I had never even watched a Mavericks game until 2008. I sometimes hate even mentioning that. Like, damn, how much did I miss in the five years before that? My dad didn’t care about the NBA — his name is Bruce and please leave him a comment saying how wrong he is — so neither did I until I starting playing the sport as a teenager. By the next season, I was posting on a Mavericks message board. In 2010, I found this site and started writing for it. In 2012, I covered my first game as a credentialed media member. In 2013, they let me take over as editor-in-chief. As of today, I’ve posted 1,153 times.
Today’s also my last day. I’m retiring.
I graduated college a while ago (go Mean Green) and before last season, SB Nation hired me full-time as an NBA writer. It was the first time in years that Mavs Moneyball wasn’t the most important commitment in my life, and my time here has been inevitably coming to an end since. You might have seen it happen over the past year, where my bylines showed up less frequently and I realized that I just didn’t have time to run the site like I used to.
I’m still at SB Nation, I’m still based in Dallas, and I’ll still be at Mavericks games, though my job description is different. Rebecca Lawson will take over as the new manager at Mavs Moneyball, and I seriously, legitimately couldn’t ask for a better person to do it. She joined the site in 2014 and made her presence felt instantly, like DeJuan Blair in that Spurs series the same year. Her role behind the scenes making sure everyone stays organized and on schedule has been irreplaceable, and I know Mavs Moneyball will keep humming along even smoother than before.
If you’ll allow me a couple final paragraphs to indulge myself: in a decade, I went from Mavericks fan to occasional blogger to credentialed reporter to site manager. It got me my job at SB Nation. It’s why Rick Carlisle calls me “Nico,” in a story that would take too long to explain. I was with Mavs Moneyball at my high school graduation and then my college one. I covered a Game 7 in San Antonio one day after breaking up with my first serious girlfriend and you know what, it sure helped. I wrote a Mavericks book, damnit! You can preorder it here, by the way. I started learning how to be a reporter in an NBA locker room when I was 19. I tried not to skip too many parties because of Mavs Moneyball, but I definitely blew off a homework assignment or two. Actually, when the second Tyson Chandler trade happened, I literally left class for 45 minutes. Sorry, Professor Foote, but no regrets about that one.
Basically, I grew up with Mavs Moneyball, and in some ways, because of Mavs Moneyball. That really means something to me. I can’t express how appreciative I am of the people here: Rebecca, Kirk, Josh, Ian, Doyle, and the old guard that has moved on like Lisa, Andy and Tim2. But I’m also so indebted to everyone who read our blog, commented, tweeted at us, celebrated and mourned the team’s future with us, became dear internet friends, some who I’ve even met in real life now. Even the people who called us idiots, since they were probably right in the long run.
Sometimes, it was hard. Sometimes, I learned how to apologize profusely. Mavs Moneyball wasn’t my first job, but it was the one that has helped me pay rent the longest. To that point, I’m appreciative of my parents for spotting me some quick cash whenever I struggled, and I’m very aware how fortunate I am for that. I adore SB Nation, but if there’s anything I’d change, it’s that I’d love to see team bloggers be more fairly compensated for the timeless hours they sink into their websites. For us, remember that it’s almost completely a labor of love.
Mavs Moneyball will continue on just fine without me. I’d hope that I influenced this site in a positive manner and made it a little more like me in all the good ways, but it was never my Mavericks blog. In fact, it’s yours. Oh god, that was such a cheesy line. Whatever, sorry Rebecca, my final act as manager is not letting you edit it out. Our community really is a reason that Mavs Moneyball is the best damn Mavericks blog out there, and I hope you guys never change.
This has already been far too self-aggrandizing for my tastes, so I’ll wrap it up here. Thank you to Seth Pollack, too, for hiring me in 2013 to run this site. Thanks to everyone with the Mavericks and in the Dallas media who I’ve met and worked with over the years. (I’m not going anywhere yet!) I could really keep naming a hundred more people right now if I tried, but you know if you played a role here. If you did, an earnest thank you.
I love all you beautiful people, and this isn’t a forever goodbye! We’ll surely see each other around.