Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt, two of the best and most respected journalists covering the NBA for the USA TODAY Network, get fans inside the game with this weekly podcast series, NBA A to Z. On each show, you will hear about what’s going on behind the scenes about the league and your favorite teams. Sam and Jeff interview the top people in the game – players, coaches, executives – to give you more of the story. They also break down the league, discussing who’s hot and who’s not, what trends you should be aware of and answer your questions.
|1||CleanThe NBA A to Z Playoff Breakdown||On this week's NBA A to Z podcast, Insiders Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt break down the wild playoff races in the East and the West and discuss all the possible ramifications of these final five weeks.||3/6/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
|2||CleanNBA on NCAA with Jalen Rose and Michele Roberts||On this week's NBA A to Z pod, Sam Amick shares his Sloan Conference conversations in Boston with Michele Roberts (National Basketball Players Association executive director) and Jalen Rose (ESPN analyst, former NBA players). From the NCAA controversy to the gambling issue that is making its way into the NBA to the question of diversity in NBA front offices, they hit a number of hot topics. Sam breaks down the issues with fellow NBA reporter Jeff Zillgitt as well.||2/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
|3||CleanAround the NBA with JZ and Mike Singer||On this edition of the NBA A to Z podcast, USA TODAY basketball insiders Jeff Zillgitt and Mike Singer take a look back at All-Star Weekend, address the workplace turmoil inside the Dallas Mavericks organization and look ahead to the storylines that will dominate the finals weeks of the regular season.||2/26/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
|4||CleanAll Star Weekend News and Notes!||On this week's edition of the NBA A to Z podcast, Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt are joined by fellow USA TODAY Sports colleagues Michael Singer and AJ Neuharth-Keusch to talk about their forthcoming trip to Los Angeles for All-Star weekend. What to watch, what to know, and why the league's annual affair should be more entertaining than in recent years. Also, the guys look ahead to the home stretch of the season and discuss everything from the new-look Cavs to the Warriors, Rockets, Celtics, Raptors and more.||2/14/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
|5||CleanTrade Deadline Fireworks, Lakers beat writer Bill Oram, Paul George interview||On this week's edition of the NBA A to Z podcast, Insiders Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt break down the trade deal that sent Isaiah Thomas from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Lakers. The guys talk about what this means for both teams. Cleveland re-made its roster, but did it do something that can help it get back to the Finals? Did the Lakers make this move to free up space to go after LeBron James in the offseason? Sam also talks with Lakers beat writer Bill Oram of the Orange County Register, and shares his recent conversation with Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George.||2/9/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
|6||CleanBlake Griffin Trade, John Wall's knee, and a discussion with NBA officials about the rising tension with players||On this week's edition of the NBA A to Z podcast, Insiders Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt debate what the Blake Griffin trade means for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Detroit Pistons and discuss the fallout of John Wall's knee injury for the Washington Wizards. Sam, in a recent conference call with NBA league officials Byron Spruell, Michelle Johnson and Monty McCutchen, also explores the hot topic of rising tensions between players and officials.||1/31/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
|7||CleanJason Kidd firing, All Star reserves, the trade deadline, plus an interview with Tom Thibodeau.||On this week's NBA A to Z podcast, USA TODAY Sports reporters Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt discuss the firing of Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd, the All-Star reserves and how they see them, and the Feb. 8 trade deadline that is looming large. Sam also talks with Minnesota Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau, whose team has gone from winning just 31 games in his debut season to legitimate Western Conference contenders.||1/23/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
|8||CleanLou Williams, L.A. Clippers; Gary Payton NBA Hall of Famer||On this week's NBA A to Z podcast, USA TODAY Sports' Sam Amick talks with Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams about his career year that's coming in Season No. 13, the possibility that he might be traded by next month, the time he talked a would-be robber out of holding him up and much more. With All-Star weekend in Los Angeles coming next month, Sam also chats with former Seattle Supersonics star Gary Payton about his All-Star picks and the major differences between today's NBA and his playing days.||1/15/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
|9||CleanKara Lawson, Former WNBA player and Current Washington Wizards TV Analyst||Jeff and Sam sit down with Kara Lawson, the color commentator for the Washington Wizards. They talk about her career in the WNBA and at the University of Tennessee, the play of the Wizards, and what's going on around the league.||1/9/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
|10||CleanKobe's Retirement, New Arenas, and the Christmas Day Games||On this week's NBA A to Z podcast, Insiders Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt discuss the retirement of Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers jerseys and how the Lakers wish they could concentrate on the future instead of having to celebrate the past. The guys discuss the new arenas being built in San Francisco and Milwaukee and what those will mean to the Warriors and the Bucks. They also break down the compelling Christmas Day games, including Golden State vs. Cleveland and Houston vs. Oklahoma City.||12/20/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|11||CleanKareem Abdul Jabbar, NBA Hall of Famer||On this week's NBA A to Z podcast, Insiders Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt talk to the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar about everything from basketball to social issues to his new book, "Becoming Kareem," and his work with the Coaches v. Cancer organization that is so dear to his heart. Kareem discusses his view of the way in which today's pro athletes have learned to use the power of their voices, and a number of other topics as well.||12/12/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|12||CleanJamal Crawford, Minnesota Timberwolves||On this week's edition of the NBA A to Z podcast, Insider Sam Amick talks with three-time Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford of the Minnesota Timberwolves on the eve of his reunion game against the LA Clippers. Crawford talks about how he wishes he was a bigger part of the rotation, especially since the team has been struggling of late. Crawford goes around the Association, sharing his view of title contenders and even where his own team might fit into that equation. Crawford and Sam chat about Isaiah Thomas working his way back from his hip injury and this season's rookie class and who might be the favorites to win rookie of the year.||12/6/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|13||CleanWho are the biggest threats to the Golden State Warriors?||On this week's NBA A to Z, USA TODAY Sports' Insiders Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt break down the would-be threats to the Golden State Warriors' throne. Can the Houston Rockets, with Chris Paul back in the fold, pose a problem for Golden State? Might San Antonio survive the extended absence of Kawhi Leonard to truly challenge the champs? Jeff breaks down the most familiar foe of all, LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers, with beat writer Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.||11/28/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|14||CleanIsaiah Thomas, Cleveland Cavaliers; Carmelo Anthony, OKC Thunder||On this week's NBA A to Z podcast, Insider Sam Amick talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers' Isaiah Thomas about his comeback, the trade that brought his time in Boston to a stunning end and the docu-series that he recently launched to document it all. He also talks with Carmelo Anthony about Russell Westbrook, Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder's early growing pains as they attempt to become the NBA's newest super team.||11/21/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|15||CleanHall of Famer Bernard King on his new book||Jeff and Sam break down the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, the three best teams in the NBA so far and much more. Then Jeff sits down with NBA Hall of Fame legend Bernard King to discuss his new book, his career, how he came back from a devastating knee injury at a time when that injury ended a player's career and the current state of the NBA. He discusses, as one of the greatest midrange shooters of all time, how would he fit into today's game. It's all here on NBA A to Z.||11/14/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|16||CleanPower Rankings; Chris Paul and G League president Malcolm Turner interview||On this week's NBA A to Z, insiders Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt are joined by our power rankings guru, AJ Neuharth-Keusch, to break down the wild start to this season and why teams are ranked so high -- and the surprising low ranking of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Later in the show, Sam has an exclusive interview with Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul about his knee injury and what he thinks of his new team. Sam also chats with G League president Malcolm Turner about the NBA's minor league season that comes with many changes.||11/7/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|17||CleanNBA early season struggles around the league, plus the inside scoop on the Bucks and Lakers||On this week's NBA A to Z, Insiders Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt break down the early season struggles of the Cavs and Warriors, Sam talks all things Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat writer Matt Velazquez, and Sam also breaks down the Lakers and the Lonzo Ball beat with Tania Ganguli of the LA Times and Bill Oram of the Orange County Register.||11/1/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|18||CleanWeek 1 of the NBA Season, The Rookie Update, and Jeff Stotts from instreetclothes.com||On this week’s NBA A to Z podcast, USA TODAY’s Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt discuss the start of the NBA season, including Golden State’s uneven start, Cleveland’s rotation issues and a deep rookie class led by Ben Simmons and Lonzo Ball. Jeff and Sam also talk early-season injuries with certified athletic trainer Jeff Stotts, who operates the informative site instreetclothes.com.||10/25/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|19||CleanGordon Hayward's injury, Houston's victory, and opening night||On this week's NBA A to Z podcast, USA TODAY's Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt talk season-openers between Boston-Cleveland, Houston-Golden State and Gordon Hayward's horrific injury to his left ankle and leg. Plus, Sam and Jeff share details of life on the road.||10/18/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|20||CleanSteph Curry on the Warriors trip to China||On today's pod, Sam checks in after returning from covering the NBA pre-season action in China and breaks down all your hoops news with Jeff. Then we listen in to an interview Sam did with Steph Curry while in the far east. Lastly, USA TODAY's Mike Singer joins Jeff for a discussion on rookie extensions and more.||10/10/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|21||CleanNBA Season at a glance; Jason Lloyd, The Athletic||On this week’s NBA A to Z podcast, Sam and Jeff talk national anthem and potential issues for the NBA, Russell Westbrook’s long-term deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dwyane Wade’s decision to join his good friend LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Jeff interviews The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd, who covers the Cavaliers and has a new book out detailing how the Cavs built their championship team.||10/3/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|22||CleanNBA A to Z is Back! Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder||On this week's NBA A to Z podcast, Sam sits down with the Oklahoma City Thunder's Paul George to talk about his Pacers past, the Thunder present and his free agency future. Jeff and Sam preview this coming season after all the superstar shakeup over the summer.||9/26/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|23||CleanNBA Free Agency Breakdown||On this week's NBA A to Z podcast, Insiders Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt break down the free agency period that was highlighted by Gordon Hayward's exit from Utah to Boston, the blockbuster trades of Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler and Paul George, and what's next when it comes to the league-wide attempt to unseat the Golden State Warriors as champs."||7/6/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|24||CleanLawrence Frank, LA Clippers Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations||On this special edition NBA A to Z podcast, USA TODAY Sports Insider Sam Amick breaks down the Chris Paul trade with Clippers executive vice president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank. How did the trade with the Houston Rockets go down? What does life look like after Paul for the Clippers? How confident is he that free agent Blake Griffin will re-sign? Frank, who works with Doc Rivers and Jerry West and others in the Clippers' front office, dissects it all. "||6/29/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|25||CleanMike D'Antoni, Houston Rockets Head Coach||On this week's NBA A to Z podcast, Insider Sam Amick talks with Houston Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni about the Chris Paul trade that shook the NBA. The former Clippers star will be joining forces with the Rockets' James Harden next season, and D'Antoni sheds light on how he'll make it all work and how - like so many other teams - Houston plans on gaining ground on the Golden State Warriors.||6/28/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|26||CleanJamal Crawford, LA Clippers guard; NBA Draft discussion||On this week's NBA A to Z pod, USA TODAY Sports' Sam Amick talks with Clippers guard and three-time Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford about the draft (he's close friends with prospective No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz), free agency (his Clippers have some of the biggest in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin) and why he takes so much pride in the Seattle roots that have continued to grow during his career.||6/22/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|27||CleanNBA Finals Preview; Brandon Payne, Steph Curry trainer||On this week's NBA A to Z podcast, USA TODAY Sports' Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt break down the three-match in the Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Sam talks to the longtime trainer for Warriors star Stephen Curry, Brandon Payne of Accelerate Basketball in Charlotte N.C.||5/30/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|28||CleanEnes Kanter, Oklahoma City Thunder; Dan Bailey, 'Father John Misty' drummer and NBA Fan||On this week's NBA A to Z podcast, we help pass the pre-Finals time with two very different interviews. NBA Insider Sam Amick talks to Oklahoma City Thunder forward Enes Kanter about his harrowing reality right now. The 25-year-old from Turkey was detained at an airport in Romania recently and held for several hours because of - as he sees it - his outspoken views about Turkish president Recep Erdogan. His situation has shed light on the troubling situation in Turkey, with Kanter having been split from his parents back home for the last two years as a result and facing the constant fear of death threats. On a much lighter note, fellow NBA scribe Jeff Zillgitt talks to Father John Misty drummer/NBA fan Dan Bailey about the playoffs and his addiction to hoops.||5/25/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|29||CleanJalen Rose on undercutting players||On this week's NBA A to Z pod, USA TODAY Sports' Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt break down the East and West Conference Finals, discuss what the Wizards do going forward after falling to Boston, and debate the controversial play that put the San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard on the sideline. Sam also talks with ESPN analyst Jalen Rose, who once infamously admitted to intentionally hurting Kobe Bryant on a similar play in the 2000 Finals.||5/16/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|30||CleanIs this the best LeBron James has ever played?||On this week's NBA A to Z pod, reporters Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt take a break from their playoff travels to break down the postseason to this point. Is this this the best LeBron James has ever played? Can anyone beat the Cavs or Warriors, or are we headed toward an unprecedented third consecutive rematch in the Finals? Which teams pose the biggest threat? What's next for Toronto after they fell to Cleveland, and Utah after losing to the Warriors?||5/10/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
|31||CleanNBA Playoffs Round 2 Update; Ron Adams, Golden State Warriors||On this week's NBA A to Z podcast, Insiders Sam Amick and Jeff ZIllgitt break down the second round of the playoffs. Sam also talks to Golden State Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams, whose team will have to chase another title without Steve Kerr. The Warriors' ailing head coach is out indefinitely because of complications from back surgery he underwent two summers ago, and he isn't expected to return until the agonizing symptoms subside. Adams, who has been an NBA assistant since 1992 and is one of the league's most respected defensive gurus, offers insight on how the Warriors will function without Kerr.||5/2/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
After the start of the second grade, I very quickly noticed some heavy struggles around homework come up. It was clear I was going to need to help my child with school. At the start of the year, my son’s second grade teacher gave all the parents special instructions for doing homework this year: set a timer for 30 minutes for homework time, and when that timer goes off, put the pencil down and walk away. If any tears or yelling happens before the timer goes off, put the pencil down and walk away. It was as though he was perfectly foreshadowing what we were about to see.
For a number of days in a row, when homework time approached in the evening, my son met it with resistance and frustration. I would see a range of reactions, from announcing that it was boring and he wasn’t going to do it, to kicking and yelling and crying over his homework. I noticed in myself how inflexible I was around homework time – I was frustrated that he wouldn’t just sit down and do the assignments that looked to me like they were easy enough to do with his eyes closed! It got to the point where I could not touch homework time – we just had to wait until my husband got home to do it with him, as he was somehow able to put more play and lightness to it and succeeded in helping our son get it completed. I could see that this was going to be an emotional project for the whole family and needed a new strategy fast.
I started on this issue in my own listening partnerships. I got listening about how frustrating homework was, how intolerable my sons behavior was, especially when it was always topics I know he is good at and have seen him complete with ease! I got listening around how when I was his age homework was easy for me, so why did it have to be such a struggle for him? And finally, how I don’t like that homework even exists! It cuts into our family time in the evenings, and more often than not is IS as boring as my son says it is.
Next, I made a point to do Special Time with my son before my husband got home to do homework with him. Honestly I was happy to do Special Time in place of homework with my son, it was much more enjoyable. We would wrestle, or pillow fight, or play his favorite video game depending on what he would choose. I started to notice that homework time seemed to go much easier when he would get this extra connection. I saw these as little victories along the way, but still I found that writing homework of any kind continued to be a frustrating struggle.
One evening my son pulled out his spelling and writing assignments and asked for my help. He was already upset about the subject of the homework before he even pulled it out of his backpack. I asked him to read me the instructions while I was cooking something in the kitchen. He became more and more distracted and agitated. I told him it was time to stop playing with what he was playing with and sit down to focus on homework. “Then come help me!!” He screamed. He screamed this again, and I put down what I was doing to come in closer to him. He kept yelling “Help me! Help me!” over and over again, and the closer I got to him while offering my help with my words, the louder he yelled it. He was kicking and screaming on the floor and I just continued to say “I am here to help you,” while he continued to scream for help.
This went on for some time and I continued to stay close, holding a gentle arm around his baby brother to make sure he did not accidentally get kicked. I acknowledged that homework was frustrating, that he works really hard all day at school. He screamed and kicked, and cried a small amount. After a while his system began to settle down and relax. He turned to a toy to play with and I let him take his time to play and relax while I went back to the kitchen to cook dinner.
By the time dinner was done, he had returned to the table and quietly completed his homework on his own. He was very proud of his work, and showed me each part. In these last few weeks, I have continued my connection tools all in combination, and it has meant that I have been able to help him with his homework. He now will often complete it before my husband gets home and we get extra time to play and connect as a whole family.
—Natalie Thiel, Certified Parenting by Connection Instructor
If you have challenges around homework or setting limits, consider our online Setting Limits and Building Cooperation course.