So for my last article, I wrote about my old job. In general, I love hearing about other peoples’ jobs. It’s usually a reliable portal into a complicated subculture. So audience, I wonder: Are there any jobs you want to see written about?
I’d like to hear more about what various coaches do. Especially the ones who are further down the bench, or who specialize in things like “development”. I can guess a lot of what they do but it would be neat to know the details. Especially with all of the tech available now. How do they measure / work on improvement in different skills?
The trainers. Who is the trainer Bogues and Mike Procopio dismiss as an overhyped lackey? What was Tim Grover's real value to MJ/Kobe/Wade? The way its narrated ("MJ needed to start lifting weights to deal with the Pistons") sounds so naive. Weightlifting was a thing in American sports for quite some time at that point: Steelers' Iron Curtain and the antecedents in the 60s Chargers I believe(?) where they had Olympic lifting and steroid programs imported in (I think there was an SI feature on this).
My interest has always been what the facilities manager does in a large all purpose arena. Do they check for structural damage,to how long do you need to construct a basketball floor over the hockey surface and what it takes. How many people are needed to staff suites, clean them and what happens if u discover damage. Hopefully I am not the only one that cares.
From the last article: "I've heard from a few friends that given the current climate it's not really that fun to be a TV writer anymore." Of course I have a sense of why this might be but I'd be interested to hear more.
How about a little Raymond Ridder/ NBA team PR-man analysis? The job seems as thankless as the beat reporter and as demanding as the NBA news breaker.
I expect guys like Raymond have put out many fires before the story could get to the media. I assume you would know his efforts to kill bad PR stories. How much bargaining is there with local media? How often does he need to work in that capacity?
I hear that most of the NBA was made up of plumbers from its founding until Lebron James. Would love to hear about real jobs of these players, or if they all were literally plumbers.
I would like to see you continue juxtaposing various basketball media roles and how that ecosystem co-exists. What does the newspaper beat writer think of the ESPN national writer think of the RSN talent think of the SB Nation blogboy think of the ESPN countdown crew and so on.
Statkeepers and the subjective decisions they have to make that we accept as fact. I've seen writing in the past about the disparity in determining what's an assist from one arena to the next. What are other examples of that? Would love an X's and O's style article with a statkeeper doing the breakdown.
Sorry, not about jobs. Gotta give you these quick notes at minute 21 of your pod. Platform stuff: I just heard a 2010 debate which Rich. Dawkins did not join because he "did not want to give creationists the oxigen that is publicity". Perhaps new atheism as a microcosm where we had first instances of this. A while back Maxi Kleber talk about (the reverse btw) a responsibility of using his platform and, as a German, I know he didn't get that idea while he was here so where did he get it? Somewhere in "After Theory" Terry Eagleton, self-identified Marxist, makes a hugely important point re market of ideas etc., namely that the idea of fairness and objectivity and weighing of ideas is not the neutral middle, as may be thought, but conservative. Revolutions need clear narratives and overarching truths to work. Example for platform explosion is Jordan Peterson. But the explosion only works if people have something real to say, Trump not really an example. But is the turning point, as you say. Gotta go. Sorry for typos. James Lindsay (not his Twitter persona but his hours of podcast dives into philosophy) would be worth a dangerous association.
- People like World Wide Wes and other mysterious characters with seemingly ambiguous but influential roles in the league.
- The personal assistants assigned to young NBA players that essentially follow them everywhere and supervise their lives. Are these people assigned by the teams themselves or the players’ agents?
- What do people like Woj, Shams, and some of the other reporters provide in return for their sources giving them breaking info? It’s never made sense to me what motive a team employee would have in giving someone like Woj some valuable info if they weren’t getting anything in return?
- I’ve always been curious how much influence team owners typically have on day-to-day operations of the team. Did Lacob have weekly syncs with Myers and Kerr? Was every personnel decision reviewed by Lacob? Is there someone in a “head of staff” type of role that would be the in-between for ownership and guys like the GM & coach?
You talked about being in the media monitoring team, during your time, whats the picture now. Considering the way content is churned out. Basketball intelligence seems to increasing number of article every day. How do they work now? Like for me the view of sports journalist is to write or report what happened in the game after it is done, not to vomit tonnes of content while the game is going on! I'm tired of working like that! what are your views?
Ethan, sorry for the late comment, I dont know if this is strictly jobs, but I wondered if there was something you could write upon, how SF/Bay Area/Silicon Valley tech people see themselves and the world versus how the rest of us see it. Like for example, everyday there's a new article on the deleterious effects of Facebook, but the way Zuckerberg sees the product is opposite. I am sure there is a nuanced way to see these engineers/VCs' jobs without making them out to be the next Satan, while also understanding the negative effects their jobs have.
Sorry for rambling about, but this is always something I've wondered about and given your proximity, maybe able to shed some light.
Always look forward to reading your work.
Ethan, O'd like to better understand he tax avoidance by NBA teams. Not the salary implications on team taxes, but are NBA luxury taxes deductible from the team's taxes paid to the government. How are players depreciated as regards IRS rules. Is there salary depreciated over he life of the contract, or based on 2020 tax revision, can the entire 3 or 5 years salary be depreciated in one year?
I know that soccer isn't your expertise, but I'd love to hear more about how in an age of socially conscious and political footballers, (England blm kneeling during the Euros ect), how these footballers are discussing and justifying playing in the 2022 Qatar world cup which is built on top of the dead bodies of thousands of indentured migrant workers.
You've brought up agents a lot but I'm still not exactly sure what an agent does. Contract negotiation seems obvious. Finding and managing endorsements and other marketing deals? I think that's part of it. Reputation management / being a "fixer"? What value does the agent provide and how do they fit in with the rest of a player's management team? How does a first time agent come up with the cash to transport and house a player through pre-draft workouts? What are the day-to-day differences between an agent like Rich Paul and someone who represents more fringe NBA players?
As someone in the field, sort of, I'm in academics, sport psychologist/mental coach.
I was wondering if you could write something about people that work in the field of Social Media and how it affects their mental health and well-being?
Mental Health has become such a big topic these past couple of years and we should always talk about it.
Would love to know more about the people who train NBA players in the off-season when they are not affiliated with the team. A lot of it seems weirdly political and territorial. I think you may have talked about it a bit over the last few years. Like the guys telling Ben Simmons to post videos of him shooting threes.
I think the jobs around NBA players that do not receive any attention, like equipment manager would be interesting to hear about.
The job of determining that Goldilocks zone between a winning bid for premier league rights that also returns on investment.
Do an active about consultants who travel all the time. Like ‘Up In The Air’, but good.
High school custodian like Carl -- https://youtu.be/Fj-UgMI9Z0s -- or midnight-shift clerk of a porn shop.