The Vertical Podcast with Woj

The Vertical Podcast with Woj

United States

Adrian Wojnarowski, the most dominant force in NBA reporting, brings you inside the league with, the “Vertical Podcast.” Woj is probing the biggest newsmakers in the sport – from the commissioner, to general managers, coaches and star players – to bring listeners inside the processes, personas and stories that impact the NBA. Beyond longer sit-down interviews in our New York studios, Woj will deliver real-time podcasts with league personnel built around breaking news.

Episodes

Jerry Ferrara joins Woj  

​Actor Jerry Ferrara joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. ​Ferrara recounts his love of basketball and the New York Knicks, how the game intertwined in his character, “Turtle”, on the HBO show “Entourage” and his prolific history as an adult fantasy camp basketball maven. Ferrara talks about his young days growing up in Brooklyn as a Knicks fan, his relationship with Kristaps Porzingis and his secret desire to take an internship in an NBA front office someday. He talks about his memories of Lamar Odom and Jerry Buss in the tapings of Entourage, the bond of the cast and why the show worked for so long. Here are some key moments: 2:50: The disappointing season for the Knicks. 4:04: Kristaps Porzingis’ development and his value to the team. 5:49: The process of getting seats on celebrity row at Knicks games. 7:28: Bigger meeting: Martin Scorsese or Porzingis? 14:27: Ferrara’s fantasy basketball camp experience, including wanting to play for Jeff Van Gundy. 23:39: The relationship between ‘Entourage’ and the NBA, including filming at games. 33:15: Would Ferrara give up acting to join an NBA team at an entry-level position? 35:08: How much Ferrara influenced how Turtle dressed on the show. 40:48: Moving to Hollywood after growing up in New York City. 43:24: The cast of Entourage putting the good of the show above themselves as individuals. 48:52: Avoiding being typecast as Turtle in future roles. 53:32: Would social media have impacted how the show was received?

Nerlens Noel joins Woj  

The Philadelphia 76ers Nerlens Noel joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Noel discusses his future in Philadelphia, his summer free agency, his thoughts about a possible trade and living through the embarrassment of the Sixers losing streaks and tanks as well as growing up the No. 1 high school prospect in America. Here are some key moments: 2:37: Battling for minutes during a contract year. 5:19: Speaking out on the team’s crowded frontcourt before the season. 6:42: Adjusting to playing for a different front office after Sam Hinkie’s departure. 11:55: Other teams having concerns about Noel’s character when doing research on him. 13:23: The impact of the constant losing during his first few seasons with the 76ers. 18:04: Not feeling like the 76ers were an NBA team while they were tanking. 19:00: Noel’s parents moving to the United States from Haiti to give their children a better life. 23:22: The similarities between Noel’s background and Patrick Ewing’s. 27:30: Tearing his ACL while playing at Kentucky and its impact on his draft stock. 30:50: Developing patience while returning from the ACL injury. 33:02: How often does Noel communicate with Bryan Colangelo? 35:01: Noel’s fit playing alongside Joel Embiid.

John Hammond joins Woj  

Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond joins the Vertical Podcast with Woj to discuss the drafting and development of Giannis Antetokounmpo, the modernizing of the Bucks franchise, his years under Joe Dumars building the Pistons championship team and his own harrowing life story. All that and much more with John Hammond and Adrian Wojnarowski. Here are some key moments: 1:07: Deciding how much time to spend traveling with the team. 2:50: How having a pair of foundational players impacts building a roster. 5:51: Antetokounmpo’s development from unknown player into a superstar with the Bucks. 7:41: Scouting Antetokounmpo before the 2013 draft. 13:20: The unpredictability of the draft. 17:26: Lessons learned from helping build the 2000s Pistons. 20:52: The deal they labored over the most while building the Pistons. 26:22: Hammond’s career path through many levels of basketball. 28:38: The high school motorcycle accident that changed the trajectory of his life. 31:00: How he ended up at a small college and its impact on him. 36:25: The value Hammond places on relationships, personally and professionally. 43:33: How the responsibilities of a GM has evolved during 47:15: Working with Justin Zanik, who will be his successor with the Bucks.

Adrian Wojnarowski's Year in Podcasts  

​Adrian Wojnarowski goes inside the 2016 roster of shows on The Vertical Podcast with Woj, telling behind-the-scenes stories on visits with the biggest names in the game as well as answers audience questions. ​From Adam Silver to Bob Myers, RC Buford and Joel Embiid, Manu Ginobili and Patrick Ewing, Woj takes his audience on a tour de force through the inaugural year of the podcast.

Marc Gasol joins Woj  

Memphis Grizzlies All-Star Marc Gasol joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Gasol and Woj break down the story of Gasol's improbable journey from an oveweight teenager into the best center in the world. All that and more on The Vertical Podcast with Woj

David Fizdale joins Woj  

Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Fizdale discusses his long journey, from the crossfire of growing up in South Central L.A., to fighting stereotypes often assigned to young African-American assistant coaches, to his partnership with head coach Erik Spoelstra in coaching the Big 3 to two NBA titles in Miami. Fizdale talks about his impressive 18-9 start as the new head coach in Memphis, how his Heat pedigree under Spoelstra and Pat Riley prepared him for the opportunity and his strong feelings about the gun issue in America’s cities and towns. Here are some key moments: 1:57: Only being able to fully understand a head coach’s job when you become a head coach. 3:33: The importance of building relationships with young players. 4:45: Taking over a team with an established identity, while implementing his own style. 6:40: Succeeding during Mike Conley’s absence. 8:03: What Fizdale learned while being a video intern for the Heat alongside Erik Spoelstra. 11:08: How the Heat coaches established a relationship with LeBron James and Pat Riley’s support of them. 17:44: How Fizdale was viewed as an assistant league-wide. 21:50: The perception and stereotypes African-American assistant coaches face. 27:52: How growing up in South Central Los Angeles shaped his view on relationships. 33:27: The volatility of growing up in South Central. 36:22: Seeing the Rodney King riots first-hand. 39:30: How drugs changed the relationship between police and African-Americans. 45:13: The need for common-sense gun laws, including background checks. 48:11: The NBA empowering players and coaches to make political stands. 51:20: Visiting the White House with the Heat during President Barack Obama’s tenure.

Bobby Marks joins Woj  

Vertical Front Office Insider Bobby Marks joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj to breakdown the start of NBA trade season, including reporting on multiple teams plans and hopes to improve themselves and the players who could be on the move.

Luke Walton joins Woj  

Lakers coach Luke Walton joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj to go inside his coaching influences, Golden State Warriors pedigree and hopes to turn the Lakers back into a destination for free agent stars. Here are some key moments: 2:30: Managing his time amid the demands of being a head coach. 7:41: Recognizing the ideal situation the Warriors had during the last two seasons. 12:54: How he is still benefitting from his time coaching in the D-League, including the importance of chemistry. 19:00: Using his experience as a player to relate to his team. 22:49: Immersing himself in understanding the mood around the team. 25:24: Nick Young’s resurgence this season under Walton. 28:19: Re-establishing the Lakers as a major free-agent destination. 32:44: His experiences wanting to help his father and Steve Kerr as they battled back pain. 36:02: The misconception last season that the Warriors didn’t need Kerr while Walton served as interim head coach. 40:10: His continued appreciation for the situation in Golden State after leaving.

Jamal Crawford joins Woj  

Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford joined Adrian Wojnarowski for an entertaining visit on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Crawford talks about his incredible 17 year NBA journey, including stories that include Michael Jordan and Jay Z and Samuel L. Jackson. It’s an incredible visit for basketball junkies, truly a must-listen.

Donnie Walsh joins Woj  

NBA legend Donnie Walsh joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj to cover one of this generation’s most accomplished basketball lives. From the building of the Pacers franchise around Reggie Miller to the challenges of navigating the New York Knicks under owner James Dolan, Walsh details the triumphs and tribulations of a quarter of a century of running NBA front offices. Walsh covers fascinating territory in his life, including how he nearly accepted a job in Richard Nixon’s law firm, and his memories of playing and coaching under Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina. Here are some key moments: 2:44: Did Walsh ever think the NBA would get as big as it is? 4:12: His current role with the Pacers and working with multiple ownership groups. 10:22: The value of Reggie Miller playing his entire career in Indiana. 16:23: The changing nature of front office interactions in the last 20 years. 18:22: How important the draft is to building a team. 20:15: Going to law school and nearly working with Richard Nixon. 25:00: Playing for Dean Smith at North Carolina and why he never came close to leaving for the NBA. 29:07: Smith creating the modern college program and quietly making stands on social issues. 32:45: Walsh’s role in helping Metta World Peace during his tumultuous early years in the league. 35:10: Deciding to take over his hometown Knicks. 40:07: The focus on the 2010 free agent class during his time with the Knicks. 48:50: Jim Dolan’s role in negotiating the Carmelo Anthony trade with the Nuggets. 53:01: Dolan wanting to bring Isiah Thomas back to the franchise. 55:29: Walsh’s legacy as a front-office executive. 58:28: Working with Larry Brown.

Draymond Green joins Woj  

Golden State Warriors All-Star Draymond Green delivers an illuminating visit on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Green and Adrian Wojnarowski discuss everything from Green’s personal quest to harness his professional and personal volatility, his recruitment of Kevin Durant, his surprising benching on Team USA in the Olympics and his love and history with football. Green talks about his obsession with becoming the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, the 2016 NBA Finals loss to Cleveland and the power that players possess in building NBA super teams.

Seth Curry joins Woj  

Dallas Mavericks guard Seth Curry visits The Vertical Podcast with Woj to discuss his jagged journey to the NBA, the blessings and burdens of life as MVP Steph Curry's younger brother, growing up playing ball with Muggsy Bogues and much, much more.

Joel Embiid and Brett Brown join Woj  

Philadelphia’s 76ers center Joel Embiid and coach Brett Brown join Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast for an extended conversation on the young star’s remarkable journey to prominence in the NBA. In one of his first extended interviews, Embiid discusses nearly quitting during his long rehabilitation process, his younger brother’s tragic death and for the first time discloses his friendship and line of communication with Tim Duncan. Embiid talks about the flawed stereotypes that Americans have about African players, and the jokes that he has played on people concerning his childhood upbringing. All this and more on Embiid and Brown’s visit to The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Here are some key moments: 2:26: The new 76ers practice facility. 3:37: Embiid and Brown discuss how their international friends are reacting to the presidential election. 7:31: The NBA as a melting pot and its ability to lead on issues of race and culture. 9:29: Lessons Embiid learned from sitting out two NBA seasons. 14:41: Embiid on the pressure of being viewed by fans and the media as the team’s savior. 20:03: Not playing basketball until he was 15 years old and quickly picking up the game. 21:49: Embiid’s childhood in Cameroon compared to how Americans perceive it. 24:27: The death of Embiid’s brother during his rookie season with the 76ers. 28:02: Brown’s role in Embiid’s life during the last two years beyond the basketball court. 32:23: Embiid’s relationship with Tim Duncan. 35:45: The difficultly of having his minutes limited to ensure his long-term health. 37:10: Handling the praise and criticism that comes with social media. 39:46: Helping Ben Simmons with his recovery from injury. 42:09: Embiid exceeding Brown’s expectations in his first season.

Jonathan Givony joins Woj  

DraftExpress' Jonathan Givony joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj to breakdown the early returns on the 2016 NBA rookie draft class, the top prospects for 2017 and the trends in players evaluation throughout league front offices.

Luis Scola joins Woj  

Luis Scola of the Brooklyn Nets joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj for a fantastic visit centered around one of the unique global basketball careers of this era, including his Argentina national team partnership with Manu Ginobili, turning pro at 15 years old and playing with 40-year old ex-NBA players Earl Cureton and John Long, Olympic gold, his role in the NBA-vetoed Chris Paul trade, how the NBA has become more like the NFL in terms of player preparation and much, much more.

D'Angelo Russell joins Woj  

Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell sits down with Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast to discuss life as the No. 2 overall pick, Luke Walton, Kobe Bryant, growing up as a Rajon Rondo fan in Louisville, playing with Ben Simmons in high school and much, much more.

Jerry West joins Woj  

Jerry West joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj for an illuminating visit that ranges from Kevin Durant's recruitment to Wilt Chamberlain, the Showtime Lakers to Kobe-Shaq, to growing up in an abusive home in rural West Virginia. Here are some key moments: 1:48: Memories of playing in the NBA Finals in New York against the Knicks. 4:46: Working on raising awareness for www.MyAFibChoice.com 8:42: His track record for recruiting star players, including helping the Warriors land Kevin Durant. 16:17: Would West have considered joining the Celtics or Knicks if free agency existed during his career? 17:41: Warriors owner Joe Lacob’s comments about the Warriors being light years ahead of the rest of the league. 21:36: Nearly quitting his job with the Lakers when Jerry Buss wanted to trade James Worthy to the Mavericks. 25:28: West’s reaction to criticism of players forming super teams. 28:47: The formation of the NBPA and the players standing up to the owners to gain collective bargaining rights. 34:07: Growing up in an abusive household and coping with the death of his brother in Korea. 39:46: Bringing his intense work ethic with him to the front office. 42:49: Quickly knowing a young Kobe Bryant would be a great player. 48:33: His relationship with Wilt Chamberlain and the impact of his death. 58:17: Reflections on his tenure with the Lakers and deciding it was the time to go.

The Vertical Front Office Insider Bobby Marks joins Woj  

Vertical front office insider Bobby Marks joins Woj to set the table on the 2017 summer free agent market including Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry, the latest on trade scenarios for Sacramento's Rudy Gay and much, much more on the cusp of the 2016-'17 season.

Tim Connelly & Michael Malone join The Vertical Podcast  

Denver Nuggets GM Tim Connelly and coach Michael Malone join Adrian Wojnarowski on the The Vertical Podcast to take listeners inside the GM-coach dynamic in the NBA. Connelly and Malone take Woj inside the dynamic of how the working relationship works, how they try to avoid pitfalls that have doomed other relationships and how they collaborate on ideas and decisions. They talk about how they handle agents, players and ownership in trying to align themselves to build a winning program. Here are some key moments: 1:06: Malone details what coaches want from their general managers and Connelly give the perspective of the front office. 3:48: The importance of mutual respect between the coaching staff and front office. 6:42: Connelly on balancing the coaching staff’s desire to win immediately and the need to build for the future. 9:00: Dealing with agents who want more playing time for their clients. 13:15: Malone’s father only getting one chance as a head coach and how it influences him. 17:07: Lessons Connelly learned in previous jobs about creating a positive culture around the team. 20:19: Connelly and several of his siblings being involved in pro basketball. 23:12: Malone initially planning to be a state trooper after graduating from college. 27:03: The importance of grinding to rise through the ranks. 33:50: Malone’s belief that he would receive another head coaching job the Kings fired him. 37:47: What Malone wanted to do better with the Nuggets. 42:15: Questions Connelly had for Malone before hiring him and the value of their prior experience working together. 46:06: The most common reasons why coach-general manager relationships fall apart. 50:37: Connelly and Malone maintaining open lines of communication.

Kendrick Perkins joins Woj  

Kendrick Perkins sits down with Woj for a candid conversation about wanting to bridge the personal divide between his ex-Oklahoma City Thunder teammates, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the retirement of his mentor, Kevin Garnett and preparing for his next NBA playing opportunity at 31 years old. Perkins and Woj look over the center's 13 year NBA career, including the 2008 championship season with the Boston Celtics, and his years playing with LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Garnett, Durant, Westbrook and Anthony Davis. Perkins discusses his jump from high school to the NBA and the lessons of professionalism that helped make him such a valuable locker room presence. Here are some key moments: 1:42: Perkins on looking for another NBA opportunity as training camps open. 5:07: The shift away from traditional centers as the style of play changes league-wide. 6:53: His influence on Anthony Davis during his season with the Pelicans. 10:34: How Kevin Garnett helped take Perkins’ career to another level. 13:05: Is Garnett at peace with his retirement? 15:48: How receptive the young players in the league are to veteran mentorship. 20:36: The breakup of the core of the 2008 NBA title team. 25:25: Entering the NBA straight out of high school and the benefits of learning from veterans as a young player. 33:02: Providing leadership to a young Thunder team after being traded from the Celtics. 38:07: His expectations entering last summer for Durant’s free agency. 40:37: Acting as a mediator between Durant and Westbrook. 45:46: Golden State’s season-long recruitment of Durant. 49:18: The Thunder’s confidence entering free agency. 52:00: Will the Warriors be judged differently than other teams if they win a title? 54:24: The emotion of winning a title with a team you grew and built with.

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