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.