Friday, May 04, 2007
Blogger Interviews: J.E. Skeets
We're running a segment here at The Big Picture where we'll interview some of the biggest names in the sports blogosphere. What's the point? Well, these guys spend countless, thankless hours writing, so a little recognition from time to time is well warranted. Think of this as the blogger's version of a reach-around or something.
Joining us today is J.E. Skeets from The Basketball Jones, a killer blog and killerer podcast. Skeets may or may not be sensitive about his Canadian accent, so no poking fun there. Everything else though is fair game. Let's have some fun.
1. The rundown:
Name: J.E. Skeets
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Occupation: King Crab Fisherman
Favorite team: Raptors
Links to your favorite all-time posts you've written/podcasts you've recorded:
Macho Man Randy Savage Sues Kobe Over ‘Elbow’
Spittin’ Bars With Ron Artest
Episode 100: Our Big Ol’ Circle Jerk Show
Episode 92: Starring SI.com’s Kelly Dwyer
Time per day spent blogging/podcasting and perusing the blogosphere: 10 minutes, tops.
2. In addition to being a stud blogger, you've developed a kick-ass podcast. Two parter: 1.) What led you to start the blog? 2.) How did that lead into the podcast?
First off, I am definitely not a stud blogger. That’s Mottram. Maybe Ufford. As I’ve said before, I sort of look like Jiri Welsch on crack. Not a pretty sight. Thankfully though, I sound a lot like Ralph Macchio. That gets me a lot of ass.
Anyway, what led me to start the blog? Um, I think my buddies bet me I couldn’t do it. Ha! Easiest Craig David CD I ever made!
As for how the blog led into the podcast? I got tired of writing.
3. Take us through a typical day of podcast(ing?).
Up at 4:30 ante meridiem. It blows. Dress, splash some water on my face, and sit down at the TXL Series 4 computer to try and ingest as much NBA news/highlights/knowledge as I possibly can.
At 5:15, Tas and I log onto MSN and we start planning the day’s headlines and topics. My avatar is usually John Tesh. His? Jose Calderon or Jorge Garbajosa.
At 5:30, our kick-ass producer, JD, logs on. Do we have any phone messages, JD? No? Fuck-balls. Why does everybody hate us?
At 6:00, we start recording the show over Skype. After we’re done talking, JD starts to work his magic, while Tas and I argue over whose turn it is to write the accompanying post.
And when it’s all said and done, the show’s goes up on our site (and iTunes) around 7:15-7:30. (Note: This almost never happens.)
4. Getting readers to stop by a blog for two minutes can be a bitch. A podcast must be that much harder. Describe the challenge of getting people to commit the time to listen to an entire podcast.
We’ve worked hard at getting our podcast out to the masses -- using a flash player on the site, increasing our presence on iTunes, hitting message boards, etc. -- but in the end, we know that people are either going to want to listen to a 15-minute NBA show, or they’re not. It’s as simple as that. We just hope The Basketball Jones ‘cast is the first one they throw on their mp3 player when they make the leap over.
5. Dream job? Go.
Write, direct and star in “RAD 2: Breakin’ More Ice” and/or get paid to co-host an hour long, daily version of our show with real NBA players/personalities on as our guests.
6. Dude. "Romance on the Hardwood." Brilliant! For sure one of our favorite on-going series. So how'd the feature start? Any inspiration for it? Or was it your own creativity that sparked its creation?
A picture of Kobe and Jannero Pargo landed in my e-mail inbox. It looked like the two of them were slow dancing. I downloaded “If You Don’t Me By Know” by Simply Red -- true story -- and wrote the post in about 15 minutes. That’s it. Why people enjoy the ‘Romance on the Hardwood’ series so much is beyond me. I just hope John Amaechi gets a kick out of ‘em.
7. There are all sorts of wonderful blogs out there. A few you'd recommend?
Everyone knows the heavy hitters -- Deadspin, With Leather, FreeDarko, FanHouse, True Hoop, KSK, SLAM!, Wizznutzz, D.C. Sports Bog, etc., etc. -- but a few team-oriented blogs I make sure to read are Arnovitz’s ClipperBlog, Ziller’s Sactown Royalty, Bernhardt’s Blog a Bull, Kurt’s Forum Blue & Gold, Watson’s Detroit Bad Boys and Hitley’s Hornets247. (Check out those last names!) These guys know more about their teams than the fucking GMs who run ‘em.
And oh, I also make sure to read every single word that The Mighty MJD writes. He’s sort of the Bret Hart of sports blogging.
8. Well before the podcast, jeskeets.com and The Basketball Jones were well-trafficked sites. A piece of advice to some smaller sites how to build a steady readership?
Take the plunge. Put your heart into it. Push the envelope. Keep your nose to grindstone. Build a better mousetrap. Believe in yourself. Roll the dice. Up the ante. Just do it. Take a dump ...
Seriously though, as long as you try to write original material regularly, the readers, hits, and free t-shirts will soon follow. (Thanks, Undrcrwn!)
9. Most rewarding parts of blogging/podcasting? Most frustrating?
Most rewarding? Easy: Listener feedback and support. I can’t look at our iTunes review page without feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Seriously. Reading that stuff, or getting a call or e-mail for the show, makes every early morning wake-up worth it.
Most frustrating? That Sirius and XM radio refuse to return our calls.
10. What's the ultimate goal of your blogging and podcasting?
Dolla dolla bills y’all!
11. This might be a loaded question, but, in your opinion, what's the future of sports blogs and podcasts? Enlighten us.
Oh man, I don’t know...Will Leitch’s next leather jacket will be self-adjusting and self-drying? I have no idea. Bright, I’m sure.
12. You're an NBA guy, so we'll get you outta here on this: It's Playoff time, so give us your Finals pick, the league MVP, and the team you're rooting for to win it all (besides the Raptors!).
I’m sticking with my preseason ‘Suns vs. Bulls’ prediction. Both teams are playing well right now. That’d be a sick series.
Um, Dirk’s going to win MVP. Sorry, Simmons. 67 wins is 67 wins. I just hope McGrady gets some Poldoff-love too. He’s had an incredible year.
Finally, besides the Raps, I’m cheering for either the Suns or Rockets to win it all. I’ve always had this weird infatuation with things in the sky. I’m a dreamer, man. A dreamer.
(Past interviews; also found on right sidebar: Dawizofodds; Matt Ufford; The Mighty MJD; Jamie Mottram; The Big Lead; The Cavalier; Will Leitch; Dan Shanoff; Dan Steinberg; Brooks; Unsilent Majority).