Slate's Hang Up and Listen

Slate's Hang Up and Listen

United States

A weekly sports discussion from the online magazine Slate. Hang Up and Listen features Slate sports editor Josh Levin, writer Stefan Fatsis (author of A Few Seconds of Panic), and Mike Pesca, host of Slate's The Gist. Part of the Panoply Network.


The Warriors Derangement Syndrome Edition  

Stefan Fatsis and Josh Levin are joined by Joel Anderson of BuzzFeed to discuss the NBA draft. Graphic designer Todd Radom also joins to debate the merits of updating the NBA logo. Finally, they chat about the perils of playing sports while old.

NBA Draft (2:00): Assessing the latest news on the pro basketball transaction wire, including the implications of the blockbuster Jimmy Butler trade, whether it’s time for the Celtics to go all-in, and whether the 76ers’ rebuilding process has finally paid off.

NBA Logo (18:43): Todd Radom comes on the show to assess whether it’s time to modernize the league’s Jerry West-inspired design or if the logo is too iconic to tinker with.

Playing Sports While Old (33:41): A bunch of players got hurt during the debut of the BIG3 three-on-three league. Is it too sad to watch old people play basketball?

Afterballs (43:12):

The When an Apple Fights an Orange Edition  

Stefan Fatsis and Josh Levin are joined by Kevin Draper to discuss the upcoming Mayweather-McGregor mega-fight. Ben Lindbergh also joins to discuss whether major-league baseballs are juiced. Finally, David Gessner talks about his memoir Ultimate Glory.

Mayweather-McGregor (1:28): A conversation with the New York Times’  Kevin Draper about the logistics of the upcoming match-up between boxer Floyd Mayweather and mixed martial artist Conor McGregor, and whether McGregor has any chance of pulling off an unlikely upset.

Juiced balls (13:37): Ben Lindbergh of the Ringer comes on the show to explore the various theories behind why baseball players are hitting more home runs than ever before.

Ultimate Frisbee (30:01): David Gessner discusses his memoir Ultimate Glory: Frisbee, Obsession, and My Wild Youth. Was it a mistake for Gessner to spend the best years of his life chasing a flying disc?

Afterballs (42:21)

The Kevin Durant Is a Poncho Edition  

Stefan Fatsis and Josh Levin are joined by Kevin Arnovitz to discuss the NBA Finals. George Dohrmann also joins to talk about U.S. soccer phenom Christian Pulisic. Plus, an interview with Ice Cube about the documentary Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies. NBA Finals (1:35): A conversation with Kevin Arnovitz about the Golden State Warriors’ 3-1 lead and whether the Cavaliers have any chance of a comeback. Christian Pulisic (17:30): George Dohrmann joins to discuss his story on how Christian Pulisic came to be a star, and whether U.S. soccer will learn the right lessons from his development. Ice Cube (33:59): The narrator of the ESPN 30-for-30 documentary Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies explains his affection for his hometown team and how race played a role in the Boston/L.A. rivalry. He also talks about 3-on-3 basketball becoming an Olympic sport. Afterballs (50:48)

The  Mr. Met Has No Middle Finger Edition  

Stefan Fatsis and Josh Levin are joined by Marcus Thompson to discuss the NBA Finals. Bruce Arthur also joins for a conversation about the Stanley Cup Final, and Sadie Stein comes on the show to talk about Mr. Met.
NBA Finals (1:10): A conversation with Marcus Thompson about the Golden State Warriors' dominance thus far, how the Cleveland Cavaliers might turn the series around, and Kevin Durant's relationship (or lack thereof) with Rihanna.

Stanley Cup Final (17:15): Bruce Arthur examines the series between the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins, assesses Sidney Crosby's performance, and looks at why the NHL won't be sending players to the 2018 Olympics.
Mr. Met (33:57): Sadie Stein explains her ardor for the New York Mets' baseball-headed mascot and examines why he snapped at a bunch of unruly fans.

Afterballs (45:50)

The Not a Victory Cigar Edition  

Stefan Fatsis and Josh Levin are joined by Ethan Sherwood Strauss to preview the NBA Finals. They also talk with Charles P. Pierce about the legacy of writer Frank Deford, and Daniel Engber joins for a conversation about our favorite non-famous athletes.

NBA Finals (1:54): A conversation with Ethan Strauss about what to look out for in the third consecutive finals matchup between the Warriors and Cavs. What will Golden State do in crunch time? Will Draymond Green kick anyone?

Frank Deford (21:25): Charles P. Pierce, who worked with Deford at Sports Illustrated and The National, talks about what made him a great writer and reminisces about his favorite Deford stories.

Non-famous athletes (40:10): Daniel Engber discusses his obsession with Mets utility player Keith Miller, and we talk about our listeners’ favorite non-superstars.

Afterballs (56:50)

More information at

The His Airness Plays Ping-Pong Edition  

Stefan Fatsis and Josh Levin and guest Jane Coaston talk about the NBA playoffs. Sean Singer also joins to discuss Enes Kanter and Turkish politics, and economist Andy Schwarz comes on the show to announce his plan to kill the NCAA’s amateur model.

NBA playoffs (2:42): A conversation about the inevitability of a third straight Cavs-Warriors finals, and whether anticipation for that series has killed the rest of the postseason.

Enes Kanter (15:50): Former Turkish Basketball Federation official Sean Singer explains how Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Enes Kanter became a political activist, and how his conflict with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is perceived in Turkey.

A plan to kill the NCAA (30:50): Andy Schwarz rolls out the HBCU League, which would pay college players and prepare them for the NBA.

Afterballs (49:22) 

The More Reckless Than Malicious Edition  

Bryan Curtis and Stefan Fatsis talk with Michael Lee about John Wall and the NBA playoffs. Former NFL player Stephen White joins to discuss why quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains unemployed. Bryan and Stefan discuss the NFL broadcasting prospects of retired quarterbacks Tony Romo and Jay Cutler. And Scott Price joins to discuss his recent articles about the declining health of NFL legends Nick Buoniconti and Jim Kiick.

NBA playoffs (2:00): We talk with Michael Lee about the rise of John Wall, the Washington Wizards point guard, and the first game of the Western Conference playoffs between the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs. 

Colin Kaepernick (12:28): Former NFL defensive lineman Stephen White breaks down the tape and argues that Kaepernick has not found a job because of his decision last year to kneel during the national anthem.

NFL announcers (22:35): Bryan and Stefan discuss the quick hires of just-retired quarterbacks Tony Romo by CBS Sports and Jay Cutler by Fox Sports, and what makes a good ex-jock television broadcaster.

Miami Dolphins (37:13): Scott Price joins the show to discuss his recent Sports Illustrated stories about the dementia taking over the lives of Nick Buoniconti and Jim Kiick, two stars of the unbeaten 1972 Miami Dolphins football team.

The Big Baller Dad Edition  

Stefan Fatsis and Josh Levin talk with ESPN’s Howard Bryant about racism in Boston sports. Damon Young also joins to discuss LaVar Ball and the “black basketball dad,” and David Epstein analyzes Nike’s effort to engineer a sub-two-hour marathon.

Racism in Boston sports (??): A conversation with Howard Bryant, the author of Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston, about the recent racist heckling at Fenway Park and the history of racism in the city and on its sports teams.

LaVar Ball (??): Damon Young of Very Smart Brothas discusses his conflicted feelings about Lonzo Ball’s father and the specific role black parents play in their kids’ athletic development.

Nike’s marathon gambit (??): Assessing Eliud Kipchoge’s 2:00:25 marathon, Nike’s marketing of its Breaking2 event, and whether we’ll see more attempts to break the two-hour barrier.

The Sun Also Rises on Waiters Island Edition  

Stefan Fatsis, Josh Levin, and guest Wosny Lambre talk about the layoffs at ESPN. They also discuss how NFL teams evaluate draftees with "red flags" and review Dion Waiters’ genius essay for the Players’ Tribune.

ESPN layoffs (2:31): What do the massive cuts at the Worldwide Leader say about the network’s new business model and the state of sports journalism?

NFL draft (16:30): This year’s draft class had a host of players, among them Joe Mixon and Gareon Conley, with so-called “character issues.” How should teams look at prospects who've been convicted of or accused of heinous crimes?

Dion Waiters (29:25): Why the Miami Heat shooting guard's essay “The NBA is Lucky I’m Home Doing Damn Articles” is such an effective piece of writing.

The Take That for Data Edition  

Stefan Fatsis and Greg Howard talk with Kevin Arnovitz about the NBA playoffs. Alex Hutchinson joins to analyze an upcoming attempt to break the two-hour marathon. And Stefan interviews John Kelly, the lone finisher of this year’s Barkley Marathons.
NBA playoffs (1:48): We talk with Kevin Arnovitz about the media coverage surrounding the death of Isaiah Thomas’s sister; Kawhi Leonard and Mike Conley’s duel in Game 4 of the Spurs-Grizzlies series; and Russell Westbrook’s media antagonism.
The Two-Hour Marathon (20:59): Alex Hutchinson discusses Nike’s planned attempt next month to break the two-hour marathon, and the ethical, physical, and technological issues surrounding the effort.
Barkley Marathons follow-up (32:29): John Kelly, the lone finisher of this year’s Barkley Marathons, objected to Stefan’s critique of the race on last week’s show. Kelly joins to talk about why he runs the Barkley and its many challenges.

The Optimal Draymond Edition  

Stefan Fatsis is joined by Shea Serrano and Marcus Thompson to talk about the NBA playoffs. Stefan and Josh Levin also interview Nick Elam about how to fix basketball’s end game. Finally, Stefan and Christina Cauterucci talk with Becca Roux about the new labor deal in women’s soccer. 

NBA Playoffs (2:20): Breaking down the best matchups of the first weekend, evaluating the Cleveland Cavaliers’ title hopes, and celebrating the rise of Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

Fixing NBA Endgame (17:06): Nick Elam joins to explain his radical proposal to fix basketball’s crunch time and talk about the plan’s likelihood of being implemented in the NBA. 

Women’s Soccer (37:04): Becca Roux, the interim executive director of the USWNT’s Players’ Association, discusses the team’s new collective bargaining agreement and the ongoing battle for equitable treatment in women’s sports.

Barkley Marathons (55:02): In his Afterball, Stefan examines the heartbreaking ending of the Barkley Marathons in the mountains of Tennessee and whether the race might be too cruel.

Hang Up Extra: I Have to Ask with Isaac Chotiner  

Ethan Sherwood Strauss has been covering the Golden State Warriors for

several years for ESPN, during which time the team became the most

popular and successful in the NBA. On the eve of the NBA Playoffs, he sat down

with Isaac Chotiner to discuss life on the NBA beat, the strange life of Steph

Curry, and fans who want ESPN personalities to “stick to sports” in the age of Donald


And please take our brief survey: 

The No Rest for the Winners Edition  

Stefan Fatsis and Josh Levin talk to Jim Newell about the Masters; Tom Haberstroh about Russell Westbrook and resting NBA players; Meg Rowley about baseball’s return; and Jonathan Hock about One and Not Done, his ESPN documentary on John Calipari.

The Masters (2:20): Breaking down a thrilling finish, Sergio Garcia’s long-awaited major championship, and Jim Nantz’s odd announcing tendencies.

The NBA (16:00): Discussing the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard's latest triple-double feats and the conundrum of star players sitting out regular-season games.

Baseball (33:45): Baseball is back! Does it matter? Delving into the sport’s entertainment value and lack of big-name stars.

One and Not Done (48:34): Talking with Jonathan Hock about his new 30 for 30 documentary on John Calipari and how to assess the Kentucky’s coach’s legacy as it is still unfolding.

The 111-1 Edition  

Stefan Fatsis, Josh Levin, and special guest Joel Anderson are joined by the Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins to talk about UConn’s loss in the women’s NCAA tournament. They also discuss the men’s Final Four, the Las Vegas Raiders, and NBA hook-up culture.

Women’s Final Four: Sally Jenkins joins to explain how Mississippi State broke UConn’s 111-game winning streak, Bulldogs coach Vic Schaefer’s decision to bench Morgan William in the title game, South Carolina’s title game win, and Geno Auriemma’s comments on women in coaching.

Men’s Final Four: Breaking down Oregon player Jordan Bell’s self-flagellation after his team’s defeat and the North Carolina-Gonzaga championship matchup.

The Las Vegas Raiders: Why the Raiders fit in Vegas, what a new stadium means to the city’s taxpayers, and what the move says about the NFL’s gambling policies.

Tinder and the NBA: Weighing in on ESPN the Magazine’s story on how dating apps may affect teams’ performance on the road.

The Fox Sports 1 Isn’t Fox News Edition  

Stefan Fatsis, Josh Levin, and guest panelist Jane Coaston discuss the weekend's NCAA tournament storylines and the U.S. women’s hockey team’s boycott. Ben Mathis-Lilley also joins to talk about his Slate article on Jamie Horowitz and Fox Sports 1.

NCAA Tournament (2:51): Analyzing the weekend’s thrilling buzzer-beaters, the value of one-and-done programs, and the endearing imperfections of college basketball games.

 U.S. Women’s Hockey (17:26): Breaking down the debate over Team USA’s decision to boycott this week’s IIHF World Championships as part of their fight for equitable treatment and a living wage. 

Fox Sports 1 (27:57): Will Jamie Horowitz’s cable network succeed in his mission to revolutionize sports media one hot take at a take? Ben Mathis-Lilley joins the show to talk about his story on Fox Sports 1.

Show notes at 

The We Love Mike Edition  

Stefan Fatsis, Josh Levin, and Mike Pesca discuss the NCAA tournament and the World Baseball Classic. Mike also announces his departure from the show, and Josh and Stefan send him off with Pesca Jeopardy!

NCAA Tournament (5:24): Was the first round of March Madness boring? Is poor seeding to blame? We break down the first two rounds of the tourney and discuss Duke’s loss to South Carolina.

The World Baseball Classic (17:16): We talk about Adam Jones’ fantastic catch and the charm of the international tournament.

Pesca Jeopardy! (25:58): How well does Mike remember his best quips from seven-plus years on Hang Up and Listen? We find out with a Pesca-specific twist on America’s favorite quiz show.

Show notes at 

The Unlimited Salad Edition  

Stefan Fatsis, Josh Levin, and Mike Pesca discuss March Madness, the Brock Osweiler trade, and the Washington NFL team’s decision to fire Scot McCloughan. They also talk about the annual video ranking the best hair in Minnesota high school hockey.
NCAA Tournament (3:40): Why isn’t Gonzaga the bettors’ March Madness favorite? Is Villanova getting enough love? We assess the March Madness matchups and potential biases in the NCAA selection committee.

NFL Offseason (16:49): An analysis of the game-changing, questionably legal Brock Osweiler trade between the Texans and the Browns, plus a breakdown of the Scot McCloughan firing and how the Washington Post covered it.

“All Hockey Hair Team” (31:20): Minnesota native John King creates a video every year celebrating the best hair in Minnesota high school hockey. How does the 2017 lettuce celebration compare to history’s greatest hockey hair videos?

Show notes at 

The Whore of Carnegie Mellon Edition  

Stefan Fatsis, Josh Levin, and Mike Pesca discuss Duke’s Grayson Allen and other NCAA basketball matters. Scott Raab also joins to talk about his new book You’re Welcome, Cleveland, and Oliver Roeder of FiveThirtyEight explains how a computer program beat four pro poker players.

Grayson Allen and NCAA hoops (2:55): exploring America’s longstanding hatred of white Duke basketball players; Northwestern’s likely maiden visit to March Madness, and the first-ever Ivy League basketball tournament.

Scott Raab’s You’re Welcome, Cleveland (21:37): The writer and Cleveland sports fan explains what he got wrong in The Whore of Akron and whether LeBron James would like his new book.

How a computer took down the poker pros (33:40): Oliver Roeder explains how poker went the way of chess, checkers, Go, and Scrabble, and what the next challenges are for artificial intelligence.

The Stick to the Oscars Edition  

Stefan Fatsis, Josh Levin, and Mike Pesca discuss sports parallels for Sunday’s big Oscars mishap. They also talk JaVale McGee’s feud with Shaquille O’Neal, and Ken Early of the Irish Times joins to discuss the decline of Leicester City.

Sports and the Oscars (3:07): breaking down the Moonlight-La La Land mix-up, pondering different sports analogies, and discussing whether sports TV would have covered the incident differently.

Shaq vs. JaVale McGee (16:43): Do McGee’s frequent bloopers warrant relentless mockery on “Shaqtin’ a Fool”? Where is the line between comedy and bullying?

Leicester City (32:11): Ken Early joins to talk about Leicester’s fall from glory, the team’s decision to fire manager Claudio Ranieri, and how the squad can avoid relegation.

Show notes at 

The Balls Can Ball Edition  

Josh Levin, Stefan Fatsis, and Kevin Arnovitz discuss the DeMarcus Cousins trade and the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles, the football team whose fans call the plays. LaVar Ball also joins to talk about parenting and how his three sons will change basketball.

Show notes at 

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