- Stanford superstar and NCAA champ Haley Jones has started her own podcast with The Players Tribune.
- "Sometimes I Hoop" spotlights women's college basketball stars and their lives on and off the court.
- Jones told Insider about interviewing her on-court rivals — who double as her "closest friends."
Haley Jones does a little bit of everything on the court.
And now, she's taking point on the narrative off the court, too.
The senior superstar for the No. 3 Stanford Cardinal is officially the first college athlete to host a podcast with The Players Tribune. "Sometimes I Hoop," which launched Wednesday, spotlights fellow women's college basketball stars and their lives in sports and beyond.
"It's called 'Sometimes I Hoop' because it's showing that the athlete is a whole person; basketball is something that we do, it's not who you are," Jones told Insider. "But then within the podcast, you're also shedding light onto some of the best hoopers in the country that may not always get the greatest platforms to speak on."
"Having a podcast that's specifically dedicated to women's basketball is really important just to share their stories and talk about the things that we go through," she added. "I feel like there's not really anything dedicated to talking about the women's college basketball experience."
Jones' choice for her first guest — South Carolina Gamecocks sensation Aliyah Boston — may come as a surprise to most casual fans. As the faces of two of the most dominant programs in women's college basketball right now, the pair of All-Americans have sparked up a fierce rivalry, complete with top-two showdowns and Final Four bouts.
"The women's college basketball network is very tight knit," Jones said. "I feel like the landscape has changed in the past few years because playing USA basketball, doing the AAU circuits, this and that, you all get to know each other.
"We're able to call each other midway through the season and be like, 'How are you? How are things going?'" she added. "You're able to connect on a different level than other friends might be able to just because you're going through the same highs but also the same struggles."
Jones recognizes that it's been "taboo in the past to have friends on other teams." Many may argue that having an amicable relationship with an opponent could compromise a player's competitive edge.
But for the 2021 NCAA champion and Final Four Most Outstanding Player, being friends with the on-court enemy "only fuels my fire to beat them."
"When we step on the court, I want to win because after the game we're gonna gossip," Jones said with a laugh. "Now I can be like, 'Oh, how'd that feel?' or 'Oh, now you lost, oh, our record between each other is this and that.' We're friends first, but we're all at the top of our sport, and we're elite athletes and we understand how when you get on the court, it's time to turn on that competition mode."
What's unclear, however, is whether they ever turn off that competition mode. Jones and Boston spend much of the inaugural "Sometimes I Hoop" episode arguing over whether Stanford's Pac-12 conference is superior to South Carolina's SEC.
No one will take surprise with each player's stance on the issue, nor with their short-lived resolution to "agree to disagree."
—The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) January 24, 2023
Despite having "a lot to bicker about," Jones was grateful to kick off the podcast with someone she knows so well — and who intimately understands her experience as one of the best players in college basketball.
"The first episode was really fun," Jones said. "I had so many jitters and I was nervous [but]... I got to do it with one of my best friends. And so it made it more comfortable to make it conversational rather than it just being purely interview."