New podcast network takes a deep dive into '90s classic, Hoop Dreams

Aug 20 2021, 4:30 pm

It has been nearly 30 years since the Academy Award-nominated movie Hoop Dreams was released in theatres. For the two stars of the hit documentary, their love of basketball is stronger than ever.

William Gates and Arthur Agee are the hosts of Hoop Dreams The Podcast, produced by Vancouver-based Unlearning Network.

The popular podcast has Gates and Agee reflecting on their journey since the release of the critically-acclaimed film in 1994 as well as chatting with a different special guest on each episode.

Hoop Dreams The Podcast

Arthur Agee (left) and William Gates, hosts of Hoop Dreams The Podcast (Submitted)

“The name Hoop Dreams has become truly an identity all by itself. There are insurmountable Hashtags Hoop Dreams everywhere,” said Gates in an interview with Daily Hive.

“Arthur and I recognize that we owe the basketball community our perspective on sports, life and everything that exists around it. What better than to have the Original Hoop Dreamers give insight and perspective to sports and beyond.”

Hoop Dreams The Podcast launched in July and has featured NBA champions, sneaker designers, Emmy Award-winning producers and more. The weekly podcast can be found on all podcast players as well as YouTube.

“We have all different guests from different backgrounds and life journeys that have inspired millions of people around the world,” said Agee.

“Our topics have no boundaries because our guests trust us. Whatever that person wants us to know, they will authentically and genuinely let us know and also teach our listeners a thing or two from their experiences.”

Gates agrees that the guests have been phenomenal and that they are his favourite part of podcasting.

“The guests have been phenomenal, I truly have been so appreciative of the guests’ willingness to be a part of the show,” added Gates. “Everyone has a story that is related to Arthur and me in some regard. “It’s not always sports but the drive and determination to become successful transcend.

“The goal of reaching their ultimate Hoop Dreams is such an incredible undertaking and to hear the stories of athletes, entertainers, administrators, owners and on and on has been such an eye opener.”

Hoop Dreams The Podcast is created, produced and written by Gates and Agee alongside Vancouver entrepreneur Matt Hoffar, co-founder and director of Unlearning Network. Hoffar was inspired to help create the podcast after meeting Agee in Chicago during the 2020 NBA All-Star Game Weekend.

“I grew up a basketball fan, player and coach. I worked for the Vancouver Grizzlies and saw the original Hoop Dreams Documentary when I was in my first year of college,” explained Hoffar. “I had always wanted to explore the unique journeys that athletes take on their quest to make it professionally. Each person’s journey is so different but with a common set of ingredients like dedication, work ethic, connections, etc.

“We discussed launching a podcast to tell the stories of athletes and other professionals who are chasing their own version of a Hoop Dream. A Hoop Dream is someones goal and the work ethic and dedication it takes to reach the pinnacle of their profession. Whether it’s basketball or another sport, the music industry, broadcasting, or being a designer. When you set your mind to something and work tirelessly to overcome the obstacles to reach it, that‚Äôs the pursuit of one’s Hoop Dream.”

Hoop Dreams The Podcast is the first podcast on the Unlearning Network, with three other shows in development and two other licensed properties.

“They span everything from esports/gaming, to basketball to the excitement and challenges of being a new dad,” said Hoffar. “One of the shows in development features Sophie Cunningham of the WNBA‚Äôs Phoenix Mercury exploring the journey a female professional athlete goes through.

“With the Unlearning Network as a whole, we hope listeners find shows that interest them or that they discover new topics that strike a chord with them. Our goal is to keep finding new topics and interesting hosts who can help to create shows that entertain and inform listeners and create an educated debate.”

Hoop Dreams The Podcast

William Gates (left) and Arthur Agee, hosts of Hoop Dreams The Podcast (Submitted)

And for Gates and Agee, the podcast continues to help them experience “HD4Life”.

“The goal of every show is to tell the origin stories of our guests,” said Gates. “How they became who they are and what is the next chapter in their Hoop Dreams story. The challenges they faced, how their families play a role in their dreams.

“The podcast has so much raw and personal truth that anyone who listens to the show will be drawn in. The takeaway is very much like the movie that Dreams no matter the challenge success can be attained. The stories that we share are really just a continuation of the movie itself.”

“Our goal is to grow this Hoop Dreams podcast as big as God wants it to be,” added Gates.

Daniel ChaiDaniel Chai

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