A Note To TrueHoop

I wrote the above tweet this past Friday morning after reading TrueHoop’s First Cup as I do most mornings after I settle in at my desk. I’m not asking for a blanket ban of all things Toronto Sun, just a more careful approach to who TrueHoop links to.

In 2010 there is a whole lot of chatter about how the print industry is going to survive. I certainly don’t have any answers. I know that almost all of what I read on a daily basis comes to me for free. Sure I pay my ISP for a connection but that money doesn’t trickle down. What I do know is that web based publishing has offered me an endless and constantly up to date library of anything and everything I could ever want to read. I’m sure I could spend my entire 8 hour workday, everyday reading valuable, well written NBA articles and some days that’s what I do. Sometimes, the amount of good information is downright overwhelming. There is no difference in the price between the Toronto Sun online and True Hoop. I don’t have to pay to read either. For me the choice is obvious. For others the argument is why not just read both? Go ahead, read The Sun it doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit but that’s not my issue here. Henry is a hell of a writer. He’s constantly hitting his readers with solid, well researched insight. He has top notch contributors. I’m sure he’s busted his ass to get TrueHoop to where it is, possibly the finest collection of daily NBA writing on the planet. Why then is he offering a platform for the uninformed to be heard? Why does he give a voice to those who clearly don’t have an acceptable level of understanding of the NBA?

Offender#1

Two weeks ago Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun wrote a truly uninspired piece about Jose Calderon in which he spouted some fantastically uniformed blather. TrueHoop Networks own Raptors Republic shredded that article with this piece. Please read both and judge for yourselves. On the flip side, had Zicarelli not written this orgasm of idiocy Raptors Republic wouldn’t have had the opportunity to write such a nice rebuttal putting him in his place.

Offender#2

This past Friday’s TrueHoop morning links featured Steve Buffery also of the Toronto Sun. Steve wrote a piece calling out Steve Nash for not participating in the World Championships in which Canada recently participated, crashed and burned. Zero wins five losses and a whole pile of questions. Some called out Leo Rautins as a coach and some defending him pointing to the lack of talent on the roster. Buffery’s point is that Nash trained and traveled hard all summer so why couldn’t he honour his country by playing, even limited minutes for a team that desperately needed veteran leadership, a point guard and some much needed buzz. Beyond this Buffery makes the grandest no-no in Canadian hoops writing by making a hockey comparison to the situation and writes “Now, and this is dangerous territory we’re wading in here (because basketball people absolutely hate when hockey is mentioned when discussing hoops) but…”. But nothing Steve. Just don’t do it.

The problem with Buffery’s article is that he chooses to ignore the history here. Pete Thamel wrote a good article about Jay Triano last week in the New York Times. Twice he brings up Triano’s history with Team Canada:

“Other than Steve Nash, no one epitomizes Canadian basketball more than Triano. He played for the national team for 11 years, seven of them as a captain. At the World University Games in Japan in 1985, he carried the Canadian flag in the opening ceremony.  Triano coached the team from 1998 to 2004, when his firing prompted harsh words from Nash and bad feelings in much of the Canadian basketball community. It is not considered a coincidence that Nash has not suited up for Canada since.”

And further:

“Triano’s firing from the team was ugly, and the move was panned in the Canadian news media. Triano stayed quiet, however, and became further invested in being an N.B.A. coach.”

There have been a handful of articles written in the past few years dealing with the character of Steve Nash. Michael Grange wrote an insightful piece during this years playoffs that included this bit:

“Those that know Nash best saw him eschewing free agency and taking a desert discount as him doing what he’s always done: rewarding loyalty with loyalty, testing his belief that people working together can achieve more than lone agents pursing narrow interests”

I don’t know Steve Nash personally but I do know some Basketball Canada people who would tell you Nash was so soured by the Triano’s firing that he wouldn’t play for Team Canada again. End of story. Nash seems to put teamwork ahead of everything else. I doubt that this commitment ends once he walks beyond the boundaries of the 94 x 50. Teamwork has to exist beyond the court, with his coaches and the organization as a whole whether that be the Phoenix Suns or Basketball Canada. “Rewarding loyalty with loyalty”, meaning that as his coach was sold out he made a silent stand which should speak volumes to Basketball Canada. Fire Jay Triano and you’ve effectively fired Steve Nash. Nash is a golden boy and for a damn good reason and Bufferty’s attempt at casting doubt on his commitment to his country and sport is reckless. I have no issue with tearing down false idols but Steve Nash as far as we know, is beyond reproach. The obvious story here is why does a top 5 world program in USA Basketball have a use for Triano but Canada doesn’t. The story here isn’t Steve Nash, the story here is Canada Basketball and it’s poor decision making and Bufferty has missed the mark entirely.

I don’t want to make this a traditional media versus non-traditional argument because there are piles of newspaper guys that I read who are NBA authorities. However, there are some who just don’t cut it. Some, through no fault of their own have to cover 2 or 3 sports. Some, I’m sure just don’t love the sport they are covering. Some might just think they can slide some sloppy shit past us without anyone noticing. We live in an age where it’s tremendously difficult to fake it for any length of time because there are far too many eyes watching and far too much information available for which to analyze every situation. Sure there is room for error but there isn’t room for laziness.

This is matter of authenticity. The first time I met one of Toronto’s more prominent NBA bloggers, I asked him why he didn’t leverage his company credentials to get better seats to Raptor games. He answered simply, “because I want to be a fan and I can’t do that in press row.” There’s a reason why my twitter feed is still exploding on game nights until ungodly hours, it’s because the writers who really love the NBA are still awake, soaking in every last drop of the west coast games that they can and hoping that they can share some insight with anyone and everyone who’s willing to listen. Maybe Zicarelli and Buffery watch 82 Raptor games a year but that’s just not good enough in this day and age. Maybe it’s good enough for the casual fan but I just don’t think that’s what TrueHoop is about.

5 Responses to “A Note To TrueHoop”

  1. Ray

    Love this! you hit it on the nose with these so-called real press authorities.

    I had the same discussions with some of my readers about the Steve Nash article with the same conclusions.

    Great look on the whole thing.

  2. Tweets that mention 10 Day Johnny » Blog Archive » A Note To TrueHoop -- Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tas Melas, Sam Holako, marc juliar, Adam Francis, Steve Luu and others. Steve Luu said: Respect RT @marcjuliar: My note to @truehoop regarding it's linking to certain Toronto Sun writers. http://bit.ly/9DJOdv [...]

  3. Adam Francis

    Agree with this whole-heartedly – great read.

    And you think the Sun folks are terrible in print, you should see the questions in scrums and in the locker rooms…

  4. Lunchbox Links – Toronto Update

    [...] that TrueHoop take a more careful approach to who it links [...]

  5. Henry Abbott

    Thanks for the considered insight.

    You’re right that a main goal of TrueHoop is to be thoughtful, and we work damned hard to make it so. We also try not to link to silly things. So, consider me sensitized to this.

    At the same time, it just doesn’t serve TrueHoop readers for me not to read anything out there that might be interesting. So I can’t promise no more links to the Sun!

    As it is the wild world of the internet, there may be some moments when you, as a reader, may be asked to have thick skin, or at least to scroll past something you don’t love. As you point out, it is free to read TrueHoop. Maybe the one little cost would be needing to move along once in a while should something imperfect make it onto the site.