Sports are one of the most dynamic and iconic pastimes of American – and international – culture. They offer a chance for great athletes to represent something bigger than themselves and for fans to live vicariously through their triumphs, sorrows, and growth as people and players. Fans can also feel like their favorite athletes and teams represent them, giving rise to a genuine sense of pride and glory.
Here at Podcast Pursuit, we’ve compiled a list of game-changer sports podcasts that will inform, entertain, and inspire you to look at sports with a fresh new lens. Browse through these options and see which you like the best. We know it’ll be an incredible journey for you!
Table of Contents
Best Sports Podcasts
A mimic of the idea of “The Daily” in the New York Times, ESPN’s hit sports podcast is hosted by one of ESPN’s best: Pablo Torre, the author of ESPN Magazine. This daily podcast features interviews with top sports writers and personalities and clocks in at only 20 minutes.
Top sports podcaster and former host of ESPN Daily, Mina Kimes, delivers sports nuggets of gold to follow suit from the network’s flagship NFL Live, delving deeper into closer analyses and nuanced insights. For each episode, Kimes goes over football from the prior two weeks and hosts a different guest each time. Such guests range from ESPN analysts to former players to national writers from different channels or publications.
She brings along her dog, Lenny, for the ride, making this show fun and friendly for all ages of sports enthusiasts! Aren’t animals awesome?
Another game-changer riding the wave of a trend toward more athlete-hosted sports podcasts, I Am Athlete, is hosted by Brandon Marshall, a former NFL All-Pro player. Marshall dedicates his time and energy to enhancing his listeners’ lives by melding group therapy with party time and interviews. It’s very human, strengthening, and illuminating – call it Chicken Soup for the Sports Lover’s Soul.
It’s also an unflinchingly honest look at the private lives of star athletes, like the struggles and joys of Dwayne Wade raising a transgender child. It also engages with thematic elements like mental health, intimacy, and more – as they relate to sports, but also in and of themselves. Athletes featured include Colin Kaepernick, Reggie Bush, Kyrie Irving, and more.
In Sports?, another brilliant host from ESPN is showcased, and she dives into lengthy sports podcast episodes (2 hours each, to be precise) with delightful interviews that are sure to educate. Moving beyond analysis is her game and into some incredible details like what should be in the seats of empty stadiums and reactions to highlighted cultural moments. These distinguishing features make it a highly worthwhile podcast to check out.
Bomani Jones, another one of ESPN’s sensational hosts, is one of the smartest characters in sports media. Fearless toward confrontation and with an arsenal of sports knowledge sure to impress, Jones takes us on a journey through sports, music, and social issues, focusing on the world at large as it relates to sports.
This podcast is like a democratized round table of opinions, analyses, and predictions, all as they relate to sports. Hyped-up group chat among Joel Moran, Andrew Velez, River Brown, and Joel Dehls covers three major sports organizations: the NFL, NBA, and MLB. These are sports fanatics at their finest, and they unabashedly share their insights with vitality, humor, and playfulness. Sounds like sports, right?
Another scintillating sports podcast by an ESPN personality! Noticing a trend here?
This podcast covers all things sports. No, seriously. Bill Simmons sits down with top-tier athletes, superstar actors who are sports fanatics, or just a general coffee table chat about the game as it relates to life. It’s real, homey, and designed to ground you with the thing you’re there to hear about: the love of sports.
Here’s another athlete-hosted podcast. This show, run by Ryan Ruocco (R2) and CC Sabathia (C2), discusses pop culture, anecdotes, and deeply personal stories from the dugout of the Yankees, and it does it with real honesty and integrity. These two hosts hit it off in natural dialogue, and that mutuality lends itself to one of the best sports podcasts on the net.
This is a Spotify original and features Matt Nelson and Steve Ceruti homing in on everything about soccer and how soccer is enmeshed in a larger network of social and societal issues and themes. For example, Nelson and Ceruti cover the Western ejection from Afghanistan in 2021 and the ensuing upheaval to bring a closer lens to the country’s former women’s soccer team captain and how she ushered her team to safety amid complete chaos and fear. Focusing on authoritarian regimes and other disasters and how they’ve tried to crack down on the sporting world, We Came to Win is a decisive podcast that empowers and encourages the downtrodden and disempowered to stand up and succeed.
This podcast is named after ESPN’s high-falutin’ sports documentary series and is essentially a sports version of NPR’s This American Life. What does this mean? Each episode tells a different story in the form of an audio-only documentary. It centers on dramatic critical moments in sports history, such as a feature called The Sterling Affairs, which took a hard look at Donald Sterling’s racist remarks that led him to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. This podcast is about stories and legends that make sports exciting and the subtleties that underscore them.
What do Fresh Air, Planet Money, Morning Edition, and Only A Game have in common? They’re all NPR shows. Only A Game is NPR’s official sports show, and it’s a moving look at sports situated in society, with the people who make it interesting. Well worth your time to listen – especially if you’re into NPR, which is a great thing to be into. This show’s original host, Bill Littlefield, hung up his podcasting cleats in the fall of 2020, but the show’s archives are still available.
Like I Am Athlete, this show is athlete-hosted, featuring former NBA stars Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes. These guys get the inner details of the lives of star athletes like Allen Iverson and Kevin Durant as these players speak their minds and their hearts. One particular episode featured Kobe Bryant before his tragic passing and included a direct perspective on his private conversations with Michael Jordan.
Sports are one of the most impactful elements interwoven into global culture. They’re anciently programmed in our brains to invite, inspire, and represent. As any sporting fan knows, it’s important to be up on the latest news, trends, stories, and future projections of sports teams and athletes across the board. This is because sports are art and deserve the same kind of attention and care – which you’ll find in every one of our podcast recommendations.
We hope you enjoy furthering your sports knowledge through our recommendations. Happy listening!