Chris Haynes is among the most well-regarded NBA reporters, known for his breaking-news scoops, covering the Golden State Warriors, and even sitting down with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum for dinner interviews. It was in Portland that Haynes got his official NBA start after trying to break into the industry. He sat down with Alex Putterman of Awful Announcing to reflect on his start and how it’s led to him ESPN:
Before he was an ESPN NBA reporter covering his fourth consecutive NBA Finals, Chris Haynes was a late-20s dude in Oregon trying to feed his wife and four kids on a security guard’s salary.
After graduating from Fresno State at age 27, Haynes had found his way into basketball writing by cold-pitching online publications, then packing up for Portland when Slam Magazine suggested he move to an NBA city. For a year, he worked security during the day and covered Trail Blazers games at night, writing for free even as he began to break news around the team.
“In the meantime,” Haynes recalled this week. “I’m struggling with the fact that I’m a college graduate, the first college graduate in my family, and the only job I can get is a security job.”
Then Comcast SportsNet Northwest (now NBC Sports Northwest) hired him as a full-time Blazers beat writer, and soon everything changed.
“I think [the job] paid like $32,000,” Haynes said. “I was the happiest man in Portland. I’d never made that much money. I was on welfare prior to that, man. I felt like I’d made it.”
Haynes moved on from the Blazers to cover LeBron James’ return in Cleveland, then he joined ESPN to cover Kevin Durant and the Warriors.
You can read the entire interview with Awful Announcing here. And you can watch a video of Haynes giving Will Barton — yes, Will Barton — buckets here.