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Sports Wars


Sports rivalries can fuel fans and athletes to fight and argue for years. But what’s the real story behind these epic battles?From Wondery, the company behind “Business Wars” and “American Scandal” comes SPORTS WARS, a new series that offers an immer...Show More

28:31 | Jun 19th

1991. At long last, Michael Jordan beats Isiah Thomas, ends the Bad Boys era, and ushers in a Bulls dynasty. Jordan has the edge over his longtime rival, but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten the Freeze Out or the “Jordan Rules.” He’s still out for re...Show More

08:09 | Sep 16th

From Wondery and The Athletic, The Lead is the first daily sports podcast that will bring you one big story each day from The Athletic's all-star team of local and national sports reporters. Subscribe now to hear new episodes each weekday morning: ht...Show More

35:39 | Sep 13th

When the AP drops a bombshell story, Mark McGwire worries his season, his record chase, and his career may be over. And it’s not just his livelihood that’s at stake. Pretty soon, Sammy Sosa is facing tough questions of his own.

33:38 | Sep 11th

Wrigley Field — August 19th, 1998. The Cubs are facing the Cardinals, which means Sammy Sosa is about to duke it out, at bat after at bat, with Mark McGwire. It's a metaphor for the whole season, really, each man a moonshot away from besting the othe...Show More

32:59 | Sep 6th

It's 1998, the race to 61 homers is on, and Mark McGwire is a force to be reckoned with. Then comes the All-Star break. Suddenly his bat slows down and Sammy's speeds up. Support us by supporting our sponsors! Casper — Get $100 toward select mattre...Show More

32:56 | Sep 4th

Mark McGwire doesn't leave college with a diploma: he leaves with a beautiful swing and a ticket to the show. Pretty soon, though, his personal life is in tatters and so is his game. Can bulking up he get him back on track? Meanwhile, Sammy Sosa expl...Show More

31:10 | Aug 30th

Blasts. Jacks. Moonshots. Grand salamis. Nothing's quite so mythical as baseball's home run. In 1998, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa reminded the nation of that as they tried to smash into the record books. They thought they were going to save baseball....Show More

29:49 | Aug 28th

Do you love bonus content? Thought so. Here's a special episode of Dan's other Wondery podcast, The Solid Verbal. It's is a thrice-weekly show about college football that features previews, recaps, and analysis. In this edition, Dan and his co-host T...Show More

42:04 | Aug 23rd

Andy Staples was once the worst walk-on offensive lineman in Florida history; now he's an excellent writer who covers college football for The Athletic. In this episode of Sports Wars, Staples talks about some key moments in the Florida–Georgia rival...Show More

30:47 | Aug 21st

Adrian Peterson and Baker Mayfield are two Texas-born football phenoms. But when they enroll at the University of Oklahoma, it touches off a recruiting war that will define the modern era of the Texas vs. Oklahoma rivalry.

30:36 | Aug 16th

A new era has dawned in the rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma—an era of such bitter hatred that even the President of the United States can't escape it. A lot of it has to do with Barry Switzer, the Sooners' head coach, whose maverick tendencies pro...Show More

24:01 | Aug 14th

What makes the rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma so doggone contentious? Maybe it’s that these states hate each other so much they almost went to war over a bridge. Maybe it’s the underhanded stunts coaches like Mike Leach have pulled to win. Or may...Show More

31:17 | Aug 9th

Urban Meyer passes up his dream job and instead takes the head coach gig at Florida. Among his early recruits is Tim Tebow. They're one heck of a pair. But will it be enough to stop Mark Richt's Georgia team? This is the third and final episode of Ge...Show More

25:33 | Aug 7th

It's 1989 and Steve Spurrier, Florida's head coach, is desperate to settle the grudge he's been holding against Georgia for two decades. Back then he was Florida's QB, and Georgia spoiled his perfect season. Now he's out for blood—Bulldog blood.

22:05 | Aug 2nd

For the next six episodes, we're focusing on two of the greatest rivalries in college football: Georgia vs. Florida and Texas vs. Oklahoma. We begin with Georgia vs. Florida, a long-simmering, start-studded, completely unruly matchup. These schools h...Show More

39:27 | Jul 26th

As a reporter for the LA Daily News, Howard Beck covered the Kobe–Shaq saga as it happened. In this episode of Sports Wars, he offers his take on the rivalry, explains how the pair changed basketball, and recounts the time Shaq called to say his Lake...Show More

31:37 | Jul 24th

It’s all over. Or is it? Kobe and Shaq no longer play for the same team, and their relationship seems like it’s slowly evolving from rivalry to brotherhood. Still, Shaq can’t resist making digs at Kobe’s expense, and Kobe won’t stop until he’s got mo...Show More

27:47 | Jul 19th

As the Lakers head into the 2003–2004 season, the team's two stars face their most significant challenges yet. On the court, Shaq’s dominance has started to fade. And off the court, serious allegations have marred Kobe’s once squeaky-clean image. Wit...Show More

28:20 | Jul 17th

They may be reigning champs, but things aren’t looking great for the Lakers as the 2000–2001 season gets underway. After a dispiriting loss, Kobe acknowledges he’s a ball hog. Shaq can’t make a free throw to save his life. And their ongoing feud spil...Show More

32:42 | Jul 12th

It’s 1999 and Phil Jackson—the tai chi–practicing, sage-burning zen master—is now the Lakers’ head coach. He’s got his eye on a championship, but he knows the only way to get there is to teach Shaq some discipline and snap Kobe’s selfish streak. Easi...Show More

29:19 | Jul 10th

Kobe and Shaq are young, famous, handsomely paid, and diametrically opposed. Shaq, with his lifelong craving for adoration, tries to win over his teammates and position himself as the Lakers' top dog. As for Kobe, he couldn’t care less about camarade...Show More

29:24 | Jul 5th

It’s 1996, and the Los Angeles Lakers are priming for greatness. First they sign the gargantuan, indomitable Shaquille O’Neal. Then they bring on a 17-year-old with epic potential: Kobe Bryant. What a coup, right? There’s only one problem. Shaq and K...Show More

27:03 | Jun 26th

For three decades, David Aldridge has covered the NBA for outlets like The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Athletic. On this episode of Sports Wars, he digs into the league’s long history of mighty matchups and argues it’s often t...Show More

35:15 | Jun 21st

Veteran reporter Sam Smith followed the Chicago Bulls for their 1990–91 season and turned that experience into a bestselling book, “The Jordan Rules.” It’s a searing, unmatched portrait of Michael Jordan’s path to glory. On this episode of Sports War...Show More

24:44 | Jun 14th

Michael Jordan is unstoppable—except when it comes to Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons. When the Bad Boys cruise to back-to-back championships in ’89 and ’90, Jordan’s frustration reaches an all-time high. He’s willing to take whatever help he ca...Show More

07:05 | Jun 13th

Sports Illustrated’s new podcast, ‘Throwback’ features the untold stories behind the most legendary moments in sports history. Season 1 traces the U.S. victory at the ’99 Women’s World Cup back to the origins of the USWNT and the first Women’s World ...Show More

31:33 | Jun 12th

By 1987, Michael Jordan has established himself as the NBA’s most exciting player—not to mention the league’s top scorer. But it’s Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons who dominate the Eastern Conference, and their tough play earns them a new nicknam...Show More

27:12 | Jun 7th

It’s 1985. Michael Jordan is a flashy Chicago Bulls rookie, and Isiah Thomas is an established star for the Detroit Pistons. When they’re thrust together at the NBA All-Star Game, it’s not exactly love at first sight. Jordan feels slighted by Isiah, ...Show More

20:02 | May 31st

“Strokes of Genius” author Jon Wertheim discusses what makes tennis rivalries different than any other sport, why Federer v Nadal was so compelling, and other great match ups in tennis history.

06:36 | May 30th

Heroes, villains, action... all set in a galaxy far, far away. Join Inside Star Wars and go behind the camera and find out how one of the most iconic series in film history came to be. Listen now at: http://wondery.fm/ISWED

27:39 | May 29th

After four straight head-to-head wins, the era-defining rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is trending strongly toward Nadal. But Federer is already looking to reverse his fortunes at the next major -- the 2009 Australian Open -- a hard c...Show More

29:38 | May 24th

Jon Wertheim -- best-selling author of Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played -- joins Sports Wars to discuss tennis’ greatest modern rivalry between two of the best the game has ever seen and what it’s been like to hav...Show More

28:56 | May 22nd

Roger Federer enters the 2008 Wimbledon Grand Slam as a five-time defending champion. The tabloids mark him as finished -- mostly because of his poor performance in the year’s first two grand slams. Rafael Nadal is coming off a dominant French Open t...Show More

23:22 | May 17th

Rafael Nadal continues to add French Open titles, but winning on the grass courts of Wimbledon proves elusive because of one person: Roger Federer. The Swiss Champion holds as much dominance on grass as Nadal has on clay. So when the 2007 Wimbledon F...Show More

27:26 | May 15th

At age 19 Nadal dominates on clay and shoots up the world rankings. Now he’s looking to prove his win in Miami over Federer was no fluke. Meanwhile, Federer tries to capture the career grand slam, but to get it, he’ll need to beat Nadal on his best s...Show More

08:32 | May 13th

Life is Short with Justin Long finds the actor sitting down with some of the funniest and most intriguing people of today, like Dax Shepard, Olivia Wilde and Neil Patrick Harris. No topics are out of bounds, and no questions are too personal. Subscri...Show More

28:29 | May 10th

In this series we explore the unique tennis rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal-- two very different players, both exceptional, in pursuit of perfection. Swiss-born Roger Federer was seemingly born with a racquet in his hand and at a young...Show More

34:25 | May 3rd

Jeff Pearlman-- the best selling author of Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre-- joins Sports Wars to discuss the rivalry between Favre and Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. They began as competitors on the same team, but end...Show More

34:50 | May 1st

As the new quarterback of the rival Minnesota Vikings, Brett Favre wants revenge against the Packers. He won’t retire until he gets his chance to beat Rodgers and Green Bay in 2009. Meanwhile, Rodgers tries to show the Packers he’s ready to be the ne...Show More

31:41 | Apr 26th

Brett Favre comes out of retirement again, but this time Green Bay is moving on to the Aaron Rodgers era. The Packers trade Favre to the Jets, turning their legendary QB into a new rival.

36:02 | Apr 24th

Aaron Rodgers starts his career as the backup QB in Green Bay as Brett Favre ponders retirement. When Favre leads the Packers to their best season in years, the legendary quarterback decides he may not be ready to turn the team over to Rodgers after ...Show More

32:42 | Apr 19th

Brett Favre takes Titletown to the Super Bowl for the first time in 29 years. Aaron Rodgers tries to prove he's good enough to play college football and be chosen by his favorite team - the 49ers.

28:49 | Apr 17th

In 1991, the Atlanta Falcons tire of the antics of their rookie quarterback, Brett Favre. They decide to trade him to Green Bay where he soon takes over as the starting quarterback. He begins a streak of consecutive starts that will turn him into a l...Show More

27:38 | Apr 17th

It's 2005 and The Green Bay Packers are on the clock in this year's NFL Draft. The last thing most Packers fans think the team needs in the draft is a new quarterback. Their team already has Hall of Famer, Brett Favre, who is in the middle of his rec...Show More

01:49 | Apr 5th

Brett Favre vs. Aaron Rodgers. Michael Jordan vs. Isiah Thomas. And many more... Sports Wars premieres on April 17th. Subscribe now!