I’m on a plane flying back home to Toronto as I write this. I’ve decided that one luxury of being 5-foot-1 is the ability to stretch out your legs without being in an emergency exit. As I think about where I’d like this piece to go, there are two things that stick out to me.

The first is that I just called Toronto home. Three years after leaving Nova Scotia for the only Canadian city with an NBA team to follow my hoop dreams, it has become my home. The second is that I’m writing this on a plane. About four years ago, I flew from Nova Scotia to Vancouver, writing my first piece for SLAMonline.com after somehow convincing the guys I grew up reading to give me a shot for a New York-based internship despite living in Nova Scotia. From SLAMonline came The Post Up and from The Post Up came theScore and eventually The Basketball Jones and various other stops along the way.

In that time I’ve interviewed athletes I grew up watching, got to see the game I adore up close, had the privilege of developing friendships with many of my fellow writing colleagues and was also able to do some things that I couldn’t have even dared dream when imagining life as an NBA writer. One of the sweetest parts of being able to share your thoughts, words and experiences with people is that some of those people actually grow to care for you. The friendships and connections I’ve made with some of my readers are the single greatest gift I’ve been given as a result of this gig.

I think if you ask any NBA blogger they’d tell you the same. Our community is an amazing one and — no exaggeration — some of the most important people in my life are those I’ve met via email, tweet or Facebook message. Through the amazing times and the rough moments, the people who have experienced them all with me have been the people who cared enough to listen to what I had to say. Writing about basketball is a passion. Being able to write about basketball for an audience who actually cares about your words is a blessing.

For giving me that blessing I want to say thank you. Thank you for reading and asking and commenting. Thanks for hitting me up on Twitter, for flagging me down during halftimes at the ACC and for becoming such a part of my every day that I feel it’s necessary to explain why this will be my last post here at TBJ.

I’ll be leaving theScore and The Jones to take the next step in my basketball journey. I’m extremely excited about it, even though it’ll be a bit of a departure from what I’m used to. I’ll be working with Nike Basketball and I’ll be dealing with social media and writing and working with an amazing digital team that is immersed in all things basketball. I will still be writing and tweeting and loving the game like usual, I’ll just be looking at things from a different angle and a fresh perspective.

Before I finish up here, I need to thank theScore for giving me a shot three years ago when I was fresh out of university with a whole lot of dreams and not much else. Scott Carefoot gets a huge thank you for cosigning me to my editor(s) from day one. To the Jones guys, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this beautiful thing you’ve got going here. You each deserve all of the success that the future holds for you. I remember grabbing drinks with Skeets one of my first nights in Toronto. He was the first person I met in this city. Funny, right? He was working at Yahoo!, I’d just started with theScore as a junior web writer and less than two years later we were working here together. It’s kind of crazy when I think about it, but I’m happy it turned out this way.

The best things are often the ones you couldn’t have predicted because they are beyond what you could have dreamed and better than what you could have scripted. I feel my time learning and growing as an NBA blogger/writer/reporter have been filled with moments like this. From interviewing Rod Benson in the first interview I’d ever done over at Hardwood Paroxysm (thank you for everything, Matt Moore), to being able to call Rod a friend four years later (largely because he’s the only human being awake at 5 a.m., designing Boom Tho things in Korea while I’m stressing over sentences in Toronto), to having Scoop Jackson as my real-life mentor after being my biggest influence and inspiration growing up, to sharing basketball thoughts with Jeanie Buss (who is every bit as sweet as she is smart) and trade-info-filled BBM messages with front office peeps, it’s been a wild ride.

When I flew to Toronto in February of 2007 to watch the Lakers play the Raptors in my first and only NBA game that I’ve attended as a fan, it was because I needed to know I had seen Kobe Bryant play at his peak. My dream was to cover the NBA. I had been in love with the draft class of 1996 since, well, ’96. If you told my 11 year-old self, or even my 22 year-old self that four years after covering my first NBA game I’d be working on projects with the shoe company that encapsulates basketball, I would have thought you were crazy and prayed that you were right.

I don’t want to turn this into a huge goodbye note, because I’m not really going anywhere, and also because there are way too many people to thank. Each of those people know who they are. If there is a wish I could pass along to anyone reading this, it’s that I hope you believe in what you want. Go to where you want to be. This sounds simple, but it rarely is. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, though. If you love something more than everything, if you know exactly what it is that you want to do, pour yourself into it and keep loving it.

People often asked me what my path was like in getting to cover the NBA. My answer is simple: It’s harder than I could have ever imagined, but sweeter than I could have ever dreamed. Of course it’ll sound crazy when you tell people you want to be an NBA writer. Getting paid money to talk about sports is crazy. Someone’s going to get to do it, though. If you believe it should be you, make it happen. I wouldn’t dare bet against your passion and heart.

And please, don’t become strangers. I’ll still be on Twitter, Tumblr and everywhere else I frequent on the internet. Let’s stay friends. And let’s keep giving thanks to this beautiful game. I’d like to sign off with the words from a friend that truly mean everything: Be good to the game and it will be good to you.

It might just end up being better to you than you could have hoped. To everyone reading this, I’m thankful to each of you for being a part of my journey and I’m excited to see where it goes.

Thank you.

Comments (41)

  1. Followed you for a while. Enjoyed all your work. See (er, read) you further down the path.

  2. Congratulations on the next steps of your career! I’m looking forward to the awesomeness you’re about to unleash with Nike Basketball!

  3. Best of luck to you, Stackmack!

  4. This is terrible news for the Jones and amazing news for you, Holly. I came to this site initially because of the humor but it was a few of your pieces that really won me over. You always seemed to shy away from the obvious and overexposed storylines in order to capture something truly unique and meaningful.

    You’ll definitely be missed here. Good luck with everything and keep following your dream!

  5. Congrats and good luck on your future endeavors!

  6. what do those NIKE chumps got that TBJ doesn’t? folks, let this be a lesson in keepin it real. TBJ OR DIE \m/ ((but srsly, good luck…. and marry me plz))

  7. Mmm, better than going to networks like the Three Letter or The One with the Net in it. Not better than theScore though hahaha I kid.
    I feel that unlike other Score employees who left, Stackmack will still be the same NBA twitpic/New music sharing writer on the internet and congratulations for getting signed to Nike Basketball.

    TBJ and theScore be like “Cole World, no Stackmack”, HaHa

  8. I began reading this article eager to hear what your next job was to be…I finished it with a tear in my eye…thanks Holly…I’ll miss your articles and live-blogging…I’ll see you in the Twitterverse…best of luck and enjoy!

  9. Do you, Miss MacKenzie. Do you.

  10. Calling people names is USUALLY frowned upon in most websites comments user consent agreement Ididbronsmom.

  11. Just started reading the Jones a few weeks back… I enjoyed your work. Congrats and Good luck

  12. Ididbronsmom – And you’re rather a douchebag yourself for doing that on a goodbye post, whether you care for its author or not. Grow up.

  13. Congrats Holly on your new job with Nike Basketball. All the best and continued sucess in all that you do!!!

  14. Holly MacKenzie is all about Holly MacKenzie and gets by because she is a female in a male dominated arena.
    Narcissim should be one of the seven deadly sins.
    Its all smoke and mirrors, with no really sincerity for her readers or peers in the field.
    Congrats though!!
    Keep doing you Holly because it is obviously working.
    Deuces…

  15. Bye Holly, good luck in your future endeavors :)

  16. The trolls are coming out of the woodwork for this apparently. I feel like I’m reading stories on Yahoo again. Idiots please go elsewhere and let the adults talk.

  17. As cliche as it sounds, for me “Change is always good”.

    May you find true joy and contentment in your new endeavor.

    All the best to you Heather.

  18. Congratulations Holly! Bittersweet I bet. You’re an amazing young lady, talent, and online friend. God Bless you on your new adventures. What a journey!!!

  19. Congratulations Holly! Was a huge fan of the Post Up on SLAMonline. Sad to see you leave the TBJ team, but great opportunity for you

  20. You deserve all the wonderful things that come your way…look at me, lying, waiting for an operation (my right patellar tendon gave up on me yesterday) i still come here to read about the sport that fuels our passion…as i have said before, thank you Holly, for making it a lot mucho more interesting with your love for the game.

  21. Oh well looks like i’ll finally have to sign up for twitter lol Goodbye Holly, i didn’t always agree with what you wrote (like your posts about words like retard and faggot) but i always did appreciate the obvious passion you have for all things basketball. That and the fact you “used” to be a laker fan (once a fan always a fan) gives you bonus points :)

  22. Your writing has always struck me as having a wonderful purity and style to it, Holly. I know you’ll still be around but there will be a few less writerly basketball pieces to be enjoyed I fear. Best of luck!

  23. Loved your work in SLAM, Holly. Haven’t had a chance to read you much on TBJ, but I distinctly remember the Kobe piece you mentioned in 2007 and absolutely loving it. Congratulations – don’t let people discourage you.

  24. Nike Air Hollys wooooooo, I’m excited! make sure you get in the labs, check out the goodies and maybe if its not against policy you can share some stories about how it looks down there.

  25. Enjoyed all your writing. Good luck at Nike!

  26. It’s getting depressing, too many people are leaving theScore. Good luck anyways.

  27. keep it tight aight

  28. good luck miss stackmack!

    so does matt now become the shortest person on the TBJ staff again?

  29. Good luck Holly, I’ve been reading this site for a few months now any understandably ended up following you (along with everyone else involved with TBJ) on twitter… have thoroughly enjoyed everything you have had to say! Hope it all goes well with Nike

  30. What size are your feet? Are they stinky after a hard day of blogging?

  31. congrats holly! we’ll miss you here in TBJ!

  32. Congrats, Holly. You’re great! I just wish more basketball writers were even half as passionate as you are since way too many times we’re stuck with writers coming from other sports and not really understanding basketball.

  33. I’ve enjoyed reading your pieces and I hope reading from you again in the future. Good Luck!

  34. You’ll be missed Holly. Wolf Gang

  35. Stackmack. You’re the best. Way to represent NS – way to move up! I have to admit I was a little heartbroken when you called TO, home….but I understand.

    I’ve followed the Jones for awhile and your pieces have been great! All the best.

  36. I’m really going to miss you at TBJ, Holly.

    I first read one of your pieces about a year ago. Before that I didn’t read any blogs, and I wasn’t familiar with that whole scene. A friend of mine mentioned TBJ to me, and as I was looking through the latest articles there I saw something written about Derrick Rose. Being a Bulls fan, I had to at least start it, but it drew me in like few articles about any subject, not just sports. With a lot of online writing, I’ll read a couple paragraphs then check to see who the author is. With your writing, I tend to get so locked in to the words that it doesn’t even occur to me to think of anything else until I finish the story.

    I could go on, but I’m not so great with writing myself, so I’ll just stop by saying that it’s been a fantastic opportunity to read your stuff here at TBJ, and while it sucks to see you go somewhere else, I wish you nothing but the best.

  37. Later, gator. Watch out for all the fixies in Portland.

  38. no NBA season? You are even more irrelevant ms stackmack

  39. Just came across your stuff via twitter. Very nice…keep doing your thing…

  40. A newbie but a fan nonetheless. Good look and God’s speed in all that you do.

    Cheers.

  41. Your beautiful – marry me!

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