Sports serve as an anchor of culture and altogether amount to an economy worth trillions. So they matter immensely, even if some think they’re dumb. Sports also happen to comprise one of the few spheres in American life where millions of people from different backgrounds share real-time experiences. In the recent (post 1960s) past, sports served as a space for the nation and its cities to bond over passions that were mostly walled off from the surrounding world. Within the last decade, those walls were breached. The world is now pouring into the arena, and pulling back contents that were once safe in those bastions. We are in a new, turbulent era. 

With that in mind, this Substack will deliver information and opinions on the sports industry that you can’t find anywhere else. That’s the goal, anyway. It’s an industry I’ve worked in since college, until I effectively left to do this project. I was a beat writer who covered the Golden State Warriors during their rise, and an author who wrote a book about their fall. I am thankful to have been around this controversial dynasty during the moment when social media reached critical mass. It was an education that can never be replicated, so rather than continue to hang around, I’ve decided to do something different.  

While this Substack will be part of the media conversation, the goal is to be apart from The Media. Sports media is a fairly cordial business, where dirty laundry is rarely aired. Here, you pay for me to be traitorous to my brethren, committed to entertaining you first, and considering industry pieties last. 

Lately, sports media has gone insane for the same reason other major institutions have gone insane. Let’s be open about the lack of openness right now. Many people within this field are either too worried or too temperamentally conformist to give honest assessments, on an ever-metastasizing list of newly taboo topics. What’s taking precedent is the Twitter cafeteria, where you can begin to conflate your colleagues with your readers, and hew to whatever allows one to keep a seat. 

This place is about the readers, though. It has to be. Not just any reader, of course. I’m aiming to find the ones who look for real criticism, as opposed to a stale performance of publicly hating whatever everyone else knows to be mad at that day. And I mean “criticism” in the analytical sense. Not everything needs to be hated, even if the modern media landscape serves us up so much worth disliking. 

For $99 bucks a year, or $9 a month, I’ll dish on a fascinating industry that’s full of absurdities. I’ll be prolific in doing so too, with a weekly goal of “2 podcasts, 2 written articles and 2 narrations of those articles.”

If I can make a living doing this, it will open up more opportunities to independent writers who want to make sense outside of institutions that seek to conform to Twitter sensitivities. That’s my hope, anyway. First, I find the right home. Next, many of us leave the social media rat race in favor of speaking to readers. Let’s go. 

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Former NBA PR gopher, former basketblogger, former NBA beat writer, currently against the currents. Email me here: ethanstra(at)
ESPN dude from 2001 to 2021. "I think better about basketball and the NBA because of conversations with Royce." — Dean Oliver, author of Basketball on Paper