Thursday, November 19, 2009

Talkin' Hoops with Audley of the NBA Breakdown

If you're into NBA podcasts, you probably already know about The NBA Breakdown with Dave and Audley.  And if you haven't checked these guys out, start now. The podcast is into its second season and these guys have interviewed an all-star calibre list of guests. From Maurizio Gherardini to Tom Chambers to Montell Jordan, they've had guests from all aspects of hoops on their show. I caught up with Audley from The NBA Breakdown and asked him about this year's Toronto Raptors, Steve Nash's Suns and the greatest NBA player/rapper.

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Hip Hoop Junkies:  The NBA Breakdown podcast is into its second season, break down the history of the show. How did it all get started?

Audley:  Here's how it started..My buddy Dave and I are big time basketball junkies and have been for a long time. Of course, this can prove to be challenging living in a city where hockey dominates.

In August 2008, we were talking about ways to launch our respective careers, and I threw out the idea of us doing an on-line radio program.

Dave did a lot of freelance entertainment writing and had interviewed a lot of big name celebrities like Beyonce and Jamie Foxx while I was trying to launch my motivational speaking career. We figured combining our expertise would be a good thing, so we started to build the framework for a show that looked at the human side of celebrities called, "The Human Factor".
It feels like it was yesterday that we sat in the food court in the Square One mall in front of New York Fries and came to the realization that the show idea was crap!

We scrapped the concept pretty quickly and started brainstorming other ideas and that's when the thought of doing a basketball show came to us. We both followed NBA ball meticulously and had some strong opinions about the game, so it just made sense.

It was at that point, The NBA Breakdown was born.

Dave had a journalism background and formerly was a national reporter with The Score Television Sports Network (that's where we met), and I had extensive experience working in PR/communications. We took our respective experiences, knowledge and contacts and started to build our show. We wanted more than anything to do something fun and different while keeping true to the game of basketball. We're constantly going after that barbershop vibe in attempts to have our guests to be relaxed and comfortable which really is the charm of our show.

We make it our goal regardless if we're interviewing a player, coach or celebrity to treat them to a good time.

Hence our motto:
For hoops talk, the way it should be!
Hip Hoop Junkies:  You've had some NBA legends on the show ranging from John Starks to Spud Webb to Tom Chambers. Whos has been your favourite guest so far?

Audley:  Maaan, this is a tough one because, as you've said, we've had so many incredible people hang out with us and share some laughs.

It's virtually impossible to nail it down to just one so here's a few of my more memorable ones:
  • Kevin Johnson is one of my favourite Phoenix Suns of all time and we were honoured to welcome him to our show shortly after his inauguration as mayor of Sacramento;
  • Wayman Tisdale shared his incredible story of determination and inspiration with us after having his leg amputated to stop the spread of cancer across the rest of his body. We truly were inspired but deeply saddened at his passing a few months later;
  • Getting Tracy Murray and Sharone Wright to reflect on the early Raptor days was cool and we even caught them off guard with a couple of surprise guests;
  • Jerry Colangelo talking about building the gold medal Olympic squad was unreal;
  • The graciousness of Hall of Famer player, Elvin Hayes was simply awesome. As far as we're concerned, he was the first real power forward;
  • Darvin Ham was just plain hilarious;
  • Hearing Nick Anderson tell his story about missing free throws in the Finals was very cool.

Plus so many more great memories..Like I said before, to pick just one is really hard because they've all been super.
Hip Hoop Junkies:  You guys are based in Toronto and the NBA season is about a month old, what have been your first impressions with this year's Toronto Raptors?

Audley:  These ain't your Daddy's Raptors. I've had the privilege of working at the ACC for the last 10 years and I've seen a ton of different combination of players take the floor.
This year's team is one of the better ones and in my opinion more talented then the earlier Raptor playoff teams. There's a ton of offense on this squad and BC will probably win executive of the year for assembling a team out of virtually thin air.

I'm looking for big things out of Bargs and so far he's establishing himself as 20 point a guy night. He's also playing improved defence and staying in games by avoiding fouls. Hedo is clutch and never will shy away from taking that big shot. Bosh has been typical Bosh which is good to see and the bench has been brilliant on most nights.

They'll be fun to watch and score a ton of points, but the biggest issue will be chemistry and that takes time. The hope from senior management is that it comes sooner rather than later.

The Phoenix Suns of the eastern conference are going to have learn how to contain, if not stop teams from doing what they want offensively on a consistent basis.
Hip Hoop Junkies:  And how about Canadian baller Steve Nash? How are old guys like Steve Nash and Grant Hill getting it done in Phoenix?

Audley:  I think GM Steve Kerr found the fountain of youth and guys like Nash and Hill are just sucking it back by the caseload.

Both Nash and Hill are amazing players who are well conditioned, they take care of their bodies in the off season and work within their skill sets. Nash's assist numbers are up by nearly two a game which tells me that other guys like Amare and J-Rich are making their shots which alleviates the pressure to have to score as much on the offensive end.

I think the biggest plus has been Alvin Gentry going back to the strengths of the team which is running the floor, filling the lanes and scoring in 7 seconds or less. Last year, I think Coach Porter tried to make them into something they weren't whereas the reins have been taken off this year and the team is flourishing.

Hip Hoop Junkies:  You guys have interviewed Christopher "Kid" Reid of the old school rapper duo Kid N' Play, who do you think is the best NBA duo in the league right now?

Audley:  While the numbers probably weigh in favour of Melo and Chauncey in Denver, I've gotta go back to Phoenix and say that Nash and Amare have the edge. There's been so much player movement and roster instability with guys coming in and out of the lineup due to injury that it really is hard to find another tandem as consistent as those two. They've played together for a while now and know how to execute the pick and roll to perfection. Shades of Stockton and Malone.

Hip Hoop Junkies: Chip-Fu of the Fu-Schnickens was also on your show, who collobarated with Shaq on "What's Up Doc". In your opinion, who's the greatest NBA Player/Rapper?

Audley:  Chip was a lot of fun and shared some great stories about the Big Shaqtus.

As a hip hop head from back in the day, I'd have to say that the answer to this question is Shaq.

It's funny, we asked Montell Jordan that exact question, and he said Shaq too.

He sold more records than Iverson, Kobe, C-Webb and even Cedric Ceballos (you'll note that I didn't include Ron Artest - selling records to only family members doesn't count)

The guy had some platinum albums from back in the day, and my favourite joint had to be "You Can't Stop The Reign" with Biggie Smalls (Notorious B.I.G.)

No other baller did the stuff he did - including performing on the Arsenio Hall Show.
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Shoutouts to Audley for taking his time to answer our questions.  Don't forget to check out Audley at The NBA Breakdown and on Twitter, @theaudman

Check out their promo video:

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Hip Hoop Junkies, a Toronto Raptors / NBA / Canada Basketball blog based out of Halifax. Home of the #RAPSTALK Podcast - "Hoops Talk out of Halifax"

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