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Return of an old friend: Swish Appeal’s new (and returning) lead writer

Bullets Forever’s Albert Lee is Swish Appeal’s new lead writer.

WNBA basketball

I’m generally one who’s reluctant to write about himself on a sports blog.

As you may have known in the last two weeks, I wrote here quite regularly. (Okay, I posted a bit TOO regularly.) Though I didn’t mention it publicly, it was because I served as Swish Appeal’s interim caretaker for the last two weeks until Tamryn Spruill officially took the reigns yesterday. I am thrilled that Tamryn is the Editor-in-Chief, and look forward to what she has in store for the days and weeks ahead.

I also wanted to say that I am now Swish Appeal’s lead writer. I’m excited to be here and look forward to being part of Tamryn’s team. Here is some more information on me, my time on SB Nation, and thank you’s.

About Me

I first became a women’s basketball fan when my dad rooted for the Tennessee Lady Volunteers in the 1980’s and 1990’s when I was a boy. He received his master’s degree at UT and loved rooting for the Volunteers and Lady Volunteers. When I was a kid, he admired women’s basketball stars like Chamique Holdsclaw and Nikki McCray, men’s basketball stars like Allan Houston, or football players like Peyton Manning.

When the WNBA launched its first season in 1997, my father and I followed the Lady Vols players. We even followed other top college stars like Rebecca Lobo, Tina Thompson, and Lisa Leslie as they moved on to the next chapter of their lives. Since I lived in the Washington area my entire life, I got the chance to see Holdsclaw and McCray continue their careers as pros with the Mystics and quickly became a fan ever since.

Because of the WNBA, I’ve come to enjoy the professional game, more than college now. While I still enjoy women’s college basketball, of course, I also enjoy following today’s WNBA players overseas, especially now that we can stream EuroLeague and EuroCup Women games online.

How I came to write on SB Nation sites

If you read Swish Appeal since its founding in 2009 (or 2008 if you include our predecessor Rethinking Basketball), you may quickly find out that this site is familiar territory for me. In fact, I wrote on this very site for three years from 2012-2015, so writing this today makes me feel nostalgic.

At first, I was just a regular commenter. But then I wrote FanPosts, including this one when the Mystics were very, very bad in 2012. And ultimately, I was brought onboard.

In my first stint here, I wrote mostly on the Mystics. But my favorite content series was a collaboration with James Bowman and Nate Parham called “Sparks Watch” in 2014. “Sparks Watch” was a series monitoring the ownership situation of the Sparks from the time when Paula Madison gave up ownership of the team to the time when a Magic Johnson-led group bought it.

I cherished my time at Swish Appeal. I made many friendships with other women’s basketball fans and writers that are still going strong today. Being here helped me become a contributor at Bullets Forever, SB Nation’s Washington Wizards blog in 2014. In the following year, I became their deputy site manager where I still am today.

Besides writing about the Wizards at Bullets Forever, we have developed a robust Mystics section where we post content throughout the season. We even post periodic player updates during the long offseason. We don’t want to forget about the Mystics once the season ends.

Thank You’s

First, I want to thank Swish Appeal founder and Golden State of Mind site manager Nate Parham for bringing me on this site in 2012, for consoling me during the rough season the Mystics had that year. And he helped me develop a thick skin as a writer. Nate also really instilled the value of a “site community” to me very early on. It’s something that he preaches at GSoM (Tamryn can attest to this too!) and something I strived to do at Bullets Forever over the last three years.

Cultivating a site community is why I often write in the comments. This place is a two-way communication hub. I hope to bring that sense of “site community” here at Swish Appeal this summer and beyond.

Next, I want to thank SB Nation NBA editor Mike Prada. Mike was Bullets Forever’s site manager when I first joined their site in 2014. Mike is one of the best basketball writers out there. Mike also keeps a site running like a well-oiled machine behind the scenes better than anyone.

Third, I want to thank current Bullets Forever site manager Jake Whitacre for helping me get Mystics content off the ground. We are now at the point where multiple writers on the staff there are engaged with the team or are writing content on the Mystics themselves.

Fourth, I want to give a special thanks to the writers who wrote here in the last several weeks before Tamryn came on board. I would like to thank The UConn Blog’s Aman Kidwai and Daniel Connolly, as well as BC Interruption’s Laura Berestecki for holding the fort here in March during the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. Thank you, Paige Sherrard, for keeping us in the loop with Louisville’s run in the Dance.

And I want to give a big thank you to Karlie Smith and Carly Grenfell for helping me out during the WNBA Draft.

Finally, I want to give thanks to SB Nation’s Seth Pollack, Pete Volk, and all of the fellow writers I worked with at Swish Appeal and Bullets Forever throughout the years.

Phew! That’s enough about me. Swish Appeal isn’t just about any one person who writes on this site. Swish Appeal is a site by women’s basketball fans, for women’s basketball fans. Everything we do here is a community effort, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.