I still believe in blogs.
That’s getting to be a more-and-more outdated and quaint concept as the years go by. Big-brand sites have co-opted and integrated the concepts. Twitter and Facebook have emerged as the powerful tools of self-expression in a public sphere. There was always kind of a revulsion to the concept from traditional media, and in recent years Twitter-only personalities have grown similarly jaded towards the idea too. Some people think it’s just software, a format for posting online. Some think that in a constantly moving environment, there’s no room for anything beyond 140 characters that isn’t purely brilliant. If you’re going to write something in this environment, the thought goes, you’d better be saying something really powerful or meaningful with a voice worth expressing it.
But I still think there’s room for sites with ideas behind them, without the full resources or brainpower to take themselves too seriously. I think basketball fans are still aching for more content, more stuff to think about, more stuff to read about, laugh about, argue about, yell about, and share with their friends. I think there’s room for young writers to find their voices and in doing so, to find an audience that will embrace them and encourage them to keep talking about the things everyone in this sphere is passionate about. I think a blog is more than just a WordPress login, some plugins and a scroll bar. I think it’s an identity, it’s a way of looking at the web, at telling stories. It’s a community, beyond Twitter and major media circles. There’s something about the people who love basketball enough to talk about it all the time and write about it and post funny stories and videos and pictures, who want to understand the game better and celebrate its weirdness.
So even after moving to CBS and remaining behind this site only as the guy behind it, I still believe in blogs. And that’s a lot of what today’s announcement is about.
In the post above, CLICK HERE TO READ IT IN ALL ITS PRESS RELEASE FORMAT AMAZINGNESS, you’ll read all about what’s up at Paroxysm. We’re joining FanSided, which means leaving TrueHoop Network. We’re expanding to create a mini-network of little HP’s that are going to cover a number of areas I’ve thought deserved their own blogs for years but only recently began to believe could carve out a strong enough role that it warranted the time and effort to produce them. It’s a major undertaking, and we’re looking for help. Whether you’re a longtime fan or only know me from Twitter, if you think this is something you want to be a part of, let us know.
This move isn’t changing my life or the lives of any of the editors. I’m not suddenly Scrooge McDuck swimming in bitcoins and pogo-sticking over ghosts. (Yes, I did play “Duck Tales” on XBox all the way through last month, why do you ask?) The resources we’re getting from FanSided are a great investment into what Paroxysm is worth, but if I wanted to make money, I’d be doing listicles that objectify women or feature animals. And I’m not looking down on that, because I write things like top free agent lists professionally. My point is that this move isn’t about money for me, or for us.
I don’t know when it happened but at some point Paroxysm became less about about the legacy of the site itself and that it’s been an independent and highly regarded (pffft) NBA blog for so many years it’s probably the longest running, and more about the writers. It became about getting good, talented young people jobs doing what they loved and giving people who otherwise would be lost to office dronedom a chance to write something that gets read and noticed by people. I want Paroxysm to keep being a place where we test new ideas, where we make good young writers better, where people that the NBA media circles should notice but might never have get that kind of recognition.
The ESPN TrueHoop Network was awesome for us. It was a great idea, a bold idea, from Kevin Arnovitz and Henry Abbott. Look what it’s done. It’s taken bloggers and made real journalism. It’s pushed the boundaries on how to cover the sport. It’s produced quality, top level talent for ESPN and other outlets. I owe so much to Henry Abbott for his support and help over the years and will never be able to repay him for what he’s done for me. Kevin Arnovitz is known throughout NBA media as one guy everyone adores and respects. The Network is transitioning to focus on writers and the writing, and it’s hard to blame anyone or anything for that decision. NBA writing on the web will always be in great hands with those two involved. We’ve got no ill will towards ESPN and the great people that work there; you’ll probably find the work of some of our writers still popping up there from time to time.
I still believe in blogs. And the move to Fansided is reflective of that belief. It’s a place that’s out there on the frontier of wherever blogs are going. It has a vision for where sports media from non-professional-journalists can go, and we want to be a part of that… while providing a place that helps develop the next wave of professional sports journalists. They believe in HP and what it can be with this new network. And we’re going to give it a shot.
I want to thank the staff of Paroxysm. This site could have withered and died on the vine so many times, but the fantastic writers we’ve brought on board have kept it alive. So many great writers have gone on to professional careers, and yet they light up when they talk about what they used to write at HP. And the work that’s been done by Amin Vafa and Jared Dubin needs special attention. They have helped transition the site through two redesigns, a hack, bringing on new writers, their own personal and professional engagements, and through it all they’ve worked to make this a site worth reading every day. This FanSided deal wouldn’t have been possible without them, and I’m extremely fortunate to call them colleagues and friends. Even if Jared hates fun.
And finally, I want to thank you for reading this, whether you’re a Twitter follower who occasionally clicks on a link or a devoted fan of the site that has stuck with us since the Blogspot days. You’re the reason we’re still going, you’re what I remind myself of when I get burned out, the reason we’re so excited about this going forward.
Enjoy the latest and greatest Hardwood Paroxysm.