Hey customer, what sorts of jobs do you do and what kinds of hobbies do you have? I swear, I’m just a curious content provider and not a bot designed to collect data for Amazon. Anyway, feel free to share in the spirit of the theme, submit story ideas, or riff on the news of the day.
Said a version of this on Twitter, but one takeaway I'm getting from this rich and varied thread is just how much difference there is within an audience in terms of life experience. Yet, you'll often read dismissive media summaries of who the audience is for a person podcast or show. Such summaries usually can't do justice to what's being described.
Man, I’m loving this thread.
Im a podcast producer with 3 kids and a wife living in Connecticut. Played hockey as a kid!
I just subscribed today: heard you on Blocked and Reported some time ago and when I finally made it over here and looked at a few articles, it became clear that this was a blog I needed to be frequenting. Anyway, story ideas! I'd love it if eventually you could write some about baseball, because I think there is a lot of what you've said about the NBA and NFL that applies to MLB as well, but the politically-inflected weirdness in baseball coverage at present has a character all its own. Here is some of what has been going on in MLB over the past years that comes to mind -- topics that strike me as related to what you often write about here:
-- Much as, 20 years ago, calling a baseball player "scrappy" was code for "white" (to the point that this became a meme and there was a backlash against it, and now you rarely hear this), at present there is this tendency in baseball media/advertising to apply the terms "exciting," "electric," and "fun-loving" exclusively, or almost exclusively, to players of color. A Dominican pitcher is said to have "electric" stuff; a white pitcher almost never has this said about him, and so on. It seems deeply weird to me, a kind of fetishization of minorities that has a whiff of condescension to it, but no one talks about it or calls it out. Maybe it's intentional, e.g., some (misguided?) top-down effort by MLB to appeal to minority communities ("look at all the 'exciting' players we have who look like you!"), but it seems like the progressive journalists who so frequently use this language are doing it of their own accord, and don't realize they are doing something that seems awfully ethnically-coded? Or maybe they don't care / think it's a good thing? I've never heard anyone talk about this, but it sure seems like a real thing that happens, and I'd love to see some coverage of it.
-- Jeff Passan. He's kind of the impeccably-sourced A-Woj of baseball, but he also has a woke edge to him, which is quite a powerful combination: news-breaker, plugged-in insider who can seem like he's carrying the league office's water sometimes, and left-leaning moral conscience of the sport. Sometimes (e.g., when he's doing a write-up of the Trevor Bauer suspension or something) it can seem like he's wearing all of these hats at once. I'd love to see some inside reporting on the Jeff Passan phenomenon, and what other people in the game and media really think of him... he comes off to me as a pretty cynical guy, but what do I know?
-- The way the media covers Tony La Russa. He's kind of the reverse Coach Pop -- a cranky elder statesman who has carved out a platform from which he says more or less what he wants, but who everyone suspects is pretty conservative. When he took over as manager of the White Sox and the team jumped out to a hot start, there were a lot of people (including, prominently, Jeff Passan) rooting against it, writing against it, insinuating that he was too old and doddering to lead a team or that his control of the clubhouse was about to come apart -- and yet they held it together and won the division with a 76-year-old manager, which is remarkable and should have a lot of journalists eating crow right about now. There are a lot of angles to this story besides the overtly political one: the fact that La Russa was seen as the enemy of the sabermetric movement (in which many current distinguished sportswriters cut their teeth) in the early 2000s; the DUI arrests; the fact that, like Pop, he can be "smart-mean" to reporters or act like a displeased father; the fact that he's seen as "old-school" as opposed to "new-school," which, like "exciting," is somewhat racially coded in MLB coverage. I just think there's a lot more to this topic than ESPN, or anyone, has really digested / unpacked.
Thanks for the awesome newsletter! A lot to read here.
I bake like crazy and have since age 7. Tomorrow will be peanut butter cookies and pound cakes - both great for shipping if you want to send address! Fifth boys can testify to stuff’s worthiness
I'm an ESL teacher in Central Taiwan, both running my own (small) language school and working for one. I also teach English literacy to some students in Hong Kong. My hobbies are weight training, sports, podcasts (The Ringer network mostly), and red wine.
Hey Ethan, I’m a musician from Puerto Rico currently living in Houston in order to get treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I play guitar, bass, piano and drums. I compose and am currently working on recording and producing my first record while recovering from cancer. My hobbies were playing basketball and Magic:The Gathering but haven’t done either in years because of cancer and the pandemic. I’ve been following your work since your early ESPN days when you picked the warriors to win it in 2015. Been a big fan ever since. Hopefully one day you can do a book tour and sign my copy. Love your substack and even though I miss the basketball pods, the new direction is really cool and I look forward to more of it.
I am ceo of regional german bank. I am following you since your early days at espn and noticed you especially on true hoop videos. 😃
Former institutional venture capital investor who works for a startup that is barely surviving under harsh Canadian COVID regulations.
Love playing basketball and will write blogs on some NBA topics. However, my interest in the league has been declining the last few years. IMO, it’s a worse entertainment product and the media discourse around the game and its players is nauseating. I believe Silver should bear most of the blame for the negative direction, so I hope you explore the failures of his tenure. Another angle is why the NBA media still likes to worship him? It’s very odd given how eager they seemed to criticize Stern.
I am a data analyst working for a high-frequency trading firm; my hobbies are mainly listening to music, collecting records, and cycling.
This is hands down one of the best substack I've ever stumbled upon, keep it up!
30’s Bay Area native who now lives in San Diego. I run a small video technology company, basketball was my first love, into surfing, music, fitness, and merriment. Intellectually curious and detest pretension and bullshit. Huge fan of writers going independent and delighted to be a subscriber. While basketball and the Warriors are the shit and I’d love more of both, I also thoroughly enjoy the cultural deep dives.
Bro, your talent is in league with a young Bill Simmons. You’ve written some one-liners that I still think about. Follow your gut and keep slaying.
Im in my late 30s and work in financial services in NYC. Bay Area born and raised. Big warriors fan, which is how I first came across your work. I enjoy watching/playing sports, reading and listening to podcasts.
I’m a big fan of your substack so far. This is a better fit for your unique perspectives and writing talent than your previous employers. Politically, I’m pretty right wing, but still enjoy your takes on those topics as well. Broadly, would love to hear your take on why the media is the way it is (you can interpret that however you’d like).
I’m a single late-twenties scientist (early stage pharma testing) from the Midwest! Right now I’m very into space and dabbling in computer programming. I’ve actually followed you off and on since the TrueHoop pod at ESPN (I had a love affair with the Steph and Warriors). Really liking the variety of content here on the Substack - I’m out here trying to reduce the number of things I’m subscribing to, but this definitely makes the cut! 👍🏾
Accountant from NYC. Very boring person who loves sports.
I’ve loved all your pieces so far. I was big into NBA twitter for a long time but somewhere around 2016 it started to become largely insufferable. It went from a fun place to share thoughts and especially jokes to the weird place it is now. I would find myself getting angry at tweets with people I actually agreed with because the way they would talk about something was so condescending. That’s when I knew I had to unfollow a lot of people and change the way I used it. I watch a lot less basketball now as well even though the knicks are finally okay again because I just can’t take the meaninglessness of the regular season.
P.S. I love the synced up podcast as well.
Ethan! You have an impressive constituency here. If anyone's interested in spending too much money on speakers and TV's, my business partner and I run a small business that designs and installs smart home systems for high end residences. It's certainly a pocket dimension worthy of journalistic exploration, but it's a well protected space, given the intimate nature of the work, within the homes of what are typically very private, and profoundly strange, people.
Been a fan since the Draymond Green Problem piece (or maybe before?) -- but that's when I knew you weren't afraid to go after the most protected targets. Loved the Fear and Loathing in Maui piece you did, and who could forget your one-way feud with the world's biggest sourpuss, KD.
Not sure I have any great story ideas. I'm a huge NBA fan and would love to hear more stories from behind the curtains, but I've also enjoyed your culture/politics stuff. Your intellectual curiosity and past writing tells me that whatever topic you get into, you're going to find the humanity, the uncanny, and the absurd. That's what I'm here for.
Happy you have a place to explore things in a way that works for you. That's a great place for anyone to be.
Until recently I was an executive at Kaiser Oakland. I’m currently CEO at a small hospital in Charleston, SC. I moved back to the southeast to be closer to family. I’m politically pretty neutral, except for strongly believing our system of government is badly in need of reform. Or maybe it’s our society. Or both. Or maybe one is the outcome of the other. Or vice-versa. Or both.
I first discovered your writing and podcasting well after your ESPN days. Love being a subscriber of your sub stack. I’ve appreciated some takes you’ve had recently regarding vaccines, Covid, etc. I’d like more of your thoughts on that topic.
Financial services career; love my life working from home these days. Ever since the pandemic, my Spotify went from all music to all podcasts, mostly NBA - GSW fanatic, too. I stopped watching most NBA games when The Bubble kicked off and consume mostly the pods now; and Ethan's articles. The article topics on the money side of the NBA and its machinations are appealing to me - more of that! Ethan does us right every time he publishes another enriching sesquipedalian article requiring me to look up the definition of some obscure/esoteric word or borrowed phrase. That has always stood out from the start, someone initially writing about local Warriors games but treating the weekly article content and characters more like a nice long form article in the NYT than we deserved. Beat topics that suddenly elevated, that was unbeatable then -- but the substack and the content in 2021 is the real winner now. Thanks ESS!
Mid 40s Supplier Diversity professional with a 20 year history working in broadcasting for a certain nba franchise in a state that rhymes with Corth Narolina. Would love to better understand the business side of the nba and when that misaligns with what nba Twitter believes is smart decision making. In essence when "blow it up" strategy costs real people money and jobs like it kinda did me a decade ago
24, college dropout, project manager at a political strategy firm, hobbyist synthesizer player, small dog owner, just subscribed.
I’m interested in reading more about the incentives that produce the sports media we get.
I'm a data analyst for a consumer goods company. I help salespeople sell water! Using historical data trends to create assumptions that help inform forward-looking models. Forecasting and reporting and all that good stuff.
Ethan, love ya man. As soon as I found out you left the Athletic, I subscribed here. Good luck with everything!
Damn Amazon bots...
I'm a 25 year old Dispensary General Manager in Upper Michigan who's followed Ethan's words around various sites for years. Happily subscribed, I don't mind when the topics stray from organized sport and into other questions that I often haven't thought about before. Always appreciate seeing the continued partnership with The Superproducer (who I believe I saw in these comments) and can't wait to read on along with everyone else!
Hi Ethan, I'm mid-thirties, live in the North Bay, I work at a local church. Follow the NBA/Warriors closely. Besides that I enjoy film/tv, video games, running, reading, hanging out with my 2 young sons.
Analytics/data science person, so big aversion to the bullshit that exists which is why I’m reading this
I’m a Program Officer for an NGO working in the International Development field. We have projects in the Middle East and Africa which either focus on (1) providing marginalized groups with tools and resources for launching small income generating activities to improve household resilience to shocks and stressors; (2) improving access to clean water; or (3) working with people in agricultural livelihoods to adopt climate-smart practices which are better adapted to the rapidly changing environment.
I’m a huge NBA nerd who has always been a fan of your writing and way of thinking. I hope you’ll take this as a compliment, but I’ve sort of mentally lumped you alongside Klosterman in terms of thinking through arguments in ways which are compelling, well-structured, and take the reader in unexpected but locally coherent directions.
Anyways, keep up the great work. Loving the substack!.
I'm a movie theatre manager. Been in that business for 22 years. Moved around for it. 2020 until now was the scariest year for me, even more than the Aurora shooting year. The last few weeks have given hope.
I'm not a basketball guy or even a sports guy beyond some MMA interest, I came over from the BARpod interview. I've liked the behind the scenes of the business you have provided. Without a family, I'm a guy that consumes podcasts and youtube content of all types.
I don't know if e-sport stuff is verboten around you real sports guys but I think having someone like Richard Lewis, an e-sports journalist that has uncovered the some of the gambling collusion scandals and the FBI investigation into the CSGO match fixing scandal.
I think another interesting area is the the exploding content rights fees are driving the sports world and other entertainment properties. Fans aren't really apart of the conversation anymore. Like in the way that say WWE makes content not for its fans but rather for the big time TV right deal contracts.
I work in tech at a company you briefly were a part of pre-ESPN, but am trying desperately to leave as it has become a woke cult and has a vaccine mandate coming soon. I'm a Cleveland fan and always appreciated your writing/pods even though you were covering the enemy. Despite many temptations to subscribe to other Substacks, this is the only one I've signed up for.
I work in corporate IT, and manage a site (and its social media platforms) on Australian basketball for eight years and running - made the move to Substack and paid subscription late last year. We interviewed Ethan (yes, you!) in our first year too. Love basketball, the NBA, reading fiction (fantasy/scifi), been learning Japanese since last year, and have been very into NFTs over the course of this year.
I've worked in the public sector for twelve years now and recently became eligible for the federal loan forgiveness program, so I'm quite excited to see on what basis I get denied (the program has had a lot of hiccups but this month they announced some sweeping changes so I'm pretty confident I'll get it). I've worked in my state's appellate system for about six years and I currently clerk for my state's highest court. Basically, my job is to read, research, and write all day. It's an enjoyable job and most of our cases are interesting in one way or another. While I miss being in court--I formerly worked as a prosecutor--the upside is I have a good work-life balance and with rare exceptions I don't have to kill myself to meet deadlines. Before law school I worked in the IT consulting industry and dealt with the 60+ hour weeks and had/have no desire to do firm work.
My big hobby is music and I play drums, guitar, and bass with bass my favorite instrument by far. Like a lot of kids, my mind was blown by Nevermind when it came out. Unlike a lot of them, I was mesmerized by the bass. I can remember hearing the intro to Lounge Act and thinking THAT'S what I want to play. I'll die on the hill of Krist Novoselic and Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden being the two most underrated bassists of the 90s. There's probably some kind of connection between loving a supporting instrument like bass and enjoying a job where you read and research all day.
The last year or so I've returned to my childhood love of Magic: the Gathering (see foregoing sentence). I hadn't played for about fifteen years and then I installed their Arena game on a whim and now I'm hooked again. I had tried their other digital offering (MTGO) years ago but hated the interface and toxicity. You can't chat on Arena so I don't have to deal with people calling me a dipshit, which is nice.
Other than that, my other big timewaster is homebrewing. I’m a total amateur but it’s a lot of fun, and my wife just bought me a nice kegging system for my birthday. My favorite styles are porter and stouts, and fortunately my wife loves them, too.
(Note: my actual writing for work is not nearly so disjointed.)
Founder and CEO of 5 year old software company that serves the horizontal construction industry (roads not buildings). Software developer. Married father of 5 (oldest 25yo, youngest 6yo twins). Recently moved to Kansas City. NBA fan. 5’10”
Another Australian warriors fan. Happily married with a 3.5 year old boy. Would be interested to hear some discussion on the dynamics of fatherhood/parenthood and modern life. E.g. the struggles of building resiliency in our children amid the participation award era, or long-term decision making amid the dopamine addiction era.
Former engineer, I now have my own business that services the construction industry, providing energy efficiency analysis on the design level. Hobbies are partner dancing (mainly Lindy hop), learning languages, camping, hiking and programming. I'm apolitical but find the politics/culture discussions in the US fascinating, as it's often a general predictor of what trends will migrate to Aus in 6-18 months. When I listened to you on the Athletic I always liked it when you got off-topic and had broader discussions with your guests, so now with you in your final form on substack I appreciate the content :)
Bay area, 30 something. Was tuned into the Dubs beat when you were at ESPN, I actually purchased my subscription to The Athletic when they sent out the use promo code ethan30 emails or whatever (Still a subscriber but my consumption of their content has gone down as the fever pitch of Warriors content slowed down).
Still a free user, and I don't know that I plan to get into paid tier because I'm not sure if I would get the value out of it. I do think this model can work for someone like you Ethan.
I was surprised to find you getting lots of hate on twitter recently as if you were some sort of MAGA sports guy. Never really saw that angle, but I do see comments from users on here that do rally against 'woke' stuff so maybe that's part of the brand.
I of course like to hear the more inside baseball stuff about your time around the Dubs and sports journalism in general, but I think the cultural commentary pieces that have been free were great. I think the area around how Agencies/Brands/$$$$ control the landscape are especially fascinating. Maybe the potential for stories there is not there, so I would echo what others have said when you have asked in the past - write about what you enjoy writing about.
Surgeon. Longtime Warriors fan and big fan of Radio Ethan.
I’d love to read stories on some of the crazy Twitter fan theories on the NBA like how players are compensated outside of contracts (crypto, etc), star players influence on roster decisions and why Steph Curry doesn’t get superstar foul calls.
I'm a traveler and psytrancer who works a year and then leaves the country until the money is gone. What I learned about sports in other countries: the "bowling" action in cricket is superb and fun... televised European football is better than US football just due to the constant action and lack of commercials... Field hockey is like the 3rd most popular sport among 100s millions of people... Britons care about Formula 1 because Louis Hamilton is English and they have so very few winners to cheer for... and finally, that Ethan (along with Grant Brisbee) are best sports writers in the bay area.
Former Bleacher Report employee now engineer. New dad who watches sports when I can. Story ideas: NBA owners who are connected most to China. G league vs. college basketball battle.
Danish economist working as an analyst at the Danish tax administration. Hobbies include soccer, psychology, whisky, coffee and internet nonsense / culture wars content in general (I blame Jesse Singal for me subscribing to your substack). Oh, and basketball (ever since "The Last Dance"): Both the sporting side as well as the behind-the-scenes-stuff, the spygames, media dynamics etc.
Serial entrepreneur in the environmental finance space (renewables, carbon trading, project finance, a smattering of mostly bad angel/venture Investments). Dubs season ticket holder 2010-2019. Was Oakland, moved to Orinda a couple weeks before the lockdown. For the first time in my life, the last couple years have put me in a car for 6-10 hours a week, so lots of quirky sports and business podcasts. Personally quite like the omakase sense of this substack - what’s next, who knows, but it’s probably pretty tasty.
Love your content and ability to speak freely. I’m an Executive of an energy company. Hobbies revolve around sports (NBA, NFL and soccer) music, food and video games.
For story ideas would love a greater view into which media personalities are represented by Klutch Sports and his info is disseminated.
Also would like a behind the scenes discussion on the Ben Simmons drama. It’s all I’ve seen on ESPN for the past few months. In that same vein a discussion of mental issues in sports would be interesting. Simmons had a significant legal issue with his sister and manager which I wonder had any effect on him.
Keep up the great work.
Spinitron is my money gig. Gas Giants Podcast, thefsb blog, thefsb music, just for fun. Used to be big into cycling (BMB, PRB, track nats) and then burned out.
American pro sports is a mystery and paradox to me: all discussion of it is so unbelievably nerdy, technical, fractally complex, and statistical. How do sports media people manage to make these fun activities so unbelievably tedious?
I'm a freelance journalist covering the LPGA for a couple outlets. I know the players pretty well and have written over 90 pieces this year on it: hearing your Nike podcast and arguments about how testosterone fuels sports was an interesting perspective that I don't entirely agree with, at least when it comes to golf. When it comes to golf, the most memorable moments on the PGA Tour are all around the putting green: Tiger chipping in at the Masters with the Nike logo hanging over the cup, Tom Watson chipping in on the 17th at Pebble Beach, Wood's putt at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey "Expect anything different?" Nicklaus's arm raise at the 86 Masters, to name a few.
I could type for awhile, but on top of socially it's the correct thing to do because women and men are both human, the economics of how expensive men's sports are getting makes women's more appealing. It was $10 a day for the U.S. Women's Open this year at Olympic Club and you can directly interact with the athletes, versus a packed house for PGA Tour events.
I own and work at a digital marketing agency. I hate the entire marketing and advertising industry. We work with some pretty big companies. But I’m pretty socialist and hate big companies. That whole “this is one giant broken game but at least we realize we’re playing it” attitude is kind of a selling point.
I play and fix and build and accumulate (“collect”) guitars. (Amazon ad bot, please send fret files and primetone picks), go to all the bucks games, and do four year old stuff with my four year old.
I think vaccine mandates and big government are super cool, but I don’t wither and die when someone doesn’t agree.
I'm a lawyer - 39 yrs old, run my own practice in SoCal focusing on probate/trust/estate/wills/inheritance law. Been a basketball junkie my whole life, and I'm into all sports in general (just went to Austin for the USMNT - Jamaica world cup qualifier). I travel when I can, stay active (crossfit, yoga, surf, occasional beach volleyball/pickleball), and consume a few hours of sports - usually NBA - every night. I enjoy your NBA/sports media related posts, but I also appreciate your political/broader societal takes. Keep up the good work.
Lawyer, former public servant now working for international organisation. Mostly helping devolping countries with law reform projects. Beneficiary of a ridiculous system that vastly overpays certain types of knowledge.
Hobbies are playing with my kid, watching sport and reading circa 150 books a year.
Mathematician and neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins. Some of my research involvement analyzing brain signals from monkeys. Hobbies are tennis, video games, chess, basketball, cooking, watching/reading about basketball.
Love the work you do and the perspectives you write from.
I dabble in the NBA comedy space. I made a few viral NBA animated videos and then got a job writing for Game of Zones for 3 seasons. Primarily though, I'm an economics professor (adjunct tho).
In the pandemic, I got really into surfing and building legos and these hobbies almost totally replaced following the NBA for me
I'm also fascinated by the NFT/DAO space and would like to get into it in some capacity.
Leveraged buy outs in the upper middle market.
I really appreciate insider views like yours on the culture of business. I guess I just think about businesses all the time anyway.
Keep up the great work!
Senior project manager at a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO. Like any white guy in his early 30's I host a podcast, covering my alma mater's college basketball team. Grew up a basketball fan and am fascinated by sports media trends and economics. Would love to hear any thoughts you have on topics like subscription fatigue, the future of pregame/postgame shows, second screen viewing experiences (fantasy, betting lines, alternative play-by-play broadcasts/reaction streams, etc.).
University student majoring in history & film! If u ever want to bring in a student discount would be much appreciated :))) my hobbies are mostly centred around hedonism at the moment, but other than that I write on my own blog, read a lot of media/non fiction, and am sports obsessed. I want to be a doc filmmaker or a journalist (rip), really admire your writing style and content selection it’s inspiring.
I’m a lifelong NBA fan, who remembers obsessively reading the the 1-2 pages of daily basketball coverage in my local paper twice a day in the analog days (when there just wasn’t anywhere else to read anything hoops’y), and now as a forty-something man relishes the way the Internet delivers the same such that I can drink from the proverbial firehose.
Basketball-wise, I feel very current with my appreciation of modern sensibilities and values, while retaining an appreciation and sentimentality for many of the rotation players across all the years. Honestly, we hear more than enough about the KDs and the LeBrons - there’s no shortage of that. But for example, in Houston where I’ve lived most of my life, and I imagine in many places, fans seemingly have a very unfortunate and short memory. The selective and often skewed memory of fandom is a point of interest to me. Every fanbase has their retired jerseys and HOFers, but they also have their unsung and their scapegoats - and it’s the latter that I think is the meat left on the bone when it comes to basketball intelligentsia and fandom.
Otherwise, I’m very Spursy in my values (laugh if you must), and nod my head whenever I hear the Kevin Arnovitz’es of the world talk about culture or process-over-outcome. To the extent that I have a favorite Kool-Aid, it’s probably the one with that flavor profile.
I’m a federal employee who works in the patent space. Newly married, and got one on the way. Basketball and film are lifelong loves that kept me afloat, enthralled, and occupied when I had trouble hitting life’s curveballs, and for that I’m greatful :)
Insurance company executive, former D1 basketball player who loves the NBA.
I'm interested in what the NBA is doing to promote the game domestically to a broader audience the way David Stern was successful growing the game internationally. Super interested in the business aspects of the NBA attendance, revenue sources, sponsorships, advertisers, shoe companies, etc.
I have a data job and write romance novels on the side. For story ideas, this isn’t about basketball but I’ve been wondering why we don’t really hear about CTE as much as we did 5 years ago (especially in football and hockey). Maybe I just haven’t seen it, but it feels like the issue doesn’t get as much coverage.