What’s the limit of how much you can show while still retaining a sense of yourself? Right now, I think we’re in a really sweet spot of that. But it’s only going to get bigger — because money and capitalism — it’s only going to ask for more. I say this to athletes: just protect yourself.
I met Sean Yoo for the first time this past July. In the open-air entrance of the Four Queens casino in Downtown Las Vegas, being blasted by frosty conditioned air under blinking marquee bulbs and sipping a syrupy sweet Long Island Iced Tea sometime after midnight, I recognized Sean’s voice (soft-edged, inquisitive, tending to tilt upward in a laugh — friendly, in one word) from all the times I’d listened to him on Spinsters (gone but never forgotten).
Even if I hadn’t felt a secondhand ease in talking to — and meeting — Sean because of that lovely cheat-code that comes in talking to — and meeting — good friends of good friends, he’s pretty easy to talk to. Given his work, now with Wave Sports and Entertainment as senior creative and producing shows like Paul George’s Podcast P, it makes sense. You have to be intuitive to be a good producer, and being intuitive has more to do with empathy, curiosity and openness than technical skills.
We talked about that, about the ability to read people in life and in work, in locker rooms and arenas and studios, in situations where people have to come off the internet and exist in real life and maybe come in a little too hot. We theorized on why this is more of a thing in sports media and basketball culture, and how vulnerability plays a huge part in shaping an honest perspective.
We also talked about Sean’s growing up a Rockets fan in New Jersey, the leap he decided to take in leaving ESPN for the unknown, the pro sports “take space”, his favourite thing about working with George thus far, things people take for granted about production, scarcity mindsets, the innate comfort and shorthand athletes who enter the media space automatically have with other athletes, whether there’s another and better way to do media, and how athlete podcasts can change fandom for the better.