30 for 30 Podcasts, with The Undefeated, will debut all five episodes from a captivating new season of audio documentaries on Tuesday, August 20. “The Sterling Affairs” will examine the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, his rags to riches rise, his ultimate downfall, and how it all impacted the NBA. The series is reported on and hosted by ESPN Senior Writer Ramona Shelburne and produced by 30 for 30 and The Undefeated. 30 for 30 Podcasts can be found on the ESPN App, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn and wherever podcasts are available. “The Sterling Affairs” were produced in collaboration with Western Sound.
The season explores basketball in Los Angeles, focusing on Sterling’s ruthless real estate empire, his unlikely role as owner of the NBA’s least successful franchise, and the scandal that rocked the sports world when his racist comments, secretly taped by his mistress V. Stiviano, were made public and he was forced by the NBA to sell his team. Featuring original in-depth interviews with Sterling’s wife Shelly Sterling, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, legendary Clippers announcer Ralph Lawler, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association Michele Roberts, and NBA players Andre Iguodala and Blake Griffin, among others, the podcast explores how a domestic drama finally boiled over to put the NBA in crisis.
In five episodes, “The Sterling Affairs” paints a picture of a city and a league in transition: the Showtime Lakers vs. the sad-sack Clip-show that came to define his tenure; how the Clippers turned into winners; and the moment when NBA players and a new league commissioner found their voice and ushered in a new era.
“I grew up in Los Angeles and have lived and worked here most of my adult life,” said Shelburne. “But I don’t think I understood how power in this city truly worked until I started reporting on “The Sterling Affairs.’ I thought I knew the whole story five years ago but after reporting and exploring the rich characters and overarching themes with the 30 for 30 Podcasts team, I can’t believe how much deeper it goes.”
Added Libby Geist, Vice President & Executive Producer of ESPN Films and Original Content: “We were immediately drawn to Ramona’s telling of this layered story, which is about so much more than one scandal. ‘The Sterling Affairs’ is such an important example of 30 for 30 and The Undefeated bringing together sports and culture, providing context to a well-known event–or–man that we all think we know.”
Episodes of “The Sterling Affairs” will be available on August 20 for fans to binge-listen. The episode lineup includes:
Episode 1: Holy Sh** That Tape
The explosive tape of Donald Sterling breaks the internet. Ramona Shelburne explains how a fight between V. Stiviano and Shelly Sterling lit the match.
Episode 2: The Opposite of Showtime
Nothing explains where Donald Sterling fits into the LA scene better than his relationship to the Lakers, Jerry Buss, and Showtime. Everything came easy for Buss; everything Sterling did reeked of desperation.
Episode 3: Property
Donald and Shelley grew up in the poor neighborhood of Boyle Heights, and as they built their real estate empire and bought the Clippers, they worked hard to reinvent themselves. As part of that reinvention, however, Donald Sterling also engaged in womanizing and housing discrimination — and was rarely held accountable.
Episode 4: Fallout
With the threat of players boycotting playoff games in protest, for once it was the players–not the owners–who had the power to hold Sterling accountable. New commissioner Adam Silver heard the outcry and banned Sterling for life.
Episode 5: Not Fit
Sterling’s ban was a bold statement, but the devil was in the details. Sterling still owned the team. Ultimately, this drama was going to be resolved where it started — in court, with Donald and Shelly. And in a Shakespearean move, Shelly had her husband of 60 years declared mentally unfit in order to seize control of the team and sell the franchise.
Advance episodes available for press upon request. More information can be found in the official The Sterling Affairs Press Kit.
About 30 for 30 Podcasts
30 for 30 Podcasts, from ESPN Films and ESPN Audio, are original audio documentaries from the makers of the acclaimed 30 for 30 film series. Telling sports stories like you’ve never heard before, through a combination of original reporting and archival sound, 30 for 30 Podcasts goes beyond the field to explore how sports, competition, athleticism and adventure affect our lives and our world. The series has been recognized by the NYF International Radio Awards, the Webby Awards, and the RTDNA Kaleidoscope Awards; as well as inclusion on numerous “best-of” lists from press outlets such as The Atlantic, Vulture, TIME and Entertainment Weekly. Episodes have been featured on NPR, 99% Invisible, Slate Podcasts and more. For more visit 30for30podcats.com
The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture. The digital hub, TheUndefeated.com, which launched in May 2016, combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, investigation, original reporting and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans, as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues.