He’s been the host of his own radio program as a kid, had stints with CBS Radio, The Source Magazine, RESPECT MAG, and is now a senior Writer at Basketball Society.
Over his career, he has been able to mix sports, entertainment, and sometimes politics, which has allowed him to receive national recognition from other publications including Forbes, People Magazine, TMZ, Bleacher Report, New York Post, The Detroit Metro Times, CNN and the list goes on.
I was able to catch up with the seasoned journalist to discuss how he was able to transition from being an urban journalist into a respected NBA Insider. He shared the path that he has taken to get to where he is today and informed me that he does not see himself as just an urban journalist and an NBA Insider, but someone that has a pulse on culture.
Additionally, he offered some advice to journalists out there that might be stuck in a rut with the publications that they are affiliated with and offers suggestions on how to handle it.
How were you able to go from an urban journalist to become a mainstream NBA insider?
We are all in the same field with the same goal which is progression. But I would not paint myself as an urban journalist or an NBA insider. I see myself as someone that is in tune with the culture and I think culture has no limits. My foundation was in radio as a child. Out of college, I was looking toward transitioning into a variety of different things. Hip Hop is something that I enjoy, fashion and other things that I love doing has allowed me to grow as a journalist. I happen to know ballplayers and knowing what the pulse of the culture is at large. That has enabled me to bring everything together and help me make a career off it.
How long did it take you to execute this path?
For me, I know my purpose in life aside from this being a job. I see a lot of individuals put stock into what others can do for them. Before you assume any leadership position, you must know your purpose. Also, you must set goals that you want to achieve. In 2011, I finished grad school and tore my ACL and that sat me down for a while. I had surgery and time to recover, think and figure out what my next steps were going to be.
During this process, I became a professor at a college and the give back process began early for me. Having a goal is essential, but as it relates to conducting interviews, a theme is a must. As an adult, I’ve developed a style and a cadence. For example, I interviewed former Los Angeles Laker Samaki Walker during my time at CBS Radio. I asked him about a topic related to he and Kobe Bryant that went viral. He and Kobe had gotten into a fist fight years ago before the digital era. Granted, Samaki was able to achieve a lot of things throughout his career, but that question about Kobe was powerful.
Finally, when talking about the process. In an interview, you can have things you want to talk about before the interview starts, but often times, the interview and interviewee can take it in a whole different direction. So, be prepared for that to happen from time to time.
You did not take the traditional route to becoming a respectable journalist in the field, but why do you feel that it has been so successful for you?
I think the road less traveled is the road that people try to avoid. I did have an internship when I was in college at NBC at NBC Nightly News and MSNBC in New York. Coming out of school, for some, it may have been hard to place my specialty. I see myself as a cultural journalist and that entails a variety of different things and is not limited to just one subject.
Also, I do not think there’s anything wrong with culture being your specialty. If you look at Bleacher Report, they are all about culture and the attention span of people and I think if you look at the old guard of journalism, somebody was skilled in something. My road is unique because I have been able to be myself during this whole process, while others might take a position that they do not like and it has been that way with every job I have been in. Allowing me to learn something new from each place.
It has been no secret in black journalism and in hip-hop journalism that content creators are not being compensated as much as they should. Being an individual that has had to deal with this in the past, what’s some advice you can share for the aspiring journalist out there is?
Find ways to use the platform that you are affiliated to build your brand. For instance, when I was at The Source, I was able to speak on panels at several universities like Shaw University where I sat on a panel with MC Lyte, television executive, Vicky Free and Play from Kid’ N Play. I was able to use The Source platform to become a sports analyst on a variety of television networks, like Arise TV, CTV in Canada, PIX11, here in New York City. All of that carried over to an NBA press conference with Adam Silver addressing the racial debacle involving former LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling.
Utilize the platform while you are there because the reality is if people do not know who you are, why are you here? The opportunity is there, though. You might have to go a couple of years without working for free, but do not get caught in the matrix of working like a slave, where you think there is nothing better. I think the other factor is that you must network well and be present at events and be willing to take people out for coffee and dinner to network. Invest in yourself.
Use the platform to sharpen your tools and have something to offer. I think the “urban magazine” characterization often puts people in a box as not equal to their perceived “more mainstream” counterparts. I also have witnesses folks in both respective entities carry themselves as such. Me personally, I do not think anything is wrong with freelancing at an Essence Magazine or an EBONY Magazine, which I did at one time, because you learn a lot. I remember I once freelance at Ebony and one of their former editors, Jamilah Lemieux was very instrumental in my growth as a journalist. She gave me tough love and constructive criticism that I needed. Thankful for her for it.
Do you think they need to pinpoint the definition for the NBA’s Rookie of the year award?
Yes, because Ben Simmons is a red-shirt rookie and I think this debate started when Blake Griffin was sidelined during his rookie season with the Clippers. He was able to return the following season and won the Rookie of the Year Award. I think the NBA should name both Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell Co-Rookie of the Year like they did for Jason Kidd and Grant Hill in 1995.
What has been your thoughts on this year’s playoffs and can you give your ideas on LeBron and the Cavaliers being able to barely escape the Pacers in the first round to being up 3-0 against the Raptors?
I think the Pacers were a tune-up series for the Cavaliers because they have had the Raptors number for a while now and it comes down to making shots. DeMar DeRozan had an excellent regular season, but they have not been able to get it done against the Cavaliers and Kyle Lowry cannot do it all by himself. They couldn’t stop LeBron and any other four guys on the court with him. I think the Cavs are building a rhythm of who they are and the trade that they made at the deadline was great, but the playoffs are a different animal. I think George Hill’s ability to score and control the tempo is what they were looking for from Deron Williams last year coming off the bench.
You were recently in Chicago on a promotional run. Can you tell us what your goal was while you were out there?
Just trying to network with different platforms out there and introducing them to Scoop B Radio. We got 2 million downloads last year and are working on 500,000 streams and counting in 2018. I made runs at 670 The Score, WGCI, The D & Davis Show and with WGN’s Dometi Pongo. I gave some NBA analysis and caught up with family, too.
You have been featured on a variety of different syndicated radio and television programs as of late. Are you auditioning for a possible jump to television because you do have CBS Radio on your resume already?
Hey, if somebody is interested, I’m not hard to find. You can reach out to my representation; I’d love to discuss things further. I will never turn down a great opportunity and hey if you guys are interested you know where to find me. Hey, ESPN, TNT, and Bleacher Report!