As a sports fan, May is usually one of my favorite months of the year.
You’ve got the the Kentucky Derby, the PGA Championship… OH! Don’t forget about the NBA Playoffs, which really start heating up around this time (along, thankfully, with the weather), the Indy 500, and, of course, you’ve got warm days at major league parks across the country.
But I don’t need to tell you what you already know: this May looks different. Way different.
Major sporting events are sidelined all over the world, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve been looking for ways to get your sports viewing in some way, somehow.
Sure, watching old games has been great (the next round of our Football Film Room series is coming soon!), but as I’ve searched for ways to keep my love of sports thriving even as my favorite teams hit pause, I’ve found a new favorites - hopefully they’ll become your favorites, too...
Bat flips, anyone?
If you’re the “live sports or nothing” kind of person and you’ve been missing the return of baseball, then I’ve got three letters for you: K-B-O.
That’s right, folks. The Korean Baseball Organization is playing ball, and ESPN just signed a deal to start airing their games all week long - beginning this past Tuesday, May 5. In just under three decades of operation, the KBO has already quickly grown into one of the most respected baseball leagues in the world - not just touting plenty of former major leaguers, but having sent plenty of former KBO players to the US, including current Dodgers pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu.
Worried you won’t be able to keep up with all of the storylines? Not sure who to root for? ESPN’s already got you covered with a full rundown of everything you’ll need to get yourself back up to speed before diving into KBO action.
But for me, the legendary bat flips alone should be more than enough to have you tuning in…
How to watch: KBO games will air on ESPN throughout the week - find a full schedule here
The Last Dance
Are you watching The Last Dance? Friends… you should really be watching The Last Chance.
The limited documentary series (also airing on ESPN) grants fans unprecedented access to the final year of the Chicago Bulls’ 1990s dynasty led, of course, by Michael Jordan.
You may think you’ve heard it all before, you may have hated the Bulls during their six championship run over the course of eight seasons from 1991 to 1998 - heck, you may not be much of a basketball fan. And yet still I say to you: you have to watch The Last Dance.
Why? Because despite being one of the most recognizable faces not just in sports, but in the world over the last century, Jordan himself rarely sits for interviews to tell his side of the story.
Yet over six fascinating hours (with four more yet to air over the next two weeks), the Bull’s enigmatic star, along with virtually everyone associated with Chicago’s mid-90s run, finally pulls back the curtain to talk candidly about all of the good, the bad, and everything in between.
It's become appointment viewing in my house, and is one of the best sports documentaries I've seen in years.
How to watch: The Last Dance airs weekly on ESPN, with two episodes running back to back from 8:00pm CST to 10:00pm CST. Previous episodes will air in the hours leading up to weekly premieres
SB Nation's YouTube Channel
If you love going back into the history books, but want it in more "bite-sized" chunks, then flip over to SB Nation's YouTube channel, where you'll find an array of short videos that take a deep dive into all kinds of sports moments - from the iconic (SEE: Vince Young's 2006 Rose Bowl), all the way to the incredibly obscure (SEE: the time NBA center Clifford Ray saved a dolphin's life).
Far from the "hot take" nature of the current sports media landscape, these videos are informational, context-heavy, and stat-focused, while somehow never dragging or feeling boring.
Once you start watching, you'll find yourself moving from one to the other... and suddenly you'll have watched an hour's worth and will be on the edge of your seat rewatching Michael Crabtree's iconic catch against Texas...
Trust me: these videos should be required viewing for sports fans everywhere.
How to watch: Head to the SB Nation YouTube channel here!
“Flying Coach” with Steve Kerr and Pete Carroll
Getting the inside scoop from one championship coach is cool - but you know what’s really cool? Two championship coaches.
That’s what you get on “Flying Coach” - a free-wheeling conversation podcast featuring Golden State Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr, and former USC football and current Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.
From keeping fans up-to-date on the current goings on with sports, to philosophical conversations on their different approaches to the teams they lead, this semi-weekly series from The Ringer is a must-listen for any fans looking to hear from two of professional sports’ greatest minds.
How to listen: “Flying Coach” is available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify
“The No-Sports Report” with Jensen Karp
As much as we all miss sports, it’s worth remembering that those who play, coach, write about, and think about sports miss it that much more.
Don’t believe me? Check out “The No-Sports Report” with writer, comedian, and producer Jensen Karp. Each week, Karp is joined by various members of the sports world - from tight end Benjamin Watson, to Duke legend Jay Williams, to former WWE superstar CM Punk - to discuss how they’re handling their time off the field, and what sports in a post-COVID world might look like.
How to listen: “The No-Sports Report” is available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify
PLUS! Soccer’s coming back soon!
… at least one league is.
Germany’s “Bundesliga” will be the first major sports league to resume play, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Wednesday. Like the KBO, games will be played without fans in the stands, but Bundesliga is one of the world’s premier soccer associations - arguably the third best league in the world behind Spain’s La Liga and England’s Premier League - and they’re about to get a global stage when they reopen later this month.
You may not be a soccer fan, but if you’re at all interested the beautiful game then make no mistake, top clubs like Borussia Dortmund (formerly the home of US soccer star Christian Pulisic) and Bayern Munich should absolutely help get you interested.
How to watch: After an official date has been set to resume, Bundesliga games will air on Fox Sports (as of this writing they're still figuring out their exact date to resume), as well as any Fox Sports apps you have through your Smart TV system.
What about you? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your favorite things to watch and listen to while sports are on hiatus, and I’ll keep adding them to our list!
UPDATE: An earlier version of this story mistakenly claimed the Bulls won six championships in seven seasons from 1991 to 1998 - instead of the correct six championships in eight seasons. This has since been updated.