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Friday, January 29, 2010
The TrueHoop Network gets a call-up

By Henry Abbott

When we started the TrueHoop Network, we knew that if we did things right, a wonderful/terrible thing would happen. And that is that some of the best in the network would gain credibility and experience which would lead to real job offers from real sports journalism entities, and they would leave the network.

As it happens, that just happened, to Kurt of Forum Blue & Gold.

When Kevin Arnovitz was first hired to manage the TrueHoop Network, we had lunch to kick off our time working together. Kurt's the only blogger we called from that lunch. That's how central he has been to this operation. Having his thoughtful Laker blog in the network was a meaningful sign to the world that we were going about this a certain way.

Things will be different. Huge congratulations to him, and best of luck. Kurt, you will be missed on Forum Blue & Gold and in the TrueHoop Network, but we'll be reading the new site every day.

We talked about his new job and what comes next for Forum Blue & Gold.

Traitor!
Like every member of the TrueHoop Network, I woke up every morning and said to myself, "What can I do to make Henry’s life difficult today?" This may not be the reality as you see it, but we all picture you living this Mount Olympus like life, where you lounge on a couch while models in togas feed you peeled grapes all day.

Then, as if Benedict Arnold’s ghost had spoken to me, I realized that betrayal, leaving the network for another major sports entity, was the ultimate way to make your day difficult.

No, seriously. After years of working a real journalism day job, while simultaneously running one hell of a Lakers blog, you have been offered a full-time job blogging about the whole NBA for NBC. Tell us how it all went down.
It’s one of those things in life where years of preparation (even if you just think you’re having a blast writing about basketball) and some blind luck came together at the right time. I have been running Forum Blue & Gold for five years as a labor of love, plus for the last 18 months writing on the side for NBCLosAngeles.com, the web site for the local NBC affiliate. Through all that some sense of style crept into my writing.

Then the luck: NBCsports.com wanted to launch a new NBA blog and they reached out to some bloggers working for them at Pro Football Talk for suggestions. One of them, Michael David Smith (also of FanHouse), and I go way back and he is a fan of Forum Blue & Gold. He threw my hat in the ring and that led to an interview -- which is where the last five years of having fun writing hoops came in. They looked at Forum Blue & Gold and saw a blog that had been deemed worthy of ESPN’s TrueHoop Network, and they saw the great community at FB&G. My entire body of work showed them I had credibility, which can be the hardest hurdle for a blogger to clear. When NBC’s executives and I talked we just seemed to be on the same page in terms of philosophy and style. It all just fit. So I got the gig.

What will you be doing exactly?
The blog is called Pro Basketball Talk (launching February 8) and it is modeled after Pro Football Talk in style -- a one stop source for all things NBA. There will be numerous, numerous posts a day. We (some other familiar bloggers are coming on board to help) will talk everything: Xs and Os, trades, injuries, games and team trends, and if it would be possible for J.R Smith to find space for another tattoo. Every post comes with news, some analysis, some context and a sense of fun.

Must be pretty exciting, huh?
I feel like Charlie running around singing "I’ve got a Golden Ticket." Well, except I can’t sing. But this is a dream opportunity, the best job possible for a hoops junkie, and I can’t be more excited (or thank NBC enough for the chance).

But the move means leaving Forum Blue & Gold and the TrueHoop Network behind, and that makes it a little bittersweet.

What's going to happen to Forum Blue and Gold?
Darius, one of the top contributors at FB&G and a great basketball mind, is taking over the site. It’s a great fit, it is a good time for the site to evolve a little, to have a new personality and some fresh voices. And they are looking for some new voices, so people may want to check out the post up today at FB&G if they like to write hoops.