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Nuance in an complex sport

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2018 NBA Draft Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The StR staff planned on working through the end of March, but that was under the assumption that the NBA would still be happening. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re instead going to spend this week saying our goodbyes in individual posts and handing over the reigns. You can join us in our next step at KingsHerald.com and follow us on Twitter @TheKingsHerald -Greg

Amidst our collective goodbye, my fellow Sactown Royalty/soon-to-be Kings Herald writers have done a much better job of writing words of farewell than I ever could. This site has meant so much to me for so many year—from the first time I read the site in 2011, to the time I high-fived Akis and Kevin (back when they didn’t know me from Adam), to the moment in 2015 that Akis and Greg asked me to join the site, and finally, now, to this farewell to the URL but not the community it spawned.

Instead, I want to talk about nuance. In a world of hot takes and basketball absolutes — do you want Marvin Bagley to succeed, or did you want the Kings to draft Luka? — I think the thing most lacking in basketball discourse right now is nuance. The idea that basketball takes can evolve based on new information (AKA actual GAMES) seems lost among NBA twitter right now. I long for the days when we can have basketball opinions that aren’t then boiled down to assumptions of the people making them and turned into “well you must hate X.” Then again, I miss the days when we had actual basketball to discuss, but given everything in the world at this moment in time, the lack of sports is utterly understandable.

As a couch scout with no formal training beyond covering a college basketball team (GO GAELS!) and thousands of hours of basketball burned into my eyeballs, I’ve gotten some stuff right and plenty of stuff WAY wrong. I had Josh Jackson, Dennis Smith Jr., and Lonzo Ball ahead of Jayson Tatum and De’Aaron Fox on my 2017 Draft Board (please, don’t go look that board up). I had Luka Doncic on top of my 2018 Big Board for the entirety of the 2017-18 season. With a sport like basketball, if we put our thoughts and opinions out into the world we’re gonna get predictions right, wrong, mixed, and every way in between. Let’s just remember that this is an evolving sport, and assume that every opinion is more nuanced than can be expressed in 240 characters or on a blog comment thread. This idea of more assumed nuance and good-faith in others expands beyond basketball — boy, do I wish the world would be a little more patient and understanding, and not assume the worst of anyone right now — but this is a farewell to basketball, so let’s just keep it at that.

My mom was my biggest fan, and because I became the biggest Kings fan in the world after Game 1 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals (the absolute BEST time to jump on the bandwagon, LET ME TELL YOU), she followed me into the fandom. We went to many games together, celebrated some incredible wins and lamented some terrible losses, and even when the Kings became the worst team in sports, we watched all the games together. She passed away in 2012, but I like to think that by getting to write on this site, with all the basketball geniuses, expert writers, and terrible take-havers I’ve gotten to work with, she’d be proud of my basketball journey. But of the many things she taught me in life, one lesson I’ll always remember is try and see the good in everyone. Now, more than ever, I think that’s a lesson to hold on to.