If you're interested in what's going on here as of today, Henry Abbott's got some news for you:
Starting right now, ESPN, TrueHoop, and many of the best independent basketball blogs out there are now officially working hand in hand as the TrueHoop Network.
The TrueHoop Network, as fueled by the efforts of a growing list of favorite basketball bloggers (check out that new little drop down on the right), and newly hired ESPN editor, and top-notch blogger, Kevin Arnovitz, will find and foster excellence in online basketball writing.
As to why this new enterprise came into being, again, Henry:
Thanks to the web, any writer with a measure of dedication, talent, and insight can be found and read (whether or not they have some crony to help them get hired in this tough business).
I have probably read as many basketball articles and blog posts as anyone over the last three-plus years, and I can tell you that there is fantastic work out there, and some of the smartest, most creative, fastest, and fascinating work is outside the mainstream media.
In my mind, if you were doing an honest compendium of the best sportswriting of these last couple of years, you would simply have to include some blog posts.
Put those talented new voices together with the stuff every sports fan wants to know about their team day in and day out, and I believe you have something that will prove to be must-read. To savvy fans in many markets, those kinds of blogs are already must-read. And they have tremendous promise to get even better over the following years.
More details should you care:
The nuts and bolts of the TrueHoop Network are quite simple. In a nutshell: Bloggers maintain their own sites, which they run as they see fit (even with their own ads they sell, if they'd like). They agree to carry some ESPN stuff on their blogs (like that video player), and to generally be responsible. And ESPN.com promotes the blogs' work and content.
Kevin and I will also foster synchronicity between the many websites involved and the many different parts of ESPN. One small example: Right now I'm working on a post about players who are particularly good at defending other players. Of course I'll be asking these bloggers -- who watch a ton of games -- for their thoughts, and they'll make TrueHoop better.
In the years to come, however, these simple kinds of relationships could yield multi-faceted results for readers. Online there is a never-ending stream of more and better ways for clued in people to collaborate and connect. Video, multimedia, audio, things we haven't even thought of yet ... We're going to have a lot of ways to work together.
Further reading: Sports Business Journal
Thanks to Henry Abbott, Kevin Arnovitz, those at ESPN.com who are buttressing this effort, and, of course, my new colleagues. Their blogs are accessible via the True Hoop Network toolbar at the top of the (slightly) reconfigured Hoopinion.
As to those reconfigurations, drop me a line (hoopinion (at) yahoo (dot) com) should you find anything not working or detracting from the easy of use of the site.