In August, 2009, John Stockton and
Karl Malone Jerry Sloan (I'm so dumb sometimes) were inducted into the Hall of Fame.
I had been a Jazz nut for nearly twenty years at that point, and I was desperate to read everything I could about them. Of course I mostly knew all the stories, but still. There's something magical about reading someone else say how great your heroes are.
Within a day or so, the official places (ESPN, SI, FoxSports, NBA.com) weren't enough for me. So I delved into DIME and SLAM. But that wasn't enough. I scoured the internet and finally discovered the various blogs—and especially this one.
When I landed here for the first time, I quickly realized it was a unique and special place.
I landed here just as the Jazz opened training camp, and Kris posted a request for people to help write up the player previews. I was wowed. The visitors, the people doing comments can actually write and post stuff here? I realized then that this wasn't really some guy's blog: it was a community. It had updates, news, opinions ... and most importantly to me fan participation and an audience.
I had been thinking of writing a Jazz blog since 2007. I hadn't done anything because I wondered: What's the point? Who would even read it? I am very shy regarding self-promotion, so that was that.*
Until I came here.
My first post was an utterly forgettable "analysis" of the Jazz first game in 2009: an ugly loss to Denver. But even that piece got some responses. Without everything Kris did to build this community, I would have never had a single comment, and I would have never done anything more. But he did build the community, and I did write more. My second piece was the infamous "Trade Boozer for a Can of Tuna." I had found my voice, my community, and the rest has been a blast.
I don't think we all appreciated the amount of work Kris put into this site. I'm just barely discovering it, and I feel a bit overwhelmed as Amar, Clark, Moni, and I all dive in. And we've got four people taking over.
But most of all, I appreciate the way Kris built this community.
It's one thing to write well, and Kris does. It's another thing for having a knack at finding interesting news and nuggets of info, and Kris does. It's even more to have the work ethic to keep at a long, time consuming task—even when you love it. And Kris does.
But the real miracle, the real thing I wonder if I can do, is the ability to foster, nourish, develop, and grow a community. To bring out differing viewpoints and voices, to facilitate debate, discussion, and banter. To not only allow people to participate and feel like they can express their ideas—but to make people desperately want to. To make us come to the site as instinctively as we breathe, and then to comment, to participate, to write, to discuss, to snark, and to rant.
That was Kris's true talent. It is a gift. The more I try to step into my new, bigger role the more I appreciate the humanist artistry that went into building this community.
Writing here become one of the most enjoyable parts of my life, and I thank Kris for allowing it to happen. For helping me as a blogger, for allowing my voice to be heard, and for trusting me with what he built.
I will do my best to live up to it.
* True stories about my hesitance to self-promote. After inviting me to become an official writer, every new post became a self-debate for me: is this something appropriate to be an official front-page SLCDunk post, or not. Kris finally told me: "I made you a regular writer so you can ALWAYS put it on the front page." Later he told me "You know, you can promote your posts through Twitter." So I reluctantly started tweeting when I did a post. Just a couple weeks ago he added: "Please, promote your posts via the @slcdunk twitter account."
Self-promotion was never, and probably will never be my thing.