In Memoriam: The TrueHoop TV Podcast

A beloved podcast, and era, comes to an unfortunate and abrupt conclusion. In honor of those who became a part of our lives: a look back.

(Image via: ESPN)

The reason why it’s so easy to become attached to TV shows is because through the course of days, weeks, months, and years, the characters become a regular part of your lives. Whereas movies are plot-driven, TV shows are at their best when they’re character-driven, often rendering the plot secondary.

Podcasts take that to another level. While there’s an increasing amount of scripted podcasts, most are still unscripted, opting for a free-flowing discussion-style format that takes the listening experience to a level where the line between watching a TV show and hanging out with friends is blurred.

This past week, as part of ESPN’s layoffs, the beloved TrueHoop podcast was canceled and, as many loyal fans of the podcast would probably agree with, the sense of loss goes beyond losing the analysis, insider stories, and entertainment. I would rather not lose those things, but similar to when a TV show is cancelled, what sucks the most isn’t not having the content anymore, but not being able to see and hang out with those beloved characters again.

I like to think that this parallel is why the “TV” has never been completely eliminated from the “TrueHoop TV podcast” name, although it’s more likely that it’s a homage to the early SpreeCast days of the podcast, which were before my time, and the TrueHoop TV Live After Dark days (nights), which served as my gateway into the TrueHoop universe.

Based on my iTunes library, the earliest episode of the TrueHoop podcast I still have is from May 5th, 2015, almost exactly two years ago. During this era (when the cover art was just white text on a black background), the podcasts mostly featured peak #HateHard Amin and the (*cue $10 word*) magniloquent Ethan, with Weekend Wos pods (before he became “Big Mandela”) and appearances by other TrueHoop contributors sprinkled in.

The episodes came pretty regularly, but it was some time last summer when episodes started being released as frequently as we get Robot KP jokes (that’s a ding). From there, the daily distinctions we know and love today were birthed: #BOMM, the “We talk about the NBA” Tuesday pod, #WarriorWednesdays with the super high-energy intro, the mostly-on-Thursdays Dad pod (shouts to Henry Abott, as Black Tray would say at this point), the #AskWos Friday Mailbag (shouts to Mama Hoye), and the bigger-than-smedium size Saturday #FOB pod. (Ideally there would’ve been a Sunday TrueHoop TV TV pod.)

The evolution continued, as popular segments such as Mariano’s “MontaMonday”, Radio Ethan (and Big Todd), #AskZos, Mailbag Guest of the Week, and “That’s So Asian” were spawned almost one after the other. Sidenote: my personal favorite is the unnamed segment I refer to in my head as “Kaileigh’s Korner.” Fan interaction was real. There’s the #PatinoGame that might become Amin’s legacy, a send Wos to Cleveland GoFundMe, the TrueHoop reddit, bingo cards (see: A|B), and, of course, merch.

An era has come to an unfortunate and abrupt end, and we can only hope that — to borrow a sports cliché, because this is a sports podcast (most of the time) — this is a minor setback to a major comeback. It’s not out of the realm of possibility. TrueHoop did kind of just hit its peak a few weeks ago with the #NBASidecast, a project that, considering its mention in ESPN’s recent “content evolution strategy”, could potentially be the next form the TrueHoop podcast takes. I can see it now: a barrage of high-energy dings that usher in the next era of TrueHoop TV. We can only hope.

Because the contributor list is too long for me to naturally work everybody in, a sincere thank you to those who weren’t mentioned: No-Predictions Windy, Tom “The Big Number” Haberstroh, Banned MacMahon, Timmy GoodTimes, Kevin Arnovitz, Zach Harper, Pablo Torre, Allie, Coach Thorpe, Justin Verrier, Ohm, Prim, Michelle Steele, The Chowster, the Han God (aka, my voice-twin), and last but definitely not least, super-producer Jade. A ding for you all.