Before the Clippers’ last home game of the 2015-2016 season, I went to their locker room and found surprisingly good vibes.
Then they lost the next two games and met elimination, and I wrote about their revelation, which came necessarily late.
Kobe’s last game was the biggest LA moment since the OJ chase. Earlier that day, I wrote about his essential loneliness for VICE Sports.
I wrote about the Ball brothers and the undefeated national champion Chino Hills Huskies for VICE Sports.
Reporting on this team was really fun, but I wound up getting my ass kicked by LaMelo and Okongwu in horse, which was more than I bargained for. I’m guaranteeing victory in the rematch right here, on this website, which many people read.
When I was reporting my first article on the Bucks, Mike Smith, who does color commentary on Clipper broadcasts, pulled me aside in the tunnel before tipoff. “How do you pronounce Giannis’s last name?” he asked me. “Ahn-te-to-koom-po?”
Yeah, that’s fine, I told him. “It’s actually more like Ah-detto-koom-bo, but the way you said it will be good enough.” He nodded. “Just make sure you get the Farsi names right.”
He got the joke.
I wrote about the Bucks’ very tall, very talented dude making a name for himself as a point guard. More than that, it’s about the retro-futurist basketball fantasy Giannis is finally beginning to fulfill.
Excerpts from this article were featured in a post on NBA.com and in the Bucks’ game program. V cool.
For VICE Sports, I wrote about J.J. Redick, supremely watchable but wholly unrelatable. I made some .gifs for this. Here’s one that I liked, but didn’t make the cut:
I made my first foray into sportswriting over at VICE Sports with this piece on race, class, city politics, and the professional basketball franchise in the middle of it all.
I lived in Wisconsin for two years after I graduated college. It wasn’t quite Wallace Stegner’s Wisconsin, but it wasn’t really Scott Walker’s Wisconsin either. It didn’t feel like Walker’s Wisconsin, at least.
That’s mainly because when you’re living comfortably, taking healthy bites of your student loans and telling yourself that’s why you’re there, reading shit by Wallace Stegner, and convincing yourself of a Pynchonian conspiracy you’ve invented at work so that you can place yourself in the middle of it and still feel authentic seeing yourself in the SmartTV glare, the cruelty of The Way Things Work for everyone else sort of recede.
Still, whether I could feel it or not, Walker’s Wisconsin was very much what it was. Only my expeditions to Milwaukee – where Walker built an ultraconservative, dog-whistling talk radio constituency in the early nineties – to watch basketball provided reminders of how broken the system was, and still is.
I’m not living that cozy, detached life anymore, relatively speaking at least. I miss the Bucks, I miss the house of crumbling concrete they plan in, and I miss the city and state where they play half their games. I think this article gives that away. But I’m happy to be thinking about the bigger picture now, and writing about it, too. I hope it means something to you.
Thanks to the very gracious Bucks PR team, which went above and beyond for a rookie reporter, and to my marvelous editor at VICE Sports, who believed in the story.