ESPN 30 for 30 Podcast Season Kicks Off with Five-Part Series “The Sterling Affairs”

ESPN’s 30 for 30 Podcasts will debut its new season with the five-part series, “The Sterling Affairs” focusing on the rise and fall of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. 

What’s happening:

  • 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, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn and wherever podcasts are available.

About the new season:

  • 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.
  • The podcast explores how a domestic drama finally boiled over to put the NBA in crisis and features 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
    • NBA players:
      • Andre Iguodala
      • Blake Griffin
      • And others
  • 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.


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.

What they’re saying:

  • ESPN Senior Writer Ramona Shelburne: “I grew up in Los Angeles and have lived and worked here most of my adult life. 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.”
  • 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.”

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