Wednesday was a massive day for the Bleacher Report/Turner Sports family, as B/R officially announced the addition of four of the industry's best NBA writers.
As announced in an official Turner Sports press release, Howard Beck (formerly of The New York Times), Kevin Ding (The O.C. Register), Ethan J. Skolnick (The Palm Beach Post) and Jared Zwerling (ESPN New York) will all join the company this month:
Beck, who has covered the NBA and the New York Knicks for the Times since 2004, will take over as a National NBA Lead Writer for the site.
Ding's primary area of coverage will be the Lakers, a beat he's covered since 1999 with the Register.
Skolnick will be taking over as B/R's Miami Heat Lead Writer. He has been with the Post since 2005.
Zwerling takes over as an NBA National Analyst, covering all 30 teams in the Association. He previously worked at ESPN, primarily covering the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets news beats.
Let's take a look around the social media stratosphere and see what people are saying:
First, some words from the new writing staff:
Absolutely thrilled to tell you guys I've signed up to cover the Lakers and NBA in a brand-new, full-time gig for @BleacherReport.— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) September 16, 2013
I'm thrilled to announce that I'll be joining Bleacher Report as the national NBA writer, starting Monday.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeckNYT) September 18, 2013
Today's my 1st day working for Turner Sports. I'll be covering the Miami Heat (home & road) for Bleacher Report, NBA TV & other properties.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 18, 2013
I'm very excited to announce I'm now an NBA Analyst for Bleacher Report/Turner Sports, joining BR's standout NBA lineup for the new season.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) September 16, 2013
The overwhelming reaction to these hires was one of congratulations and positivity. Grantland's Zach Lowe, in congratulating the four new hires, wondered aloud whether a soon-to-be-retired commissioner would soon be joining the B/R ranks:
Hearing rumors Bleacher Report is looking at David Stern for an in-house counsel job. #notreal— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) September 18, 2013
Bringing in respected names obviously brings in respected readership.
Breaking: I am pleased to announce I will be reading Bleacher Report.— Beckley Mason (@BeckleyMason) September 18, 2013
@HowardBeckNYT Congratulations. They are putting together one great staff.— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) September 18, 2013
Not sure any other move could've shaken up the sports journalism world quite like Beck to Bleacher Report just did.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) September 18, 2013
Not one to shy away from strong opinions, Bruce Arthur of the National Post in Canada sent out his admiration regarding the arsenal of NBA writers now on staff:
I'll say this about Bleacher Report: They are getting premium NBA writing talent, man.— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) September 18, 2013
Jason Quick of The Oregonian, who covers multiple sports beats for the paper, was also impressed with the new staff:
Those are some pretty solid hires by Bleacher Report for its NBA coverage.— Jason Quick (@jwquick) September 18, 2013
Memphis Grizzlies vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger knows a bit about the industry. An early adopter of the advanced analytics movement in the NBA, he spent about a decade at Sports Illustrated and ESPN before moving into the Grizzlies front office. Hollinger went out of his way to compliment Beck as a huge hire:
Congrats to @HowardBeckNYT on the new gig. BR gets one of the very best.— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) September 18, 2013
John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal thought the hire of Beck showed the influence that Turner, which purchased Bleacher Report last year, has played within the company:
Beck is Impressive hire for Bleacher Report and shows Turner's influence on the site. Turner Sports, of course, carries the NBA on TNT.— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) September 18, 2013
Two words from Turner's own Matt Winer—major score:
Major score for Turner! Congrats! “@HowardBeckNYT: I'm thrilled to announce I'll be joining Bleacher Report as the national NBA writer...”— Matt Winer (@matt_winer) September 18, 2013
Last month, B/R famously added well-respected NFL columnist Mike Freeman to the fold. David Steele of the Sporting News sees Beck's hire as another step in the right direction:
Beck and Ding overlapped in Los Angeles covering the Lakers for a couple years. So did Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News. He sent out his congratulations to his former brothers in arms upon the announcement:
Mike Trudell, who covers the Lakers for their official site, complimented Ding as one of the best in the business:
Though Ding's move was announced a bit earlier, it's still been reverberating around the NBA community. Author and writer Larry Coon was one of the earliest to point out what a boon having Ding at a full-time capacity would be:
Best wishes to @KevinDing on his move from OC Register to Bleacher Report. Big loss for the former, instant credibility boost for the latter— Larry Coon (@LarryCoon) September 6, 2013
In all, though, it was the overarching scope of the hires that created the most buzz on social media; most reactions were aimed at the overall All-Star lineup feel to the situation.
Matt Moore of CBS Sports, in fact, put the quartet of writers in the same sentence as the Brooklyn Nets—a team that made a couple transactions of their own this offseason, as you may have heard:
Skolnick, Ding, Beck, Foster.... BR had themselves a Brooklyn Nets offseason.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) September 18, 2013
Responding to a tweet about the quality of hires, the Bleacher Report Twitter feed made sure to point out that you'd need a pretty long slideshow to fill with all the names:
That's going to be a long slideshow… RT @Winston_Wolfe: My slideshow of great NBA writers now at Bleacher Report will be finished shortly.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 18, 2013
To put it in a way that should speak to every NBA fan: "Not four, not five, not six, not seven..."
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