NBA Writing 2010
February 22, 2011 4:25 PM   Subscribe

Award-winning NBA writing

Copied and pasted entirely from the front page link just for convenience.

Over the weekend, the president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association, Doug Smith, announced the winners of the organization's annual writing awards. Members nominated several dozen stories which were judged, this year, by a committee of editors at the Toronto Star, where Doug works.

Winners were announced in three categories (a discussion is underway about adding a fourth, internet-based category in the future):

Game stories
  1. Brian Windhorst of the Akron Beacon-Journal (now of on "the wreck that remained the Cavaliers" after the team lost Game 5 to the Celtics.
  2. Marc Stein of on Steve Nash needing just one good eye to eliminate the Spurs.
  3. Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Magic Johnson's visit with a struggling young Timberwolves' team.
  1.'s Scott Howard-Cooper on Ron Artest's embrace of mental health issues.
  2. Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express News on George Karl's recovery from cancer.
  3.'s Steve Aschburner on following just about every step of Kevin Garnett's career.
  1. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune on Joakim Noah's motivation.
  2. Marc Spears of Yahoo on Chris Washburn, who was robbed, by drugs, of a chance to be a legend.
  3. Brad Rock of the Deseret News on one of Utah's most underappreciated athletes, Ticky Burden.
posted by AceRock (14 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
If there was an internet category, Seth Rosenthal of Posting and Toasting on some Knicks fans' feelings following the Carmelo Anthony trade would be right up there.

*pours Sambuca shot on the ground in memory of Gallo*
posted by i_cola at 4:42 PM on February 22, 2011

If he hasn't already been awarded one, Bill Simmons should get one for his Book of Basketball. Man that was some entertaining reading.
posted by DigDoug at 4:53 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Bill Simmons is the best sportswriter working today. Threatening to become the best ever.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:55 PM on February 22, 2011

Agreed, CPB. Especially now that he's left behind most (though, not, unfortunately, all) of the casual misogyny that characterized his earlier writing.
posted by dersins at 5:05 PM on February 22, 2011

Simmons is always an entertaining read, but I don't think he's a great writer. I read this article about Arnold Palmer blowing the 1966 U.S. Open 24 years ago and it still sticks with me*. I'm not sure I'll be casting my thoughts back to any of The Sports Guy's columns in a couple of decades (well, maybe the one about the Gold Club trial).

My current favourite sportswriter is Joe Posnanski. I've found myself working my way through 2500-word essays of his about relief pitchers or statistics I don't fully understand, and I don't even particularly like baseball.

* NOT a blanket endorsement of Rick Reilly. He sucks now, and he's sucked for a long time. But he didn't always suck.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:18 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Much as I love the beat writers who are listed above, I really hope they add that internet category - there's just too much good writing online to pass up.

And while I like Simmons as much as anyone, sometimes I just want to throttle him for his mindless repetition of dated pop culture analogies (among other things). Not every NBA relationship is just like Fredo and Michael Corleone, and that Teddy KGB quote from Rounders went over everyone's head for a good reason.
posted by antonymous at 5:28 PM on February 22, 2011

Agreed with The Card Cheat. For me, Joe Posnanski stands alone.
posted by CancerStick at 5:50 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think Simmons is horrible, writes like he gets paid by the obscure pop-culture reference. Smug schtick.

But the freedarko guys are in town tomorrow so I'll have a beer with 'em, hear some good wisdom.

Meanwhile, I'm wary of "Your favorite NBA article sucks" type of comments and none of these were bad, but none of 'em leapt out as compelling, fresh, artfully crafted or anything like that.
posted by ambient2 at 6:43 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

You should post this on SportsFilter. We need more activity over there.
posted by reenum at 7:44 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Slight Minneapolis derail, but Steve Aschburner in an earlier incarnation was a fantastic all-around sports beat writer for the sadly horrible Star-Tribune.

He'd cover a local HS game with the same grace as he'd cover the 7th game of the NBA finals.

It's ironic that when I googled him to make sure I spelled Steve's surname name right, that I came across this gem about Bert Blyleven finally getting into the HoF.

"A year ago, Blyleven — who was to the curveball what Picasso was to painting two eyes on one side of the face" indeed.
posted by Sphinx at 11:14 PM on February 22, 2011

Seeing Brad Rock's name makes me long for the days of hearing Hot Rod Hundley say, "Brad Rock, The Rockmeister!"
posted by jessssse at 11:14 PM on February 22, 2011

I just read that freedarko history-of-basketball book. Totally recommended.
posted by box at 5:09 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

I didn't know about Artest advocating for mental health issues. That's awesome.
posted by callmejay at 8:11 AM on February 23, 2011

I wondered what happened to Chris Washburn, but yeah, none were super impressive.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:01 AM on February 23, 2011

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