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Sports Wars
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Sports Wars

Author: Wondery

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Sports rivalries can fuel fans and athletes to fight and argue for years. But what’s the real story behind these epic battles?

From Wondery, the company behind “Business Wars” and “American Scandal” comes SPORTS WARS, a new series that offers an immersive look at some of the greatest athletic rivalries of all time: two superpower nations facing off in the Miracle on Ice. The battle for the starting quarterback gig in Green Bay between Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. And many more.

Host Dan Rubenstein (Sports Illustrated, SB Nation) will take you from the grudge matches to the pranks, from the tantrums to the triumphs: what really happened, who was right, who was wrong -- and you can decide whose side you’re on.

27 Episodes
As the Lakers head into the 2003–2004 season, the team's two stars face their most significant challenges yet. On the court, Shaq’s dominance has started to fade. And off the court, serious allegations have marred Kobe’s once squeaky-clean image. With their personal and professional futures in limbo, the end of the rivalry may be drawing near.Support us by supporting our sponsors!Casper — Get $100 toward select mattresses by visiting and using code SPORTSWARS at checkout.
They may be reigning champs, but things aren’t looking great for the Lakers as the 2000–2001 season gets underway. After a dispiriting loss, Kobe acknowledges he’s a ball hog. Shaq can’t make a free throw to save his life. And their ongoing feud spills into the press. So much for burying the hatchet.Support us by supporting our sponsors!Mack Weldon — For 20% off your first order, visit and use the code SPORTSWARS at checkout
It’s 1999 and Phil Jackson—the tai chi–practicing, sage-burning zen master—is now the Lakers’ head coach. He’s got his eye on a championship, but he knows the only way to get there is to teach Shaq some discipline and snap Kobe’s selfish streak. Easier said than done.Support us by supporting our sponsors!Dollar Shave Club — Get your Ultimate Starter Set for just $5 at
Kobe and Shaq are young, famous, handsomely paid, and diametrically opposed. Shaq, with his lifelong craving for adoration, tries to win over his teammates and position himself as the Lakers' top dog. As for Kobe, he couldn’t care less about camaraderie.Support us by supporting our sponsors!Casper — To get $100 toward select mattresses, visit and use the code SPORTSWARS
It’s 1996, and the Los Angeles Lakers are priming for greatness. First they sign the gargantuan, indomitable Shaquille O’Neal. Then they bring on a 17-year-old with epic potential: Kobe Bryant. What a coup, right? There’s only one problem. Shaq and Kobe can’t stand each other. (This is the first episode in a six-part series.)Support us by supporting our sponsors!ZipRecruiter — To try ZipRecruiter for free, go to
For three decades, David Aldridge has covered the NBA for outlets like The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Athletic. On this episode of Sports Wars, he digs into the league’s long history of mighty matchups and argues it’s often the rivalries that make basketball great.Support us by supporting our sponsors!Mack Weldon - For 20% off your first order, visit and enter promo code SPORTSWARS at checkout.
Veteran reporter Sam Smith followed the Chicago Bulls for their 1990–91 season and turned that experience into a bestselling book, “The Jordan Rules.” It’s a searing, unmatched portrait of Michael Jordan’s path to glory. On this episode of Sports Wars, Smith explains why the Jordan–Isiah feud is probably the most ferocious in history, and he sets the record straight on why Jordan left the NBA to play baseball (hint: it didn’t have anything to do with the mob).
1991. At long last, Michael Jordan beats Isiah Thomas, ends the Bad Boys era, and ushers in a Bulls dynasty. Jordan has the edge over his longtime rival, but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten the Freeze Out or the “Jordan Rules.” He’s still out for revenge. When he’s asked to join the Dream Team, Jordan sees the perfect opportunity.Mack Weldon - Go to, promo code SPORTSWARS, for 20% off your first order.
Michael Jordan is unstoppable—except when it comes to Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons. When the Bad Boys cruise to back-to-back championships in ’89 and ’90, Jordan’s frustration reaches an all-time high. He’s willing to take whatever help he can get, even if it comes from the weirdo who’s now coaching the Bulls, Phil Jackson.
By 1987, Michael Jordan has established himself as the NBA’s most exciting player—not to mention the league’s top scorer. But it’s Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons who dominate the Eastern Conference, and their tough play earns them a new nickname, the Bad Boys. When Jordan threatens the Pistons’ reign, Isiah and his teammates must find a way to stop Jordan in his tracks. Their plan? The “Jordan Rules.”Support us by supporting our sponsors! ZipRecruiter - To try ZipRecruiter FOR FREE go to
Comments (9)

Murphy Bros

Do ed reed and Eddie George

Jun 15th

Hector Velez

Jordan over Isaiah all day!

Jun 7th

Jay B.

Tennis is my great passion, so of course I was excited for this. Alas, it is narrated for kindergarten children. What a joke.

Jun 2nd

Sean Edward Lathrop

Great stuff! Recommended it to my coworkers.

May 17th

Julie homewood

another winner for wondery ! they are putting out some great stuff. I'll say the same as I do for American scandal, this podcast makes even the subjects that you are not particularly interested in, interesting.

May 10th

Pete Koski

NFL to tennis? Catch you after!

May 3rd


Yet another big hit from Wondery! I never knew how deep this battle of the egos was and find it fascinating. Keep up the good work!

Apr 26th

Simon McInnes

As an Australian nfl fan, I have found this podcast absolutely addictive!... I can not say enough good things about sports wars!

Apr 20th

Casey Fischer

Big fan of Business Wars and can see myself already really enjoying this show! Would be interesting to see them do franchises vs each other as well as the players!

Apr 18th
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