8 episodes

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

Death at the Wing Three Uncanny Four

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.6 • 640 Ratings

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

    7. Hodges, Abdul-Rauf, and a Lost Protest Movement

    7. Hodges, Abdul-Rauf, and a Lost Protest Movement

    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

    6. Drazen Petrovic and Basketball’s Cold War

    6. Drazen Petrovic and Basketball’s Cold War

    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

    5. Ricky Berry and the Pressures of Fame

    5. Ricky Berry and the Pressures of Fame

    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

    4. Benji Wilson and Chicago’s Flood of Guns

    4. Benji Wilson and Chicago’s Flood of Guns

    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

    3. Len Bias and the Crack Panic

    3. Len Bias and the Crack Panic

    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

    2. Terry Furlow and the Crash After The Party

    2. Terry Furlow and the Crash After The Party

    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

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
640 Ratings

640 Ratings

not your demographic ,

So informative! Thanks for adding perspective to the heroes of our youth.

Came for the basketball stayed down the explanation of our world. Thank you.

Kyussforever ,

Best around of the True Evil of Reagan genre

I’m not the biggest NBA fan and never was.

But surely I know full well - as far too many fail to acknowledge - that Ronald Reagan remains one of the most despicable, deplorable, racist, anti-labor, anti-poor pieces of scum the United States and so many around the world had to endure in world history. This podcast uses the ups and downs of basketball as yet another way to document the utter destruction the Reagan administration dropped on so many.

Great podcast about one of the worst humans ever to hold power.

Fantasy sports fan ,

Airball

Simply telling the story without trying to tie it to racism and racist Republicans would have worked. This was extremely disappointing given Adam McKay’s previous work. Alienating at worst

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

More by Three Uncanny Four