One of the better blogs and, above all, videocast, about NBA comes from Canada and it is called The Basketball Jones.
TBJ broadcasts live, daily, in The Score, a Canadian sports network, which, to put in our perspective, is akin to Eurosport: a big and respected media outlet.
La Crónica Desde El Sofá and The Basketball Jones are somewhat similar, we have another way of looking at basketball, different to today’s media, where we look forward to have fun, to enjoy what we like best, the NBA. So, nothing better than talk to them, more precisely to Tas Melas, about TBJ, basketball and NBA in general.
– The Basketball Jones began from an idea between friends and now you’re going to make a daily live show at The Score, what’s the secret?
The secret is watching the 2006 film, “The Secret“, every day before work. It is splendid. The real secret is giving people a product they want for a long period of time while not getting paid for it, and hoping someone notices, which The Score did.
– We came from a ‘long’ lockout, do you think that this lockout had any positive aspect?
On Sundays, I eat ice cream. If I don’t have it for a couple consecutive Sundays, I REALLY want ice cream. That’s precisely the positive that has come out of the lockout: people really missed their basketball, so now those same people are consuming games like crazy. It’s the old saying: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Now, if that absence lasted too long, fans wouldn’t have come back the way they did.
– What would have happened with TBJ if NBA season was cancelled? TBJ World Tour?
Honestly, we don’t know (we’re not the greatest of planners, obviously). We’re just glad we got to go on the “No Season Required” tour instead of our original plan – Skeets and I locking ourselves in a room on November 1st and not coming out till the season started. TBJ may not exist if that transpired.
– What’s the hardest part of broadcasting/recording a TBJ show?
Knowing more than the viewer. We have to read, watch and consume everything we can regarding the NBA, or else we’ll get called out and just look plain stupid. So, that’s the hardest part: putting all the time in.
– Did you ever think of giving up (the show/podcast)?
I’m a pretty stubborn guy so I never seriously considered giving it up, but there definitely would have been a breaking point somewhere along the line. In 2010, we were four years in without receiving any real compensation, and finally, The Score picked us up full-time. They signed us in March. If we went in to the summer the same way we had gone in to the 4 previous summers – without making money – I don’t know if we would have started up again that fall.
– How social networks like Facebook or twitter have influenced the way you produce TBJ?
Social networks haven’t really changed what we produce, but it’s obviously changed how we communicate with our fans and enhanced the conversation regarding everything basketball.
We listen to each and every person who has a suggestion/comment (even the jerks). We answer everyone. Also, Facebook and Twitter make it easy to steal people’s ideas/thoughts about the NBA. I kid. We do a good job crediting anyone who has made a point/observation that we mention. Actually, our “Like A Bosh” video would’ve never happened if a fan didn’t tweet us the idea.
– Focusing on the league… Who and what team do you think they will be the most surprising ones?
It’s odd to call them a surprise, but I think the Mavs will shock the basketball world. Not many are giving them a chance to compete in the west and I really like what Rodrigue Beaubois has been doing lately.
Another darkhorse that could surprise are the Pacers – if David West can become the player he once was, that’ll help a lot.
– And the greatest failure?
I know Chris Paul can win several games on his own in the playoffs, but I don’t think the Clippers will make it past the 2nd round, and the expectations surrounding them are high. Blake Griffin’s game hasn’t expanded like I thought it would coming in to this season.
– What’s your favourite sport/league (except from the NBA, of course)?
Well, I played a lot of baseball growing up, and it’s a game a non-athletic guy like myself could be decent at, so I like that about it. I also like spitting sunflower seeds.
– What’s your favorite place to watch an NBA game?
My couch. The ability to stop and rewind a game at any second allows me to analyze it the way I want. That way, I can pick up on the quirky stuff we like to show our viewers; you just can’t do that in a bar setting or with friends. I also want to hear everything said, see every play… You get what I mean. Once in a while, I’ll mix it up and hang with guys while watching a game, but more often than not, I’d rather watch them alone. Plus that way, I get all the ice cream.
– Your best memory from the NBA?
Alvin Williams knocking down a jumper in Madison Square Garden in April, 2001, giving the Raptors their first (and only) playoff series win. They’re still my team and have been since ’95 when Isiah Thomas came jumping through that piece of paper which had a big purple Raptor logo printed on it.
– And the worst? Kobe’s 81?
Hmm, this a tough one. The Raptors were just plain old sad that night when Kobe went for 81 – it was shocking to see Kobe go for 81, but it wasn’t shocking to see Toronto play defense that way.
My worst memory is actually when Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw were suspended for “leaving the bench” in game 4 of the western conference semifinal in 2007. An archaic rule basically eliminated the Suns from the playoffs. Phoenix was going home, series tied at 2, and they didn’t have two key players because they stepped towards the altercation that was happening on the court, which was caused by San Antonio (Robert Horry’s flagrant foul). The Spurs won game 5, game 6 to finish the series, and of course, went on to win the title. It was just another obstacle the Suns seemingly ran in to every season during their “7 seconds or less” era.
– Who’s your favorite player ever?
I can never answer this question. I don’t really have just one. I love so many players. The guys I like are the ones who do the most with their limited skill sets and work their asses off at all times. Guys like Alvin Williams, Jorge Garbajosa, Dennis Rodman, Wesley Matthews, Ben Wallace, etcetera.