"... I immediately called Zach [Randolph] hoping to get a comment from him. When he answered his phone, his speech was slurred and he wasn't very responsive to my questions. One thought shot through my head: "Oh great. This dude is stoned out of his mind..."
~ Brian Hendrickson, Vancouver Columbian
The Vancouver Columbian's Brian Hendrickson needs no introduction; his articles, thoughts and statistical analysis are linked to on this site on a weekly (if not more frequent) basis.
Recently, we caught up with Mr. Hendrickson via email to discuss: his career as a sportswriter, his thoughts on blogs (including his own Blazer Banter), his idea of creating a "super fan" section in the Rose Garden, how Maurice Lucas is a big fan of his expanded shot-charting statistics, and, of course, what Zach Randolph sounds like when he is under the influence of a General Anesthetic.
Without further ado, here's the transcript of our conversation with Brian Hendrickson. I know it's long but it is well, well worth the read.
Also, be sure to check for Mr. Hendrickson's contribution to Honor Terry Porter next week.
BlazersEdge: How did you become the Blazers beat writer for the Columbian?
BlazersEdge: Without question, you place a big focus on stats compared to other local writers. Are you a "Moneyball" guy? Why the deep interest in stats and what role do they play for you in evaluating talent?
BlazersEdge: Who was your all-time favorite Blazer to cover?
BlazersEdge: Do you have a horror story of covering the team or the NBA in general?
BlazersEdge: Everyone's talked about his favorite moment so far this season. What's your most underrated moment for the team this year?
BlazersEdge: What do you think of the job Coach Nate McMillan did this season? Do you think he was overlooked in the Coach of the Year discussion?
BlazersEdge: Blazers fans have often said recently "the city (being Portland) is embracing the team again." Vancouver sometimes gets left out of the equation (mostly unintentionally). Do you see any divide in Blazers fans across the stateline or is it a singular fan base?
BlazersEdge: When it comes to access to the current team, do you feel your needs are being met? If you were on the other side of the aisle (as a PR person), would you allow more or less access than is being allowed currently?
BlazersEdge: Many members of the so-called Mainstream Media are now blogging and you've been going at the Blazer Banter blog for awhile. What do you see as the purpose of Blazer Banter? Simply to find a place for the extra stuff that doesn't make the column?
BlazersEdge: After being around the team for the first time this season, I have heard the phrase "the NBA is a business" repeated over and over by almost everyone involved. Do you see the team and the league only through professional eyes or do you still have a fan's soul underneath the professional exterior? If you could change it, would you make the game more professional (the David Stern approach, with dress codes and stricter rules) or less professional (think the ABA) or leave it as is? Why?
BlazersEdge: How knowledgable do you think the average Blazers fan is, compared to fans in other cities or fans in years past? Can you think of a few things that fans just "don't seem to get" that you've picked up by spending so much time around the team and the league?
BlazersEdge: Let's say the Blazers win the title in 2012, where are you? What are you doing? Are you celebrating? Cranking out a story?
BlazersEdge: Do you any advice for those considering a career in sportswriting?
BlazersEdge: Aside from your current position, what's your dream job? Is it in sports or something completely different? Why?
Many thanks to Mr. Hendrickson for his thoughtful answers to our many, many questions.
-- Ben (email@example.com)