With professional and college sports on an indefinite pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sporting Kansas City captain Matt Besler finds himself in an unfamiliar position: playing the role of the spectator.
Making his customary appearance on Sports Radio 810 WHB on Wednesday, Besler discussed two prominent sports headlines with Border Patrol hosts Nate Bukaty, Steven St. John and Jake Gutierrez.
For starters, Besler was among the six million U.S. viewers who watched the first two episodes of "The Last Dance," an ESPN documentary on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls that debuted last weekend. The Sporting defender will also be one of the millions tuning in for the opening round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday night.
Besler has cited Michael Jordan as one of his longtime idols, lauding his competitive drive to become one of the greatest and most successful athletes in sports history.
"It's one thing to hear about his competitiveness," Besler said of Jordan. "It's another thing to see it in video form. It takes it to a completely different level, especially in the practice setting. In games, there's fans and the crowd and the production of it all, which adds to the competitive element (of a game). But when you strip it all down and it's just the players in an empty gym and voices just echo off the walls, it really adds to it. Seeing how Jordan commanded excellence and demanded that from his teammates was really cool."
Besler and Bukaty then launched into a story about Sporting midfielder and longtime teammate Roger Espinoza, who has shown similar bravado and toughness during his decorated tenure in Kansas City.
"Roger has one of the biggest hearts of any teammate I've had," Besler said. "He can be in your face and fighting you on the field and sticking you, sometimes on purpose and sometimes not. And then 15 minutes later in the locker room, it's like nothing happened. Let's go out to lunch and move on."
Listen to the full podcast below.