Celebrities, They’re Sports Fans Just Like Us
On Huuuge Fan, a new podcast from SiriusXM, celebrity guests only discuss one subject: their favorite sports teams.
Did you know Darius Rucker named his daughter Dani after Dan Marino?
Or that Ashley Judd briefly left her cousin’s Bar Mitzvah to watch a University of Kentucky game?
Each week, WNBA commentator and ESPN analyst LaChina Robinson delves deep with her guests to uncover their fan journeys, game day superstitions, and their biggest heartbreaks, revealing a side of themselves most fans never see. I spoke with Robinson about the celebrity fan journey that put her in awe, rapping with Michael Bublé and her personal game day superstition.
Many celebrities are major sports fans but don’t often get the chance to talk about their fandom. What inspired you to start this show?
I was approached by the team at SiriusXM with this brilliant idea that I can’t take any credit for. I was honored that they wanted me as their host and also intrigued because as a basketball analyst, I am usually the expert. The tables were turned and I was blown AWAY by how much celebrities know about their favorite teams and how diehard their fandom really is.
Which celebrity fan journey surprised you most?
I was most surprised by Ashley Judd. I knew she was a huge Kentucky Men’s Basketball fan, but the depth of information was incredible. She was able to recall details like 3pt FG percentages down to the players that barely played and there was not one significant moment in the history of that program that she did not know. She was also fighting bronchitis when we recorded her interview but she pushed through it because she didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to talk about her Wildcats. I was in awe!
You often ask your guests if they have any game day superstitions. Tracy Morgan will only use one particular ticket vendor. Darius Rucker will sport the same outfit he wore the previous week if the Dolphins had won. What’s your game day superstition?
Oddly enough on game day, I must have a fresh coat of nail polish. Pretty nails are my good luck!
Is there a team’s loss that still hurts for you to think about?
I live in Atlanta so my heart aches for Falcons fans. I was driving back to Atlanta after calling a game at Auburn during the Super Bowl in 2017. We all know the story, the Falcons had a 25-point lead with 8:31 left in the third quarter and the Patriots stole it. Brutal.
You grew up in Alexandria, Virginia. Who was your team growing up and why?
I was a big New York Knicks fan. I have no idea why I was obsessed with Patrick Ewing, but the man could do no wrong in my eyes.
Who is your favorite team now?
When you are a sports broadcaster you tend to cheer for the best storyline because you are so used to being neutral. That team for me right now is the Syracuse Orange. Their point guard Tiana Mangakahia is their all-time leader in assists and she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at just 24 years old. She missed last season because of chemotherapy treatments and has now beat cancer and is back on the court. Inspiring.
Having been an athlete yourself, playing four years for Wake Forest, how does your favorite team winning or losing compare as a player versus being a fan?
I feel bad because fans have no control over the outcome. Players and fans can both be extremely passionate, but only one of the two can actually impact what is happening in the game. As a former player, part of the fan experience includes the stress of watching and feeling helpless.
What interviews can fans look forward to in upcoming episodes?
I can’t wait for fans to hear from Michael Bublé. He has amazing energy and we started off our time rapping lyrics to Kris Kross’ “Jump Jump” and the vibe took off from there. He has a fun, dynamic personality and loves his Canucks. Michael has great stories about how he adjusted his performance schedule to make sure he didn’t miss an important moment for his team. He also has an ice rink in his basement, imagine that!
What guest would you most love to have on?
I would love to hear about some Cali teams because their fans are crazy loyal! My wish list for that would be Diana Taurasi or Snoop Dogg, both would be entertaining and their love for Cali teams runs deep!
— Ian Goldstein