Ten years ago on New Year’s Eve, I stood in a hotel room in the Mirage preparing for a night of Las Vegas revelry, a process that consisted for me at age 23 of putting on a flamboyant cream and gold Jordan Brand button-down and drinking Tanqueray out of a water glass. My friends and I had a hip-hop station on the clock radio, and right before we departed for the Strip, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” came on. That was incredibly meaningful for me at that moment, because I felt I was on the verge of something I hadn’t quite figured out yet.
When my wife came to me and suggested we steal away to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving, it didn’t take me a whole lot of time to say yes given that I’ve long adored the city. But besides that, we needed more than anything simply to escape.
I found out about Lance Armstrong being stripped of his Tour De France titles the way I find out about most things nowadays: I opened up Twitter to a bunch of lame jokes and half-baked vitriol. Given the positive effect heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d had on the world, it seemed to me like Armstrong deserved better, perhaps a bit more reverence during his inevitable moment of public disgrace, but why should he be any different than Tiger Woods or anyone else?
Several years ago, when I became convinced the day would come when ArmstrongÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s empire would eventually be torn down, I bristled at the thought of those whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve used him as an inspiration during their battles with cancer thinking theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d been worshipping a false idol. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d long suspected Armstrong hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been on the level about doping; I just preferred if that inconvenient truth never surfaced for the benefit of those who truly needed to believe someone like him truly existed.
Besides, I had my own image of Armstrong to reconcile.
Just like when you hear a song that brings you back to a period of time that it helped you define, hearing about legendary rapper GuruÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s medical issues late last night took me back a few years to when his music was a soundtrack to one of my most significant days.
So after about three years, SportsAngle is back like Jordan, wearing the 4-5.
Why now? Why not? We were ahead of the curve back then, and now you see sports blogs sprouting up all over the place with Deadspin and all that. But SportsAngle had a certain edge to it, a spark Ã¢â‚¬â€œ talking about stuff most people just donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mess with: MMA (before it blew up), boxing, big-time high school basketball. (How big? SportsAngle was courtside at two of LeBron JamesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ high school games) We interviewed Tank Abbott, Chris Paul, a player from the ’05 NCAA 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson hoops team. We talked a lot on college hoops, a good amount on the NBA, some NFL, and a pinch of horror movies. Lately, the baseball knowledge quotient around here has gone up considerably.
The good part of blogging Ã¢â‚¬â€œ also the bad part in certain ways Ã¢â‚¬â€œ no editors. You write what you want, when you want. In that respect, SportsAngle was, and is, kind of like Bill Simmons on ESPN.com, just without the unchecked pretentiousness. And we found an audience; at our peak, we had several thousand people coming to read weekly; we were a fully-formed sports site, not just a blog.
The original incarnation was started by a genius Webmaster teaming with a youngster with big ideas — who suffered a near-total burnout and was last seen wandering somewhere in the Las Vegas desert, wearing a White Sox Michael Jordan jersey and these sneakers, and alternating between muttering lyrics from Liquid Swords and lines from the movie Death Proof.
In 2009, the site is powered by Truth, a computer wizard and savvy sports enthusiast, and a furious sports mind named Esoteric Ã¢â‚¬â€œ not this guy, though I am a fan Ã¢â‚¬â€œ whose tastes and sensibilities stylistically resemble what was going on during the first version of SportsAngle. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll probably have another couple of people we like doing some stuff on here with their own niche.
So if you remember what we were doing before and liked it, there’s more of the same to come. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re new to these parts, you might like what you see. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s great to be back, and we intend to be here for quite some time.