Josh McRoberts Reconsidered, With Rohan Nadkarni

In the average Distraction episode, we strive to find a balance between nutrient-rich conversation on matters of actual import and interest—or, when that fails, the NFL—and the fatty, high-calorie idiocy that imparts our signature flavor to the proceedings. There’s room for disagreement on where that balance should lie, and longtime listeners will have noticed the two-chefs-seasoning-the-same-dish dynamic that Drew and I sometimes have. But we’ve got similar taste and similar ideas of what’s palatable, and it mostly works. I mention all of this because this week’s episode is A Rohan Nadkarni Experience, and as such all of those considerations have been discarded entirely. This one’s pretty much all gravy and no turkey.

Pretty much, but not entirely. There is some substantive stuff in there, although it is well spaced out by much goofier items. After a brief consideration on the experience of receiving the Jolly Texts From The Dad Chair that Drew fires off on the regular, we talked to Rohan about the end of his run at Sports Illustrated and the future of a publication we all care about in different ways. It’s uncertain, as it has been, if also notably less bleak than it was when last we spoke to Rohan. The uneasy question of whether Sports Illustrated‘s creepy corporate parents can continue to make money off Sports Illustrated‘s brand without Sports Illustrated existing segued, blessedly, into an early bit of the sort of sandwich chat we ordinarily save for the back third of Rohan episodes. We would, give or take the ad break in the middle of the show, remain on that topic for something like half an hour.

All of which is to say that if you want some NBA talk, it begins tentatively around the 43-minute mark and begins for real around the 47-minute one. It’s pretty good, although we mostly talked about the stuff that people talk about during the early rounds of the NBA Playoffs—which coaches are going to get fired and whether that’s fair or not; what LeBron James is going to do next year and why; the difficult, vital, nigh-impossible task of retroactively adding vital connective tissue to a top-heavy roster like the Suns or Lakers. There was an appreciation station for Anthony Edwards, who really does seem to be different in some really cool and exciting ways, and a consideration of the latest trends in superstar personality types. I don’t want to say too much about the part at the end of it where Rohan shares a truly, authentically one-of-one opinion about the forgotten NBA frontcourt goof Josh McRoberts, but I will say that I enjoyed it a great deal.

But, again, before that and after it is a lot of Rohan Episode Stuff. We talked about his health-related pivot to wraps—I seized the opportunity to talk about former MLB manager Bobby Valentine’s probably specious but frequently repeated claim to have invented the wrap at the sports bar he owns in Stamford, Conn.—and aging into the Salad Years of one’s life. There was the requisite discussion of the irresponsible and inexcusable food decisions of our youth, from my improper spacing between large sandwiches and cross-country practice to Rohan’s college friend inventing something that I have described in my notes as “the everything panini.” We talked about enormous unhealthy salads as an American foodway and about proper feta etiquette. Like I said, Rohan stuff.

All this digression, and I suppose the small nugget of actual sports chat that it was wrapped around, gave us both a supersized running time and very little space in which to address even one Funbag question. I probably don’t need to tell you that it wound up being a celebration of Big Ice Cream, the one corporate mega-product that everyone can agree is fine. Our podcast’s balance of flavors and seasonings might have been out of whack, and notably heavy on the fatty proteins, but at least we ended with dessert.

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