“Guys like Henry Abbott actually are on to something.” -- Kobe Bryant

TrueHoop has been a leading voice in NBA media since 2005. It has been a blog, a blog network, a podcast, a digital video series and more. TrueHoop has been mentioned or featured on SportsCenter, NPR, GQ, The New York Times, Charlie Rose (before that was gross), and a lot of other places. On tricky topics from doping to game-fixing, TrueHoop has distinguished itself with true stories you can’t get anywhere else.

And now it is re-launched at http:///www.truehoop.com.

ESPN acquired TrueHoop in 2007, and I've recently parted ways with them. Now I plan to tell true stories of the NBA, with some mix of cojones and compassion. AMA.

PROOF: https://twitter.com/TrueHoop/status/1102240312829923328

EDIT: Signing off! Thanks for a lot of great questions, and to be honest, everyone was so nice! Hope we can do it again some time.

Comments: 289 • Responses: 83  • Date: 

FlourMogul74 karma

Besides meddling in player scouting/acquisition, what is a below the radar thing that bad owners do to harm the long term performance of their teams?

TrueHoop103 karma

Here's my personal theory of owners, which doesn't apply to every single one of them, but many: they are socially odd people who would like to use dollars to purchase cool. Mark Cuban was a software guy who was NOT on track to host a primetime TV show. The Mavericks owner, though ... has cache.

So if you think about that mentality, though, it's thirsty for approval. PLEASE think I'm cool.

Hence ... one owner after another short-circuiting long-term plans for short-term splashy ones. Josh Harris bailed on the Hinkie era when it was about to get good! James Dolan has redirected the Knicks to the next "savior" every ten minutes or so of my adult life.

Also, this same urge to look cool makes them totally chicken in governing the league, updating the rules, or really changing anything.

petite-acorn63 karma

What's your take on the long-running conspiracy about Jordan's first "baseball" retirement as a ruse to hide the fact that the league caught him red-handed in gambling related activities? As I understand it, the common tinfoil hat theory is that the NBA offered Jordan a choice: either leave the game voluntarily for a period of time, or face serious punishment that would amount to a multi-year suspension. Have you ever heard any off-the-record talk about this possibly being true?

TrueHoop91 karma

I don't know what happened. But I mean geez, I have spent most of my adult life in and around the NBA and wouldn't it be normal and good if I said "I know those people at the NBA and they'd never do anything like that." Sadly, I don't feel like that. Even just their weak sauce refutation of ESPN's recent story on Tim Donaghy fixing games. There seems to be an impulse to tidy up the narrative that makes me ... open to anything, and not taking the NBA's word for it.

mortalwombats12 karma

Henry, a few years ago when the Donaghy story first broke and he followed up with a book - you interviewed him and wrote blog posts on the subject. Every one of these strongly defended the NBA while attacking Donaghy’s character. You seemed to take the position of the NBA’s attack dog more than anyone else in media. What has changed? Why now that you’re not working for ESPN and years have passed do you take a different view? And do you regret how you approached this previously?

TrueHoop15 karma

Sorry I missed this one in real time ... but I would like to clarify. You suggest it was a Donaghy vs. the NBA story. I disagree. There are a lot of angles, but the live one today is did he or did he not fix games. Here the NBA and Donaghy both say, essentially, some form of "no" or "hard to say."

But you know who says "almost certainly" or "yes?" Every available form of independent evidence. The laptop exhaustive records on Battista's laptop, the betting lines, and every conspirator not named "Donaghy."

The NBA and Donaghy are besties on the one big issue that could cause legal trouble for them both.

Donaghy said a lot of things to me that did not stand up to scrutiny. His book was loaded with betting claims that would not have given him an edge. His record of accuracy in truth-telling is abysmal, and people who know him will back me up on that. And the more I wrote about that, the more I ANGERED the NBA. They're still mad at me. Because they took this position that all he did was share information with gamblers.

cbrian170 karma

That espn article was propaganda. Brian tuohy has been talking about it for years. And no press.

throwthisaway88631 karma

Who is brian tuohy? Id like the hear more about this

TrueHoop13 karma

That article was dogged reporting. I respect the hell out of that incredible work. I feel a little protective of journalists going crazy good work these days.

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/25980368/how-former-ref-tim-donaghy-conspired-fix-nba-games

ec2045 karma

Have you ever been offered a NBA job? And if so, why did you turn it down?

TrueHoop79 karma

Short answer: no.

But I have had conversations with powerbrokers who were doing exploratory things. Funny story: John Hollinger and I were both once invited to a lunch with Robert Pera, who owns the Grizzlies. I didn't believe it to be a job interview, and talked the usual crap I talk.

Later they asked John to like, run the team, which he's still doing. Maybe I should have worn a nicer shirt?

In all seriousness, though, I have no interest. People at NBA teams strike me as alarmingly unhappy, for reasons that are hard to explain at the speed I'm trying to type right now.

ghostofdevinbrown40 karma

What do you think of the New Orleans Pelicans organization? What does the rest of the NBA think of it? Some think it is second rate and the owners/management are more concerned with their football team.

EDIT: I read TrueHoop for a long time. Exchanged emails with you a time or two. Big fan

TrueHoop65 karma

They are up against it. In terms of available dollars it's just about the NBA's worst market. And it's a football town. And it's a football team! They are there a little bit out of David Stern's commitment to help the city rebuild after the hurricane. But it takes masterful leadership to succeed in those circumstances, and we know they haven't had that.

That said, they waxed my Blazers last year, and wow do I respect Jrue Holiday.

WalrusTurkey27 karma

What is the biggest factor in a player becoming a "bust" that regular fans may not hear or think about?

TrueHoop65 karma

Mental health issues, including addiction. HIPAA laws keep teams from discussing it, but it's real, as Adam Silver recently discussed on the stage at Sloan.

diegochris9925 karma

When are people going to notice that the Lakers got rid of really good players? They gave up too early on D'Angelo Russell. Lots of 19-year-olds are immature. And they never realized how good Julius Randle was when they had him. His last month as a Laker, he was fantastic. Magic/Pelinka and Kupchak are all dolts.

TrueHoop73 karma

Yes, maybe they gave up on good players. Or maybe they haven't yet created an environment where players are likely to be their best.

But I am totally open to the idea that if they had drafted Draymond Green they would have cut him. When the Cavs were the worst team in the league they cut Danny Green who has been a key player on all these great championship teams. Environment is huge.

maxsheridan2424 karma

If you could change one rule in the NBA what would it be? (Let's limit to game play only, not things like the draft or contract structures)

TrueHoop62 karma

The court should be wider because the players' size and skill demands it. People say it would cost money, but I'm not sure that's true. You would ADD front row seats, at the expense of the back row, if you think about it. Maybe more money. Definitely more fun.

nizztron18 karma

What made you decide to tackle a Russian Oligarch as your return to TrueHoop?

TrueHoop37 karma

It was weird to me that as I read about Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the Trump Tower meeting and the like ... ties to Mikhail Prokhorov kept popping up. After a while I was like wait a minute, this is what I do for a living, tell stories like that. It seems like it matters, and it's interesting as hell.

rhenry17 karma

Which current NBA coach do you think is the most underrated?

TrueHoop39 karma

I imagine it's incredibly hard to be Brett Brown.

thesavant16 karma

Hey! I'm not gonna dox myself but do you remember at the Sloan Analytics basketball analysts' pickup game in 2015 I caught fire from beyond the arc and you and Ethan Sherwood Strauss called me the "Jamal Crawford" of the analytics world? As a short mediocre ball player my entire life, with Crawford as one of my all idols, can I just say I still play this memory in my head and ride the high at least once a week? :D

PS If you also recall, we were on the same team and you made the game winner.

TrueHoop17 karma

I have no recollection of this but because of how it ended of course it must be the gospel truth. Is this the game where Amin Elhassan refused to guard me?

ec2014 karma

Who do you think are the best writers/podcasters/etc. working in NBA analysis right now?

TrueHoop43 karma

In general, these are some of my best friends we are talking about! David Thorpe, Jackie MacMullan, Tom Haberstroh, Kevin Arnovitz, Jade Hoye, Wosny Lambre, I could go on all day and I just pissed off like nine of my best friends I neglected to mention.

I barely use the word genius, but Ethan Sherwood Strauss has this weird brain that sees things differently and better. I was thrilled that whole kerfuffle happened with Kevin Durant saying his name. I mean, go read everything before, during and after that, and tell me who's acting crazy. It's not Ethan.

TheBigItaly3 karma

Can you explain the Durant thing further?

TrueHoop27 karma

This whole thing happened. https://awfulannouncing.com/nba/kevin-durant-criticizes-media-in-general-the-athletics-ethan-strauss-in-particular-over-free-agency-speculation.html

But if you go and read Ethan's work before and after, it's solid work. He's not making things up.

Kevin is an amazing player but he has always been incredibly touchy about how people report on him.

ErikinAmerica13 karma

Will our Blazers make it out of the first round this year!?

TrueHoop18 karma

Yes.

RunninFool10 karma

What was your reaction to Adam Silver's recent comments about the isolation and anxiety her perceives in NBA players?

TrueHoop14 karma

https://twitter.com/TrueHoop/status/1103350260011884544 And just recorded a podcast about it with Coach Thorpe. Jade will post shortly ...

001000110 karma

What’s the one good NBA story/anecdote you wanted to tell but haven’t been able to yet?

TrueHoop22 karma

Oh this Prokhorov thing is my Everest.

What was CJ McCollum's amazing tweet? IIRC: "I'm trying Jennifer."

OMJuwara9 karma

Is this reincarnation of Truehoop going to be similar to what Truehoop was in the past? Are there going to be any new ideas/crazy off the wall rule change suggestions?

TrueHoop25 karma

One thing has not changed at all: I'm into the truth! But what that means has changed, maybe some. Maybe I used to feel like the truth could take care of itself.

Let’s say you’re an NBA coach. We could argue about hero ball, and if I convinced you ballhogging hurt your team -- the evidence is crystal clear -- cool, that’s progress. If I didn’t, that’s fine. Your team would just lose more, and maybe you’d evolve. (Or maybe the next coach would be the one who uses evidence to make decisions, you know?)

But the Trump era changed things a little. These are Big Lies. With Huge Implications. You don’t have to be political. You only have to be into evidence gathering, data, science, and facts to know immigration is not causing crime, global climate change is real, and Russia had a tremendous and intentional influence on the 2016 election. It feels, now, like the truth needs us.

So my first project at the new TrueHoop is a deep dive into the owner of the Brooklyn Nets, oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov. You can go and read a lot of that now at http://www.truehoop.com and let me know what you think!

As for rule changes, well, I did notice this: In the 3-point contest, when Steph could stand anywhere he wanted, for some shots, he stood OUT OF BOUNDS. If that isn't perfect proof that NBA skill has outgrown the NBA court, I don't know what is. Of course the court should be bigger. Wider, for sure. The pretty play happens in space. We need more!

NeverBeenToCincy9 karma

What player do you think has the biggest discrepancy between their contribution to winning and the fan's perception of how good they are?

TrueHoop18 karma

The big news of the last 15 years is that players who take a ton of shots, miss most of them, and don't play D or pass much ... well, they used to be MVPs like Allen Iverson. They top the scoring list, but now we realize that they consistently are less helpful in delivering wins. At times this has been Kobe, Westbrook, many others.

Froggyboy178 karma

What’s your opinion on the advanced metrics, like PER, true shooting %, win shares, etc. Which one do you think is the most effective in determining the value of a particular player?

TrueHoop28 karma

I have used them all, but the starting point for me is Real Plus-Minus. If you are good at basketball, your team will outscore people when you're on the court.

coryrenton7 karma

Which athlete's parents do you think are the worst in the NBA, and do you see any correlation between how abusive they are and how well their children perform?

TrueHoop33 karma

I get why you are asking that and parents matter, but I'd hate to power-rank some of the most personal acts of people I don't know.

coryrenton2 karma

Would you be willing to rank coaches on that scale, though (who presumably would only be abusive on a professional level)?

TrueHoop15 karma

Oh hell yeah. Their checks come with extra zeroes to deal with us in the media. And their work might not be in public, but their work product sure is.

coryrenton3 karma

So who would be the most and least abusive coaches at the moment (and all time) in your opinion?

TrueHoop12 karma

Hmm ... abusive coaches. That has come a long way since I started covering the league. Steve Kerr is changing the game. But Dwane Casey, Doc Rivers, Brad Stevens, Terry Stotts -- I think they aspire to respect their guys.

enj3n5 karma

You are far from a Kobe fan given your past truehoop articles. After his retirement and given some time, have you come around on him or still have him outside your top 10 all time?

TrueHoop19 karma

I don't dislike anyone and I'd love to talk to him again, listen to him talk, hear what he thinks about all this. He's fine.

The big point is: He was the example of a thing that we were learning right then didn't work. He shot one-on-four all the time in crunch time. Nobody else did. We used to think "well magical players can do that." Then we learned "he's shooting 25% and the Lakers do poorly in crunch time." Once you know that, you end up writing about what's wrong with Kobe.

But I disagree with his choices on the court. I have met him a few times and he seems wonderful. There's something in the bible about hate the sin and love the sinner, or whatever. You know what I mean.

Fondle_My_Sweaters5 karma

If you had to put money on which team Durant will end up this summer who would you bet on?

Portland misses you Henry come back for a game soon!

TrueHoop9 karma

People in New York sure think they're getting him, but they're wrong all the time. Most likely thing is they win the title and he's MVP, and then it is crazy hard to leave the Warriors. So they're the favorites, to me.

Lookoutbehind4 karma

If you had to pick who will be the new face of the NBA after Lebronn leaves, and who will take over as best player in the world do you think it'll be the same person? And who would be that person(s)?

TrueHoop25 karma

Giannis!

MarchevEvgeni4 karma

Do you ever feel the need to hide something from the public?

TrueHoop25 karma

Reddit would be a GREAT PLACE to talk about it, right?

In all seriousness, I'm pretty open. For example, I have a genetic skin condition, psoriasis. You can see my embarrassing thing in most photos of me. C'est la vie.

lobstrain4 karma

I'm guessing /u/MarchevEvgeni meant concerning the NBA. If that's not what they meant, then I'll ask it: have you ever stumbled upon something concerning the NBA that you felt would be better left un-reported?

TrueHoop12 karma

That's not really how I'm wired. Working on an oligarch story right now, you know?

InGenNateKenny3 karma

Hi Henry! Do you think Ernie Grunfeld (and I guess coach Scott Brooks too...) is on the way out as GM of the Wizards after this season?

TrueHoop9 karma

I don't know how he has kept his job this long, to be honest. I keep thinking it must be time. He is a nice guy, but this has not been working.

Magenta_Violet3 karma

I don't watch any sports. Really. But I like teamwork, compassion-without-self gain, and understanding struggles I can relate to.

I'm a computer guy, fatherless myself, and thought a lot about being a father, and raising kids. If I had kids I'd want to give them guts, cajones, and faith.

Does any sport, or any of your experiences with them, resonate with my search?

TrueHoop14 karma

THIS SPORT. Look no further! You can look in advanced stats which teams play the best team D, or pass the most. And then you can just watch the Warriors.

ironoctopus3 karma

What was one of the most unexpected things you discovered about an NBA player, coach or front office person in the course of reporting a story?

TrueHoop25 karma

Oh man. There's a story I'd like to tell one day about the NBA player whose drug test came back stamped "non-human urine."

ironoctopus5 karma

Give us the year and the conference, and let us speculate in an unfounded and irresponsible way, please!

TrueHoop4 karma

A while back, Western.

kylapoos2 karma

What does it rhyme with?

TrueHoop11 karma

You should probably subscribe to TrueHoop now and hopefully it won't be too many years before I get the whole story on the record.

npjobs1 karma

?? This is fascinating! Kinda hoping you can spill the beans on this anecdote today

TrueHoop4 karma

One day I will do it!

Onepopcornman3 karma

Hey Henry,

I was interested in your thoughts on the balance of maintaining relationships with "insiders" in the NBA, with the fact that NBA players have their own "branding" industry. Is journalism still possible? Is making players mad necessary?

TrueHoop12 karma

I am probably the wrong person to ask. I value relationships over transactions. I want to hear from people who are straight shooters. I'm glad not to have a job where I just need to stroke all the right egos because I HAVE to find out about this or that trade. That world ... it's in a very unhealthy place right now. I'll stick to telling things I know to be true, and not cutting deals.

Onepopcornman3 karma

My perception is that's the direction that ESPN seems to be investing in heavily. Is that your perception as well? Not sure if you have an NDA, obligations that limit what you can say about that.

TrueHoop9 karma

One of the great frustrations of working at huge company is that people think we all do the same thing. People would actually email me about stuff Stephen A. said, as if he ran it by me first, you know? So ESPN is everything. All kinds of journalists. But the industry, to me, for sure, has come to expect a lot of favor-trading. My heroes are the ones who tell 'em to stick it, and just tell the whole truth. And some of the best at that work at ESPN. Shout out to Jackie!

_Pepper_Phd2 karma

What current NBA players could you see having successful careers in sports media after retirement?

TrueHoop6 karma

C.J. McCollum. Sue Bird. Corey Brewer.

brooklyn-_-nets2 karma

What are your thoughts on what Sean Marks has done in the post Billy King era?

TrueHoop4 karma

Yes! Love it! Build culture! Take your time! Make other team's rejects into contributors!

PhrasalAdjective2 karma

Dumb question and sorry if it's already answered somewhere, but I'm short on cash until tomorrow. When I subscribe tomorrow, will I be able to see what newsletters I missed from the free trial?

TrueHoop3 karma

So our partner Substack manages it a couple of ways: You will get emails to your inbox moving forward, but they also made the web version at http://www.truehoop.com where you can click around and read everything from the past.

Thanks for subscribing!

Dphelps812 karma

Hi Henry! In your opinion how do you think Lebron's tenure ends in L.A? Holding a torphy or in disappointment?

TrueHoop6 karma

B, sadly.

Dxlee152 karma

Do you think the NBA draft is rigged or has been rigged? Things like the Cavs getting so many 1st after Lebron leaving, Rose to the Bulls with a small %chance or New Orleans getting it right before the NBA sells them.

TrueHoop3 karma

Maybe this is what Robert Mueller should do next.

drunz2 karma

We all know that the game has gotten faster, smaller, and less physical and with a lot more threes. What direction do you think the style of the play is going to evolve to?

TrueHoop5 karma

The crisis right now is shooters spread out all over the floor. The next trick will be players or systems that can better cover that ground, keep people from being open. Fast people with huge wingspans moving in concert?

fq19812 karma

Glad to see you and the site back. Been reading you since Truehoop was a storefront for your blogging firm.

What have you been doing since leaving ESPN? And how did you get the Truehoop name back? Or was it always yours?

TrueHoop4 karma

Thanks fq1981! ESPN nicely gave the name back to me just ... to be decent I think. Amazing. And as for what I've been doing, talked about at some length here: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/turner-podcast-network/the-full-48/e/59086957 And here: https://awfulannouncing.com/nba/henry-abbott-truehoop-return-newsletter.html And more of that story will keep popping up on http://www.truehoop.com.

iloveafternoonnaps2 karma

What went wrong with the TrueHoop network? It had the best basketball minds which can be found all over the place today, all in one place. Seems like a huge opportunity missed.

TrueHoop5 karma

Oh it was amazing. A blog network that began the NBA media careers of industry-shaping journalists like Kevin Arnovitz, Tom Haberstroh, Ethan Sherwood Strauss, Royce Young, Seerat Sohi, Zach Harper, Beckley Mason, Zach Lowe, as well as current NBA front office personnel Sebastian Pruiti (Thunder), Steve Weinman (Bulls) and David Sparks (Celtics).

For a big company to wrap its arms around a thing like that, it would want to own everything, which would have been a big commitment. A lot of people to bring on board! Ultimately, I failed to convince my bosses to do it.

Dphelps812 karma

What's your opinion about the the Conspiracy theory that The NBA Lottery was fixed during the David Stern years? Anyone high up in the NBA ever believed it was true? Thanks for doing this!

TrueHoop12 karma

I am no apologist for the NBA, but the frozen envelope theory always just struck me as far-fetched. I bet if we mapped where people believe in it, it's largely cities that didn't win that lottery.

omglolthc2 karma

Was Jordan's first retirement an encouraged time-out due to his gambling?

Why does Charles Barkley hit a golf ball that way?

TrueHoop3 karma

The NBA's two greatest mysteries.

Kyrias2 karma

Are the Lakers out of playoff contention due to losing to the Phoenix Suns?

MDTwoEagles2 karma

What do you think about Gar/Pax and the way they have formed and ran the Bulls organization over the past several years? Also, why do you think big time players don’t come to the Bulls?

TrueHoop5 karma

They made several good picks early in their tenure. But I'm now thinking that was mainly luck. Not an expert on that front office, but also have heard some stories that made me skeptical they're close to figuring it out.

Coolhandmo2 karma

A very general question, but what percentage of NBA players would you suspect are on PED’s?

TrueHoop3 karma

Not zero! But also not a huge number. I can tell you this: away from microphones, NBA players tend to have anxiety that other players are using. Which tells you the players talking are clean, or elaborate and coordinated liars.

meech08142 karma

Hi Henry, what's your favorite Michael Jordan story?

TrueHoop8 karma

ec202 karma

Henry, thank you for creating TrueHoop! Back then I was starved for real basketball analysis and insight instead of the regurgitated cliches that most basketball stories consisted of. As far as I am concerned the renaissance of basketball analysis that we are all richly experiencing now was sparked by your great work.

That being said, what do you were the other big factors in getting nba analysis to the place where it is today?

TrueHoop9 karma

You are ALSO my best friend! Thanks for this. I think the NBA is backward in a lot of things, but a little more curious than football and baseball. Tradition is the enemy of innovation, and hoops has less.

Also, when you make money doing things the dumb way, it's hard to get smart. Related: the Knicks and Lakers -- teams that print money thanks to their markets -- were basically 29th and 30th in adjusting to advanced stats.

Related to all this: crazy smart data people looking for cool projects maybe felt a little more drawn to hoops than NFL. For instance, Rajiv Maheswaran who founded Second Spectrum, Daryl Morey of the Rockets CREATED the conference where he made a name for himself. No NFL GMs did that.

DijonPepperberry2 karma

I used to read you all the time in the ESPN Insider days, in fact, you were the reason I subscribed! Thanks for bringing truehoop back! I look forward to it.

You're a huge Blazers writer and I know fan, and I'm wondering if you could let me know who your starting 5 best-ever Blazers would be, and how they'd do against the league all doing their 5 best-ever?

TrueHoop3 karma

I hate to call you a liar, but I was never behind the paywall at ESPN!

HOWEVER if you confused me with John Hollinger, you're not alone. I once had an awkward conversation with Erik Spoelstra who congratulated me on my job with the Memphis Grizzlies.

bigdave442 karma

How many "Robert $arver is turrible" stories do you have? Please share all of them.

TrueHoop6 karma

Oh man the whole terrible saga of when he wanted to play Tony Allen one-on-one. Owners are weird.

johnnyblazepw1 karma

can't find info about this on Google.. can you elaborate? It sounds ridiculous.

TrueHoop4 karma

Wow I was working too fast and got that wrong. Robert PERA did that. Not Robert Sarver. Apologies.

https://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2013/9/9/4712190/memphis-grizzlies-owner-robert-pera-challenges-tony-allen-to-1-on-1

The best Sarver story is that he trimmed SI Writer Jack McCallum's facial hair.

marineknight1 karma

What would your advice be to someone who has been through adversity, but is a giant nerd at heart and loves basketball, loves meta data and stats , is somewhat tech savvy and maybe didn't finish education after highschool, and would want to find an entry level job that would do that or lead to that?

TrueHoop4 karma

Whatever it is you know you can do better than anyone ... DO it. Don't tell people you will one day do it. Just get going. And then publish it online again and again, and become known as the person who does that thing.

And other than telling the truth, I think you can forget most everything about how journalism used to be done. Invent new and better ways! Experiment! Be the best at getting better!

BDEMPS71 karma

Why are the Bulls the laughing stock of the league when it comes to NBA free agents wanting to go there?

TrueHoop3 karma

It's neither warm nor the highway to the Finals. I have heard agents complain about ownership being maybe a little deliberate and old-fashioned, too, but I'm not sure if that bothers players or not. They almost got LeBron in 2010. That would have changed everything.

ithinkimthebadguy1 karma

Is the NBA rigged? Why isn't it about the game anymore rather than about selling sneakers and Nike making a ton of money?

TrueHoop3 karma

I think fans get to demand better answers from the NBA on this point. I don't know the answer, but I think we should all believe it isn't. It didn't inspire confidence, to me, that the league poo-pooed ESPN's honest investigation into Donaghy's alleged game-fixing.

SpinninNYC1 karma

How do you feel about the overall current state of the NBA with all the problems with tanking? Also do you believe the James Dolan will ever sell my Knicks so we can be relevant again?

TrueHoop3 karma

I will say this: James Dolan freaked out a little when there were big protests against his ownership. That resulted in the hiring of Phil Jackson. I guess ... he tipped his hand a bit, about what he cares about.

As for tanking, they could solve it tomorrow if they just did away with the draft. If you keep a hard cap, and remove limits on max salaries I think competitive balance would improve.

Young_Nick1 karma

Another Q: What's the goofiest anecdote you've encountered covering the league that isn't widely publicly known?

I am thinking of something a la the JR Smith soup incident or the goats pooping in the Suns' FO situation

TrueHoop3 karma

Derrick Rose was extremely late to his rookie photo card shoot. Hours. I was there, and the people who emerged with him told me it was because of a big zit.

Fondle_My_Sweaters1 karma

Did he not know about Photoshop?

TrueHoop1 karma

It's worth inspecting his rookie cards to see how it turned out.

lowtoiletsitter1 karma

Hey Henry,

Big fan of yours! You’ve been in the game (so to speak) for a long time, so what off-the-court actions and mentality makes for a good or bad team?

TrueHoop2 karma

All the same stuff that makes a difference where we all work. Do you feel safe, noticed and respected? Do you feel like you get to make an impact? There's real research about this stuff: https://www.amazon.com/Culture-Code-Secrets-Highly-Successful/dp/0525492461

sdotsom1 karma

Already subscribed and happy to see you back. Did you ever have any interest in offers for a league job while you were off?

TrueHoop2 karma

Kind of answered this already but wanted to say that as you're a subscriber, you are my best friend.

jct5221 karma

Will my beloved Seattle Supersonics ever be returned to me?

TrueHoop2 karma

I hope so. Only makes sense.

najing_ftw1 karma

Thoughts on the “cold envelope” theory and Patrick Ewing?

TrueHoop3 karma

Anything is possible, but ... I'd want more evidence.

Fondle_My_Sweaters1 karma

Will Portland end up trading the any of the ETEC, MLET or MHET or will they all go to waste like the RLEC?

TrueHoop3 karma

Great question. Can we do it in English?

TheBreasticle1 karma

Is it true that the mafia was heavily involved in game outcomes by influencing refs and/or players, in later decades of the 20th century?

Kevthetonk1 karma

Hello there Henry Abbot. I am a big hockey fan and I dont follow the NBA or basketball much at all. For many reasons I never found it as interesting as other sports. However I think its worth saying that college basketball with March madness is pretty entertaining. But I was wondering if you could shed light on what makes NBA or basketball in general so fascinating or intriguing to you? What are the best qualities of the game/league?

TrueHoop2 karma

I do think it is like life, in how messy and ever-changing it is. But the real answer is I grew up in a city, Portland OR, with only one pro league. That's probably the honest answer of why I like NBA and no other pro sport.

Hamish_McKenzie1 karma

Henry, where can the new TrueHoop be found?

TrueHoop3 karma

http://www.truehoop.com This is where you can sign up for the newsletter we are creating with our incredible vendor Substack.

Hopeful88881 karma

What can fans of basketball do to become activists for change in the NBA at either the team level or league wide? It seems that only be uniting and acting in a grassroots way fans could be more effective than kvetching on social media on one hand and contributing to the income of the team or the league on another. If 100 Knick fans picketed a home game, it would only get attention and grow. If season ticket holders did so, under the banner of “sell the Knicks”, it’d be more effective than anything else, right?

TrueHoop1 karma

I'm no expert on activism, but you can certainly use owners' vanity against them. They want to be seen as cool! If they're seen as uncool, why bother owning the team?

http://www.espn.com/new-york/nba/story/_/id/10561854/new-york-knicks-fans-stage-protest-madison-square-garden-game was effective in that it inspired Dolan to hand the keys over to Phil Jackson. Which failed, but Dolan showed he could be swayed. It would help if you could get a large number of A-list celebrities on board.

Young_Nick1 karma

Two questions:

  • What was your favorite story you reported on in the past? (So excluding this current story)

  • It seemed like TrueHoop was a mainstay of ESPN for a while. Can you speak to why it was featured less? Why did you stop publishing content yourself?

TrueHoop3 karma

Hmm ... I like this one because it came when I wasn't writing as much. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/15001418/how-stephen-curry-revolutionizing-basketball

And I stopped writing as much because I got a job running ESPN's NBA coverage and digital and print. Managing 60 people ... takes time.

LieutenantKumar1 karma

Hey Henry, would you consider bringing back the network?

TrueHoop2 karma

It was glorious! And never say never. The thing I need to understand is the business model. Back then we believed internet text ads would pay for everything. Now Google and Facebook LAUGH AT THAT. But if you have ideas about what we do all as one, and how it works ... I'm all ears.

LieutenantKumar1 karma

Hmm I have to take some time to think about this fully, so here is just some stream on consciousness rambling.

The first thing I would want to project out are the costs of running the operation. And I would start by projecting the cost of adding each addition to the network. This can be divided into server/site costs and personnel costs - for the writers.

From there you can develop a revenue strategy based on the number of readers you anticipate. I think in this day and age the subscription model is probably the best idea. But determining a fixed, flat cost might turn off a bunch of readers. I think a flexible subscription option might be the best way to gather readers. What I mean by that is have a X dollar minimum ( this could be site dependent, I think $1/month might work for a lot of sites) for access to the network (outside of your own main True Hoop stuff), and give subscribers the ability to donate their own amount.

As far as the content goes - it's all about the pursuit of truth. Analysis, features, etc. No post-game, pre-game recaps and other fluff that everyone else is doing. That should be the MO of every site added to the network. Now this is the hard part because pursuing content and writers who create this content is difficult. But I think it can be done on a site by site basis.

Idk, I have more ideas but need a lot more time to think.

TrueHoop2 karma

So we're going to be learning how that works nationally at http://www.truehoop.com. Could be it will make sense to roll it out team-by-team down the road. First we need to do some learning!

But if you're asking if I think it would be fun to get the gang back together, oh hell yeah.

crazyol841 karma

Do you need any help with the site? I'm down to volunteer some of my time because I love what you're doing.

TrueHoop1 karma

Sorry I missed this in real time! Email the word WORK at ... you know the domain, right?

Related, http://www.truehoop.com is the website.

mister56uncle0 karma

Where do you think would the Clippers relocate to?

TrueHoop7 karma

Wait, the Clippers are moving? I mean, if nothing else in honor of my NYU roommate Ben Weber, every team should go to Seattle until they say they have enough.