Chalk Talk Episode #8: Legendary Sportscaster David “Kap” Kaplan Just Wants Us All to Get Along and Live Life All In – and He Has Some Ideas (and a Tattoo) to Inspire Us

Kap’s stories may shock you, but his passion – for life, sports, and helping people – will humble and inspire. Find out how you can literally follow in his footsteps, no matter where you live or how you want to live your life.

Chalk Talk with Zebra`s Adam Petrus and Hale Hentges
by Adam Petrus
September 20, 2022

David “Kap” Kaplan has stories. Lots of them. Many almost unbelievable if you didn’t have proof they in fact happened. But thank goodness for the internet, documentaries, sports historians, and celebrities like Oprah Winfrey!

As you’ll hear in our 30-minute Chalk Talk chat, Kap went to great lengths to avoid going to law school and launch his sports career. You might even describe his younger self’s actions as bold, gutsy or extreme. But I sure am glad that he did what he did in the early 1980’s (and every decade since). 

Kap is a standup man – the epitome of both sports and human greatness. He is also proof that when you “live life all in” – his personal mantra – you can do and be anything you want. You can also be what others around you need: present. 

So, whether you’re a philosophical person, a philanthropic advocate, a sports fanatic, or someone with career ambitions in the sports world, you’re going to want to hear what Kap shares in this very personal and memorable interview (even if you’ve never heard of him before today). Trust me, you will forever remember Kap’s name, along with every story he shares. You might even be motivated to read his books, watch his films, or join him on a 24-mile walk across Chicago on September 22. But I guess we won’t know if you feel the way I did until you hit play on this episode: 

Chalk Talk Episode #8: Legendary Sports Broadcaster David "Kap" Kaplan Both Shocks and Inspires with HIs Stories

Don’t think you have time to listen to a podcast right now? Make time for this. I promise you’ll be inspired by his passion for life, his ability to avoid “work” for 30+ years, and the initiative he took two years ago to close the divide in this country. Plus, he shares…

  • How he singlehandedly imploded a “done” trade deal between the Chicago Bulls and Seattle SuperSonics in 1994 that would have sent Scottie Pippen to Seattle, completely changed the course of NBA history, and likely diminished Michael Jordan’s legacy (at least a little bit). This is a true story. We verified. 

  • Why he’s not a fan of today’s societal (and sports) divisiveness, law school or Chicagoans who root for non-Chicago teams. (He also shares the team he would root for if the Cubs played the White Sox.)

  • How he came to live his dream in the sports world as a coach…scout…sportscaster…award-winning writer…film consultant…you get the point. (Spoiler alert: It took a lot of big risks and small gigs that will have you saying “wow” repeatedly throughout the interview. He also credits his “motor,” photographic memory and love for sports for keeping him – and his storied coaching and broadcasting career – going for decades.)

  • The one thing it takes to work in sports, whether you’re a coach, scout, broadcaster or otherwise tied to a team, media outlet. (He also reveals the single most important decision you must make in your personal life if you want a career in sports.)

  • How you too can land a job coaching college basketball despite being “utterly unqualified” or become a renowned TV star even if you’ve never been on TV or even YouTube before. (Hint: A great desire or despise for something are helpful.)

  • What is tattooed on his shoulder (and why you should even care).

  • Why he instantly turned down a publisher who wanted him to write a book on the Chicago Cubs’ history and what he ended up writing about instead. (Spoiler alert: If you’ve read “The Plan,” you already know the story here.) 

  • Why Kap started a 24 mile walk across Chicago to bring together people from all walks of life, and how this whim of an idea is now giving underprivileged kids a chance at a better life. (Plus, find out how you can join him on this year’s walk or donate to the young beneficiaries of the Walk as One Chicago event by visiting


About Our Guest:

David “Kap” Kaplan currently hosts a daily TV show with NBC Sports Chicago and a daily radio show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. But over the past 20+ years, he’s analyzed college and pro basketball and baseball games for ESPN and NBC Sports, among other networks, written for the Chicago Tribune, hosted several shows on WGN Radio, played a prominent role in the ESPN documentary Catching Hell, been featured in the documentary Hoop Dreams, appeared as a guest on Oprah Winfrey and won a prestigious Emmy Award for Best Interview Program for his work on Chicago Tribune Live, which was later known as Sports Talk Live. He was also a college basketball coach and NBA scout for the Indiana Pacers and Seattle SuperSonics back in the day...and this is only half his resume.

Follow him on Twitter for the latest sports scoop and check out his career highlights on LinkedIn or his official website.

Adam Petrus
Adam Petrus is currently the Client Services Project Manager within Zebra Sports at Zebra Technologies where he is responsible for co-managing the game day operation of the NFL’s Next Gen Stats program. Adam has more than 10 years of experience within the sports and technology industry and has been working with Next Gen Stats since 2015. Previously, he worked in the front office of an NFL Football Club and then the United States Intelligence Community supporting business operations.
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