Sighs of relief are sweeping the basketball fandom universe this week as NBA training camp begins.
This means LeBron James is surely readying his pregame chalk toss and Riley Curry, daughter of league MVP Stephen Curry is about prime for a new round of postgame press conference ubercuteness.
And somewhere in Manhattan Gerald Brown and Howard "Howie Cee" Cowart are prepping for it all and plan to use their SiriusXM radio program, "The Bottom Line Sports Show" to fuse sports fans and their favorite athletes, giving them a chance to get to know the players behind the jerseys.
Each Saturday and Sunday morning, Brown and Coward bring their basketball fan listeners to their local barbershop-style broadcast sitdown chat, a diversion from the cable network sports fare many are used to.
It's become a favorite stop for famous athletes who tend to mixup their sports chatter just like the rest of us. Those who have graced the satellite airwaves on Bottom Line Sports include Deion Sanders, Dwyane Wade, Damian Lillard, Nas, Cedric The Entertainer, Chris Paul, Isiah Thomas and Scottie Pippen.
The show initially began in the basement of Brown’s northern New Jersey home in 2006 in response to the disconnect between athletes and journalists, it’s been a hit. “We started asking questions that we as fans wanted to know as opposed to the mundane questions from journalists,” Brown told EBONY.
A ballboy for the New York Knicks in his childhood, the rapport that he developed with athletes back then still translates years later. That said, the experience makes the show rich in content is by digging deep into conversations and debate. Topics range from whether Kobe Bryant is better than LeBron James, to the tug-of-war over which film was best: "Friday" or "Next Friday," to whether Frankie Beverly and Maze could still be relevant in 2015.
“Our show is not scripted,” said Cowart. “We’re the everyday fan. There’s nothing special about us, we love sports like any other person does. I think that our passion into what we do comes across and our fans can feel that we really feel true about what we actually say.”
The show has an added punch. Orlando Magic legend Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway and retired Knicks and Bulls bruiser Charles Oakley ride with Gerald and Howie as the show’s executive producers. The two deliver their own segments like "Penny For Your Thoughts" and "Café Oakley."
Hardaway and Oakley give their segments a nice assist from their years of NBA knowledge, but more importantly Brown and Cowart have their blessing.
Aside from being excited for this year’s NBA season, Hardaway glows at the show’s
ability to bridge the gap between players, journalists and fans. “They’re very knowledgable and they speak the truth,” Hardaway told EBONY. “They don’t try to hammer anybody and gauge guys and make guys feel like less than what they are. It’s barbershop talk for real.”
With a show that reaches the basketball and entertainment world globally, 'Bottom Line' recently got some love locally, where the dream all started: New York City. Brown and Cowart recently did some fill-in duty on ESPN Radio's Hahn & Humpty Show
It's not a permanent gig, but it is a bi-product of the hard work and
diligence their team put in.
“We’re going to continue to keep striving and chasing our dreams,” said Brown. “To this point they have come true.” Dial in to the Bottom Line Sports Show every Saturday and Sunday mornings on Sirius/XM NBA Radio.
Brandon Robinson is a sports and entertainment writer and TV personality. Follow him on Twitter @SCOOPB and visit www.ScoopB.com.