Draft Class of '96 still representing.
Rajon Rondo. Deron Williams. Chris Paul. Ty Lawson. To know me is to know that I adore point guards. Yesterday, some of the NBA's best put on quite the show for us, didn't they? Perfect way to kick things off over here if you ask me. Writing about yourself is always a little strange, but I know that some of you reading this are wondering who I am and what my deal is.
Basically, I'm you. If you're on this site and found your way to this column, we're connected by our love for the game of basketball. Whether it's our appreciation of Rajon Rondo, love of Brandon Jennings or enjoyment of Tony Allen, we have things in common.
We're connected because we root for DeMarcus Cousins and his insane talent, for Stephen Curry's ankles to be magically strengthened, for Kevin Garnett to discover a fountain of youth. We want Steve Nash and Grant Hill to play forever, we swoon when rookies record triple-doubles and we love when Tom Thibodeau or Gregg Popovich are mic'd up.
On the short list of things that I love: the 1996 draft class, Jackie MacMullan, Kevin Durant's book bag, Scoop Jackson, Kemba Walker, Serge Ibaka's ever-improving offensive game, Eric Maynor's buzzer-beaters, Russell Westbrook's celebrations (everything about the Thunder, really), the 2006-2007 Golden State Warriors, how Derrick Rose's personality belies his playing style and, of course, Hubie Brown's basketball brilliance.
I guess it would be easier to just say that I love basketball. Everything about it (minus 24-second shot clock violations). Every level. Whether it's high school, college, a pick up game or the best athletes in the world. If there's a ball and a hoop, I feel like I'm home.
Still, for me, nothing compares to the NBA. I love the excitement. The drama, the ebb and flow that happens during a game, road trip or season. I love the stories behind the stories, the box scores, what happens beyond the box score, the furious finishes that don't make sense.
I also love writing about basketball and I've done my fair share of that over the past five years. I got my start writing over at SLAMonline, where I was able to work with some of the guys I grew up reading. Then, I moved to Toronto to cover the Raptors and wrote for The Score and The Basketball Jones.
I moved from The Score to Nike Basketball in September to work on a social media project with them. While it was an incredible opportunity with amazing people, I missed writing more than I could have imagined. When the opportunity came to hop back into the writing chair full-time and work alongside writers I respect immensely, I couldn't turn it down.
I couldn't have predicted this particular move, but I'm really excited to have the opportunity to be a part of something that's changing and evolving. I believe in the people I'll be working with, and I'm appreciative that they believe in me and my passion for sharing stories about this game.
Besides getting to cover the game I love, my favorite thing about this basketball blogging world is the people. The other writers, editors, bloggers, the ones who extend a helping hand and who treat you as though they've known you forever, not just through a computer screen, are the greatest gift of this gig.
In 2009, I was home for Christmas with my mom in Nova Scotia, and Rob Mahoney was home in Texas with mono. I was missing the Raptors, and he was missing, well, normal life. We bonded over G-chat that holiday season, and he's become one of the closest friends in my life, despite us never having spent any time in the same room.
Today, I get to move him from the colleague column into the coworker column, and there isn't anyone I'd rather start a writing adventure with.
Whew. It feels really good to be back. Even if "back" isn't really back, but the beginning of a new adventure. Whether you're a new reader or someone who is familiar with my writing (or Twitter ramblings), I'm excited to be here, sitting at this computer in this crowded and freezing coffee shop (it's currently seven degrees in Toronto, I don't have socks on because I hate wearing them, and they have the door open), clicking the keys to write this first post of many to you.
I was being silly and nostalgic last night, and found the first thing I'd ever written for SLAMonline, from September 2007, and two sentences stuck out to me:
"I guess what I am trying to get across to you all is that basketball is my passion and writing is my release. When those two are combined, the product is my truth."
Five years later, above all else, this sums up who I am, as well as anything I try to express today. Thanks for letting me talk about basketball. This is going to be fun.