Many NBA stars have started producing their own podcasts or other projects, but the approach Chicago Bulls’ forward DeMar DeRozan is taking is a little different. DeRozan has teamed up with Podium Pictures and president Brett Rapkin (known for a wide range of sports projects, including directing and executive producing 2020 documentary The Weight of Gold (which aired on HBO) on Olympic athletes’ mental health challenges) for Dinners With DeMar.

The series of short films, executive produced by Rapkin and DeRozan, features deep one-on-one conversations DeRozan has held over the past several years over with athletes and other celebrities about mental health. Its first season is set for three episodes, featuring Golden State Warriors’ forward Draymond Green (debuting Feb. 20), former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (debuting March 5), and Milwaukee Bucks’ guard Damian Lillard (debuting March 19). All episodes will air on DeRozan’s YouTube channel. Here’s a trailer for the series:

Here’s more from a release:

“This project is extremely meaningful to me because mental health affects all walks of life,” said DeMar DeRozan, Executive Producer of Dinners with DeMar. “These candid and vulnerable conversations will allow the viewer to see that we are all human and many of us share the same struggles.”

“Podium Pictures is honored and grateful to partner with DeMar and his team at Goodwin Sports to continue to explore the deeply personal and extremely important topic of mental health awareness and stigma reduction. It’s hard to imagine more impactful advocates than DeMar and the guests who have joined his dinner table,” said Brett Rapkin, CEO of Podium Pictures.

This is an interesting joint project between DeRozan and Rapkin. Rapkin’s certainly known for his discussions of mental health in projects such as the aforementioned The Weight of Gold, and the release notes that he’s also worked with athletes “including Steve Nash, Bode Miller, Carmelo Anthony, Candace Parker, Mikaela Shiffrin, Shawn White, and Michael Phelps to develop, produce and distribute impact media projects to add rocket fuel to their missions.” Meanwhile, mental health is certainly a notable issue in sports overall, and it’s received some particular discussion in the NBA, so there will be interest in what DeRozan has to add to that conversation.

And the Dinners With DeMar team has definitely picked a strong lineup of guests for this first season. Green has been quite candid about his own struggles with mental health, including during his suspension this season, and previously did his own special with Religion of Sports and Prime Video discussing the topic. Meanwhile, Wade has had lots to say through his time as a NBA commentator and media project producer, and the tagline for his episode says he’ll “discuss fatherhood, his transition to retirement, and how his family normalizes therapy and more.” And Lillard will discuss “the mental health stigma, being perceived as weak, the importance of family support, being a father and more” with DeRozan. We’ll see how these episodes turn out, but it’s an intriguingly-different media approach from a NBA star, and one with an impressive initial lineup.

[DeMar DeRozan]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.