Two Writers Slinging Yang

Dana O'Neil: The Athletic senior college basketball writer

An episode of Two Writers Slinging Yang

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By Jeff Pearlman
Jeff Pearlman's weekly in-depth, no-holds-barred conversation with a writer on writing. Available here and on iTunes
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Chris Jones: Former Esquire writer, two-time National Magazine Award winner
On the aging scribe; on writing 22,000 words and having it cut down; on adjusting to a Netflix writers' room and looking back at Roger Ebert and "The Things That Carried Him."
1:11:33
June 25, 2019
Erik Sherman: New York Times best-selling author; collaborator on autobiographies with Mookie Wilson, Art Shamsky; Steve Blass, Davey Johnson and Glenn Burke
On approaching Glenn Burke as he was dying of AIDS and writing his autobiography; on a final interview with Bill Buckner and craziness with Len Dykstra.
52:59
June 18, 2019
Amy Chozick: New York Times writer at large, author of "Chasing Hillary"
On covering Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential run; on writing an amazing profile on the woman who (famously) chopped off her husband's penis; on rising from the University of Texas to a fantastic career in journalism.
41:48
June 11, 2019
Lindsay Gibbs: Think Progress sports reporter and Washington Mystics writer for The Athletic
On what we can read into in The Athletic's new dedication to WNBA coverage; on women's college basketball programs hiring no male coaches; on starting a tennis blog and having that morph into a magical sports journalism career.
46:36
June 4, 2019
Seth Wickersham: ESPN The Magazine Senior Writer
On the process behind his classic 2014 profile of a dementia-afflicted Y.A. Tittle; on the torture and pain that comes with quality writing; on his Academy Award-worthy non-scenes with Kevin Costner in "Draft Day."
45:25
May 28, 2019
Darren Sands: BuzzFeed News Political Writer
On covering the 2020 Democratic field; on driving through Manhattan with Mayor Pete; on whether a writer can cover politics without having an opinion on Donald Trump; on the transition from sports to news; on Joe Flacco trumping Wayne Chrebet.
42:42
May 21, 2019
Rebeccah Glaser: Editor in chief, The Panther—Chapman University's student newspaper
On the highs and lows of college journalism; on whether to print or not to print; on what journalism programs need to be offering students in 2019.
43:52
May 14, 2019
Bill Pennington: New York Times sports writer and author of "Chumps to Champs: How Worst Teams in Yankees History Led to the '90s Dynasty."
On deep diving into the crappy, pre-glorious Yankee years of Brien Taylor and Mel Hall and Andy Hawkins; on when to knock on a subject's door, and whether five phone calls are too many; on seeking out jacket blurbs and landing a literary deal on a less-than-obvious subject matter.
39:08
May 7, 2019
The John Rocker Experience: The 100th Episode of Two Writers Slinging Yang travels 20 years back in time, when I was young and dumb and driving around Georgia with John Rocker.
The absolute craziest journalistic experience of my lifetime. On Dec. 27, 1999, Sports Illustrated published "At Full Blast," my profile of then-Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker. His life changed. So did mine. For the 100th episode of Two Writers Slinging Yang, here's a detailed look back.
46:58
April 30, 2019
Georgi Boorman: Senior contributor, The Federalist
On the potential ugliness of social media interactions gone wrong; on writing about QAnon and the threats that followed; on political writing in the most heated of times. 
46:07
April 23, 2019
Will Leitch: Deadspin founder, New York Magazine contributing editor, MLB national correspondent
On talking golf with Eddie Van Halen; on why Deadspin exists alongside Slam Magazine and Bill Simmons in innovative sports lore; on TV fame transforming people into assholes; in staying busy as a modern scribe.
1:05:14
April 16, 2019
Daynabelle Anderson: Author of the self-published, "Letters to My Son: A Mother's Journey Through Grief"
This is a special episode of Two Writers Slinging Yang, in honor of the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I roamed the event (held on the campus of USC), seeking out interesting people. I found Daynabelle Anderson, who lost her 19-year-old son three years ago—and decided to speak to him via daily letters. She pieced the notes together into a book, then self-published. Remarkable woman whose story deserves to be told.
25:59
April 14, 2019
Grace Raynor: Clemson beat writer, The Athletic
On covering the best college football team in America; on finding Trevor Lawrence's best friend at a small-town Burger King; on what one learned from a summer in the New York Yankees' clubhouse.
49:37
April 9, 2019
Jeff Legwold: ESPN senior football writer
On how a blue-collar kid with no journalistic aspirations became one of America's great football writers; on covering athletes fairly, compassionately; on the death of a defensive back and the downfall of a daily newspaper.
55:47
April 3, 2019
Dan Wetzel: Yahoo Sports national columnist (live from the campus of Ohio University)
In the first-ever Two Writers Slinging Yang recorded before a live audience, we travel to Ohio University to discuss Tom Brady's sadness after a Super Bowl setback; ways to write about 9.11 in the immediate aftermath; rules all young writers should consider following.
1:24:13
March 26, 2019
Wayne Coffey: Legendary New York Daily News sports scribe and author of "They Said It Couldn't Be Done: The '69 Mets, New York City and the Most Astounding Season in Baseball History"
On finding new material about a beloved championship team from 50 years ago; on ghost writing athlete autobiographies and bringing unique voices to Mariano Rivera, Carli Lloyd and R.A. Dickey; on discovering depth and meaning via a former baseball phenom whose life was forever changed by 9.11.
35:06
March 19, 2019
Master Tesfatsion: Bleacher Report senior writer
On profiling Adrian Peterson and dealing with the detractors; on making a brief time with Antonio Brown count; on wearing jerseys in Instagram posts; on understanding the plight of the young African-American athlete.
53:26
March 12, 2019
R. Eric Thomas: Playwright, Elle Magazine senior staff writer, “Eric Reads the News" daily columnist.
On the absolute joy of a tiara atop the head of Cory Booker's 99-year-old grandmother; on directing your words toward humor and glee during the Trump Presidency; on knowing when to walk away from a column idea; on the unspeakable joy of seeing your play performed live.
40:27
March 5, 2019
Rob Williams: Comic Book writer of Judge Dredd, Suicide Squad, Amazing Spider-Man
On conveying much in a very small space; in bringing life to characters who existed only in your head; in watching "Justice League" with myriad cringes and being blown off by Reggie Bush.
41:06
February 26, 2019
Tommy Tomlinson: Pulitzer finalist sports writer and author of "The Elephant in the Room"
On staring into the mirror and describing exactly what one sees; on the painful beauty of a memoir about a lifetime of weight difficulties; on forming a kinship with a former Kentucky quarterback.
52:00
February 19, 2019
Susan Orlean: New York Times best-selling author of "The Library Book" and staff writer, The New Yorker
On writing a book (and having it sell) on a relatively obscure library fire; on choosing just the right words to describe a moment; on why she never uses a recorder and rarely turns to direct quotations.
49:30
February 12, 2019
Nora Princiotti: New England Patriots writer for the Boston Globe
On covering the (zzzzzz) sleep inducer that was Super Bowl LIII; On finding new turf with a team that's been covered ad nauseam; on an angry James Harrison and a giddy Patrick Chung; on writing about three Super Bowls by age 24.
45:26
February 5, 2019
Zach Berman, Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News
On what it is to cover the Super Bowl; on the heaven/hell that is Media Day; on whether it's possible to know Carson Wentz's true feelings; on existing as a fly on the wall (in an NFL locker room) alongside 500 other flies.
46:27
January 29, 2019
Stanley Herz: Author of "Conquering the Corporate Career" and my greatest writing role model
On self-publishing a book, inventing a publicist and moving a book to the prime store real estate; on why Walter was actually Waldorf; on how writing can make a reputation.
27:23
January 22, 2019
Alex Kennedy: NBA writer for HoopsHype
On scoring his first NBA press credential at age 14; on the kindness of Steve Francis and the uniqueness of Kwame Brown; on whether to talk sexual assault with Kobe Bryant and how to conduct a righteous interview.
41:02
January 15, 2019
Doug Donovan: Baltimore Sun investigative reporter
On discovering the humanity behind America's opioid epidemic; on interviewing subjects in awkward, uncomfortable situations; on the time he demoted and suspended me (Jeff Pearlman) from our college newspaper.
45:30
January 8, 2019
Jane Leavy: New York Times best-selling author of The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created
On delving deep into a subject who's been dead for decades; on how one decides on the next book topic; on why one would be insane enough to become a biographer.
56:38
January 1, 2019
Kent Babb: Allen Iverson biographer and Washington Post scribe
On his efforts to understand and humanize the former 76ers superstar; on writing a book via an unorthodox approach; on chronicling the post-NFL struggles of longtime Chiefs halfback Larry Johnson
46:32
December 24, 2018
Halle Roberts: Editor in chief, Har-Ber (High School) Herald
On her newspaper's battle with the Springdale (Ark.) School District over a pulled article; on fighting for freedom of the press; on what a 17-year-old aspiring journalist thinks of the media landscape.
33:51
December 18, 2018
Marshall Ramsey: Clarion-Ledger editorial cartoonist and two-time Pulitzer finalist
On a touching artistic farewell to George H. W. Bush; on how to speak via images; on having angry politicians come after you; on the impact of a cancer diagnosis on one's work.
39:45
December 11, 2018
Steve Buckley: Writer for The Athletic and author of the greatest magazine piece of all time
On Stanley Teeven and writing about the legacy of a World War II victim he never knew; on whether an author should place himself in a narrative; on coming out of the closet via a Boston Herald column; on Robert Kraft's kindness.
49:18
December 4, 2018
Les Carpenter: Washington Post Redskins beat writer
On being thrown onto an NFL beat without much notice; on watching Alex Smith's leg being broken—then reacting as a writer; on whether players care whether a writer exists; on Major League Baseball presenting the Iran hostages with lifetime passes.
44:52
November 27, 2018
Kimberley A. Martin: Senior NFL writer for Yahoo Sports
On transitioning from one dream journalism job to another dream journalism job to another dream journalism job; on avoiding cliches when cliches attack; on life inside the locker room.
45:23
November 20, 2018
Melissa Schuman: Former Dream singer, MELISSA EXPLAINS IT ALL blogger, sexual assault survivor
On finding the courage and strength to come forward and blog about being raped; on the inevitable backlash of Internet trolls; on the liberation that comes with speaking out; on the nonsense world behind bubblegum pop.
53:09
November 13, 2018
Daniel Dale: Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star
On Tweeting about every ... single ... thing Donald Trump says; on why presidents can lie and get away with it; on covering former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, having him accuse you of being a stalking pedophile—then admitting it was all a lie and offering a bobble head doll as a peace offering.
37:59
November 5, 2018
Ian O'Connor: ESPN senior writer, New York Times best-selling author of "Belichick."
On the highs and lows and glory and humiliation of promoting a book; on writing about a man (Bill Belichick) who tells his peers not to speak with you; on competing with the killing of Osama bin Laden for TV time.
1:02:18
October 30, 2018
Elaina Plott: Staff writer, The Atlantic
On her riveting, detailed profile of Heidi Cruz, wife of Texas Senator Ted Cruz; on covering politics without slant or bias; on visiting an island that rising seas will ultimately engulf—and learning to understand why its inhabitants have faith in Donald Trump
42:48
October 23, 2018
Grant Wahl: Sports Illustrated senior writer
On rising up from low-level fact checker to one of the world's elite soccer scribes; on having a gun held to his head in an unfamiliar nation; on the move from college basketball to soccer; on living out his dream career.
1:20:25
October 16, 2018
Gary Myers: Former Dallas Morning News, New York Daily News NFL writer
On how to navigate the football locker room in an era of NFL media indifference; on the awfulness of Bill Belichick and the anger of Danny White and the heartbreak of Dennis Byrd; on finding the real Jerry Jones in a new book, "How 'Bout Them Cowboys?"
58:00
October 9, 2018
Tyler R. Tynes: SB Nation staff writer
On the writing and thinking behind "There Is No Escape from Politics"—one of my favorite pieces of 2017; on wasting away behind the desk at a fading newspaper; on the value of a forward-thinking editor and the trials and preconceptions that still (regrettably) come with being a young African-American scribe.
55:32
October 2, 2018
Stephanie Apstein: Sports Illustrated staff writer
On profiling Chris Davis, Baltimore's first baseman, as he struggles through one of the worst seasons in Major League history; on worrying/not worrying whether a subject is happy with your work; on lessons learned from observing Tom Verducci.
40:33
September 25, 2018
Ellie Douglas: Horror writer
Straight outta Auckland, New Zealand, the author of "Hounded," "Hounded 2," "Toxic Desire" and "Dead Wake" explains why severed heads and slashed necks and flesh-eating zombies bring her pen to life.
25:56
September 19, 2018
Jeff Pearlman: Talking USFL and "Football for a Buck"
Catherine hosts the show as we talk about book writing; about the PR push and what it does to a writer; about Donald Trump and George Allen and bringing to life a long-ago league.
45:06
September 4, 2018
Mirin Fader: Bleacher Report writer-at-large
On traveling to Lithuania to track the Ball Family—minus their cooperation; on finding a voice; on watching hair being braided and seeing bliss; on a meteoric rise in a tough business.
51:11
August 28, 2018
Michael J. Lewis: Longtime newspaper scribe who left the biz
On why, after nearly two decades in newspaper and magazine, he left; on sharing a name with one of America's most-famous scribes; on being locked in a minor league stadium and covering a young Ryan Lochte.
44:52
August 21, 2018
Lesley Visser: Pioneering NFL journalist
On becoming the first woman to ever cover an NFL team; on having athletes hit on her and present her with underwear; on Bert Jones and Chuck Fairbanks and Jim McMahon and the legend of the 1970s Boston Globe sports department.
40:04
August 14, 2018
Dana O'Neil: The Athletic senior college basketball writer
On the ways experience, savvy, empathy and patience merge to make great journalism; on John Thompson and Coach K and sitting in the bleachers alongside the men (even when people demand one move elsewhere); on whether a woman will ever coach a Division I men's team and why a departure from ESPN was an unexpected blessing.
44:55
August 7, 2018
Chris Nashawaty: EW film critic
On the genius of Caddyshack; on whether great movies and bad movies deserve equal consideration; on why crappy films make him angry.
50:13
July 31, 2018
Gary Smith: Legendary Sports Illustrated writer
On the art and craft of the lengthy feature; on why he doesn't think of himself as a "sports journalist"; on Richie Parker and Radio and diving deep into a subject; on relying on a flip phone and going nowhere near Facebook and Twitter.
59:02
July 24, 2018
Richard Sandomir: New York Times obituary writer
On finding beauty and reason in writing about death; on bidding literary farewell to the daughter of a Nazi, a Yankees pitching coach and a woman who fought cancer courageously; on Stuart Scott's final days and delving into the making of "The Pride of the Yankees.
45:46
July 17, 2018
Mike Vaccaro: New York Post sports columnist
On his farewell ode to Yogi Berra; on never succumbing to writer's block on deadline; on his verbal smackdown of a former Mets GM; on his late father's influence on a blissful career.
51:51
July 10, 2018
Emily Bloch: South Florida Sun-Sentinel community reporter
On tracking down an escapee monkey; on 15 minutes on the phone with Paul Reiser; on covering the Parkland shooting tragedy; on having a newspaper steal your words; on the value of Millennials and the power of large quantities of coffee.
44:41
July 3, 2018
Maurice Patton: Columbia (Tenn.) Daily Herald sports editor
On the life of a small-town newspaper sports editor; on the college basketball coach who brought a gun to practice; on the sad decline of The Tennessean and why media needs to keep focusing upon high school athletics.
48:41
June 26, 2018
Jonathan Martin: N.Y. Times national political correspondent
On #fakenews and "failing New York Times" in the era of Trump; on chronicling John McCain's farewell; on the exciting slog of three presidential elections; on phone time with Joe Biden and why covering politics is like covering sports.
43:52
June 19, 2018
Mac Engel: Forth Worth Star-Telegram sports columnist
On whether sports columnists have a place in 2018; on squaring off against an agitated Juan Gonzalez; on liberal writing in a conservative part of America; on the saga of an amazing woman (raped at 12) and her Dallas Cowboy son.
46:34
June 12, 2018
Lane DeGregory: Tampa Bay Times Pulitzer Prize winner
On spending a night with Stormy Daniels at Thee Doll House in Tampa; on her remarkable piece about the trials, nightmares and slow growth of a feral child; on knocking on strange doors and sleeping side by side beneath a bridge with sex offenders.
41:35
June 5, 2018
Ken Rosenthal: Major League Baseball writer for The Athletic
On making every story count; on covering Cal Ripken, Jr. and writing beautifully on the night he broke Lou Gehrig's Iron Man record; on staring down Bobby Bonilla and Scott Erickson when things turned heated in the Baltimore clubhouse; on passion and love for a profession.
43:54
May 29, 2018
Candace Buckner: Washington Post Wizards beat writer
On making a good story great; on life inside an NBA locker room; on Monta Ellis and Lance Stephenson and John Wall and rooting for African-American tennis stars (criticism be damned)
44:08
May 22, 2018
A.J. Cassavell: San Diego Padres beat writer for MLB.com
On covering 130 games (of oft-bad baseball) per year and still finding things to write about; on the awkwardness of the Major League clubhouse; on Kevin Quackenbush's beard and the Padres' need to return to brown-and-yellow uniforms.
48:53
May 15, 2018
Tommy Shaw: Styx singer/guitarist
On writing the perfect song; on feeling the pain from long-ago lyrics; on singing a tune for the 200,000th time and still bringing forth emotion and joy.
1:02:44
May 7, 2018
Steve Rushin: Sports Illustrated writer, author
On having a Major League manager launch his pants your way; on making every word in an article count; on seven minutes with Dave Henderson and playing golf in Greenland.
1:02:44
May 1, 2018
Jose de Jesus Ortiz: St Louis Post-Dispatch sports columnist
On the advantages of speaking Spanish in a Major League clubhouse; on showing your face after infuriating an athlete; on opining on a sport you know little about; on profiling the widow of Darryl Kile shortly after her husband's death.
40:44
April 24, 2018
John Pavlovitz: Pastor and Popular Religion/Politics Blogger
On expressing oneself in the age of Trump; on holding evangelicals accountable for hypocrisy; on the power of social media and a Tweet from Katy Perry.
42:26
April 17, 2018
Dave Coverly: Creator of the single-panel comic, Speed Bump
On writing funny with limited words and a tiny amount of space; on telling an entire story in a single box; on the, um, humor of Mike Huckabee and knowing when a joke doesn't work.
52:37
April 10, 2018
Jane McManus: Former ESPN football writer
On what it is to go through a public layoff as a journalist; on moving on from ESPN (and to a different country); on covering Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow and the New York Jets; on writing about the tragic death of Joe McKnight.
43:52
April 3, 2018
Elizabeth Weil: New York Times Magazine writer
On pitching (and then being assigned) the story of a 70-year-old Polish kayaker who has crossed the Atlantic three times; on capturing a subject without speaking his language; on the terror of awaiting that first call from your editor.
43:23
March 27, 2018
Nicole Auerbach: The Athletic senior writer
On the bliss of covering March Madness; on finding nuggets of information inside a crowded locker room; on the tragic story of a Colorado shooting victim and the joy of a Michigan State football player's Craigslist-purchased cat.
52:21
March 20, 2018
Alan Sepinwall: Uproxx television reviewer/critic
On what makes great criticism v. meh criticism; on the beauty of Breaking Bad and the inconsistencies of Entourage; on why one man watches so much television—then writes about it with passion and grace.
40:57
March 13, 2018
David Maraniss: Biographer
On reporting and writing definitively on the lives of Vince Lombardi, Barack Obama, Roberto Clemente, Bill Clinton; on finding nuggets of information that make your head explode; on the difference between dealing with athletes and politicians; on the Donald Trump biography he will never, ever write.
43:08
March 6, 2018
Joel Sherman: New York Post Major League Baseball columnist
On the tricks and keys to working a clubhouse like a veteran reporter; on the yin and yang of Albert Belle; on Spring Training highs and lows and lessons from the Mel Hall-and-Steve Sax Era Yankees
53:35
February 27, 2018
Keldy Ortiz: Crime reporter
On reporting on the deaths of four young women in a devastating car accident; on knocking on strange doors and interviewing hostile witnesses; on the grittiness of life at a New York City tabloid.
35:50
February 20, 2018
Danny Wallace: Author
On the rude hot dog waitress who inspired his new book, “F You Very Much”; on how an idea goes from brain to reality; on his work becoming a Jim Carrey movie.
47:08
February 13, 2018
Jenny Vrentas: SI, MMQB scribe
On covering a Super Bowl and surviving; on developing rapport with athletes; on her weeklong drive through football in America; on going from biochem to writing.
39:58
February 5, 2018
Chris Palmer: Vet NBA writer
On the magic and dread of Twitter; on covering the Ball family up close; on bias vs. fairness; on finding the mother of Chris (Birdman) Andersen and admiring her tattooed eyebrows.
39:57
January 29, 2018
Chris Ballard: SI hoops writer
On writing and reporting the tragic saga of Monty Williams; on serving as a narrator for Jamal Crawford’s joyful ride; on forming bonds with subjects and writing with precision and depth
40:00
January 22, 2018
Drew Snyder: Minister
On writing the perfect sermon; on researching spirituality before preaching spirituality; on the uplifting words of Footloose
37:46
January 15, 2018
Jon Wertheim: SI writer
On the reporting and digging behind the Jerry Richardson/Carolina Panthers bombshell; on the Portland Jail Breakers; on bonding with sources and having people open up.
36:48
January 8, 2018
Tyler Kepner: NY Times writer
On covering Griffey and ARod; on the introduction of Aaron Boone and the departure of Evan Longoria; on precise writing and never wasting words.
54:29
January 3, 2018
Joel Anderson: ESPN writer
On life at ESPN and BuzzFeed; On digging deep into the life of Earl Thomas when Earl Thomas is indifferent to the dig; on finding Michael Sam’s forgotten father; on knocking on strange doors and not knowing what awaits.
47:25
December 27, 2017
Chip Scoggins: Columnist
Minneapolis Star Tribune sports columnist on turning joy, anger, love, grief into a column; on writing about the bond between a girl with cancer and a crusty college coach; on Randy Moss moodiness and Larry Fitzgerald joy
52:01
December 22, 2017
Rick Reilly: Former SI writer
On golf with Donald Trump, social media wisdom from Mark Cuban, finding tragic beauty in the story of a racist Major League owner and truth to power in football hazing at The Citadel
49:45
December 19, 2017
Dana Goldberg: Standup comedian
54:59
October 23, 2017
Tom Junod: ESPN senior writer
38:50
October 3, 2017
Chely Wright: County music star
49:09
September 25, 2017
Jemele Hill: ESPN SC6 host
55:51
September 7, 2017
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