AIR047: David Bridgers – Michael Jordan’s childhood friend | Podcast

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David Bridgers

L to R: David Bridgers, Michael Jordan & Derek Betts | Copyright © Sports Illustrated

Michael Jordan’s lifelong friend and confidant, David Bridgers.

A unique episode. Ross Franco is a North Carolinian friend of mine. We connected, through my podcast – one of the many great outcomes I’ve experienced, since creating the show. Ross is a great friend of David Bridgers. Ross and I have previously discussed the possibility of inviting David on the podcast, as a guest. When the opportunity presented itself, we were both very pleased. The three of us had a great chat.

Prior to speaking with Ross and David, I wasn’t sure if our conversation would necessarily make for an interesting podcast episode. However, five minutes into proceedings, that all changed. This is simply three guys, talking all-things Michael Jordan, from a perspective you’d be very hard-pressed to top. You’ll learn the origins of Bridgers’ relationship with Jordan. The two first met, at just seven years of age! We cover David’s enduring friendship with Michael and his experiences with the Jordan family, plus, David’s close bond with Ross.

Ross tried his best to not be involved in this audio recording. He suggested that David should speak solely with me. From my point of view, that was never going to happen. Thanks again Ross, for making this conversation possible. I hope you – the listener – enjoy it.

 

Links to topics discussed (photos will be added):

SI Vault: The Unlikeliest Homeboy

In all Airness: Brush with Greatness – Michael Jordan

Ross Franco online: Twitter

 

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AIR046: Rick Barry – One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History | Podcast

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RickBarry

One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, Rick Barry.

Rick discusses his first sporting love of baseball – he talks fondly of his hero – the reason behind his choice to wear the iconic jersey number 24. Incredibly, as a high-school senior, Rick almost gave up on his future Hall of Fame career, due in large-part to his then-coach.

We chat about the origins of his unique, underhanded free-throw shooting technique and its impact on his overall game. Rick talks about his passion for basketball and his immense desire to win. We talk about his outstanding college career at the University of Miami and how it prepared him to make an instant impact at the next level. We discuss the 1965 NBA Draft, where Rick was one of 10 future All-Stars selected.

We cover Rick’s NBA Rookie of the Year triumph, playing against Wilt Chamberlain in the 1967 NBA Finals and Barry’s decision to join the fledgling ABA (he won the 1969 ABA Championship) for its inaugural season. Rick talks candidly about being forced to sit out the entire 1968 season, when he was arguably in the prime of his career. We chat about his All-Star Game memories (eight in the NBA, four in the ABA) and his 1975 NBA Championship glory.

We talk about Rick’s last two NBA seasons in Houston and how injury prematurely halted his career; interestingly, an NBA rule-change possibly denied Rick’s plan to join the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers.

Rick discusses his Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement, his foray into coaching (1990s) and the opportunities missed at NBA level. We round out the conversation, learning about Rick’s current-day interests, including a love of fly fishing and his business pursuits.

We run the gamut of discussion topics that shed light on the competitive nature of a true basketball great.

 

Links to topics discussed:

Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference | Profile

1967: “Super Soph”Rick leaves NBA

1975: NBA Finals – Game 3 | NBA Finals recap

Circa-1976: Rick Barry & Red Auerbach

1987: Basketball Hall of Fame (profile)

2011: ABA Round-table | 2014: The Charity Stripe

Rick Barry online: Website | Ektio

Courtside Jones: Rick Barry from courtsidejones.com on Vimeo.

 

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AIR032: Mike Fratello – NBA Coach of the Year, TV Broadcaster and The Czar of the Telestrator | Podcast

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NBA Coach of the Year, TV Broadcaster and The Czar of the Telestrator, Mike Fratello.

We discuss EuroBasket 2013, where Mike coached Ukraine to a fantastic 6th place finish; securing the team a spot in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. We then revisit Mike’s high school years, where he was a star athlete. He talks about his foray into coaching and the opportunities that would lead him all the way to the NBA. We talk about his intrinsic links to Hall of Fame legend, Hubie Brown.

Mike opens up on the re-building process that led the Hawks’ to four-consecutive 50-win seasons. We chat about his 1986 Coach of the Year season and he tells a fascinating story about how he helped motivate Dominique Wilkins, to reach even greater heights (literally and figuratively) as a player. We talk about the 1988 NBA All-Star Game, where he coached the Eastern Conference squad to victory.

Mike discusses his entry to the world of TV broadcasting, the origin of his classic nickname and relationship with the great Marv Albert and former guest of this show, Ian Eagle. You’ll also learn how Mike received a pair of game-worn, Shaquille O’Neal shoes, in unusual circumstances. We get the inside scoop on Mike’s experiences with Michael Jordan, including his time alongside MJ, as a coach at the Michael Jordan Senior Flight School.

We talk about Mike’s six seasons coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers and his stint with the Memphis Grizzlies. Plus, we somehow find time to talk about the 2014 NBA season. An incredible array of topics are covered. Thank you, Mike Fratello!

Thanks to former guest on this podcast, Bob Hill – he was key to making my chat with Mike, happen. Many thanks, Bob.

 

Links to topics discussed:

Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference | Profile

EuroBasket 2013: Tournament Wrap | Formula of Success

1984: Bench-jockeying, NBA Style

1988: NBA All-Star Game | Hawks v Celtics – NBA Playoffs (Game 7)

1993: O’Neal collapses Shaqboard | 2002: NBA on NBC | 2012: Mike Fratello & Ian Eagle

Mike Fratello online: WebsiteTwitter

 

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AIR022: 1995-1998 NBA All-Star Games – complete recap | Podcast

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1996 NBA All-Star Game

Adam and Aaron recap the 1995 through 1998 NBA All-Star Games. We discuss rosters, coaches, leading vote getters, memorable moments and Most Valuable Players. The ‘NBA at 50′ is also a topic of conversation. Our chat is filled with plenty of insight and occasional hi-jinks.

 

NEW! Blooper reel: (audio) [click below]

 

Links to topics discussed:

All-Star Games: 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 [links courtesy of Basketball Reference]

Johnny ‘Red’ Kerr / Adam Howes (curator)

 

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AIR008: Peter Vecsey – Legendary NBA reporter and columnist | Podcast

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Peter Vecsey

Legendary reporter and columnist, Peter Vecsey.

Our extensive chat covers Peter’s whole career – his candor is second-to-none. We talk about his relationship with Julius Erving, experiences covering Rick Barry, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson and a host of other greats. Peter recalls his friendship with Drazen Petrovic and discusses possibly his greatest exclusive – Latrell Sprewell’s choke-hold on then-coach, P.J. Carlesimo. He recalls his years covering Michael Jordan, gives honest assessments of Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, plus offers numerous stories he’s never told before. You need to listen to this conversation to fully appreciate it.


 
Links to topics discussed:

Julius Erving feature (ABA) | Rick Barry announces move to ABA (1967)

NBA v ABA (1970’s) | Minnesota v Ohio State – fight

Peter on NBC’s halftime show (1993 NBA Playoffs) | Sprewell v Carlesimo

NY Post columns (through Jul 01, 2012) | Follow Peter on Twitter

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

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Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail