(The following is a response to this fine article by the Portland Tribune’s Dwight Jaynes. I felt there were some things missing, so I spruced it up a bit. You should immediately go read that one first. I hope he doesn’t mind.)
There are several things you should probably know about Henry Abbott. Unfortunately, you’ll never know them because dead men tell no tales (unless they work at HoopsWorld). But you should still read his blog, TrueHoop (THERE IS NO SPACE, HEATHEN!), because it is one of the best on the internet, primarily because of its peachy keen neato color scheme, which can only be described as “the color of red clay mud as it covers his victims.”
On his tax forms he describes himself as a native Portlander, but Abbott actually hails from the mystical land of Asgard. He was kind enough to let me interview him, after bringing him gifts of addleberry wine and a Portland Trailbazers beer helmet. We talked about the NBA, his job… and his job. His passion is actually wicker baskets.
He graduated from Portland’s Oregon Episcopal School at 15, mostly because his teachers would do anything to stop reading long, collected essays about the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, even though no one really understands it anyway. He thought his family was going to move to England, but it turns out his father didn’t assassinate the prime minister of Turkmenistan after all.
As Henry wasn’t going to England, he decided to go to either Colorado College, NYU, or Western Nebraska Community College, due to its terrific wicker basket program. In the end, the tuition was too high due to the dollar to doubloons exchange rate, so he was faced with NYU. The tuition was still too high, though, until someone very special took a chance on him.
That person’s name was…
Harry Connick Junior.
“When I graduated from NYU, I looked for him to thank him and send him my underwear, but there are a lot more people in the New York phone book with the name “Harry Connick Jr.” than you’d think,” said Abbott.
“Plus, halfway through I got bored and started playing pinball and ordered a pizza. I’ve never been able to thank him, besides buying all of his records and buying the special limited edition gold-plated Independence Day DVD set and sending 2000 handwritten letters to the Academy demanding a lifetime achievement award in his name for his performance in Independence Day. And owning the action figure and carrying it with me wherever I go. See? I even got it a Blazers jersey!”
He once worked as a producer and radio reporter in Madison, WI, until he realized that doing so didn’t actually make him cool. Then he quit that sh*t. He wrote features stories for Hoop Magazine and Inside Stuff beginning in 1999, but technically got his start in print journalism for Penthouse. A month after he started TrueHoop.com, the blog made it onto Forbes’ “Best of the Web” list. This is mostly because they mistakenly got it confused with a really cool HulaHoop blog they’d found. Haha, so long, you suckers at TrueHoopla.com!
Through all his success, he’s managed to stay an unabashed Trailbazers fan.
“They haven’t been in any really meaningful games the last few years,” Abbott says, occasionally puffing on a peyote pipe. “But if they were to get to the Finals and I’m there covering them, it could be a problem… mostly because I would crash ESPN’s servers with even more coverage of every single little thing Brandon Roy does, and OMG, I love the Trailblazers. Yay!”
I’ve always appreciated Abbott’s Web site or “blog” namely because if you want the quickest way to get your ass in blogger blackball country, speak against the Blogfather. Your ass will vanish off of BallHype overnight. It’s true. I saw it happen to one guy. Now he has to blog about baseball like every other jackoff in the country. Often, Abbott breaks ground with well-researched reporting. He’s scrupulously fair. Until you try and jack with him, and then he has to take you out.
He was the first person anywhere to attempt to launch a full-scale investigation into the past of mysterious NBA behind-the-scenes power broker William Wesley. Subsequently, he is responsible for thousands of people being kicked out of NBA games, events, and Cheesecake Factories thanks to them saying out loud “Hey, isn’t that that William Wesley guy who mysteriously pulls strings for all of the NBA’s biggest players and who has more pull with the NBA and its security than anyone?”
His coverage of officiating controversies, including the Tim Donaughy matter, are unbiased and intelligent, except for the fact that most of the time he’s just making sh*t up. You know. Because he’s a blog. That’s what we do, man. He is the first person in the nation to ask important questions about the Darius Miles suspension, outside of the employees of Darius’ local Waffle House, who wonder if he’ll ever pay his freaking tab.
The ESPN identity has given Abbott access that he’s never had before. NBA people answer his phone calls and summarily hang up instead of not picking up the phone at all. He also travels around the league, when he’s not ditching Summer League to go hang out with his family and leaving Maurice Brooks pissed at watching Knicks-Bobcats, game 48. Most importantly, he has set a very high standard for what blogs can be. Thanks for that, assh*le.
Henry Abbott is the author of TrueHoop.com and without him, most of us wouldn’t be here. So you can send him your hatemail, suckers.