The Basketball Jones: The GOAT of Podcasts

As the official arbiters of everything great, today, in recognition of their 1000th episode, we want to recognize the GOAT of podcasts: The Basketball Jones.

Every episode starts and ends with a pithy comment that is devoid of significance or depth…but everything in between is smart, brilliant, entertaining, full of depth yet still on an understandable level for novices, and just plain awesome.[1]

If you haven’t ever watched or listened to The Basketball Jones podcast you’ve missed out on a thousand entertainment and knowledge-filled episodes…but hey, there’s never been a better time to start tuning in than the present. Listening to TBJ every day is like hanging out with your buddies and talking hoops for 45 minutes. That is of course if your buddies watch more NBA basketball than anybody.

I think one of the best things about the TBJ guys is that they’re so relatable. They’re not former NBA players or coaches. They’re not really writers. As far as I can tell their basketball knowledge is derived from the same sources that every one of us has access to as well: watching the NBA, reading about the NBA, and playing pick-up hoops.

They’re almost constructed like an NBA team too. Skeets is the point guard; he initiates the offense (discussion), makes sure everyone gets their “touches”, but is also able to score when he wants. Tas is the go-to scorer of the group; he carries much of the weight of the conversation, knows when to take over, understands the chemistry of the group and doesn’t do too much. Trey Kerby fits perfectly as the big guy (both literally and figuratively); he does a lot of the dirty work that can go unnoticed (all the work with the blog as well as following the live Twitter responses), but he can score just as well as anybody but doesn’t force it because he understands the appropriate flow of the action. Leigh Ellis is undoubtedly the chemistry guy on the team; he keeps everyone in check (pointing out the errors), provides lots of levity and laughs to the program, and he can also provide the offense when he needs to. Matty O is the coach; the team could probably function without him and still resemble a team in essence but they wouldn’t reach the greatness that they have without the direction of their coach because he understands how things need to go and what buttons he needs to push.[2] And I feel like JD is probably the long-time athletic trainer; he’s the forgotten man of the group, doesn’t say much, sits behind the scenes, but the team could not function without him because he keeps everything operating smoothly.[3]

I’ve been following the show for a little over a year now, ever since they popped up on the Grantland Network. I’ve been hooked since my first listen. It’s fantastic how they’re able to cover just about every game that is played throughout the long season in at least some detail without the program becoming boring and mundane. Like I said before, no one watches more ball than these guys. They were on the “Kyrie is great” bandwagon before anybody because unlike a lot of media people who cover the NBA, they actually watch all the teams. Shocking concept really. I mean, if you want to listen to a podcast where they spend 90% of the time talking about the Lakers and Heat you can always go with ESPN or one of the other national brands. But on TBJ this season they actually instituted a “Lakers swear jar” to keep themselves from spending too much time talking about an irrelevant basketball team. It doesn’t take long listening to TBJ before you realize how much you can learn about the game of basketball by just listening to these guys.

Their following is far reaching all around the world as evidenced by this 1000th Episode Tribute Video put together by one of their fans from Germany. By the way, if you go to the 8:48 point of that video there’s some moron who took too many takes to make his 20 second video when he probably should have been working, only to end up sending in his first take. That guy probably doesn’t have much of a future in visual media I wouldn’t think.

Not just random people enjoy the show though. They even got this congratulation video from former NBA player Brent Berry that is just brilliant, with a special cameo by Sir Charles at the end.

The show is always fresh and entertaining with segments that range from reading e-mails to playing headbands to having Leigh open up packs of old basketball cards. My favorite segment though has to be Tweet of the Week if for no other reason than the reading of the shout-outs and hearing all the crazy Twitter handles. I am a proud member of the TOTW Army and am a three-time recipient of a Leigh Ellis shout-out. The ultimate tweet often ends up being a little anti-climactic when you consider that there are people who call themselves the Tweet of the Week Army and have a captain. It’s so ridiculous that it’s fantastic.[4]

Everything about TBJ is just great. Whether it’s the fact that they have not one, but two soundboards of their drops because fans clamored for them so much, or that they may be responsible for the Cavs landing the top pick in the Kyrie draft, there’s no end to the entertainment that TBJ brings on a daily basis. Even in the offseason they have The Blank Jones which last summer covered such topics as a movie draft and the human anatomy. And even those were great.

I haven’t had the privilege of being on board for all one thousand episodes of The Basketball Jones to this point. But I’ll be there for the next thousand…and you should too. Because TBJ is the GOAT of podcasts.

[1] For the record, the opening and closing statements are brilliant in their own way.

[2] Did you see what I did there?

[3] One thing about JD…it’s gonna take some time to get over the blasphemy of saying that Nickelback is the American version of Oasis. We here at Cleveland the GOAT found that very offensive, and we’re not even British.

[4] I wanted to include this story but couldn’t work it in so it’s just a footnote. I currently work as a second-shift custodian at a high school which is where I do all my podcasting. Well one night I was cleaning up after a basketball game while listening to TBJ. The TOTW segment came on and Leigh began telling a story that had nothing to do with basketball but was actually, if memory serves me right, him tweeting back and forth with some guy about sex with wife or something. I don’t remember exactly but what I do remember is that it was so funny random and funny that it reduced me to tears of laughter so much so that they opposing basketball team standing nearby was giving me odd looks wondering what this weird janitor found so funny about picking up folding tables. I won’t soon forget that moment.


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