Episode 4 of the BTN Podcast is out, which means the show is nearly three weeks old! They grow up so fast.
This week’s guest is former Flyin’ Illini men’s basketball player and current BTN hoops analyst Stephen Bardo–a man who is very comfortable behind a mic.
Since many basketball fans out there are likely familiar with Stephen’s college hoops background as a four-year starter at Illinois, I wanted to get into a topic that listeners may not know much about. While going through my usual Google-fueled show prep, I realized that while there’s plenty of documentation of Stephen’s Illini days, there were hardly any online stories about his professional career in comparison. Since Stephen had a cup of coffee in the NBA and played a total of 10 years professionally both home and abroad, I figured there he probably had plenty of overseas hoops tales we could fit into a 45-minute podcast.
He didn’t disappoint.
You can still find all BTN Podcast episodes on the BTN Podcast channel on iTunes, on Google Play in the “Podcasts” section and on the Podbean online listening platform. Please subscribe, rate and leave reviews on those platforms, because that’s what will help fuel the show and allow me to keep bringing entertaining guests into the fold.
Listen to the entire interview with Bardo in the SoundCloud player above, in the playlist player below, or on any of the online listening platforms linked above. I pulled some of Bardo’s quotes on certain topics with timestamps below, and as you can see, there’s no shortage of interesting experiences in the murky world of overseas professional basketball.
(Skip to 10:32) On how he had to race from San Antonio during his stint with the Spurs to try and make the birth of his first son.
(13:31) On some exotic places he played overseas, including when he took a payment from a German team and flew home after they tried to “mess” with his money: “By the time the team even knew I was gone, I was on a flight from Paris to Atlanta with $10,000 in my pocket and passport in hand, because they were trying to do some fishy stuff.”
(15:35) On how he enraged an entire Italian fan base with a frowned-upon gesture: “You don’t do that in Italy.”
(18:25) On the inconsistency and raggedness of overseas referees: “Some are smoking between quarters so they can’t get up and down the court. Some smell like they’ve been drinking before they come out.”
(25:15) On one of the craziest things to happen to him off the court during his time overseas.
(33:55) On which country he’d choose to play in if he could play one more season overseas.
(42:12) On if he thinks he got a fair shake in his attempts to stick in the NBA.