GOATs and glory: 8 of the best sports documentary podcasts

Sports August 25, 2021

There is no shortage of sports icons with incredible stories of triumph. From Tiger Woods’ 82 PGA Tour wins to Tom Brady’s mind-blowing 7 Super Bowls, people love to watch a winner. Or the Redeem Team of the 2008 Olympics to the mysterious death of Jim Duncan. There are so many stories about the people who were truly game changers. But who has time to watch all of them on TV?

We have compiled the greatest sports documentary podcasts for you to check out. Some are exposés of the greatest players of all time, some are about the intersection of politics and sport. There are stories of death, stories of redemption, and stories of loss. So, here are our favorite sports documentary podcasts picked just for you:

David Ortiz: The Big Papi Story

Listen to ‘David Ortiz: The Big Papi Story’

David Ortiz became the face of baseball and the face of Boston during his time on the Boston Red Sox. In a city with no shortage of sports stars, the Big Papi is one of the brightest. From Cadence13 and The Players’ Tribune, “David Ortiz: The Big Papi Story” is a celebration of the man from the Dominican Republic who rose to greatness and now encapsulates the spirit of Boston. This podcast looks at his life on and off the field: from multiple World Series wins to the sudden death of his mother in 2002 to the Boston Marathon Bombing. “David Ortiz: The Big Papi Story” is a look at the man who helped create the greatest baseball team of the 21st century.

All-American: Tiger Woods

Listen to ‘All-American: Tiger Woods’

Tiger Woods completely revolutionized the game of golf with his meteoric rise to the top. The most dominant player ever on the tour, Tiger made golf exciting and inspired a generation to play the game. He became a household name quickly, earning 15 Major wins and 82 PGA Tour wins over his career. And he garnered even more attention with his shocking fall from grace. He was again on the rise in what was one of the greatest comebacks in sports, until a recent car accident that left him with two broken legs. But, besides all of his incredible achievements, the media has entirely shaped our perceptions of Tiger – very few people have gotten to know the man behind the green jacket. On “All-American: Tiger Woods”, Jordan Bell and journalist Albert Chen reexamine Tiger’s journey and what he meant to golf, America, and himself.

Longshot: Return Man

Listen to ‘Longshot: Return Man’

Jim Duncan was a rising star of the Baltimore Colts, winning Super Bowl V in 1971 as their starting cornerback and kick returner. Then, in 1972, authorities say he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound with a police revolver. As the lone Superbowl champion of Lancaster, South Carolina, and as a Black man who supposedly walked into a police station and shot himself, many of the Black citizens of Lancaster didn’t believe the police’s official account. “Longshot: Return Man” investigates the mysterious death of Duncan, asking the questions that couldn’t have been asked before. Bret McCormick of The Herald in Rock Hill, South Carolina and iHeartRadio present “Longshot: Return Man”.

The Dream Team Tapes: Kobe, LeBron & The Redeem Team

Listen to ‘The Dream Team Tapes’

After the United States men’s basketball team was humiliated at the 2004 Olympic Games (the women on the other hand…six straight gold medals), they needed redemption. For them, it was gold or bust. So, they concocted the greatest team since the Dream Team of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in 1992. The Redeem Team, they called themselves, consisted of icons like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade. And what they did on the court was nothing short of what was expected. They reinvented American basketball and their legacy lives on today.

Death at the Wing

Listen to ‘Death at the Wing’

As the world stepped into the 1980s, things began moving at breakneck speeds. The ABA and the NBA had just joined forces, just in time for the media’s rapid growth. With the emergence of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and satellite television, fans across the country could not get enough basketball. As the media took over America with its new-fangled cable and satellite television, no one was better suited for this change than movie-star-turned-politician Ronald Reagan. “Death at the Wing” is the story of how basketball reflected Reagan’s America, selfish to its core and violently racist, and the players who paid its price.

The GOAT: Tom Brady

Listen to ‘The GOAT: Tom Brady’

This first season of “The GOAT” covers none other than Tampa’s newest sweetheart, Tom Brady. Read it and weep, New England. Diversion Podcasts and iHeartRadio cover his unparalleled career and surprising longevity. From his six rings with the Patriots to his unexpected Super Bowl win with the once floundering Tampa Bay Buccaneers. From the 199th draft pick to undoubtedly the greatest player to ever step on the gridiron, Tom Brady is one of the most impressive and unprecedented athletes ever. “The GOAT: Tom Brady” looks at Brady both on and off the field and includes interviews with Brady himself, the Manning brothers, Tom Brady Sr., Justin Tuck, Robert Kraft and more. Sports journalist and author Gary Myers chronicles the career of one of the greatest living athletes.

American Fiasco

Listen to ‘American Fiasco’

“American Fiasco” is the story of the U.S. men’s soccer team in the 1990s. During the Dark Age of Soccer when the United States was a punchline for the world’s greatest sport came a beacon of hope: the 1994 World Cup. The U.S. was chosen to host the most popular tournament in the world. And they had to throw together a ragtag team of characters to compete on the national stage. Well, America still isn’t great at soccer, but Roger Bennett and WNYC are here to talk about how the U.S. men’s national team overcame the world’s scrutiny.

30 For 30 Podcasts

Listen to ’30 For 30 Podcasts’

Home of some of the greatest sports documentary podcasts, “30 For 30 Podcasts” are original audio documentaries from the 30 For 30 film series. “30 For 30 Podcasts” offers compelling storytelling about how the world of sports and competition affect our lives. Check out their “Heavy Medals” docuseries about the U.S. men’s Olympic gymnastics team, or “Sterling Affairs” about Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

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