Behind the Mindset: Reintroducing myself as an NBA writer
This isn’t a basketball article. This is a writer sitting down and getting a heavy weight off his chest and trying to become a better writer. Much like the court is a refuge for an NBA player, a Microsoft Word document is the same for me. Just me and my thoughts. Between the margins anything is possible. I can create anything and form a narrative that can reverberate to a whole audience, and in it they can glean what they want from it. On the court, in between those lines, there’s a story that the fans in the arena and at home are able to watch play out. Behind the scenes there’s a process for writers as well.
Creating a coherent article that delivers a point is the crux of the art form. It’s easy for anyone to write out an opinion and pass it off as a sound piece of work. But without context or a basis of truth then it’s not we do. What we do is take all of the information that is out there and contextualize it, and then we compose a piece by weaving our thoughts and personalities throughout it. By the time the reader is done, a couple things should have happened: something was learned and the writer’s thoughts resonated with the reader so much so that they pass it on to the next individual.
Sometimes, however, there is an anxiety in what it is I do. It might sound conceited, but what if what I wrote doesn’t resonate with anyone. In that same breath, what if doesn’t resonate with me? What if what I’m writing becomes mundane and lacks voice? This is where the passion comes in. The passion is what’s supposed to override that insecurity and let that confidence show throughout every piece written. Not every person that reads what I write is going to find it profound or groundbreaking, but in reality that’s not why I write. I write because, frankly, I love it and I love basketball.
A common quote that I hear from players is “I’ll play this game for free” and I truly understand the feelings behind that sentiment. If you have an insatiable itch to do what you love, you’ll do it just to scratch that itch. In reality, that itch should never go away.
That lump in my throat I get when the crowd is really in tune with the team is the reason why I watch. That symbiotic relationship between the team and the fans is the truly amazing part of the game. I want to capture that excitement every time I write. I don’t ever want to mail it in and write something that I’m not truly behind. Second guessing my ability is not going to make me any better.
It’s important for me to remember that when I open a new document, there’s a new story to tell with my familiar voice. Every paragraph is a shot, and every paragraph not written is a shot not taken.
I said at the beginning that this isn’t a normal basketball article. This was a look into the psyche of one basketball writer. I want to be elite at my craft just as your favorite NBA player wants to be elite at the game. Obviously there aren’t any shortcuts when it comes to getting the most out of your talent. It takes work ethic and the requisite enthusiasm that can push you through the lows and the self-doubt. I’m happy to have my words read by people that I have never met. I hope to create a connection with those readers. I hope to never take that for granted.
When things get tough for struggling teams they have player only meetings. This was my “Daniel Only” meeting, but I invited you in. Now let’s go watch some basketball.