Five-Part Series to be Released April 5; Celebrates and Examines Basketball’s Most Powerful Shot
ESPN Audio will offer its first long-form podcasts, “Dunkumentaries,” a five-part series celebrating basketball’s most powerful shot by examining its history, memorable moments, impact and future. Topics will include the impact on the sneaker business of Dee Brown’s performance at the 1991 NBA Dunk Contest, the first dunk by a woman in college basketball and how the only known tape of it was found 25 years after it happened, and whether creativity in dunks has run its course and there are no “new” dunks to do. The project is a collaboration between ESPN Audio and ESPN Films, and is sponsored by Seat Geek.
All five episodes will be published Tuesday, April 5; they range in length from 12 to 20 minutes. They will be available on the ESPN app, iTunes, and other podcast platforms/apps, as well as on the web, including ESPN.com and espnW.com.
Contributing to the series are former NBA players Dee Brown and Leo Rautins, Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as basketball coaches, historians and journalists. Voices from ESPN include SportsCenter’s Cari Champion, espnW’s Kate Fagan, David Jacoby of ESPN Radio’s weeknight Jalen & Jacoby, and reporter Ramona Shelburne.
“We offer more than 30 original podcasts, it is a rapidly growing business, and for a long time we’ve been looking to add long-form, narrative productions to our lineup,” said Traug Keller, who oversees ESPN Audio as ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions. “Fans love to consume audio on their terms – when they want, where they want, and these creative and enterprising offerings provide compelling content.”
NOTE: To hear more from Traug about “Dunkumentaries,” see ESPNFrontRow.com.
Added Ryan Nantell, ESPN Films’ producer of the project, “The slam dunk continues to awe fans on an almost daily basis. We’ve all got our favorite dunks and dunk contest memories. We wanted to take a closer look at the impact of those memories and the personalities connected to them.”
DID YOU KNOW??
ESPN Audio launched its first podcast in 2005, and in 2015 ESPN’s podcasts were downloaded 366 million times, an increase of 16 percent compared to the previous year.
The five episodes:
Yin & Yang
- In the 1960s and ‘70s, a war of words emerged between dominating, dunking big men and the skeptics who thought they were ruining the game. It took a somewhat unintentional solution to end the tension ‐‐ the three point shot. The episode looks at how it became the yin to dunking’s yang.
- Contributors: Cari Champion (ESPN), Roman Mars (99% Invisible host), Ramona Shelburne (ESPN), Andrew Heisel (writer for Vice), Matt Andrews (sports historian), Terry Pluto (author), Jerry Harkness (retired ABA).
- Video evidence of the first‐ever dunk in a women’s college basketball game – Georgeann Wells in 1984 for West Virginia – was lost to history, or so it was thought. The opposing coach’s son found the tape after his father’s death in 2009. Today, only a handful of women have gone above the rim, but that might be changing.
- Contributors: Kate Fagan (espnW), Georgeann Wells (former college basketball player), Kittie Blakemore (retired basketball coach at WVU), Ford Francis (son of late Univ. of Charleston basketball coach), Reed Albergotti (WSJ reporter, now at The Information).
Big Bang of Toronto Basketball
- In 2000, Vince Carter of the Toronto Raptors put on one of the greatest performances in dunk contest history, inspiring a generation of Canadian players in the NBA today.
- Contributors: ESPN host and Canadian native Adnan Virk, Tristan Thompson (NBA), Cory Joseph (NBA), Dee Brown (retired NBA), Glen Grunwald (former NBA coach), Leo Rautins (first Canadian to be drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft, Toronto Raptors analyst), Charlie Rosen (author), Tony McIntyre (Canadian youth basketball coach), Chris Young (journalist).
- Are there any more new dunks left to do? Has creativity run its course? Like figure skating’s rotational jumps before it, has the slam dunk reached the limits of human athleticism? Host Kevin Wildes asks those questions, and hears from someone who insists he and his team of amateur dunking showmen have plans for 150 dunks the world has never seen.
- Contributors: Kevin Wildes (ESPN), Chuck Millan (runs pro dunking team Team Flight Brothers), Dvora Myers (author).
- In the early 1990s, Nike and Reebok launched very similar shoe concepts on the exact same day. Thanks to a young guard on the Celtics, only one of them emerged iconic. This is the story of how Dee Brown and his Reebok Pumps left an indelible mark on both the dunk contest and the sneaker industry.
- Contributors: David Jacoby (ESPN), Dee Brown (retired NBA), Paul Litchfield (formerly of Reebok), Elizabeth Semmelhack (curator at Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto).
About ESPN Audio
ESPN Radio, the country’s largest sports radio network, ESPN Deportes Radio,ESPNRadio.com, and ESPN Audio on Demand comprise ESPN Audio.
ESPN Radio, which launched January 1, 1992, provides more than 9,000 hours of talk and event content annually, reaching 20 million listeners a week on 500 nationwide stations, including more than 375 full-time affiliates and clearance in the top 25 markets. ESPN owns and/or operates stations in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. ESPN Radio programming is also available on SiriusXM and via digital distributors iTunes Radio, Slacker Radio and TuneIn.