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.


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.

The Vertical's Michael Lee and best-selling author Mark Kriegel join The Vertical podcast.  

The Vertical’s Michael Lee and best-selling author Mark Kriegel join Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. From Rio, Lee discusses the issues surrounding Team USA and it’s uneven performance in these Olympic Games. Lee and Woj discuss why the U.S. team has failed to dominate, and where the blames lies – from coaching staff through the roster. Kriegel joins the podcast to discuss his New York Times best-seller, “Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich,” one of Woj’s favorite basketball biographies. Kriegel goes deep into the psyche of Pistol and his father, Press Maravich, and one of American sports’ most fascinating father-son partnerships.

Rod Thorn joins The Vertical Podcast  

NBA great Rod Thorn joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical podcast for a wide-open and engaging visit on his 50 years in pro basketball. Thorn tells an array of stories from his days as a tortured All-American in Jerry West’s shadow at West Virginia, to the barnstorming days of the NBA, to competing with Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Thorn tells of the genius of Julius “Dr. Jr” Erving in his days as a coach with the ABA’s Nets, the demons of Marvin “Bad News” Barnes with the St. Louis Spirits and what made Spirits’ radio voice Bob Costas so irritating in two-on-two pick up basketball games. Thorn talks about drafting Michael Jordan in Chicago, trading for Jason Kidd in New Jersey and why he fired Byron Scott after back-to-back NBA Finals appearances. The stories keep coming from Thorn on a terrific edition of The Vertical Podcast with Woj.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist joins The Vertical Podcast  

Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist visits with Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. MKG discusses his journey from the No. 1-rated eighth grader in America to top Kentucky basketball recruit to the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft, including the loss of his father and a personal battle with stuttering. All this and more with MKG on the Vertical Podcast with Woj.

Doc Rivers joins The Vertical Podcast  

Los Angeles Clippers president and coach Doc Rivers joined Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. In a revealing hour, Rivers reaffirms the franchise’s commitment to Blake Griffin, goes inside the franchise’s recruitment of Kevin Durant and lays out the vision for the Clippers’ building out of its front office infrastructure. Rivers goes into great detail on his relationship with Steve Ballmer, and tells the story of how he threatened to quit his job three weeks into his tenure under Donald Sterling. Rivers discusses how close Paul Pierce is to retirement and the franchise’s plans to let Pierce finish his career for one-day elsewhere if he decides to walk away. Rivers goes into detail on his history with Kevin Garnett, his Celtics championships and near-misses and his desire to continue coaching in the NBA.

Chauncey Billups joins The Vertical Podcast  

Five-time NBA All-Star Chauncey Billups joins Adrian Wojnarowski on the The Vertical Podcast with Woj. In a candid and far-reaching conversation, Billups discusses why he turned down the top assistant coaching job with the Orlando Magic this spring, his conflicted emotions over Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors, and how his Detroit Pistons’ championship team was the most anti-Super Team of the modern era. Billups discusses how he went about helping Carmelo Anthony to become a leader in Denver, balancing his love for Larry Brown with disillusionment over how Brown was navigating his Pistons departure for New York in the middle of the 2005 NBA Finals series against San Antonio, to the most indelible memories of the Malice at the Palace. Billups also talks about his unique Hall of Fame candidacy as a player who struggled his first several few years in the NBA.

Chris Carrino joins The Vertical Podcast  

Brooklyn Nets radio play-by-play voice Chris Carrino and founder of the Chris Carrino Foundation for FSHD joined Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast. Carrino discusses the craft of radio play by play in the New York market and the evolution of the medium. Carrino goes deep into his diagnosis with FSHD, a form of muscular dystrophy that has slowly eaten away at his muscular functions. Carrino talks about hiding the condition for years before finally going public, starting a foundation and raising money for research that has made real medical advances to find solutions.

Spurs GM RC Buford on Tim Duncan  

In an emotional and nostalgic conversation, Spurs general manager RC Buford joins Adrian Wojnarowski to discuss the life, legacy and retirement of Tim Duncan. In his first interview since the retirement of Duncan on Monday, Buford, one of the architects of five Spurs titles, lays out in magnificent detail his emotion over the retirement of one of the NBA’s true icons. Buford describes the franchise’s coming to terms with his departure, how he impacted daily life in San Antonio and intimate details of a partnership that helped win five NBA titles and over 70 percent of its regular season games over the past two decades. Buford even goes into the process of filing a waiver claim to the league office upon Duncan’s retirement. Buford discusses how close the Spurs came to losing Duncan in free agency to Orlando, how the organization worked together with him on important decisions and how Coach Gregg Popovich and Duncan would managed a complicated, sometimes contentious and always loving relationship.

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