Is the “Big 3” Era Over in the NBA? ūüŹÄ

Is the Superstar “Big 3” Era Over in the NBA? ūüŹÄ Knicks’ Cinderella Run & the Rise of the WNBA ūüĆü

On this episode of the Running It Back sports podcast, hosts Tarlin Ray and Mike Palmer break down:

  • Golf star Scotty Scheffler’s bizarre arrest before the PGA Championship ūüöď Drawing hilarious comparisons to Tiger Woods and John Daly mugshots
  • The New York Knicks’ unexpected underdog playoff run led by the “Nova Knicks” ūüóĹ Is this gritty team the end of NBA’s superstar “Big 3” era?
  • Why the WNBA is having a moment with rising stars like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese ūüĎÄ Is this the tipping point for the league’s popularity?
  • Should NBA teams stop chasing manufactured “Big 3” superstar trios? ūü§∑‚Äć‚ôāÔłŹ The benefits of cohesive, role-oriented squads

Get insight, analysis and laughs as the hosts banter about the latest NBA, golf and WNBA storylines in this must-listen episode! ‚õ≥ÔłŹūüŹÄūüĎā

Hoops IQ Part 1 – Jalen Brunson vs Luka Doncic – Recorded Live at ASU+GSV

NBA Playoffs 2024

Running It Back recorded live together in person for the first time! Mike Palmer and Tarlin Ray record this podcast live from the 39th floor of a hotel in San Diego while attending the ASU+GSV education technology conference. Despite the non-sports setting, we managed to discuss a variety of basketball topics in our signature free-flowing style.

Our main focus rests on Jalen Brunson’s impact on the New York Knicks and his potential to be one of the most underrated stars in the NBA this playoff season. We debate his elite basketball IQ, leadership qualities that have unlocked teammates like Isaiah Hartenstein, and how his game compares to past greats like Isiah Thomas and Kevin Johnson. Other storylines include our playoff predictions, the Knicks’ chances against teams like the Bucks, Celtics and 76ers in the East, and frequent references to the 1990s Knicks.

Sans our usual prep, and in-person, not in Zoom, the new dynamic brings a fresh energy to the conversation. Don’t miss insights into leadership, life, and more while chopping it up heading into the 2024 NBA Playoffs.

Caitlin and the Ant-Man: Beyond the Arc and Above the Rim

Caitlin and Ant Man

Mike and Tarlin are back with another must-see episode of Running It Back, and this time we’re raving over the transcendent athletes taking the sports world by storm. The dynamic duo kicks things off by marveling at Anthony Edwards’ jaw-dropping block against the Pacers, with the “Ant-Man” soaring through the air and hitting his head on the rim and backboard in a play that instantly etched itself into highlight reel lore.

But the real star of the show is Caitlin Clark, the unstoppable scorer from Iowa who’s shattering records and captivating audiences with her unconscious shooting and elite playmaking. Tarlin can’t get enough of Clark’s gravitational pull, watching her games from start to finish as she makes a serious case for being this generation’s Steph Curry…but an even better passer.

The guys go full historian, waxing poetic about the iconic moments that made viewers stop everything – from Dr. J’s acrobatic scoop layup to Michael Jordan’s hand-switch bucket against the Lakers. They run through a veritable Mount Rushmore of must-see athletes, where absolute legends like Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt, and Serena Williams all get their shine. We even touch on chess and bowling legends as we run the gamut of riveting sports endeavors.

With March Madness on the horizon, we implore folks to appreciate Caitlin’s greatness and keep an eye on rising stars like Juju Watkins while filling out those brackets. Don’t snooze on the Women’s Bracket, because when generational talents like these take the floor, you simply can’t afford to miss it. Get your popcorn ready!

On Goats, Dynasties, and 3peats

Goats, Dynasties, and 3peats

We’re back with another episode of Running It Back, finding lessons learned from the world of sports, old and new! Tarlin shares stories about his 50th birthday and dealing with rainstorms in LA. Mike talks about playing in the snow with his 5-year-old son.

Discussing NFL season highlights, we debate whether Patrick Mahomes can already be considered a GOAT after the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win or if it’s too soon. Tarlin thinks we should let Mahomes’ career evolve before making proclamations.

Reviewing NFL dynasties, we agree the Chiefs are building their own with Mahomes. We also discuss NBA dynasties and three-peats, with Mike paying his respects to Michael Jordan while exploring whether he played baseball to duck the Twin Towers in Houston.

Closing topics include Eli Manning’s comedic potential, Tarlin’s support of QB Brock Purdy, and praise for broadcaster Nate Burleson’s Super Bowl work on Nickelodeon and beyond.

Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And be on the lookout for a steady flow of episodes from here on out. Thanks for listening.

FSU Deserves a Shot

FSU Deserves a Shot

Mike and Tarlin kick things off by chatting about their recent adventures – Tarlin’s trip to see Usher perform in Vegas, his progress in the step challenge (down 9 lbs!), and a podcast he discovered called Smartless.

But the main event is a discussion about Florida State University’s football team getting snubbed from making the College Football Playoff, despite their undefeated 13-0 record this season. Mike and Tarlin think they deserved a shot, but the selection committee went with 1-loss Alabama and Texas instead.

The guys talk about how the current 4-team playoff format is flawed and often comes down to TV ratings and money rather than rewarding deserving teams. They cover some controversial playoff selections in past years too.

Getting into the FSU situation, Tarlin breaks down their strong defensive rankings, key wins, and how they persevered despite losing their starting QB. For Mike and Tarlin, leaving out an undefeated power conference team goes against the competitive spirit of sports – it denies potential underdog stories.

They touch on lots of famous cases where underdog teams/players defied expectations after adversity, like the 1980 Lakers without Kareem and the 1990 Giants with backup QB Jeff Hostetler. The new 12-team format starting in 2024 should improve things, but controversy will always exist on the playoff fringes.

In the end, they think the system should give worthy teams like FSU their shot, between the lines not in some conference room debate. You never know how the games will unfold or who will rise to the occasion. That unpredictability and drama is part of why we watch sports.

Subscribe to Running It Back wherever you get your podcasts. Now also on Youtube!

Dissecting the Michigan Football Spying Scandal

Michigan Football Spying Scandal

Tarlin and Mike kick things off by chatting about Tarlin’s recent trip to Barbados, including some turbulent flights thanks to Tropical Storm Tammy. But we quickly segue into a step challenge Tarlin is participating in, where he’s determined to beat his very competitive and fit coworkers. He’s even wondering if there are any tricks to game the step counters. We’re open to suggestions.

We then dive into the main topic – cheating scandals in sports. We discuss famous examples like Spygate with the Patriots taping opponents’ signals, the Astros’ trash can sign-stealing scheme, and MLB’s steroid era. An interesting debate emerges around whether cheating can ever be justified if you can pay the fines and it leads to success, especially with ultra-competitive coaches like Belichick and Harbaugh.

The latest cheating drama in Michigan football takes center stage next. A rogue staffer named Connor Stalions had been illegally filming opponents’ sidelines for years, but the heat is now on head coach Jim Harbaugh about how much he knew. Tarlin runs through Michigan’s futility against rival Ohio State during Stalions’ tenure to question whether the cheating even helped. We joke about the excuses around Stallions “acting alone” when several coaches were likely involved. We consider just how high up it goes as we think through how it relates to Uber, Air BnB, and even OpenAI. There are even connections to our current political landscape along the way.

In the end, we explore how rules in sports often have to catch up to new techniques for gaining an advantage. And many innovative companies follow a similar path – they’re willing to break rules early on if it means gaining market share, and they’ll pay the fine down the road if needed. An interesting perspective heading into the big Michigan vs. Ohio State grudge match in The Game.

Subscribe to Running It Back wherever you listen to podcasts. Now also available on Youtube.

Beyonce versus Taylor – NBA Comps Edition

Beyonce vs Taylor

Tarlin and Mike are back connecting amazing entertainers in pop culture to lessons learned from the world of sports. This time we follow up on the success of our Taylor Swift / Must-See Athletes episode by hearing about Tarlin’s Beyonc√© concert experience and his thoughts on finding the right “drip” for the show. We debate which athletes compare to top musicians, landing on LeBron vs MJ for Beyonc√© and Steph Curry for Taylor Swift, who continues to dominate the cultural zeitgeist with her connection with NFL star Travis Kelce. We dive into the Dame Lillard trade, struggling young NFL quarterbacks, and the pathetic U.S. Ryder Cup performance in a wide-ranging conversation you won’t want to miss.

If you’re a concert-going Dad thinking through your fashion choices or a casual golf fan who wants keeping score to be easier, we’ve got something in store for you. We tease upcoming episodes on Deion Sanders, the current state of play in the NFL, and the tip-off to the new-look NBA season. Join us for all of this And share the love as we continue to grow.

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Taylor Swift and Must-See Athletes

Taylor Swift

In our Season 4 Kickoff episode, Mike and Tarlin are lacing up their kicks to run it back on must-see athletes and entertainers. After Tarlin’s mind-blowing experience at a Taylor Swift show, we debate who reaches T-Swift levels of fame and fandom. Is it His Airness Michael Jordan back in the 90s heyday? The GOAT Ali? Eldrick “Tiger” Woods tearing up the links? Or do queens like Serena and Beyonc√© rule over the kingdom? From the hardwood to the course to the court to the stage, the fellas break down legendary performers with must-see greatness. Whether you’re team Tay Tay or ride for Mike, this episode will have you pumped up for the icons taking sports and music to new heights!

Subscribe to Running It Back wherever you get your podcasts. Visit us at for more lessons learned from the world of sports.

Bonus Episode – The PGA LIV Golf Merger

PGA LIV Golf Merger

In a special bonus episode, Mike and Tarlin share their thoughts about the recent PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger. We reflect on what has transpired since we first talked about LIV and Sportswashing with the recent surprise merger between rival leagues. How does this connect to preview splits and mergers? How does it connect to Voldemort and the USFL? And as we gear up for the US Open which is happening on Tarlin’s home golf course, why does this episode earn an Explicit rating? Listen in to find out all of this and more.

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Jokic, Murray and the Nuggets – Lessons Learned from the 2023 NBA Finals

Jokic, Murray, Nuggets

Tarlin and Mike return to talk Lessons Learned from the 2023 NBA Finals as Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and the Denver “Chicken” Nuggets prepare to close out the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. We start with a conversation about the crazy weather and some (TMI) details about Tarlin’s footcare regimens before digging into what we can learn from the selflessness and chemistry of the 2023 Denver Nuggets. Once again we compare the Miami Heat to the 1999 New York Knicks before going deeper into the connections between the 2023 Nuggets and the 1999 San Antonio Spurs. Are we on the verge of a new dynasty? How does Jokic compare to other legends of the game and what legendary NBA Duo is an easy target for comparison with Jokic and Murray? What does this teach us about leadership, chemistry, and the importance of intangibles? Listen in to find out.

Subscribe to Running It Back wherever you listen to podcasts. Visit us at for more amazing lessons learned from sports.