sell jerseys. So I’m not entirely surprised. Also, this
S2: number one jersey on the NFL baby,
S3: is it at the moment?
S1: I think I said,
S2: well, it was it was OK, right?
S3: Well, this was all worth it, wasn’t it? That’s that’s I’m not surprised to see him because I think with Meyer, the connection there was so strong and the move was probably so appealing to the Jags marketing department, because we tend to forget that teams actually exist within communities and locales and these kind of like equally fungible products that you can trade from one place to another. Right. And I think that this made sense to bring him in preseason. I think everybody’s fine. Inviting Tim Tebow to be an exhibition, putting him on a roster is an entirely different thing. If you listen to the right time with Bomani Jones, Dominique Foxworth on their Foxworth’s just beside himself going, you know how they’re going to try to kill him. They’re going to try to kill that man. They are going to try to erase him in training camp because, you know, he he told the story about how what he was going up against Jerry Rice saying, OK, Jerry’s forty, bring it at my time. And that’s that’s very much going to be the approach. So I’m I’m not surprised to see him brought up. I’m not surprised that Tebow bet on it either and decided to do it because one just as a note for his build, when they say, well, he’s now playing tight end, how does the quarterback get to that? When Tebow was at Florida, the joke was that if he ate one too many peanut butter sandwiches, he ballooned up to the size of an offensive lineman or of or of a tight end because they had to keep him out of the weight room. The more this guy squatted, the bigger he got and they couldn’t have a quarterback being that big. I’m not surprised that he’s trying it at the age of thirty three. I would be very surprised if it succeeds.
S1: Wasn’t it in that meat market book that Urban Meyer told some other quarterback recruits that he was recruiting Tebow as a linebacker and it was plausible once upon a time that he would be playing one of the meatier positions on the field.
S3: Jevon Snead, he told, just
S1: need rest in peace.
S3: Justin Yeah. That Jevon Snead was going to be the quarterback because Tim Tebow was being recruited as a linebacker. Devin Snead repaid that bit of misinformation by beating Florida at home for their only loss in the 2008 eight season. So that’s that’s a neat little loop that you can make here. Historically speaking,
S2: Spencer, you tweeted on May 11th. Don’t think it’s possible to have a take on ten double the science. The science says it’s not possible, and yet you courageously come here and offer your takes anyway. I feel like it’s a testament to your fortitude. Also a little known fact as that F. Scott Fitzgerald was writing about Tebow when he said so. We beat on boats against the current borne back ceaselessly into the past. Just a little trivia.
S3: Yeah. If Scott understood SEO and the need to get traffic and he understood that there would be a Tebow emerging on the horizon to check up all that traffic, it’s not possible to have a good take on Tim Tebow because wherever you take that takes somebody is going to take it to the wrong place because he’s too low to the target. We never actually make a point about Tim Tebow. We make a point either as somebody who’s looking to be offended on the part of the openly and publicly faithful or we’re looking for somebody who is looking to denigrate the openly and publicly faithful in a way where Tim Tebow is a target as broad as the side of a barn you cannot miss if that’s really what you want to do with your particular audience. I also don’t think it’s possible to critique him without dragging any of that into it. The facts are pretty stark. He’s not an NFL great athlete anymore. He wasn’t a successful NFL quarterback despite. Yes. Having that playoff win, that one playoff win. We can never take that. Away from Timothy
S1: poor Taylor,
S3: the poor judge of all things, run you sports sports is hard, man. It’s cruel because you can be a great athlete, and yet somehow you will run into that. Right? Like you will get dunked on by somebody who has no right dunking on you. And that happened in the NFL for Tim Tebow. So I don’t think it’s possible to have when somebody says, well, I’m really glad that, you know, this is somebody who believes in something whenever that comes up with Tim Tebow. I just want to go to the broader idea of that’s not a thought. That’s not thought. I don’t have to respect you for having a belief because a lot of people have beliefs. The actionable belief out of that belief is often horror, terror, something bad, malicious, ignorant or otherwise damaging. I don’t have to respect you for having a belief because that’s what a belief does. Nothing. I’ll respect Tim Tebow a little bit more. If he makes the roster, I’ll respect him because he’s a pretty nice guy. If you’ve ever met him. Tim Tebow, exquisitely nice man. Look, just a really, really sweet, nice.
S1: Everybody likes him. Nobody that knows him personally.
S3: Hey, everyone. Right? You don’t want a damn with faint praise by saying this is a likable person. I’m I’m Preysing with high praise by going, yeah, no, this is an immensely likable human being. And that’s one of the underlying reasons and why he keeps getting chances because he is very likeable. Why not? On top of everything else, when he comes in the room, you go, I feel pretty good about myself. I’m going to go ahead and give him a shot.
S2: Joel, whose fault is this? I’m going to give you a list of possible cokeheads, Urban Meyer. Somehow, America,
S1: it’s always America, isn’t it? I mean, I feel like I mean, if you have a country like America is always at fault, the
S2: media, capitalism, the Bible, Colin Kaepernick know
S1: this is tough.
S2: The Colin Kaepernick, Tim Tebow is like the surf and turf of, you know, of bad takes that it’s going to get even even thornier when you bring that in. Yeah.
S1: I mean, I guess, you know, the thing about Tim Tebow is that, you know,
S2: actually, it’s that’s a very easy to Colin Kaepernick should be in the NFL and Tim Tebow should just clarify.
S1: I mean, the thing is, it’s like I don’t know, when I was a kid, like NFL rosters, like they bring in like one hundred players at the beginning of camp. I don’t know if they still I think they’ve, like, trimmed it a little bit. So you can’t bring in that many, like maybe it’s like 80 or something like that.
S2: You got your eighty five, you got your eighty, eighty
S1: five man roster now. So I mean it used to be, I don’t know, I couldn’t tell you a lot about the 90 eighth person on the roster of any NFL team when I was growing up. And maybe it’s plausible that Tim Tebow rates around that level. Right. And that you’re like we could take a chance on it. We could see what we could do. And that could be Taysom Hill’s father. Like, yeah, we can just have a guy out there that can’t fucking throw. But, you know, he can run a little bit and maybe he’ll surprise people. We don’t expect him to do it. So what he actually does something that’s like NFL level competence, it will throw the defense off. So maybe that’s part of the reason for it. But, you know, I don’t blame Tim Tebow. I guess nothing. And you guys could take a stab at this. Why would Tebow want do so? OK, I have a theory about maybe what Tebow wants to do this, and it’s a tad irresponsible, but do you all have a sense for why Tebow would want to do this?
S3: I think he wants to feel like an athlete again. I think that’s been the most important thing in his life. Second to the church. So if you take that away from an athlete, there’s a gap and there’s a void. That’s cliche. But operationally, it explains a lot about why you might try, because he’s slugged it out with the Mets. That didn’t work. And now he’s just going to go back to football and try that. And if you’re a thirty three year old and your alternate is going and doing sports TV while you’ve got the gas, well, you’ve got some of the juice. You still look the part. Go try it. That’s that’s why he’s doing it. It’s a big hole to fill in someone’s life before you retire off to the land of hot takes and TV makeup.
S2: Yeah. And I think maybe this is what you’re driving at, although I should let you speak for yourself, Joel. But like, when you’re a professional athlete, when you’re in the NFL, you’re plausibly in the NFL. People care more about what you say. And this is a person who I think enjoys being famous because it’s nice to be famous, but also because it allows him to have a platform for his religious views, which are very important for him. And so obviously, the more people are like wearing Tebow jerseys and are talking about Tebow, the better it is for, you know, the Tim Tebow Foundation and Tim Tebow ink.
S1: Well, I think I think that’s right. What I will say is that, yes, I think you probably said it in a better, more delicate way that maybe I would put it. But yeah, that I agree. Well, both you and Spencer, that I think that it’s really hard to let go of being an athlete if you’ve been an athlete and you’ve been defined as an athlete for a lot of your life, and that that’s no matter how good or bad you are as an athlete, when you when your career comes to an end and you’re just like, oh, man, who am I without this? And what people care about me in the same way. So I totally understand that. And I also think that you’re right that his parents are missionaries proselytizing, you know, you know, bringing their mission to, you know, tens of millions of people is something that they’ve always wanted to do and have done. And like playing football gives you the platform to do that. And I do think it’s interesting that when this first happened, when the news that Tebow might come back to the NFL was going to happen, that it happened in the same week that he signed a bill with the Tennessee governor, Bill Lee, about fighting human trafficking or whatever. And like that is Tibbles, like new cause fighting, human trafficking.
S2: And I feel like on is much catchier than just
S1: saying, OK, yeah, we’re OK to say this out loud, because I’ve been saying this behind the scenes forever. The TiVo is a cute guy, but you guys put it right now.
S2: He’s a tight end. He’s a tight end now, Joel. He’s not a Q compatible.
S3: Right. Like, that’s that’s the sanitary way to say this is to say that I’m not saying he’s cute enough, but you’re saying that the things he believed put up next to that are adjacent to that could easily be compatible with that belief system?
S2: Yes. Yes. We do not we do not know that or believe that Tim Tebow has anything to do with Kuhnen. We will be very clear about that. Spencer, at the risk of being mildly. Serious here, our mutual pal Alex Kershner wrote a really good piece about Urban Meyer and his tendency to give people second chances that maybe don’t deserve them and on many occasions, the people that don’t deserve them. It’s not just because they haven’t played tight end before. It’s because they you know, like in the case of Zach Smith at Ohio State, that there were, you know, credible accusations of domestic violence. And so how much of this signing do you feel like is evidence that, you know of Urban Meyer’s weaknesses and frailties as a human being, or is that taking things a little too far?
S3: I don’t know if it’s taking things too far because a coach and this goes beyond Urban Meyer, I feel like generally they don’t really evolve too far from the things they think work and from the things that they know work. And one of the things that works in coaching is nepotism and connections. It’s one of the things that gets you jobs. It’s one of the ways that you discuss new ideas and philosophies. That’s one of the ways that you it’s one of the ways that you ensure some kind of job security, because if we’re all in this staff and we’re all together, I’ll get you to the next gig. I’ll get you from 100K here to 500 K here. That’s the idea for players. It’s always been about if you’re talented, I will give you that extra shot. There is a little bit of an element of Jimmy Johnson’s I’ll treat all of you the same way differently, because for talent, there’s always been a different set of rules. If somebody is exceptionally talented, they’ll get that shot from Meyer. There’s an additional layer of association with previous experience, nepotism and comfort. That’s another thing. I think there’s a new thing on top of this, which is that he’s now stubborn enough and established enough to have gone from Florida, where he burnt out and had a disastrous collapse as a coach and a person had to go sort of rebuild, went back to Ohio State, probably thinks everything is completely cool now and is just going to double down on everything that he knows and thinks works. The evidence I have for this is he tried to hire Chris Doyle, Chris Doyle, the strength coach in Iowa who lost his job at Iowa after a number of black players made allegations about him creating a hostile environment for African-American athletes there. That was something he tried to do and was roundly condemned for before revoking the job offer at the jack. Now, strength and conditioning is a little bit different in the pros, but I think that when Meyer got that and he didn’t initially understand it or make it because it revoke it because he thinks he was right, I think he was probably forced by management to do that and by his staff going, you know, these guys are paid their employees to have a little more steak and a little more say in what happens here than collegiate athletes. And also, maybe this wasn’t a great fit. So I don’t think you’re going to see a whole lot of hugging and learning going on here, especially because I think the mention of Tim Tebow really contributing to the locker room culture, who’s going to listen in that locker room to somebody who hasn’t been in the league for almost a decade at this point, who’s going to listen to someone who hasn’t proven what a lot of those guys have proven in the locker room already, which is that they can hang, make it and perform at an all pro level in the NFL. That’s that’s not something they’re going to hear, right?
S1: Yeah. I mean, I don’t think anybody really almost pretty much from college on, but definitely the NFL, you really don’t need rah rah rah guy. You don’t mean like a rah rah rah guy has to be Ray Lewis, you know what I mean? Like, it can’t it can’t be a guy who’s on the fringes of the roster, somebody that has not had success in the NFL. You know, come on, guy, get another rep like like who the fuck are you? Like, don’t get out of my face. Like, nobody wants to hear that.
S2: It’s like a third graders idea of what leadership is.
S3: Right, exactly. And and this is not elementary school. It might be middle school because it is a vicious environment where sociopaths thrive. That’s probably my best analog for what the NFL really is. Right. And I don’t think that this is the sort of thing that Meyer understands at this point. And I say that, by the way, like somebody goes, well, how do you know what I understand? He’s like me. He’s never coached NFL team before. We have the same amount of experience doing this, going into this job. Right. And he’s never been through a season with them. It is a different animal. And I think it takes a very it takes a really flexible, unique individual to succeed at every single level. Barring the kind of blind luck that a Barry Switzer gets. You know, the smartest football coach alive is Jimmy Johnson. Jimmy Johnson is one of the few people to do it. And Jimmy Johnson was successful at every single level in terms of coaching. And Jimmy Johnson changed at every single level. I do not know if that’s something Urban Meyer can do. That is a known right. That is that is me saying. I do not know. I suspect if you pushed me for a personal opinion here, which I will. For happily, I don’t think he’s gone, I don’t think he’s going to do it, I think he’s most similar to Lou Holtz with the Jets. It was another guy who did not adjust to the demands and the politics of a professional football team and ended up getting submarined.
S1: And that’s how to one in 13 that year with the Jets, is that right? And you go in
S3: and try to make them and tried to make them a fight.
S1: Yeah. And it’s time for after balls, so on a weekend where we saluted senior excellence in the person of Phil Mickelson, this seemed like a good time to honor the accomplishment and life of record setting. French cyclist Robert Mulshine. If you have ever felt like you have all that work.
S2: Thought that work for me.
S1: But if you’ve ever felt like you’re too slow, too small or too old, let Robert Marshall assure you that you still have plenty of good days ahead. So Marshall was born in November 1911 in the northern French city of Amiens. He apparently grew up with the desire to become a cyclist, but was told that he was too small to make something of it. He was only five foot tall and 115 pounds, which is, in all fairness, a very small man. And so Marshawn went about living his life, working as a truck driver in Venezuela in the late 1940s and then as a lumberjack in Canada. He also spent some time working as a firefighter because he was still earning his badass bona fides, apparently. So. Josh and Spencer, you’re both a couple of good ol Southern boys like myself. And I don’t mean the south of France here. So you know what they like to say back home, right? It’s not the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight and the dog. We don’t encourage dog fighting here. They couldn’t keep Marshawn off that bike forever. And when he was sixty eight, he took up cycling again and then etched his name into the record books. In nineteen ninety two, he cycled from Paris to Moscow and twenty twelve he set a world record in one hour track cycling in the over one hundred age group at twenty four point twenty five kilometers after setting that record machine said I’m now waiting for rival. Two years later, Marshall made a second attempt at the record and beat his previous time riding twenty six point nine to seven kilometers in one hour. Then in January twenty seventeen, he set a world record in the one hundred and five plus age category, which was created especially for him, but riding twenty two point five four kilometers. That’s 14 miles in one hour. On the boards of the Velodrome National near Paris machine also holds the record for someone over the age of one hundred, riding one hundred kilometers. He was recognized as the world’s oldest competitive cyclist by Guinness World Records at the age of one hundred and five. And at the time of his death, Machon was the longest serving member of the trade union with ninety years of membership. After he turned one hundred and six, Martiens doctors advised the cyclist to stop training for world records. But he still kept going, training and riding his bike at least twenty minutes a day. He celebrated his 100th seventh birthday with a 20 kilometer ride. When he turned one hundred and eight, he transitioned into indoor riding due to hearing loss, but he was still riding daily until a week before his death. And that death came Saturday at a care facility outside Paris. He was one hundred and nine. And maybe the quickest and easiest way to wrap this up is to say never stop riding some shit like that. So Robert Machol, that’s going to be who after Ball is. And Josh, who is your Robert Marshall?
S2: My Robert Mershon this week is some found art courtesy of the athletics. Peterboro last week published a screenshot of the twenty twenty one transaction log for a baseball player named Jacob Nottingham. I will now read you that transaction log in fall April 1st. Twenty twenty one Milwaukee Brewers placed catcher Jacob Nottingham on the ten day disabled list, April 22nd. Twenty twenty one Milwaukee Brewers designate catcher Jacob Nottingham for assignment. Also April 22nd, Milwaukee Brewers activated catcher Jacob Nottingham for the ten day injured list. April 28th. Seattle Mariners claim Jacob Nottingham off waivers from Brewers April 30th. Seattle Mariners activate Jacob Nottingham May 1st. Seattle Mariners designate Jay Come Down Again for assignment May 2nd. Seattle Mariners trade at Jacob Nottingham back to the Brewers for Cash May 13th. Milwaukee Brewers designate Jacob Nottingham for assignment. And finally, May 20th Seattle Mariners claim Jacob Nottingham off waivers from Milwaukee Brewers. That is nine total transactions for the King Jacob Nottingham, who has played in a total of eight games this year for Milwaukee and Seattle. Three of those games came this weekend when he went one for ten with six strikeouts. But as our friend Robert Marshawn would say, it’s about the journey, not the destination before the season and will be dotcoms. Adam McKelvy wrote a piece about Nottingham’s comeback from a thumb injury. The story mentioned that Nottingham had lost a grandmother and an aunt to ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. That story featured an image of a tattoo on Nottingham’s left arm, which shows his aunt and his grandmother walking together with an enormous Lou Gehrig, looking down on them from above. It is truly one of the most remarkable tattoos I’ve ever seen in my life. Shout out to the artist Wes Hogan. Awesome Hogan on Instagram while we await the next Jacob Nottingham transaction. And personally, I’m. Hoping for the Mariners trade again to the Brewers and then the Brewers trading him back to the Mariners just a couple more times before the year is over. I want to highlight a couple of other top notch transaction laws. And I found these in the replies to Peter Bosz tweet. So thank you, Twitter, for doing all the work for me this week. This one is David Hale’s starting in January of twenty eighteen, signed as a free agent with the Yankees, then selected off waivers by the Twins from the Yankees, granted free agency signed as a free agent with the Yankees, granted free agency signed as a free agent with the Yankees. Granted free agency signed as a free agent with the Yankees. Granted free agency signed as a free agent with the Yankees, traded by the New York Yankees to the Philadelphia Phillies for Addison, Russ had to end with a dude named Addison Ross. And finally, November 4th, twenty nineteen third baseman Dante Bouchet, elected free agency. This is the younger Dontae Bishop, by the way, not the older than 10 percent. December twenty six twenty nineteen Washington Nationals signed free agent third baseman Dante Bouchet to a minor league contract March 2nd. Twenty twenty Donte Bouchet assigned to Brazil March 2nd. Twenty twenty Dante Bouchet assigned to Fresno Grizzlies May thirty first twenty twenty Washington Nationals release Dante Bouchet Spencer. That’s kind of the arc of human existence. First you get free agency, then the National Signior, then you go to Brazil, then you go to Fresno, then you’re.
S3: At least if I do as well, I will consider myself a success.
S1: I think that sweet release actually just like the sweet. You don’t have to stay in Fresno. I mean, that’s not is
S3: it not Fresno to Brazil trajectory. I really like trying to find people who have been in two places in their life where you would not expect those two places. For instance, in college football, the Andrew Hatch trajectory, where somebody is like an LSU player who is a transfer from Harvard, that
S2: you had another of those dudes this year.
S3: They or or my favorite, every Aussie punter who goes to say central Arkansas and then from Sydney to Jones Boogie to Jonesboro, Arkansas. I really like that, because then you hear them saying things like, yeah, the roads are terrible here and everyone has guns. It’s way less. It’s not as nice as Australia. We look at where they’re from in Australia and you go, really? Wow.
S1: Well, I’m still sort of reeling. I know we’re talking about Gerti. I didn’t know that there were two Don t shirts, so DeJohn. No, there were two. Did you I mean, I know that, um, you know, if it’s not college football or basketball or track or maybe boxing, I don’t know.
S2: But don’t I think you made a mistake there. It’s we know that there are at least two Dontae besets. There could be
S3: could be multiple. Yeah.
S1: That’s not just how limited I
S2: put your head on a swivel.
S1: My imagination is so limited. So I keep that in mind. If if you’re that type of shit, who’s not to take the sense that you referred to today, please write in. We’d like to meet you. So anyway. Well, that’s that’s our show for today. Our producer this week was the great Margaret Kelly to listen to past shows and subscribe or just reach out, go to sleep, dot com slash hang up and you can email us at Hangup at Slate, dot com. And don’t forget to subscribe to the show and to write us and review us on Apple podcast. So far, Josh Levine for our good friend, special guest from Atlanta, Spencer Hall, I’m Joel Anderson. Remembers my and thanks for listening. Slate plus listeners, we are going to have our bonus segment here with welcome back, Spencer, he’s stuck around. He wants to do, you know, another 10, 15 minutes with us because he didn’t have anything else to do. Apparently nothing. But Spencer, sort of perfect for this because we were going to talk about elite high school athletes who are increasingly opting out of the traditional path. And so there were a couple of guys, one Jaiden Blue Houston area high school running back who opted out of his senior year of high school to just prepare for college. And then there’s the basketball, which is I mean, there’s all kind of shit going on there. But there’s these twins at Orlando who have decided to sign with the overtime elite, which is another league named after elite, but whatever. So, I mean, when there
S2: is also a guy going straight to the G League who’s a high school, junior school, Henderson. So, yeah, like you said, all there’s a bunch of different models here. I mean, we’ve talked about the Pecl, which is another of these new entities that’s trying to take on or usurp the NCAA and college athletics and get some of these guys compensated. And so, Spencer, I guess what do you think about this trend? And also how do you see all this shaking out there? Obviously, like a lot of different people and places offering a lot of different options and opportunities here.
S3: And we keep letting this weird amateur athletics superstructure get in the way of what everyone else does and what everyone else in the world does. Professional teams have academies, professional teams have tutors, professional teams have developmental programs, taking players as young as 10 or 11, talked to any player, talk to any lollygag player. And their first contact between professional sports and them and their families happens much earlier than the high school level. So we keep them.
S2: We do have those academies with Major League Soccer in the US and they’ve been increasingly very successful.
S3: Yeah, and then you just have our weird variation, IMG Academy in Florida, where that’s become a magnet for talent. We keep finding different ways to sort of erode and chip away at this. But it seems slow to me like this should have been happening decades earlier. People skipping at this, given the rate of money. I think in football it doesn’t happen because the money isn’t as good as it is in basketball. Basketball, you’ve seen a much faster erosion of the global order of middle school, high school than college that that has been eroding for years. Right. This in football is new and I think it’s indicative of a greater degree of power enjoyed by athletes at the college level. I don’t want to oversell that. I think it’s marginal. And I think that, you know, with Anelli coming on board, it’s probably inching upward. But I think just even one to two percent increase in the sort of net power of each valuable college athlete leads to immense moves in terms of what they can dictate and the kind of power they have. And this is another thing. There’s a lot of stuff that happens at the high school level that people really aren’t aware of in terms of recruiting, in terms of talent prospecting, because it’s not just like a college football coach only has money to make by winning games at the college level. High school ball is such a large industry that nobody really understands the scale or the scope of. For instance, in Valdosta, Georgia, right now, not far from where I’m sitting, there is an ongoing drama involving notorious celebrity coach Rush Propst. That is its own little soap opera, but it involves real money and involves real stakes. And that goes for talent as well. So skipping a year, especially as a running back, these are things that all makes sense. And these are things that probably should have happened a long time ago.
S1: Right. When you say that, didn’t you spend some time? Didn’t you live in the Tampa area for a little bit?
S3: I did some time in Hillsborough County, yes. But Pinellas, Pinellas County and
S1: particularly Dallas County. Right. I mean, like, I worked there for a couple of years. Well, several years, but covered you.
S3: And I heard you and I are split on the great dichotomy of humanity evaluating the Tampa Bay area. You enjoyed it?
S1: Oh, I don’t think it’s that bad. Yeah, I think it’s pretty good. Great food, nice beaches, weird people. It’s like Houston, you know. Well, Houston on that beach, though, it reminds me a lot of Houston. But I think, you know, it’s sort of stunned me the way the extent to which high school athletes in Tampa like the pressure and the economy around those kids was different than anywhere else I’d ever been. And that was one of the first times that I sort of became aware to the idea that even at a very young age, kids had already started to regard amateur athletics as like a business. And they just and they didn’t see it in the same way. So all the. We romanticize coming up, you know, playing with your crew from your neighborhood, trying to beat your local rival winning district and going to state, like so many athletes have already decided that that’s not worth the time or effort. And if you’re really, really good, you’re wasting time playing for coaches that don’t know what the hell they’re doing, schools that don’t have the facilities to take care of you, and competing against athletes that are just like, you know, if you’re if you’re Jaiden Blue, you ran for twenty one hundred yards and thirty touchdowns last year. What the fuck do you have to prove playing in District 18 six in the Houston area? Right. Like you might as well just you know, I know that it’s sort of it’s jarring to people and it may be it seems a little selfish or whatever, but like these kids are making, these are like these are business decisions already. They have to be thinking like that, don’t they?
S3: Yeah. Or if you’re in the Dade County area, you’re subject to the weight of actual live wagering on your performance, which is a very real thing in the Miami area, gambling on games in stadium with people noting comments on your performance relative to the particular wager. Right. That’s a very real thing in terms of pressure for athletes. This should have happened earlier. It wouldn’t have to happen if there was a better developmental system. But college football as an entity is amateurism is sitting right there as opposed to being an active kind of feeder school. And I don’t know what that looks like in terms of are there going to be more IMG academies? Are there going to be developmental high schools for different university programs? That to me seems like a logical fit because those are local. They already sort of exist and a lot of places and it really wouldn’t be that hard to pull. However, the structure in the way we do things right now is is all an obstruction to that ever happening en masse? I think they are probably sort of talented people who can make an exception of this. But can I also just have a reality check here? How many people, you know, in high school just said, yeah, I’m just going to take a year to work on my grades before I go to college and I’m going to stop this activity? It’s pretty normal, a normal kid thing to do. Now he’s doing it in a spotlight of unusual intensity for a varsity sport. But there’s a lot of people I know who said, you know, I’m just not going to do band senior year. I’ve got to work on my grades. I just want to just chill for a year. You’re a high school senior. Go ahead. There’s there’s absolutely nothing that you could do short of getting in a car accident or, you know, tripping over something and tearing every single ligament in your knee that you probably could have done anyway. Right. Or would have happened anyway. That’s going to impact your future as a collegiate athlete. Go ahead. Do it, though. Like, that’s kind of the distortion field we’re working with here, that somebody decides to do something that you hear about a bunch of other students doing. And we go, oh, this is a story. This is noteworthy.
S2: Well, so there are trend lines happening in both football and basketball, and they’re both definitely happening, but they’re different. Like if you look at college football, you had opt out of game, opt out of season, opt out of high school. But the frequency with which these things are happening, it’s still fairly small, like these are changes that are happening, but it’s not a massive numbers. Now, the thing that is huge and is happening in larger numbers is understanding your market value and trying to capitalize on it via transferring and going to a school where you can be the starting quarterback or going to a school where you can, you know, get more attention from from scouts. And so the the bigger thing that’s happening is understanding your own value and how to capitalize on it. And in basketball, the thing that’s happening, I feel like not everywhere, but just for decades, just hearing, you know, commentators, you know, like, you know, the replacement level level color guy on an ESPN college basketball telecast was talking about how a year was like the end of the universe and was like Australian basketball. You know what the you know, the thing that you did is helped players understand their value and understand that there is this whole ecosystem happening outside of high school and that there are all these people making money off of them and that are trying to use them as like pawns on their particular chessboard. And so is it surprising that you have players, you know, again, opting out of high school, not by sitting out the season necessarily, but by, you know, going to going to IMG or like you had Cam Thomas, who is at LSU, he actually did opt out of like he didn’t play one season in high school and just like focused on his game and then, like, went to Oakhill Academy. And so these guys that are going to the over time elite league, that to me is particularly interesting because it has nothing to do with the NBA. It’s not like the G League. It’s not just like AGM thing. It is. Over time is a company that came into existence and became successful financially and has this cultural footprint because they like Road in Zion Williamson Slipstream by just like sending a bunch of dudes to film all of his dunks in high school and in our money. And now over time, is this like big thing. But so it’s nice that these guys are able the next generation of recruits is able to actually get some of that Zygon money. I mean, maybe Tzion to get some money, but get some of that on top of the table money. But I think it is a positive trend. And I guess the thing that I just am unclear about is like, well the over time elite league exists next year, like I think the concept is here to stay, but like are any of these individual entities the thing that’s kind of like crack this or solve this? I’m not sure
S1: where the money is. I mean, I just don’t think that money is going to go anywhere. Right. So even if overtime fail, somebody else is going to try to capitalize and and and make something of this, because this is too much money. There’s too much incentive to make it work and to attach yourself to the next big thing. Right. Because I’m all about empowering athletes. Like I mean, my entire life, I’ve thought that the NCAA and this system is unfair. And even like I’ve always thought high school sports was stupid, because if you’re a kid and you grow up in a neighborhood and you’re just held captive to the dumb ass coach that’s there who may not know anything about sports, he may have just been, you know who I mean, high school coaches run the range of men just like anybody else. So just because you happen to become a high school football coach, high school basketball coach, it doesn’t mean that, you know, shit, you just happen to have that position. And so kids found that out earlier. But I guess the thing that I would
S2: argue that the range is actually fairly constricted. But, you
S1: know, OK, that’s an interesting philosophical.
S2: Yeah, we can get into that.
S1: Yeah, but but instead of being trapped there. But I guess my thing is, is that I mean, I wouldn’t give up high school football for anything, but maybe that’s I didn’t see a future in the way that some of these kids see now. Right. Like, I didn’t there wasn’t a chance to capitalize and make money. I wasn’t sure that I was going to go to the NFL or be a good college player. And maybe these kids feel differently. But like me, I play in high school football. Those are some of the best memories of my life, man. And kids are just sort of opting out.
S2: That’s the cultural conditioning. And like that, we had, I think in our generation growing up and these folks of this generation are not going to be maybe conditioned in the same way.
S1: If you’re a shittier athlete, then you might still feel that way if like if you don’t have the opportunity to go over time. But it might still be a big deal to win your district, right?
S3: Of course, there’s also there’s also with football and basketball, the divide of proportionally football players are cheaper. Yeah, these leagues for basketball are going to exist because I only need so many people to put together a basketball team substantially different and more difficult to get. Twenty two people together for my for my too deep for my one deep right. If I’m going to put a football team together, I think the basketball leagues will be there because basketball leagues you can crank up pretty easily. As we’ve seen, putting a competitive football league together with cash is something that some of the smartest and most moneyed entities in this country have failed to do time and time and time again.
S2: So how do you guys feel about this framing? So in basketball, it seems possible, even likely that there can be a player driven movement to break the kind of NCAA cartel in football. The best the players could hope for is to position themselves better to take advantage of the system that already exists.
S3: I think that’s already happened in basketball. I think historically that’s art that’s done. I think that is completely done. I think we’re just now at the like corpses, dead hair and fingernails are growing stage of the NCAA cartwell in basketball.
S2: But it would be I haven’t actually thought about this until right now. But to think about the NCAA actually ceasing to exist for basketball, but persisting in football like that actually seems seems plausible.
S1: But they make all their money. But that’s right.
S3: I mean, yeah, no, that’s that’s the thing is that the NCAA is essentially decoupled financially from football. So without football, which they don’t have anything to do with and without basketball, which I think they’re already effectively out of, if they just manage a tournament, that’s what they do, is they are a tournament promoter for this one thing. There is very little difference at this point between, say, the people who organized Bonnaroo and play at the NCAA and the people who put on Bonnaroo are different. Only in this the NCAA or the people at Bonnaroo actually pay their performers. That’s the only difference. OK, but without that and I think you’ve seen the erosion of that is now like well under way. The NCAA is already effectively dead. We’re just kind of watching, like, the long, slow decline period before. A Fittler effectively defunct, but football, you know, football has no central regulator like football is football. No one is in charge of football. But the actual like the actual numbers behind the sport make organization on the player’s behalf as difficult as organizing the teams from the top down.
S2: All right. Well, I think we’ve given the members everything they could ask for and more.
S1: But they’ve got to be happy with this. I mean, I would I would say so.
S3: Yeah, I would be at this totally with money.
S2: Thank you, Spencer. Thank you all. Thank you. Slate plus members will be back with more next week.