Perhaps better than anyone in cyberspace, Audley Stephenson knows that basketball isn’t just a game, it’s a way of life. And each week on The NBA Breakdown, he and co-host Dave Mendonca, who broadcast from their hometown of Toronto, prove it by not only covering the latest news of the season, but how pro hoops impacts everything from entertainment to fashion to humor to politics. Recent guests have included former NBA all-stars like John Starks and Elvin Hayes, and current sportscasters like ESPN’s Dick Vitale and The Best Damn Sports Show‘s Chris Rose. But there’s also been Kid-N-Play’s Chris Reid and R&B chart-topper Montell Jordan, who’ve shared their recollections of hanging with the pros. There there’s Kevin Johnson, the onetime NBA point guard who went on to become the first African-American mayor of Sacramento, Calif. While we’d love to tell you more, the 24-second clock will be kicking in any moment now, so it’s time to pass the ball to Audley…
Give us a 15-second pitch for your show—why should listeners tune in?
The NBA Breakdown is a fun, high-energy basketball talk show. Dave and I interview big guests while delivering even bigger laughs. That’s because we disagree most of the time, so our opposing viewpoints often lead to good-natured verbal brawls. But for mild and hardcore fans alike, this is hoops talk the way it should be.
Tell us two things listeners would be surprised to learn about you?
(1) I got a job as an usher at the Air Canada Centre-home of the Toronto Raptors-just to be closer to the game. (2) Despite our constant trash-talking, Dave and I have never played one-on-one against each other.
Who’s your broadcasting hero?
I’ve always been a big fan of former NBC sportscaster Ahmad Rashad. I love his style and delivery. I remember watching him during his NBA Inside Stuff days on Saturday mornings. I appreciated the way he let his personality shine, especially during his interviews. He was also well-respected by many of the players. I recall that Ahmad was the only member of the sports media to whom Michael Jordan granted an interview upon returning to the game in 1995 after his first retirement.
If you could book any person on earth as a guest on your show, who would it be and why?
It would have to be Michael Jordan, which is rather difficult for me to say, considering that I’m a long time New York Knicks fan-and he beat my guys up year after year. Michael has meant so much to the game of basketball, on and off the court. His big shots, amazing acrobatic moves and killer instinct during the fourth quarter made you watch in awe, regardless of whether of not you were a Chicago Bulls fan.
As we speak, what are you wearing?
The weather these days in Toronto has been pretty good so I’ve got on a pair of shorts and my very comfortable Kevin Garnett Minnesota Timberwolves jersey. Also, a pair of sandals-which gives me an opportunity to show off my new pedicure. [Editor’s Note: No comment.]
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done while in the middle of hosting your show?
I once hosted an entire show while driving on the highway on my way back from a Raptors game. [Editor’s Note: Thank goodness we don’t live in Canada.]
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