The Perks of Being a Sports Podcaster:At the Bar with DNVR Podcaster Adam Mares

The perks of being a sports podcaster in a Denver sports bar are many.

Sports podcaster, Adam Mares, helps hosts the DNVR Denver Nuggets Podcast, located in the DNVR bar near East High School off Colfax. As it just so happens to be, he is my cousin. I had the pleasure of sitting down with him at the DNVR bar and asking him a few questions about his career and the podcast. 

Adam has established his name as a credible sports-writer and podcaster in the media world of Denver sports.  He is a Colorado native originally from Thornton. He majored in philosophy and played basketball at the Colorado College in Colorado Springs.

After college, he started writing about the NBA as a passionate hobby and developed quite a following. Adam has always loved Denver sports, especially basketball. It wasn’t until a couple years after he started writing that he thought he could actually make money off of it. Adam recalls, “The only reason I made it in is because I was doing it because I wanted to, because how many people would take a three-year unpaid internship, which was basically what I did, even though I didn’t have an internship I was writing unpaid for several years.”

At the time, podcasts were just starting to get big. For the uninitiated, podcasts are pre-recorded audio shows that discusses specific topics relating to the show’s theme. Subscribers can download and listen podcasts to on their own schedule, making them accessible and popular.

The first podcast he made was called the Pick Axe Podcast and he made it to try and get his name out there and practice his skills in podcasting. Eventually this paid off because he got hired by a startup called Locked On Sports. Locked On Sports has since grown into a big company and Mares still does a podcast there called Locked On Nuggets.

The DNVR Denver Nuggets podcast is an intensive in-depth daily podcast that covers the Nuggets five days a week. Adam said there are five journalists who help host the podcast at various times with usually only three or four of them hosting for any show. The five of them are all genuine friends who share a passion for the Nuggets. Adam said, “Our audience feels like they're hanging out with their friends talking about the Nuggets.”

After every game, they discuss each of their perspectives and narratives. It covers analysis, news, and the community revolving around the Nuggets. Their podcast is the number one Nuggets podcast in the world.

One of the perks and (Adam’s favorite thing about the podcast), is the nicknames. Adam said they get to come up with a lot of the culture for Denver sports, like the nicknames and sayings that make the Nuggets who they are. For example, every year they nominate a player and call them ‘Mr. Nugget’. The player can’t be the star, or the best player, but it’s somebody who embodies the spirit, best aspects, and traits of the team.

The week before this interview, they decided Aaron Gordon, who has been with the Nuggets since 2021, was going to be ‘Mr. Nugget’. After they made the decision, they interviewed Gordon for the podcast and announced he was Mr. Nugget. At the next game, Ball Arena also introduced him as ‘Mr. Nugget’! Adam said, “That’s my favorite thing about this is that we add to the experience and create these things that then become ubiquitous and universal and everyone adopts.” 

Another key perks of being the number one sports podcast is access. The hosts get to meet and interview the players from the team. In fact, Adam has interviewed every player on the Nuggets at least once, if not more than once. He has also interviewed Michael Malone who is the coach for the Nuggets, and who is his favorite person to interview. Adam said, “Michael Malone is so charismatic and hilarious, and sometimes pointed… he’s just a really good interview.”

Adam’s most memorable experience since being with DNVR has been taking the DNVR podcast on the road to Serbia in 2022. Last year a group of staff from DNVR went to Serbia to learn about the history of basketball in the country. Five people from the show went including Adam, and two producers. Adam said, “As far as professional things I’ve done it was my favorite, we went out there to learn all about the history of basketball, we made a documentary on it, and we did a bunch of interviews and met a bunch of people.”

While they were there they even met up with Adam’s favorite player, Denver Nugget star player and Serbian, Nikola Jokic. Adam said when they went out there, they had a small following, but over the time they were out there it got bigger and bigger. Adam said, “We went on both of the national morning shows, they just called us up because we had gone so viral while we were out there and made such a big splash that they were like you guys have to come on.” He said the last day in Serbia, they got stopped about ten times to talk to fans or take photos. This was all just on their one mile walk to lunch.

Adam offered a lot of sage advice for anyone that wants to go into sports media. One piece of advice resonated the most with me and my own interest in journalism was about passion. Adam said, “Some of this is just life advice, and some of it is sports media advice, but you need to love something if you’re going to do it.”

A second piece of advice focused on getting better at doing the thing you love. Adam advised, “Just do it and it doesn’t matter if you have an audience or not, because your first article is going to suck, your first podcast is going to suck, your first everything is going to suck, so is your second, third, fourth or 100th but eventually you’ll be like ‘oh wow I’m way better at this’.”

All in all, I gained a lot of perspective from my time spent talking with Adam Mares. I find him inspiring because he’s someone that is successful in the field of work. I would hope to be just as successful doing this kind of work in the future. He makes pursuing a career within media and journalism seem more attainable.

The perks like working at a bar in Denver sounds nice, too!