Writing Clips

Sporting News (full archive here), Fox Sports and as National NBA Lead Writer at Bleacher Report (prior years below)

Exclusive, All-Access Interview in the home of Sacramento Kings Star DeMarcus Cousins (story with on-camera interview)

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is an emotional radical, a 22-year-old superstar in the making with an unshakeable bad-boy reputation. ... But in this moment, leaning back into the couch of his Sacramento home, Cousins is neither of those caricatures. He's DeMarcus.    If this is supposed to be the lion’s den, Cousins isn’t in the mood to feast; he's desperate to explain the truth. That perception is just perception. That his passion is real. That his future is bright. Read the full story and watch the full interview here at BR.

 

Playoff deadline feature: Stephen Curry's family grounds him even as 'it's surreal' for them

OAKLAND, Calif. — In the midst of the lawlessness, the frenzy that followed the Warriors’ first Western Conference title in 40 years, Stephen Curry’s hat disappeared. That new, silver-brimmed finals cap suddenly belonged to Riley, his two-year-old socialite daughter, who has no problem sharing her dad’s stage. Riley wasn’t to be missed, even in a sea of golden streamers, howling Warriors loyalists and euphoric teammates. For the same reason Curry lost his hat, he hasn’t lost himself: Curry is centered in family. Read the full story here at Sporting News.

 

Playoffs deadline feature: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson: Putting Splash Brotherly love on full display

OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson walked out of the Warriors locker room together, moving with the slow steps of two brothers whose mom told them to go clean up their room. They made their way down the hallway at Oracle Arena and passed one after the other through a door and into a crowded media room. They moved past reporters and cameras that awaited reaction on the Warriors’ Game 2 victory against the Pelicans in the first round of the playoffs. Thompson was first to take the steps up to the podium, followed by Curry. As they sat down, 27-year-old Curry unhooked his mic from its stand as if he was about to give a wedding toast. Thompson, two years younger, watched the power grab and looked at his own mic but decided to leave it in its holster. Read the full story here at Sporting News.

 

Deadline feature: Stephen Curry, after MVP speech and spectacle, finally finds some silence

OAKLAND, Calif. — Finally, Stephen Curry felt the silence. After a 48-hour whirlwind of MVP speeches, trophy presentations and celebrating with family, the parade now was over. In this moment, for once, he stood alone. In the hushed Golden State Warriors locker room, Curry stared down to the floor at a losing Game 2 box score. He read off various numbers, all spoken with a muffled disgust that only "Splash Brother" partner Klay Thompson, who sat slumped forward at the locker next to Curry, seemed to understand. ... After all of it — the three-day gala that began after a Game 1 blowout of the Memphis Grizzlies when Curry’s family surprised him with the MVP news, to his speech Monday and up through NBA Commissioner Adam Silver handing him the trophy before Game 2’s tip — all that was left was the morose tone that saturated a team that had just lost its first home game since January. Read the full story here at Sporting News.

 

How Steve Kerr turned the Warriors into the NBA's best team

There’s no doubt Steve Kerr got lucky. He was gifted a chunk of gold in the form of a 51-win Golden State Warriors team. He wasn’t asked to melt it down and transform it. No, instead the request was simpler: Just polish it. ... Winning over the royal son of the franchise, cornerstone Stephen Curry, was an important first step. Curry was close with former coach Mark Jackson, and the Warriors’ superstar was vocally unhappy when Jackson was fired. “It was two separate decisions that were made this summer,” Curry told FOX Sports after the Warriors' recent win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. “I wasn’t happy with the first one, letting Mark go. But obviously if that was the decision they made, they better get the right hire, and I think they did. Obviously, it’s shown with how we’re playing. Read the full story here at Fox Sports.

 

Dwight Howard Playing Through Pain and Criticism with the Los Angeles Lakers

(For this story, I blended video interviews with written word to tell the story of Dwight Howard's back injury. I describe the moment I had in the locker room with Howard after Metta World Peace describes a gruesome detail of his injury.)

...“Ask him to show you the picture,” World Peace said. World Peace came across like a school kid who just wanted to share something gross, but he happened to stick up for a friend in doing so. The opportunity to see the photo came following the game, as Howard stood at his locker before the horde of media collapsed beneath him with cameras. “What picture? Oh. Yeah you can see it,” Howard said. ...  “Here, I’ll show it to you though,” he said after thumbing through some photos on his iPhone. And there it was. Disgusting. It looked like an elongated piece of chicken fat, a yellowish-white mass, laid out next to next to a ruler measuring at approximately five-and-a-half inches. Read the full story and watch compilation of video interviews at BR.

 

NBA Stars and Legends Recall the Greatest Dunk Contest, Jordan vs. Wilkins

Interviews with Shaquille O'Neal, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Ray Allen, Rick Barry with multimedia emphasis

Twenty-five years ago, a teenage Shaquille O’Neal ran out his front door in San Antonio to imitate greatness.  The 15-year-old had just witnessed one of the most legendary All-Star Weekend performances in history, a dunk contest in Chicago between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins.  The moment in 1988 would result in pinned posters of suspended majesty on the bedroom walls of today’s NBA stars. Read the full story here at BR.

 

NBA Playoffs Preview for Fox Sports (capsule form)

 It’s time to divorce the regular season. It’s natural to enter the NBA playoffs married to those impressions left after 82 games and six months. But now? Wipe the slate clean. We’re left with our seeds and the regular season doesn’t dictate how they’ll grow. In a year in which regular-season wins rarely seemed a priority, renewed perspective is the only way to gauge this postseason. Read the full story here at Fox Sports.

 

Competitive Balance Still a Pipe Dream for Many NBA Franchises

Could LeBron James ever wear a Charlotte Bobcats jersey?  The notion is unfathomable. NBA superstars leave small markets; they don’t go to them. In the NBA’s “superteam” culture, neither a marquee talent like James, nor lesser stars like Brandon Jennings or Monta Ellis, would ever opt against the glamor of a star-packed major market for anything less. (Interviews include NBA agents, executives and relevant media.) Read the full story here at BR.

 

Stephen Curry: The NBA's Newest Superstar - exhibits deadline feature-writing with first-hand video interviews

OAKLAND, CALIF.—More than an hour prior to the Golden State Warriors’ Game 4 showdown against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, the darling of this NBA postseason sat in a mostly deserted Warriors home locker room.  No cameras. No recorders. Just a superstar in the making all by himself. For Stephen Curry, this won't happen much longer.  “You’re getting an awful lot of recognition these days,” I told him.  He lifted a slight smile, unassuming in this moment just as he is on the court.  “Yeah, you know how all that changes,” Curry said. Read the full story and watch video interviews at BR.

 

Warriors Star Gets Results as a Mentor (rare first-person column on Stephen Curry and former player I coached)

Stephen Curry asks me the same question nearly every time we chat. "How's Darin doing?" For more than four years, the answer has been the same: "Darin is doing great." Darin is Darin Johnson, a college freshman on the Washington Huskies basketball team this season. Four years ago, he was a 14-year-old freshman at Franklin High School, outside Sacramento. He was as stubborn as he was lanky, giving his JV coach headaches at a supreme rate that matched only his talent. I know, because I was his head coach. Read the full story here at Fox Sports.

 

What Kobe Bryant Has Meant to the NBA

Kobe Bryant has headlined his generation of superstars, proving a mirror of Michael Jordan was close to possible while carrying the torch to LeBron James. He’s the prime link between the old guard and today’s basketball elite; his legacy is both revered and emulated. He’s spent nearly half of his life in the NBA’s superstar fishbowl, morphing from a swaggering high school talent into the current godfather of the league. Read the full story here at BR.

 

A NBA offseason roundtable with NBA GMs Masai Ujiri, Bob Myers and Dennis Lindsey

Read the full roundtable here at BR.

 

 

All Previous Writing (Comcast SportsNet, NBA.com, The Sacramento Bee and more

We Think U Should Come 2 Our School, Sacramento Bee - Winner of "Best News Story," California Prep Writers Association, 2005

TiVO, instant messenger and Easy Mac—when the cell phone and Internet generation wants something, it wants it instantly. Quick and Easy. College coaches are getting the message. And they're sending it. Cell-phone text messaging has emerged as an increasingly popular recruiting tool for coaches to communicate easily and directly with today's technologically adept high school athletes. Read the full story here (PDF).

 

Quiet Evans letting his game do all the talking, NBA.com
SACRAMENTO (NBA.com exclusive) Tyreke Evans needs to be LeBron James -- at least in this moment. The Kings rookie, leaning forward on the couch of his townhouse, is positioned directly in front of his 42-inch flat screen, grasping a PlayStation 3 controller. Evans wants to play as the Cavaliers, mentioning that only sometimes he plays as himself with the Kings. His best friend and roommate, Dwayne Davis, grabs the other controller. Davis will play as Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, the same team Evans faced the night before in reality. The two friends do their best impression of ordinary 20-year-olds. "I'm the champ; I don't lose," Evans said, moving his black White Sox hat from forwards to backwards. Read the full story here.

 

Bulls knock off Kings, get out to best start in 12 years, NBA.com    

A locker room attendant was busy packing up the visiting team's gear in the middle of the Bulls' locker room after Tuesday night's game. One by one, he folded and laid out Chicago's road red jerseys.     The names: Rose, Noah, Deng spread artistically across the faded carpet in the visitor's den. Not exactly Jordan and Pippen, but these young Bulls are building their own history.Following Chicago's 101-87 victory in Sacramento, the Bulls (6-4) are off to their best start in 12 years.     Though the mere mention of Jordan's Bulls left second-year Derrick Rose fumbling for words in a postgame interview.     "We're not even near them right now, hopefully one day we'll get there but it's going to take a lot of time," Rose said. Read the full story here (PDF).

 

The Dark Side of AAU Basketball

AAU basketball is a great showcase for young talent, but greed, corruption lurk 
Ron Nelson’s words dripped with contempt. “They’re snakes.” Leaning forward in an alu- minum chair set on the side- line of the Sheldon High gym, the father of prodigious Sacramento hoopsters – De- Marcus and Darius – spoke without restraint on a topic most consider off the record. For Nelson, the snakes represent the evils within Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball, a non- profit organization that bal- ances on a line of slippery deceit. Read the full story here (PDF).

 

Warriors Game Story with Klay Thompson emphasis, CSNBayArea.com

ORACLE ARENA – You don’t sense even the slightest drip of nervous tension as Klay Thompson sits back in his locker room chair an hour before tip-off. The 22-year-old So-Cal kid looks plenty relaxed, more likely to grab a video game controller than an NBA basketball. Read the full story here.

 

Hot ticket, Sacramento News and Review    

They’re mounting. Those white envelopes of frustration found tucked under windshields of Sacramento’s parking offenders are on the rise.     Revenue collected by the city of Sacramento Parking Department has increased by nearly 30 percent over the past five years. The number of citations issued has risen by 16.9 percent in that same time. City officials say the ramped up enforcement is in response to requests, but businesses and residents say the new strategy is too much. In fiscal year 2009-10, the city collected nearly $8.5 million in revenue from parking citations, up nearly $2 million over the past five years, according to records from the city. Citations issued have climbed from 201,196 in 2005-06 to 235,196 in 2009-10. The city explains that the increase in citations is due to a growth in the number of parking- enforcement officers, from 35 officers to 51, as a response to repeated requests from businesses and neighborhoods. Read the full story here (PDF).

 

Profile on NBA star Ryan Anderson (from when he was in high school)  

The phone is ringing. Over and over again. Just has it has all summer. Another salesman is calling for Ryan Anderson. Read the full story here (PDF).

 

Breaking the Bell Scandal, PublicCEO.com

The world of local government shook on July 15. It was the day that two Los Angeles Times journalists, Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives, broke the shocking story of corruption in the small city of Bell. "Bell, one of the poorest cities in Los Angeles County, pays its top officials some of the highest salaries in the nation, including nearly $800,000 annually for its city manager, according to documents reviewed by The Times." Each day following the initial report, more news dripped from the leaky faucet in Bell, flooding the media world. The city was exposed. The public's reaction was impassioned. Local government officials everywhere were examined. Read the full story here (PDF).

 

For Love or (Some) Money, Sacramento News & Review

Oh, the life of a big league ballplayer. Floating in waves of cash. Lavish travel. Idolized. Then theres Michael Taylor, the 25-year-old Oakland As minor league prospect dwelling in Sacramento with the River Catsat least to start the upcoming 2011 season. For him, its an entirely different ballgame. River Cats players arent swimming in riches; theyre barely staying afloat. Taylor says he cleared just more than $8,000 after taxes last season. Thats not a typo: Eight thousand dollars. Read the fully story here (PDF).

 

Grant football program shines as a beacon of hope for Del Paso Heights

Standing on the corner of Marysville and Grand offers a peek into the mind of a Del Paso Heights youth. It’s an intersection emblematic of the choices that can be made by an adolescent living in the socioeconomically disadvantaged community. All around is hardship, an array of paths that could lead to further hard times. But standing at those cross streets, staring down Grand Ave., there’s a literal sign, unvarnished amongst the beaten down buildings and sparse businesses. In bold red letters, scrolling on the electronic marquee out- side of Grant Union High School, an invitation of success is offered to the youth teetering on slippery cracks. “Pacer Pride.” Read the full story here (PDF).

 

Warriors head to Milwaukee, pay visit to Monta, CSNBayArea.com

Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob stood on the floor of Oracle Arena last March and endured the boos and heckling from an irritated slice of his franchise’s fans.  The taunts came just a week after those fans had their adored star stripped away from their losing team. Lacob couldn’t help but hear their frustration. Read the full story here.