Welcome back to Ask A Blogger, my interview series with members of #basketballtwitter about basketball and the #bloglife. To see previous interviews, go here.
Today we are joined by Robby Kalland, the lead writer (#flex) for Hawks.com and contributor to Hardwood Paroxysm. He does good work down in the ATL, and you should definitely check out his stuff if, even if you aren’t a Hawks fan. You can also find him on Twitter dot com (@RKalland) talking about basketball and rap music.
1. In just a few sentences, can you tell us who you write for/what your job is?
I’m the lead writer for Hawks.com. I produce much of the written content for the Hawks official blog doing interviews, features, breakdowns, previews, and recaps.
2. How did you first get interested in/started with writing about basketball?
I actually started out covering high school and college sports for a local paper. I did high school and college football coverage as well as high school wrestling, but the paper had a press pass for Hawks games that was rarely used and so I got my start because I just wanted to go to Hawks games for free. I found that I really enjoyed covering games and talking to the players and coaches so I got more and more serious about it, and I parlayed my experience there into a gig with Peachtree Hoops of SB Nation and then to the Hawks.com job I have now.
3. How does a normal day of blogging go for you?
During the week, I work a normal day job so I have to make time to do stuff during my lunch break if news breaks or there’s a preview that they need done. I spend most nights watching games — Hawks games and general NBA games — and write features and recaps at night. On home game days, I go straight from work to the arena, and if there’s a feature that I need an interview for that I can’t get in pre-game I’ll go down to practice during my lunch break.
4. Switching to basketball things, what is one low-key thing in the league (player, team, set, etc.) that you really like watching right now that casual fans may not know about?
I like to pick a player or two each game and focus on them. A lot of times it’s a young guy to see how he’s adjusting to the NBA game, particularly off the ball on both offense and defense. Watching how a guy plays off the ball shows a lot, because it’s the part of the game that requires the most focus. On defense, I want to see if a player’s ball-watching or if he’s sticking with his assignment. I want to see how he works through screens and how he positions himself. On offense, I like to watch how active he is off the ball, whether he’s making hard cuts, going hard around screens and how he’s setting himself and his teammates up when he doesn’t have the ball.
5. What is the biggest issue Al Horford’s injury has caused for the Hawks this year?
The biggest issue is just that they’re without their best player. Paul Millsap’s been fantastic, but without Horford the team is just lacking it’s biggest weapon and best paint defender. The Hawks — when healthy — had a great chance to take advantage of a weak Eastern Conference and get themselves into the three seed and advance in the playoffs. At this point, the Hawks are fighting to stay in the playoff race now that Horford and numerous other Hawks are out with injury.
Bonus Question: Do you have any Sir Foster stories you can share with us?
Ha, not really any specific Sir Foster stories. He’s a really nice guy and he’s been killing it on the organ at Hawks games for years. It’s really awesome to see him get a lot of love after playing the All-Star game because for years people have noticed the organ in the background of Hawks games, but no one really knew who it was. Now they know who it is and how awesome he is. It always amazes me how he brings new heat to every game, learning whatever the newest hot song out on the charts is.
So there you have it. Thanks again to Robby for joining us, make sure you go follow him on Twitter (@RKalland) to talk about Young Jeezy, Dem Franchize Boyz and T.I. Oh, yeah, and the Hawks too.