Editor's note: During the mad dash among NBA reporters to uncover information about Dwight Howard's meet-and-greets with various suitors last week, a 16-year-old high school student by the name of Arye Abraham scooped some of the industry's top NBA journalists. Abraham detailed the whereabouts of Howard's meetings with the Houston Rockets, among other findings, and earned retweets and kudos from bloggers and journalists across the country. We asked Abraham to tell his story in his own words.
Here’s what most people don’t know: I have been meeting different NBA players on a regular basis for about two full seasons. My friends and I routinely go to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel before Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers home games to meet visiting teams’ players and get autographs.
When we heard that the Houston Rockets were coming to town to meet with free agent Dwight Howard, we automatically assumed they would be at the hotel, which is just minutes from my home. We dropped by the hotel on a whim, and sure enough we saw Chandler Parsons and Clyde Drexler. Moments later, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and his assistants enter the hotel.
Why did I care enough to show up in person?
Long story, but here are the facts: For eight years, I’ve been a devoted Lakers fan. Every time the Lakers lose, I’m angry. Every time they win, I’m overjoyed. Watching every Lakers game has become a pattern for me. Two championships later, how could I not try to help my beloved Lakers? I wanted Dwight to stay.
At first, I did not expect my Twitter to explode the way that it has. It felt surreal, to say the least. But it has been an amazing experience, and I have appreciated every minute of it. Obviously, we didn't have an impact on the final decision, but it sure was fun trying.
Of course, I haven’t stopped reporting. Just this past week, I met Nene, Nick Young, Metta World Peace, Mark Jackson, Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan and Chris Paul.
I plan to continue reporting about Lakers' news around town because it gives me great satisfaction to let people know what is happening with the team. I also plan to report anything that has a connection to Los Angeles. If any player is in L.A. or Beverly Hills, I will report on it.
It is extremely fun to do. It's not all luck, though. There is a lot of preparation that goes into this, which makes it even more fun.
My hopes for the Lakers' 2013-14 season is obviously a championship, but I don’t think that is very reasonable. Realistically, I think they can be the fifth seed in the Western Conference and maybe advance to the second round of the playoffs. Hopefully, next year the team can get somebody like Carmelo Anthony and then contend for a championship.
It’s a long ways away, but that would be great.
Either way, I’ll be there to report whatever I see.