Seriously, tonight’s game is my debut as the permanent replacement for my man Sekou Smith on the Hawks beat. I’m new to Atlanta but this is a reintroduction of sorts because I’ve been out of the sports writing game since last May. That was not by choice but because of cutbacks at the South Florida Sun Sentinel, where I covered the Miami Heat among other things. Grad school was calling my name until the AJC called me up. I feel fortunate to land here.
My last personal experience with the Hawks was covering that ugly playoff series with the Heat in ‘09. Since I got this gig I’ve been following Ken Sugiura’s fine coverage (big thanks to Ken for so graciously going out of his way to help me make a smooth transition). I tried to keep up with all things NBA and Hawks and caught as many games as possible for an unemployed hack who couldn’t afford to splurge on League Pass. I’ve formed a few thoughts from afar, but you’ve got to be here to really know what’s up.
I’m here now and I see that, despite that 25-13 record, not all of you are happy. You think Woody’s offense is too much Iso-Joe. You think Teague should get more burn. You can’t get over Marvin Williams not being Deron Williams or at the very least not being more assertive. You wish the Hawks would get up for Cleveland, Orlando and the likes of the Knicks the same way they do for the Celtics.
You’ll hear from me on those and other topics as we go along. But I think the most important thing to take from all your grumbling is that you care about the Hawks. I respect that. I care that you care. It’s my job to give you your Hawks fix and I take that responsibility seriously, but I hope we can have some fun along the way. My aim is to be informative, entertaining, fair, interesting and, above all else, honest.
My feelings don’t get hurt easily so call me out when I make mistakes. There will be times you think my takes are wack and that’s cool. In fact, being a marketplace of ideas kind of guy, if you think my opinon is weak please hit me up in the blog comments, email or Twitter and let me know. I like being right but I don’t have so much ego that I’m not willing to consider other angles and admit when I’m off base. The Hawks are your team and I’m your guy at the AJC so let’s make this interactive.
I’ve got no hidden agendas. I try to know what the heck I’m talking about before I write it. I’m a professional so criticism is never personal. I’ve got no favorite NBA team or any pro team for that matter–sports hack cynicism long ago stamped out my childhood love for the Dallas Cowboys. I’m a native of Louisville, Ky. and a University of Louisville alum so I do love my Cardinals (I’ve already disclosed this to proud Kentucky guy Randolph Morris, and he assures me we still can get along). Otherwise, I’m a dispassionate observer.
I’ve been at this sports writing thing for going on 12 years now, with stops in Louisville and Milwaukee before Fort Lauderdale. I’ve covered an NBA champion (2006 Heat) and a 106-loss baseball team (2002 Brewers). I’ve covered a respected franchise builder (Pat Riley) and, um, the opposite (Dave Wannstedt). I’ve watched a player lift a team to unprecedented heights (Dwyane Wade) and I’ve seen a player send a season up in smoke (Ricky Williams). Hopefully through all of that I’ve gained some perspective on how to chronicle games and the people who play them and can bring that to my Hawks coverage.
I’m glad to be here covering the Hawks and I hope you will be end up glad about that, too. You’ll get my best shot even if I ain’t no perfect man. I’m trying to do . . . the best that I can . . . with what it is I have.