Anna Horford “Happy Hour” Podcast review – Parts, NSFW. All, NSFD.
By Shreyas Laddha & 247 Staff
Pour yourself a glass of red wine — we recommend Chateauneuf du Pape. And get into your easy chair. We’re about to prepare your main course for the evening, courtesy of Anna Horford.
We’ll start with Rachel Nichols, add some Bill Simmons (that’s vintage 2008 Bill Simmons, btw). Season with just a splash of Stephen A. hot sauce, Kardashian glamour, Beyonce lyricality, and Roy Firestone affability on the side. Then we’ll stir over a light flame of serious-minded (but not stat-geek-heavy) basketball talk.
You’ll sense the additional aroma of a bit of Horford family chat, such as Al’s fave cartoon: SpongeBob. Sorry, Arthur. Meanwhile, in the background, the sounds of relaxed-conversational-cultural “I can’t believe Jaylen Brown used this emoji” chit-chat.
(Don’t @ us about the Kardashian ref, si vous plait. We mainly mean the entrepreneurial, hard-working family — especially Kris and Kim — that built an entertainment empire. Though episode 3 of HHH featured “Sexology & Relationship Talk w/ Dr. Megan Stubbs.” And Anna Horford herself isn’t shy about working her glam into promotional tweets, or the show itself. Nor are the Celtics themselves, as we see nearby.)
WHAT YOU’LL BE SAVORING
after about 45 minutes is…
The Horford “Happy Hour”
Like AH’s twitter feed, parts of the show (and this review, below) are NSFW — and NSFD (not safe for dufuses) as well. On the air, her zest for slicing up banalities does shine through as she and her guests talk about family, society, and basketball.
Still, there’s enough variety from the early installments to spot some early trends in both content and style.
So far, the Horford Happy Hour has been about 50 percent NBA-Celtics, 30 percent culture, 20 percent Horford family stuff. Oh, and 35 percent sex and relationships.
No, this is not a Yogi Berra-ism. The numbers don’t add up to 100 because basketball players have relationships; the Horford family is involved with the Celtics and NBA in more ways than one; and SpongeBob is a wicked finisher around the rim.
(I.e., subjects overlap. Added tow which, it’s possible to be talking about more than one thing at once.)
Horford on hoops
You can check out some of the early shows in the links table nearby.
In the podcast most focused on basketball, Horford and her guests, John Karalis and Mike Riina, talk knowledgeably but without a lot of advanced stats or Woj-esque insiderism.
Horford pats herself on the back for predicting (fair enough: we fact-checked it) the Celtics would win 60 games this season. Celtics247 didn’t expect that — even with Hayward — nor did Karalis and Riina. (Or, for that matter, Las Veagas: the preseason win total line generally hovered between 57 and 58.)
“Tatum… and Jaylen Brown together have been huge,” Karalis remarks. “No one saw this level of play coming from those guys.” Nice to hear someone commenting on the Celtics that doesn’t just appreciate Tatum’s highly-developed offensive game — but Brown as well.
And note, his comment (on Jan. 9) came before the Brown-Tatum tandem stormed London together. The result, as we put it on Jan. 11 in “2Q Jaylen, 3Q Jayson, 4Q Smart, Celtics W.”
Anna Horford remarks on the Kyrie-Horford chemistry, and rightly so. It’s visible in everything from Al Horford‘s impressive assist totals to his return to the league’s top 50 in dunks. (Along with Brown and Tatum — often on passes from “the NBA’s Rodney Dangerfield“).
Horford takes some time to note the IT-video controversy. In a mercifully brief segment, she points out that it never really should have been one. Especially after Isaiah Thomas’s gracious tweet put the matter to bed. (Addmittedly, though, not for the hot-take industry, which continued to pound on the matter for days).
She also delves into the Eastern Conference playoff picture with self-confessed Pistons fan Riina. An NBA finals without LeBron James? Warriors-Celtics: Welcome to the future, as The San Francisco Chronicle put it.
You get a good feel for how Horford will handle her access to information about the team early in the second podcast. The segment starts with a nice sidebar about Brad Stevens as an effective coach — and a magnet for free agents like her brother.
Horford is clearly reticent about providing a lot of insider updates, or even vignettes, that would take undue advantage of her relationship with the team.
Even so, she concludes with a description of how Stevens addresses his players that will be music to Celtic-fan ears:
“And he also gets them to sit down and focus… on the big picture. Like, it’s not about individual success, it’s about the team. We need to get this 18th banner…. Let’s just f—ing do it.”
(Yes, we know, and the Happy Hour points out: In Stevens’s case, he probably did say “fudge.” This is a guy who only recently worked his way up to telling an official, “you suck.”)
It’s pretty much that level of discussion. As you might expect, some raillery among well-informed fans who see a lot. Even with her more analytical guests, you don’t hear a lot of x’s and o’s or “real plus-minus win-shares per 48 minutes.”
If “The Jump” devoted a 30-minute segment to the Celtics, it would probably sound a lot like the Horford Happy Hour.
Horford on… the Horfords
“All happy families are alike,” as Tolstoy wrote. Or at least, they have certain things in common.
It’s like comparing one jigsaw puzzle to another. The pieces are different, of course. But they always fit.
Listening to the initial HHH podcast reaffirms this view. The wonderful reality of modernity is, not every happy family is Ozzie and Harriet.
It’s not hard to tell who one of the feisty-est Horfords is.
Many Celtics fans first heard of Anna Horford during her spirited comments on her brother Al’s critics — “Average Al” and all that — from WEEI to (some) on twitter.
Still, what’s most striking listening to Horford’s back and forth with her brothers and sisters is how well the blend is.
As a sports fan, you can’t help but notice how much it resembles a good team.
A group that works hard, enjoys playing together, and is comfortable with different roles.
It’s quality, we’ve called “teamness,” and the Horford family has it.
In this sense, maybe Tolsoy was right.
We always hesitate to criticize something for what it’s not. That said, it’s hard not to hope that Horford will get into sports and politics — and just plain politics politics — as she has in other venues.
For one thing, she’s clearly passionate about it. For another, she’s well-informed, and cares about actual policy. (Horford’s tweets on the FCC’s ongoing assault on net neutrality, for example, alerted many followers to the fact that this roll-back was roll-ing towards regulatory completion.)
I will actually respect Trump more if he continues to not say anything about #MLKDay. Anything that comes out of his mouth would be hypocritical. It’d be a lie. A racist can’t truly celebrate someone who sought to eradicate racism.
— Anna Horford (@AnnaHorford) January 15, 2018
It may simply be a prudent editorial decision by Anna Horford or CLNS to avoid overly hot topics. (To which we would counter, why would one want to? When, as MLK himself asked, is it going to be “the right time”?)
It’s also possible that, a handful of podcasts into the show, it just hasn’t happened yet.
Either way, here’s hoping Anna Horford will mix it up with a few choice officials, policy makers, and other Beltway buffoons — from both sides of the aisle — now and then. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It’d be both informative, and entertaining.
Happy Hour indeed…
“Well begun is half done,” as Winston Churchill — or was it Mary Poppins? — put it.
The HHH is certainly well-begun, and so far, delivers on Horford’s promise to bring some insight on topics “from social issues to social media; dating, sports, and everything in between.”
As with the young Celtics, it’s still early in the season.
But it’s easy to look down the road and see banners rising.