It’s been a busy last few years for Ariel Helwani. Helwani left ESPN in 2021 and returned to Vox Media’s MMA Fighting and The MMA Hour while also taking roles with BT Sport, Spotify/The Ringer, and other outlets. He then started contributing to HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel last summer, and even showed up on WWE SmackDown‘s event in his hometown of Montreal last month.
Now, Showtime has announced that Helwani will be doing a basketball show on their Showtime Basketball YouTube channel, with The Ariel Helwani Basketball Show also set to be available across other podcast platforms. While most of Helwani’s professional work has been in combat sports, he’s often discussed his long-running love for basketball, including on his ESPN+ show Ariel and the Bad Guy in 2019 after the Toronto Raptors’ title (as seen above). So this makes some sense. And that showed up in how he teased this on Twitter Monday night:
Extremely exciting work-related announcement tomorrow. Something 16-year-old me would have never believed. Can’t wait. ? pic.twitter.com/77V8M80WZ6
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 21, 2023
Here’s more on what to expect from the new show, from a release:
SHOWTIME SPORTS announces that renowned combat sports journalist and former NBA sideline reporter Ariel Helwani will host a new show on the SHOWTIME® Basketball vertical. THE ARIEL HELWANI BASKETBALL SHOW will cover the NBA from Helwani’s wide-eyed perspective for hardcore and casual fans alike. The first episode will be available Friday, March 24 on all podcast platforms.
…“Words can’t express how excited I am to launch this show with SHOWTIME Sports,” Helwani said. “This is quite literally a dream come true for me. You see, my original plan, when I first attended Syracuse University back in 2001, was to be a basketball broadcaster – I have adored the game ever since I became a fan in the late 1980s. But when I realized every student had the same dream, I decided to focus my attention on the fight game. Over 20 years later, I’m thrilled to be realizing this goal and can’t wait to get started. And what a time to do so with the playoffs just around the corner.”
“We are thrilled to bring Ariel’s passion, excitement and love for the NBA to SHOWTIME Basketball’s rapidly growing roster with some of the most prominent voices in the sport,” said Brian Dailey, SVP, Sports Programming & Content, Showtime Networks Inc. “Ariel’s unique perspective as a diehard fan first and foremost will add a new and important dynamic to the team. As his fans can attest, he is not just the cream of the crop when it comes to MMA journalism, he is one of the best interviewers in all of sports.”
Showtime Basketball has quite the lineup of shows and personalities these days, including All The Smoke (Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson), What’s Burnin (Rachel Nichols and guests), KG Certified (Kevin Garnett), Ticket and The Truth (Garnett and Paul Pierce), and Headliners (Nichols). That also builds on their library of basketball documentaries on Showtime proper, which include Stand, Kobe Bryant’s Muse, Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story, Passion Play: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Garnett: Anything Is Possible, and the Kevin Durant-produced NYC Point Gods. Basketball’s clearly something they’re investing in, and Helwani is an interesting addition to the mix of personalities there.