“I have been told for years that I should have my own podcast,” Leslie said. “I am so excited to share this space with my dear friend and mentee. Chiney and I will navigate through topics that are meaningful to us and our community. We may not have all the answers to life, but it sure feels good to have a space and place to learn and speak openly and candidly about our feelings without being guarded or scripted.”
Leslie, a former winner of WNBA regular season, All-Star Game and playoff MVPs with the Los Angeles Sparks, is currently a CBS Sports analyst. Ogwumike, a two-time All-Star, plays center for the Sparks and is a burgeoning talent for ESPN Radio, co-hosting a show with Mike Golic Jr. that debuted Aug. 17.
Leslie has long been a mentor to Ogwumike. The intergenerational pair plan to discuss sports, life and the balance of maintaining personal relationships. Most importantly, they said, “the podcast will feature honest conversations between two Black women whose opinions and life experiences deserve to be front and center, but rarely are.”
Said Ogwumike, “I am so thrilled to be able to share a podcast with Lisa, my role model and friend. While most would assume our friendship would be grounded in sports, it’s so much more than that. We are looking forward to sharing our conversations, educating ourselves while we educate each other, and always keeping it real.”
Mexican boxer Abner Mares is also slated to join Blue Wire’s podcast lineup next year. The San Francisco-based sports podcasting startup is currently in a Series A pursuit to raise additional venture capital on the initial $1.2 million funding round it generated earlier this year.
Former NBA star Baron Davis, an investor in that earlier round, is expected to be a brand ambassador for the company, helping to attract other athletes and influencers. He’s also launching his own podcast company, Slic, on Blue Wire’s network next year. One of Slic’s shows, The Point God Series, will focus on the best point guards in basketball history. Davis, who played point guard, said there are also plans for a show about entrepreneurs and investors as well as documentaries.
Leslie and Ogwumike are in a joint venture with Blue Wire and have spent eight months putting the all-female project together.
“Working with Lisa and Chiney has been such a masterclass in how to be best-in-class not only on the court, but behind the mic,” said Brittany Machado, a producer for Blue Wire, who has worked closely with the pair of women. “And assembling an all-female team to back these two incredible women is something we’re really proud of. Front & Center is the infusion of positivity and realness we all need more of right now.”
(This story has been updated to include quotes from Leslie, Ogwumike and Machado, clarify the number of Front & Center episodes, add details about the nature of Leslie’s analyst role and to update Blue Wire’s number of active monthly users.)