Saying Goodbye is Never Easy

By Kevin Pelton
For Hoopsworld.com
Aug. 5, 2004

If there's anyone who should know how to go about leaving Hoopsworld.com, it should be me. After all, this is the second time I've done so.

"This is a fantastic and exciting opportunity for me, but at the same time Im saddened to have to leave the site where I got my start as a basketball writer," I wrote in October 2002, the first time I left Hoopsworld, and those words remain equally true today.

Back then, I was leaving my Sonics column in favor of joining the organization as an intern. While still filling the latter role, I've been able to return to Hoopsworld over the last year and a half to write "Page 23". Now, that opportunity with the Sonics has grown. I have been hired on full-time by the Sonics to write for Supersonics.com and storm.wnba.com and perform all the duties of a newspaper beat writer save traveling with the team.

If you'll indulge me, this is a pretty remarkable day in my life. I've never so much as written a story for a newspaper of any kind in my entire life (ahem, under my own name, that is), but I'm now making a living off writing about basketball. Frankly, that never would have happened without the esteemed proprietor of this site, Steve Kyler.

A little over three years ago, I was just like any of you, reading stories on Hoopsworld (only then it was BskBALL.com). One day, I dropped Steve a line because the Sonics column hadn't been updated in months. A little correspondence followed, and I became the Sonics columnist here. I had no idea what to expect; I figured it would just be a fun little place to poor thoughts out onto the Internet. "I've been hooked on the Sonics since about first grade, and now I'm ready to share my crazy theories about the team with everyone out there," I wrote in that first column.

Things snowballed from there, allowing me to consider the possibility of making writing about basketball my life. Basketball is my passion, and it is my incredible luck that I happened to have some modicum of ability describing the game.

Page 23 was a fluke, really. I missed writing columns and pitched the idea to my boss, doubting he'd go for it. To my surprise, he okayed it. I would be lying if I didn't say that there were selfish goals to writing this columns, including improving my writing ability and furthering NBA statistics, but fundamentally I've written for the sake of the readers. If you've ever read something of mine and said, "Hey, I never looked at it that way" or "I never thought of that" that's success enough for me.

Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to write in support or to keep me honest, and I'm appreciative of the loose friendships I've struck up because of this column.

Thanks again to Steve Kyler, who is a huge part of me getting where I am today in my career and never uttered a peep of complaint when my columns strayed far from the NBA into statistical issues or the WNBA.

Thanks to my boss, Mike Bellerive, for being incredibly accommodating.

Thanks to Dean Oliver and John Hollinger, amongst others (not to mention numerous baseball guys), for paving the way for someone like me to write columns like I did without people running away and screaming. Thanks to Roland Beech, Dan Rosenbaum, Doug Steele, Patricia Bender, Larry Coon, and John Maxwell, amongst others, for providing incredible resources that have made me appear much more knowledgeable than I really am.

Thanks to everyone who's enjoyed my work and passed it along to new readers.

Thanks to my cousin for listening to my illogical unpublished basketball rantings and ensuring I never went too far beyond the bounds of reason in this column.

If I've missed anyone else, thanks to you as well.

Someday, I sincerely hope to have the opportunity to do something along the lines of Page 23 for a living. Until that point, I invite you to please give my work at the Sonics' and Storm's Web sites a look. As I've done with the WNBA, I anticipate doing some NBA commentary next season. While VORP and WARP may still be a bit much for casual fans and I don't anticipate esoteric discussions of the nature of basketball statistics, expect analysis with a statistical bent and similar player features to what I did during last season.

I also leave you with my Hoopsworld archive, if you ever have any interest. It's been real.

Wait a Second

One last link before I go: You have to watch a commercial and get a day pass to Salon.com to read it, but this is a must-read article by King Kaufman on the applicability of "Moneyball" theories to saving money in the NBA, something I've mentioned before that has taken on new meaning in this summer of fiscal irresponsibility.

Kevin Pelton is an intern for the Seattle SuperSonics and is responsible for original content on Supersonics.com. He writes "Page 23" for Hoopsworld.com on a semi-regular basis. He can be reached via e-mail at kevin.pelton@gmail.com.