The first list is in relation to The BS Report, the ESPN/Grantland podcast hosted by Bill Simmons. Here are my top 10 guests (people who appear on at least a semi-regular basis), but before I get to that point, here's a candidate who won't make the top 10:
10 > - Zach Lowe
The go-to BS Report guest for everything NBA, which would be fine if he was anywhere near as entertaining as Steve Kerr or the more informal Joe House. I'm sure Lowe is a fine writer, but he's not a particularly easy listen unless you're looking to fall asleep. Every podcast he's on is too long, and he's possibly more over-exposed than Emile Sandé. For Lowe, less is more. Less Lowe, more variety on NBA topics please.
10 - Matthew Berry
The ESPN Fantasy Sports expert appears ahead of every American Football and Baseball season, and yet the one podcast I remember most of all was the one where Berry and Simmons fondly looked back at Beverly Hills 90210. Make of that what you will.
9 - Steve Kerr
The NBA expert and commentator, who unfortunately isn't on very much these days. A thoughtful commentator on the game today, with lots of great stories from his time as a General Mananger and also his days as a player (especially as a colleague of Michael Jordan).
8 - Jalen Rose
When Simmons first started having Rose on the podcast I thought it was more to do with their new working relationship on ABC's NBA coverage. Scratch that, Rose is a fantastic guest. He's fantastically engaging, endearingly honest and candid, and has a host of stories of what he got up to as an NBA player. If you have a spare hour, go to the Grantland YouTube channel and get a listen to some of these stories, they're well worth your time.
7 - Chuck Klosterman
The Rolling Stone writer surprised me by being an always-interesting guest, regardless of the topic. Not afraid to argue contrary opinions, although always with a purpose and not to just seek attention. Always very interesting, although possibly not the person to listen to if you're looking for humour.
6 - Chris Connelly
The man of many hats, all of them interesting. He's told many stories that I haven't heard before (like the one about Chris Paul's tribute game to his Grandfather), given valuable insight on past eras (e.g. Michael Jackson and the early 1980s) and also recommended some interesting documentaries and films (e.g. Rachel Getting Married, which I hated, but never mind). He's a great story teller, and to his benefit I think I would struggle to pinpoint any of his biases, he simply presents as an interested neutral.
5 - Alan Sepinwall
The TV writer at hitfix.com, Sepinwall is an engaging, thoughtful TV critic. He was one of the first people who pointed me in the direction of Mad Men as well as early proponent of Homeland (and to be fair, a pointed critic of the end of series two). Like anyone, I won't always agree with everything he says, but at least his points are well considered and his appearances are an easy listen.
4 - JackO
Call this a conflicted point. Simmons' old college friend (full name John O'Connell) is the Yankees supporting balance when Red Sox supporting Simmons wants to discuss Baseball. They're often disparaging about the National League, but they remind me of how I talk with my friends on the phone, so their discussions make me smile for more than just the obvious reasons. It's just a pity that JackO's Irish ancestry make him so clearly anti-English.
3 - Joe House
Simmons' Washington-based friend always seems happy to talk Basketball, although he's also keen to talk about food as well. The conversations are similar to those with JackO, but a bit lighter and with no such anti-English slants. There's just something likeable about him. Maybe it's the incredible eating feats?
2 - Adam Carolla
Rarely seen these days, which is a pity, but the now-annual Fast & Furious reviews are always a must-listen. Additionally, his fictional film pitch for "Pedif Isle" in the early weeks of the podcast quickly made the BS Report a must listen for me. Very funny, usually quite bizarre. Okay, very bizarre, but I wouldn't miss them.
1 - Cousin Sal
My favourite guest, Sal Iacono bar none, usually for his weekly NFL picks that he and Simmons do every week during the NFL season. In jokes, impressions and the weekly staple of the fake voicemail message from Simmons, these are the podcasts I look forward to most every week from September to the start of February. (Please don't mess up the recordings at any point this season - week one of last season wasn't fun.)