Well first thing you may have noticed is that "somebody new" wrote this. Nope, I'm not new. I'm thewiz06.
So, to "re-introduce myself," I'm Albert. I am a basketball fan and support both of the professional basketball teams here in DC and watch them regularly. I want to see them have long term success though sometimes it seems like they're far away from getting there. And yes, my writing here does have a lot of silly puns and I regularly make a fool out of myself going on rants that are much ado about nothing. :)
Community Reactions from non-contributors:
We had a number of good points made by some of our community members and even our higher ups in the Open Thread regarding the marketing of the Big Three. Some of you agreed that it's going too far, while others of you had some equally good points on why you thought this campaign was necessary:
First, Seth Pollack, who is the Manager of SB Nation NBA, or the boss of every one of the blogs that cover pro basketball here, (is HE behind the desk of Swish Appeal Admin?), oddly enough sided with me on this issue. Why, you may ask. Seth was the site manager for Bright Side of The Sun, our SB Nation Phoenix Suns blog before being the SBN NBA manager and he still regularly posts there. Here's his take:
I totally agree. They’ve gone too far in marketing these three
For those of you new to this site, though Seth may not seem like a familiar person to you, he is a co-founder of this site along with Nate. And as I said before, he is one of the higher ups at SB Nation, specifically for basketball.
dude789 also believed that the Washington Mystics and Tulsa Shock game recap on ESPN was "egregious":
The Mystics/Tulsa recap was egregious.
I think we may just have to wait it out until next year when they won’t be new anymore for ESPN to move past this.
Shannon Cotterell also agrees:
Yes, the recap was way over the line. Way, way, way over the line. Definitely worthy of some e-mail writing and tweeting and asking for that sort of thing to never happen again, please. To not have a single play (or even really comment on) the winning team is unacceptable.
...and so does blackandgoldforever:
...it’s disappointing to see a league embrace this same sort of mentality in concert with [ESPN] ... [The game] basically amounts to "Diggins does good things, Diggins does more good things, other team messes up so there’s overtime, Diggins runs out of gas, other team wins." NO MENTION AT ALL OF LATTA EXPLODING FOR A CAREER HIGH IN POINTS AGAINST HER OLD TEAM!?!
Not everyone agreed with me among the regular community members. truthtella believed that past veterans had their chance but failed:
I guess I’m of the belief that the vets had their chance and blew it. Now it’s time to market the newbies.
The only problem I have is that Diggins is lumped in with [Griner and Delle Donne] even though I don’t see her having the same impact as them from a basketball standpoint. But that’s a minor point of contention.
I don't want to put new members on the spotlight so soon, but some came out with great points in their Swish Appeal debuts. I'll just quote some of their points.
First, Dolphinswink agreed but noted that the league has a balancing act to make:
It’s a double edged sword. Focus too much on these three, and people will get turned off. Don’t focus enough, and the people they are trying to encourage interest or support in the WNBA will remain tuned out.
Next, mikear, who is a 29 year old man, and also posted his first comment, disagreed and believes that the campaign is a way for him to get interested in the WNBA because he is an Elena Delle Donne fan from her college days:
For the past three or four years I’ve been a huge fan of Elena Delle Donne. I’m not really even sure how this happened, but I am a big enough fan to want to follow her pro career. I think I am of the core demographic that this campaign is trying to reach out and grab. ... This campaign is simply trying to capitalize on that.
I think the hope is that this campaign will get me to follow EDD, then eventually tune into Chicago Sky games ... This is my "in.’" Elena Delle Donne is my "in" into a league that, a few months ago, I had no interest in watching. Diggins and Griner will be the "ins" for a lot of other casual sports fans as well.
Great points on both sides of the spectrum.
FanPosts... we want to see more!
We are happy that you look at our site for WNBA coverage. But in case you're wondering, the SB in SB Nation stands for "Sports Blogs" and yes, this is a blog at its core. And as a site for WNBA fans, we've been lacking fan-based content, most notably for FanPosts the last several months.
I realize that for myself as a contributing writer or in Nate's case, a site manager, what all of us write generally gets put on the front page when we want to. But by no means does that mean that you can't post content or get heard unless you solely comment on front page posts. Some of the comments like in the most recent open thread we've seen were really long and to be honest, they could have been FanPosts instead where you get to write the content.
A lot of folks who do not have the ability to write front page posts on the network often may feel anxiety about writing FanPosts, either because they feel that no one will read them, or because they feel that one of the writers here will cover the topic. If we see a piece that we really like, or if you read FanPosts regularly and rec them, Nate will put it on the front page and it will get more views. Generally if a FanPost gets three recs, Nate will front it.
I'll even tell you how I became a contributor here. When I first signed up on SB Nation, I was just happy to find a place where I was able to find good content on teams I follow and then comment on it. And then when I wrote FanPosts here specifically, I just put my honest thoughts down in writing and yes, the higher ups here, like Nate did like the stuff I was writing, in particular on how I felt about the 2011 and 2012 Mystics seasons and then last September, I eventually did become a contributor when Nate and Jessica Lantz asked me to join and I humbly accepted. Even if I didn't become a contributing author which I never asked to be in the first place, I would still be writing FanPosts here right now.
Many SB Nation contributors and editors throughout our entire network aren't journalists by nature or occupation. Many of them started just by being passionate sports fans who participate in comments and later on writing good FanPosts on SB Nation which get noticed by the site managers and contributors over time. I'm not going to guarantee you that Nate is going to ask you to be our next contributing author overnight for one good FanPost. But if you do write a good number of good FanPosts regularly and with time, you never know.
So if there is some sports topic that you're really interested in and it's taking you more than 300-400 words to say, go ahead and make it a FanPost. Believe me, they are read, even if there are no comments showing up right away. And also when you log in our site, be sure to check out the FanPosts to see what your fellow community members are writing. We do read the FanPosts and if it's really good stuff or if it is rec'ed enough, it will get on the cover.
We know those of you in particular who comment a lot here are certainly capable of writing something real good, so don't be afraid to put it all out there!
SB Nation is a Fan Community, not a traditional media site - We need fan input to make this site what it is!
I'll add a little more perspective to this call for FanPosts here. SB Nation was founded in 2003 as Athletics Nation, the Oakland Athletics MLB team blog by Tyler Blezinski who still is a regular on the network. In a 2010 article with the New York Times, SB Nation/Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff gave what separates us from the regular newspaper or general sports journalism. Here's a quote:
Oddly, having the writers keep some distance from the team — they rarely interview the players, for example — is one of the keys to their success, Mr. Bankoff said.
That distance allows sports to be less "of a profession than a passion," he said. "We want to stay on the fan side of things."
This has changed a bit as SB Nation as a whole has gotten more respect from other sports media outlets and the teams themselves. Vox Media has studios in New York and produces YouTube videos on various sports topics, mostly on the Big Four. Some writers throughout the network are credentialed for games as well now but I believe that most still are not. In addition, Monumental Sports & Entertainment has a content partnership with our network, though it's mostly limited to the sites that are dedicated to DC/Baltimore sports. But even with all of the new respect we've been getting as a network, SB Nation and all of its sites are still just as dedicated for you, the sports fan.
Obviously on this site specifically, because it covers the WNBA and women's college basketball, there aren't many sources out there besides ESPN and official team websites, or Monumental Network for the Mystics. In addition, we don't cover just one team like many, if not most other SBN sites. Therefore, our site by nature does lean a bit more "media-side" than most of the team blogs.
But we're not just a news site - we're a fan site. While we take pride in writing content on major stories in the league, we also take just as much pride in fostering and cultivating fan dialogue. We depend on other fans to provide their insights, not only through comments on posts that contributors put on here, but also FanPosts that you write. Really, fan passion is encouraged, not discouraged in those posts.
In the end...
We really enjoyed the comments we saw in the last open thread on a topic that is definitely up for debate within the league and there are good points for and against the Big Three's marketing strategy by the WNBA. But we also wanted to let you, the members who are not contributors here, know that you're more than welcome to write your own thoughts in FanPosts here and to let your fan passion show in them. And we want to post the best ones on the cover. We really do. Remember, SB Nation is a place by fans, for fans, and this place will never waver from that.