ESPN analyst Bruce Bowen is busy this season.
Not only did he participate in the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game during All-Star Weekend, but he regularly shares his NBA insights on SportsCenter and a variety of ESPN studio shows. This year, he also added a popular new podcast called NBA Lockdown, which he hosts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with ESPN.com writer Israel Gutierrez.
Bowen and Gutierrez spent a few minutes chatting with Front Row about what listeners can expect on NBA Lockdown.
What makes your podcast unique?
B.B.: Honestly, I think it’s the take from two different worlds. We have two different people with strong opinions: a journalist and a champion insider. I’m not one to toot my own horn, but it’s not often that you are going to get the depth and detail from a champion who has been around great coaches and players. Plus, I’ve always respected Israel for his craft. He has strong opinions about what he feels and I do, too. I think that allows us to have the chemistry we have and the respect we have for one another.
I.G.: Bruce and I go back to the 2000-01 NBA season, which was my first year covering an NBA basketball team, the Miami Heat. We got along great then, we’ve kept in touch over the years, and we get along great now. That means we’re not afraid to attack each other — respectfully, of course. Bruce made a career of being an elite defender, and I happen to love offense. He’s a Spur for life, I’m supposedly a Spurs “hater.” It’s classic Odd Couple stuff, and it makes for some interesting exchanges.
What kind of preparation does the podcast require?
B.B.: You have to pay close attention. As a player, that’s how I learned a lot about players. I watched a lot of film. I watch film now so that I can say things I’ve discovered because I’ve watched it and I’m not guessing on what takes place. I treat this podcast as if we’re trying to build up a young up-and-coming team. We put some good pieces together. I want this to be something people have to have. I’ve received a lot of comments through Twitter about what people feel. I thank them because they are allowing us to do what we do to prepare and improve.
I.G.: Fortunately, our dedicated producer, Andrew Brooks, who also knows the sport extremely well, provides us with a rundown of thoughtfully selected topics, as well as some research on those topics, on the mornings of our recordings. After consulting with us on his selections, we finalize the rundown and get to work. It actually works well with our schedules, because a lot of the discussions we have on the podcast eventually become topics we either discuss on television in our respective roles, or help create column ideas for myself.
What do you hope listeners take away from the podcast?
B.B.: I think it’s okay to have an opinion. I also think we bring it down for those who are not necessarily big time basketball enthusiasts too so that they can learn something from our take. I want to make sure I can explain things thoroughly. Even though they can’t see me, they can envision what I’m talking about.
Editor’s note: Bowen won three NBA Championships with the San Antonio Spurs, who face the Chicago Bulls on ESPN tonight at 9 p.m. ET.