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.


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 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.

Patrick Beverley joins The Vertical Podcast  

​Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley joins Adrian Wojnarowski for a powerful visit on the The Vertical Podcast with Woj. ​In a raw and emotional conversation, Beverley, one of the most intense and relentless players in the league, traces his ferocity to the violent streets of Chicago’s west side as a young man. Beverley talks about why he has no almost no friends in the NBA, still finds himself most comfortable in his old neighborhood and details the short list of rival guards whom he thinks are willing to go to-toe with him. ​Beverley talks about why other guards have failed to displace him as James Harden’s backcourt mate and how egos and a lack of trust derailed the Rockets a year ago.

KG edition of The Vertical Podcast with Woj: Brian Scalabrine remembers Kevin Garnett  

In honor of Kevin Garnett's retirement, Brian Scalabrine joins the Vertical Podcast with Woj to take listeners inside his five years in Boston with KG, with stories on his influence, impact and unforgettable imprint on the NBA. Scalabrine details the opponents that KG most disliked, his ferocity within the locker room and why KG's the most unique teammate of his NBA career. Here are some key moments: 1:38: Imagining the NBA without Garnett. 2:54: The atmosphere in the Celtics locker room the season before Garnett’s arrival. 5:05: The immediate impact Garnett made on the team’s culture. 7:38: The intense debates between Garnett and Scalabrine about the best players of all time. 9:02: The initial pushback from the Big 3 against Tom Thibodeau’s defense. 12:24: Which types of players did Garnett try to intimidate the most? 14:26: Garnett and Pierce knowing how to get under the skin of opponents. 18:13: Garnett’s trash talk against Dwight Howard in the 2009 playoffs. 20:18: His ability to play through injuries, particularly the 2008 Finals. 22:27: Where does Garnett’s legendary work ethic come from? 25:25: The veteran leadership Garnett benefitted from as a rookie in Minnesota. 30:34: What role will best suit Garnett in his post-playing days?

Bryan Colangelo joins The Vertical Podcast  

Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. In a wide-ranging and insightful interview, Colangelo discusses everything from the Sixers rebuild to the pressure of his family name to his runs as the Suns and Raptors’ top executive.

Marques Johnson joins The Vertical Podcast  

Five-time NBA All-Star and actor Marques Johnson joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. Johnson finds context with race and sports in the modern time set against his days at UCLA in the mid-1970’s and experiences in the racially-divided 1980’s NBA. From his All-Star years in Milwaukee, to the indignities of the Donald Sterling Clippers, to personal tragedy with the drowning of his son, Marques Jr., and the embarking of a successful acting career including his iconic role in White Men Can’t Jump, Johnson delivers an entertaining and enlightening visit with Woj.

Nick DePaula, The Vertical's shoe insider.  

On the cusp of the Basketball Hall of Fame inductions, Vertical shoe insider Nick DePaula joins Adrian Wojnarowski to explore the sneaker legacies of Allen Iverson, Shaquille O'Neal and Yao Ming. The three transcendent stars have fascinating and intertwined legacies in the shoe industry, creating, maintaining and leaving legacies still resounding across the global landscape.

Guest host Kyle Lowry visits with Villanova coach Jay Wright  

Toronto Raptors All-Star guard Kyle Lowry takes over as the guest host and sits down with his college coach, Villanova's Jay Wright, on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Lowry, a gold medalist for Team USA in the Rio Olympics, visits with Wright on the Villanova campus for a wide-ranging discussion on their relationship, the tumultuous start to Lowry's college career and Lowry's impact with the players on 'Nova's 2016 national championship team. Lowry and Wright engage in an honest, often hilarious conversation that covers over a decade of history together. For Raptors, Villanova and NBA fans, it's a must-listen.

Billy Donovan joins The Vertical Podcast  

In his first extended interview since free agent Kevin Durant left for Golden State, Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan sat down with Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. Donovan goes into detail on the circumstances around Durant’s departure, and Russell Westbrook’s decision to renegotiate his contract and eliminate his 2017 free agency. Donovan discusses the dynamic among Durant, Westbrook and Serge Ibaka throughout the Thunder’s season, and the franchise’s run into the Western Conference finals. Donovan describes how the team will be structured around Westbrook and how he envisions the All-Star guard’s role within the team structure. Donovan talks about his coaching journey, beginning as a Long Island high school guard playing Pearl Washington in New York, a college guard under Rick Pitino at Providence, and Donovan’s own minor league basketball career – as well as the Florida Gators. Donovan goes into detail on transforming from a quiet player into the kind of orator that has made him one of the game’s elite coaches. Here are some key moments: 0:38: The Thunder’s two meetings with Durant. 2:15: Donovan’s relationship with Durant and his focus on coaching every player on the roster without playing favorites. 7:19: How Donovan learned about the relationship between Durant and Westbrook. 9:05: The initial conversation with Westbrook after Durant’s departure. 13:40: Managing Ibaka’s desire for a larger role last season. 16:35: Rebounding from a blowout loss in Game 1 of the conference semifinals against the Spurs. 20:43: Losing Game 6 at home in the Western Conference finals against the Warriors. 27:13: Rick Pitino becoming Providence’s head coach during Donovan’s sophomore season. 44:24: Developing his voice as a head coach. 53:37: The differences in his role as an NBA coach compared to being a college coach. 57:16: The importance of this coming season to make Oklahoma City a free-agent destination.

Billy King joins The Vertical Podcast  

On the doorstep of Allen Iverson’s enshrinement into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, former Philadelphia 76ers GM Billy King joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast to go inside the legendary guard’s persona and career. King delivers incredible insight and storytelling into the tumultuous and triumphant Sixers run with Iverson. From his battles with coach Larry Brown, the infamous practice press conference, near-trades and scrapes with the commissioner’s office, King has some of the most unique insight into the complexities of Iverson. King offers tremendous perspective on Iverson’s cultural impact, his fierce loyalty and popularity and his ultimate undoing with the Sixers. King helped build an NBA finalist around Iverson and had the ultimate front-row seat for one of the most fascinating players and periods in NBA history.

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