Seven years ago I had an idea to start a basketball blog.
A basketball blog about the NBA that was written with a decidedly Aussie twist. Written by Aussies, but not necessarily for Aussies, about a sport that was played ten thousand miles away. It may seem unremarkable now, trivial in concept, but seven years ago, this genre of NBA blog did not exist.
There were a couple of Australians who wrote about the NBA, and I came to know them well, but those blogs were NBA blogs first and foremost, not Australian blogs. That puzzled me, and fuelled by the desire to blaze a niche trail in the sports blogosphere, I started NBAMate.
In the beginning, it was called the Kickz101 Trashtalk Podcast Blog, and yes I’m aware that sounds like a website from the mid-nineties. We had a small but loyal following, mostly of local Aussie hoops fans who frequented the Kickz101 Trashtalk Forum. And we loved talking about our NBA basketball.
We lived it, breathed it, debated it, morning, noon and night. We were part of a growing movement to revive a sport once much loved by Aussies, trying to restore it to its former glory, insistent that it was still the greatest sport – and the greatest league – on earth.
We believed in the cause.
And so NBAMate was born, and soon the idea of an Australian NBA blog seemed less like a novelty and more of a necessity. ESPN TrueHoop linked to us on Australia Day. Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie linked to us a bunch of times, as did many others. And then, we kind of lost count. Without trying to blow our own trumpet, it’s fair to say we became a popular little basketball blog. No need to take our word for it… a quick search of ‘nba blog’ at google.com (the US version) will find NBAMate in the first 8-12 results, depending on the day.
Needless to say, we had a lot of fun. Jumping online to check the reactions and over-reactions to our latest blog posts was the highlight of my day for a long time. Watching links to NBAMate cascade around the Internet, popping up in random basketball forums and team blogs, was always amusing. What made it so satisfying wasn’t the hits or the traffic, but the fact they were hits and traffic to an Australian NBA blog.
I can’t tell you how many emails I received from NBA fans in the US and Canada who said they loved reading NBAMate because we were original, interesting, and made following the NBA fun (despite them not understanding repeated references to Steve Carfino). Twenty years ago that would have been like an American subscribing to The Age newspaper because they liked their NBA columnist. I don’t think the irony is lost despite the wonders of the Internet.
If this seems like a longwinded intro that is escaping the point, that’s because it is. That’s exactly what I’m doing, and have been doing for months now. Trying to escape the fact that NBAMate is reaching an end.