I considered a number of ways to announce that after a four-year hiatus I was returning to write about the Clippers. So many of the ideas seemed self-important and grandiose, but as I got closer to it becoming public knowledge I kept reverting to Rakim’s lead single from his comeback album more than 20 years ago.
The song was modern and sophisticated, but it avoided the potential potholes of the glitzy, neon lights that had seemingly engulfed rap music at the time. “Guess Who’s Back?” was as simple as it was braggadocious. It was less announcement and more statement, a proclamation that a veteran at his craft was returning to “make it hard to adapt to this.”
Much like a lot changed in the years prior to Rakim’s return, the Clippers roster has undergone the kind of flux that is mostly reserved for a staunch rebuilding effort since my office last resided in their Playa Vista Training Center. Only DeAndre Jordan and Doc Rivers remain from August 2014. And in the interest of continuity, only Jordan, Doc and Austin Rivers, and Wes Johnson remain from their 2017 playoff squad.
Despite turning over a team that spent six grueling, important years together, for a potentially brighter, and more stable, future, things are undoubtedly different. In this case, change, by all measurables in the NBA, was a good thing.
For me, change was a good thing as well. I spent a brief time in New Orleans, working outside of the NBA in public relations. I found my way to Arizona in the fall of 2015 and have since taken on the director of communications role for a school district, coached varsity basketball, and wrote immensely about high school athletics in the state for nearly two years.
Writing for Clips Nation, a website that was just beginning to find its sea legs (pun partially intended) when I was working for the Clippers, will be a refreshing change of pace. I am anxious to write about the team that I grew up rooting for and introduced me first-hand to the NBA up close in a new context. I was afforded a tremendous opportunity working for the organization for three years. They supported my creativity, basketball writing chops, and helped me grow as a multimedia reporter. Now, though, I have a chance to build on that experience and work a little less filtered, and a little more creatively.
You can expect an array of content from me, whether it is connecting you to my fellow media members, writing player features (my specialty on Clippers.com), identifying trends, previewing and analyzing games (and hopefully soon enough playoff series again), or many of the other farther reaching endeavors we have on tap for the coming season.
Unlike many Clippers lifers in the past 20 years, I was not born into the nation. I chose to join it after playing Bulls-vs-Blazers on Sega Genesis and always vying for an upset as Ron Harper, Loy Vaught and Danny Manning. I chose to drive from my hometown in San Diego to Staples Center and watch Lamar Odom in 1999 because despite his flaws he was too dynamic to miss. I chose to call in sick from work in 2006 the morning after Raja Bell knocked down that 3-pointer over Daniel Ewing. And I chose to follow every game the Clippers played in the four years since I left the team.
Much like many of you, the Clippers have been a constant in my life for the better part of three decades. And while I can’t promise to move the crowd as triumphantly as Rakim, the coming era of Clippers basketball makes me just as pleased to announce: I’m back.