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Death at the Wing

Death at the Wing

Author: Three Uncanny Four/HyperObject Industries

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At the dawn of the 1980s, the world was moving faster, the media was growing bigger, and greed was finally good. For the NBA, it was a chance to finally step into the spotlight. But all that wealth and stardom came at a deep cost.


This is the story of how basketball reflected a moment when Reagan’s America doubled down on some of its core values: selfishness, violence, and racism -- and the players who paid the price.


Hosted by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice, Succession) and produced by HyperObject Industries and Three Uncanny Four

9 Episodes
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Death at the Wing tells the story of a generation of rising basketball stars who fell victim to the forces that defined Ronald Reagan’s America. Hosted by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice, Succession), the first two episodes of DEATH AT THE WING arrive March 31st. From Hyperobject Industries and Three Uncanny Four Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the late 70s, basketball was changing rapidly, as was the country. The ABA, a start-up basketball league showcased a faster style of play that captivates fans and introduced a 3-point line to professional basketball. But it was struggling financially. The NBA was just the opposite -- gaining a foothold but lacking that “cool” factor. After a merger, and the rise of satellite TV, everything came together -- Dr. J, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s highlights reached fans across the country. Cable and satellite TV would showcase a revolution in the rest of America as well -- and no politician was better equipped for the moment than the movie-star-turned-president, Ronald Reagan. A new era of superstardom and fast living was on the horizon -- one that would also leave many behind. Want to get in touch? Email us datw@hyperobjectindustries.com Death At The Wing is hosted by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice, Succession) and produced by HyperObject Industries and Three Uncanny Four. Jody Avirgan, executive producer and editor, Raghu Manavalan, senior producer, Brian Steele, producer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Flint native Terry Furlow, a Michigan State legend, was a mentor to Magic Johnson, and was primed to make it in the new run-and-gun NBA. But Furlow struggled to adjust to the league, and bounced around from team to team, just at the same moment that a party culture was taking over the NBA and the country. Stories of rampant cocaine use plague the league, and what was once a fun party drug reveals a darker side. In the end, the league and the country decide to react not by supporting their own, but by framing drug use as a personal failing through three simple words: “Just Say No.” Want to get in touch? Email us datw@hyperobjectindustries.com Death At The Wing is hosted by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice, Succession) and produced by HyperObject Industries and Three Uncanny Four. Jody Avirgan, executive producer and editor, Raghu Manavalan, senior producer, Brian Steele, producer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
A cocaine overdose claims the life of collegiate superstar and ‘can’t miss prospect’ Len Bias before he ever plays in the NBA for the Boston Celtics. This causes a moral and political panic. Weeks after his death, the Reagan administration, with overwhelming Democratic support, passes the "Len Bias Law," installing mandatory minimum sentences and a system that prioritizes incarceration over rehabilitation. As one writer put it, Len Bias became the “Archduke Ferdinand of the total War on Drugs.” Want to get in touch? Email us datw@hyperobjectindustries.com Death At The Wing is hosted by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice, Succession) and produced by HyperObject Industries and Three Uncanny Four. Jody Avirgan, executive producer and editor, Raghu Manavalan, senior producer, Brian Steele, producer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The ‘next Magic Johnson’ gets murdered after an argument outside a Chicago High School. Chicago residents had been scapegoated by politicians and cut off from social services for decades, leaving a vacuum for a flood of guns and violence in the 1980s. Benji’s death was a product of that neglect, but his legacy may provide a path to hope. Want to get in touch? Email us datw@hyperobjectindustries.com Death At The Wing is hosted by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice, Succession) and produced by HyperObject Industries and Three Uncanny Four. Jody Avirgan, executive producer and editor, Raghu Manavalan, senior producer, Brian Steele, producer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
A shooting guard considered 'Reggie Miller with a handle' commits suicide, at a time when the country is ill-equipped to talk about mental health. Want to get in touch? Email us datw@hyperobjectindustries.com Death At The Wing is hosted by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice, Succession) and produced by HyperObject Industries and Three Uncanny Four. Jody Avirgan, executive producer and editor, Raghu Manavalan, senior producer, Brian Steele, producer. This episode discusses mental health, self-harm and suicide. If you or someone you know needs to talk to a counselor, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you would like to speak to a counselor online, please visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Thanks to the 1992 “Dream Team,” basketball becomes a truly global brand. Overseas stars begin to make it in the United States, the land of opportunity, even as US foreign policy leads many parts of the world to fracture. Want to get in touch? Email us datw@hyperobjectindustries.com Death At The Wing is hosted by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice, Succession) and produced by HyperObject Industries and Three Uncanny Four. Jody Avirgan, executive producer and editor, Raghu Manavalan, senior producer, Brian Steele, producer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
As the 1980s turn to the 1990s, the Jordan-led NBA is big business. Amidst it all, two players try to use their platform to speak out about police violence, racism, and American imperialism. In turn, their careers are cut short. Want to get in touch? Email us datw@hyperobjectindustries.com Death At The Wing is hosted by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice, Succession) and produced by HyperObject Industries and Three Uncanny Four. Jody Avirgan, executive producer and editor, Raghu Manavalan, senior producer, Brian Steele, producer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Last episode, we left off with one big question: If the NBA has been able to learn from its mistakes and start to engage with the world in a more humane way, can America do the same? Adam sits down with legendary MC, activist, and basketball fan Chuck D; and Bomani Jones of ESPN, to discuss the intersection of sports, politics, culture and more. Want to get in touch? Email us datw@hyperobjectindustries.com Death At The Wing is hosted by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice, Succession) and produced by HyperObject Industries and Three Uncanny Four. Jody Avirgan, executive producer and editor, Raghu Manavalan, senior producer, Brian Steele, producer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Comments (1)

Brian Sandford

Not just another hoops history pod. This offers valuable context for those of us who do not remember America in the 70s and 80s. I'm fascinated by the coulda-beens. Superb.

Apr 1st
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