Never before have professional athletes held such a prominent presence within the media landscape as they do today. The evolution is evident, with many Black pro-athletes transitioning from the court or playing field to podcasts, the broadcast booth or major networks like ESPN and FS1— achieving remarkable success in their new roles.
Recognizable figures such as Shannon Sharpe, Charles Barkley, and Kenny Smith have blazed this trail, but in this new era, the athletes of today are not waiting for retirement before venturing into media. This trend of athlete-hosted podcasts took root roughly two to three years ago, gaining significant momentum when NBA luminary Draymond Green achieved triumph with his show. His breakthrough series acted as a catalyst, unleashing a torrent of similar endeavors by fellow athletes.
EBONY has rounded-up some of the top podcasts hosted by Black pro-athletes, available today. Which one will you give a try?
Shannon Sharpe – “Club Shay Shay”
Everyone’s favorite uncle, Shannon Sharpe—renowned as one of the NFL’s greatest tight ends ever—has a standout quality that has seamlessly translated into TV stardom. Sharpe’s legendary gift for trash talk earned him a cherished spot in the hearts of fans worldwide, and his dynamic sports discussions with Skip Bayless on the daily talk show “Undisputed” solidified his iconic status.
Stepping further into the media arena, he also launched his own podcast titled “Club Shay Shay,” which garnered a dedicated following. Beyond the realm of sports, he delves into culture, history and entertainment, and has impactful conversations with guests like Dwyane Wade, Kandi Burruss, and Steve Harvey. As we eagerly await the return of our beloved “Unc” to TV screens, indulge in the enlightening realm of “Club Shay Shay”.
Paul George – “Podcast P”
Introducing one of the freshest additions to the podcast arena, “Podcast P,” hosted by none other than Paul George. Despite its recent inception, George’s show has quickly struck gold, standing out from the rest because rarely, if ever, have we witnessed a player of Paul George’s caliber stepping into the media realm while still actively playing.
Holding a secure spot among the NBA’s top 10 players, the pro-baller engages in authentic conversations with an array of captivating guests like former EBONY cover star Karl-Anthony Towns, WNBA powerhouse A’ja Wilson, Klay Thompson, and even his esteemed teammate Draymond Green. Sharing the hosting mantle is comedian Jackie Long, infusing every episode with the comedic relief essential to a well-rounded podcast experience.
Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson – “All the Smoke”
When you think about the heights these Black pro-athletes have collectively achieved and the longevity of their podcast, a compelling case emerges that designates “All The Smoke” as the quintessential original. Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson were respected NBA players during their careers—Barnes won a championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and Jackson won one with the Spurs in 2003. Upon bidding adieu to the courts, the lifelong friends launched a podcast where candid conversations with athletes would be accompanied by a laid-back ambiance of shared cannabis consumption. Their unconventional endeavor struck a resounding chord, captivating audiences from the outset.
Fast-forward four years, with the monumental 200th episode on the horizon, “All The Smoke” has unquestionably set the standard for aspiring athlete podcasters. Their blueprint? A fusion of personal connections to secure compelling guests, drawing on their athletic acumen to delve deeper into discussions than non-athletes might, and solidifying a partnership with a major network. In the realm of podcasts, Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson emerge not only as trailblazers but as literal and metaphorical pioneers.
Draymond Green – “The Draymond Green Show”
If we’re talking Black pro-athletes and podcasts, Draymond Green may not have started the trend, but he definitely revolutionized it. Last year, during the Warriors‘ championship run, he kicked off his show and the uproar was real. After his playoff games, he’d drop episodes discussing the team’s wins and losses, and the national media and social platforms claimed it was hurting the team’s focus. But guess what? It ended up bolstering everything Green and the Warriors stood for.
When they clinched that championship, it wasn’t just them celebrating—it was also a win for Green and his groundbreaking series. Now, he’s a regular on “NBA on TNT,” rubbing shoulders with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal. And his podcast scored a major deal with Colin Cowherd’s Volume Network. No wonder every athlete’s itching to podcast now. Blame it on him, in the best way possible.
Jeff Teague – “Club 520”
The newest athlete-hosted podcast might just be the best we’ve seen yet. Former NBA player Jeff Teague had a solid career and has truly outdone himself. Drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, he even grabbed an All-Star spot during his time there. Fast-forward to 2021, he retired from the NBA after snagging a championship with the Milwaukee Bucks, and three years after that, he launched his podcast, “Club 520.”
What sets “Club 520” apart is Teague’s down-to-earth vibe. He talks like he’s catching up with an old buddy from the neighborhood who somehow made it to the big leagues. Now he’s back, just hanging with the crew, eager to spill all the tales. And guess what? He’s refreshingly honest. No sugarcoating his achievements—actually, he’s quite self-deprecating, and it works like a charm. He shares stories like the one about De’Aaron Fox sending him into retirement with an epic crossover, or those times when guarding anyone from the Denver Nuggets felt like an impossible mission—landing him the blame from his team. He approaches things from the angle of, “Yeah, I made it to the league, but tons of others were better,” and it’s nothing short of a breath of fresh air.
The post 5 Black Pro-Athletes Who Have Turned Their Talents into Successful Podcasts appeared first on EBONY.