Monday, July 7, 2008

The 2007-2008 HP State Of The Paroxysm Address

As we close the book on HP's first season ever and dive into the offseason, which is going to be a lot of fun, I wanted to take a second and look back at what transpired at this here little corner of ye old internets, give some thanks, and talk a little bit about where HP is at, and where we're going.

So you won't find any Vince Carter douchebag jokes here. Okay, maybe a few. But for the most part, this is housecleaning. We want to talk about who we are, what we do, and where we're headed.

My name is Matt Moore and I'm a blogger for Hardwood Paroxysm, Ridiculous Upside, and AOL FanHouse.

I was born in Kansas City and raised in a small town in Arkansas (no, seriously). You'll notice there's not a single NBA team within close proximity. I attended the University of Missouri, with every intent of entering the prestigious, revered, exalted, and much ballyhooed University of Missouri School of Journalism. Most of my friends and the Paroxi-Wife are graduates of that fine institution. It's certain that, had I not been... dismayed by certain elements within the school's program, I would probably have an easier time with things like semi-colons, have a greater hatred for typos, and not drift into sentences that resemble the very worst of Walden. Alas.

The ebb and flow of work is what provides me with the opportunity to produce the amount of content I create. I've got a knack for multi-tasking, as well as an ability to dish out stuff in rapid succession. I became a fan of the blogosphere in late 2005, well behind the curve. I, like most of you, fell in love with it in no small part because there were people that spoke and thought about sports the way I did. It wasn't just interesting, funny, and intriguing; it touched a nerve. I thought off and on about starting a blog, and half-started a few. Nothing stuck, and I remained a commenter on a some sites and knew a few of the bigger bloggers in a semi-casual way.

With the 2007-2008 NBA season approaching, I spoke with Corn, who's actually Matthew Cornelius of North Carolina, who was living in Austin at the time. We'd been friends for a long time and both loved basketball. I told him I was thinking of starting an NBA blog and asked if he would be interested in contributing. He was enthusiastic, so I decided to. We had a lot of ideas about the name, and most of them were taken. One night I was watching some clips on YouTube and I saw the clip of the 8th seed Nuggets beating the Sonics (3:20 here) and Mutumbo freaking out. I thought, "That's a paroxysm of joy." And I thought about Zo hitting the game winner against Boston. I realized that was my favorite part of the NBA, when the passion bled out in big game situations. Well, that and the sheer ridiculousness. So I came up with "Hardwood Paroxysm." Corn said, "What?" I said it again. "What the hell is that?" I explained. "That is the worst name. Ever." The Paroxi-Wife agreed. I was stuck though. And that's why no one can spell our name.

So I got the site, Corn's girlfriend Sadie came up with our logo, and we went to work. We were terrible in the beginning. I can admit that. Since then we've come a long way, and the more we were linked to by some of our favorite blogs, the more involved we became. The best decision I made? Starting the 15 footer. Having to write every. single. day. made me constantly stay in the loop. Writing your second post of the day isn't hard. It's that first one that's rough. No one else was really doing a preview post at that time (this was before KD's movement to Yahoo!), and it was nice being able to do something abstract about the games before they happened. It gave us a niche.

I'm going to be quite honest with you. I have no idea how we ended up here. I thought it would be something fun to do. I didn't expect to get as many visitors as we do, nor the respect and compliments we've gotten. It's taken some getting used to, but at this point, I feel pretty confident in saying I can do this. I do it well. I touch a nerve with readers and they like my stuff. I understand the game and know when I'm out of my depth. I know when I understand something and I know when I need to ask. I've got respect for the game and the people involved, and I take no joy when a player is personally attacked, but will criticize if it's relevant. I don't give a damn that Carmelo Anthony got a DUI because many of my friends have. And it was just as stupid for them as it is for him, but I want people to forgive them, and so I have the same attitude for Melo. I love the game, just like probably all of you do, and I love writing about it. It's brought me more personal satisfaction than any other professional pursuit I've ever attempted. And the fact that it turns out I'm actually pretty good at something I love to do is by far one of the best things to ever happen to me.

In the past year I've worked for Deadspin, AOL, and liveblogged with J.E. Skeets and Kelly Dwyer, alongside Trey, at Ball Don't Lie. I've been credentialed for games and All-Star Weekend events, and I've spoken with some very smart people about basketball. I've become ten times the writer I was when I started this contraption, and I've made some great friends because of it. I know more about the game, more about the players, more about the coaches, more about writing, more about blogging, and more about dealing with people and ideas. I'm humbled by the reception I've got and eternally grateful to the people that helped me get here. I'm especially thankful for the support from the Paroxi-Wife, who always gave the smirking nod of her head whenever I would stumble across a tie game with 10 seconds when I was supposed to be done for the night. She was the first to tell me I could do this when I doubted myself, and the first to tell me when I needed to edit something because it was terribly written and, according to her, she "knew you can do better." She's been there for the playoffs and the draft and everything else, and I'll tell you I couldn't do this without her. Even though she refuses to call the Warriors anything but the "Warlocks" and primarily decides to root for people based on their aesthetic value (Chris Paul, Baron Davis= good; Manu Ginobili, Luke Walton= bad). Basically, she's pretty awesome.

It's been an amazing first season.

Okay, that's the fuzzy stuff. That's where we're at. But standing pat is not our gig. Here's what we have planned for the next year.

  • More access. We think access helps us provide better information, and we've proven that not all bloggers are going to try and read text messages of the athletes or bust them with groupies (not that we have any issue with that). We want to talk to more smart people in and around the NBA and give more insight into this wacky league.
  • Site redesign. Yes, we're getting It's coming. And then, a bit later, we're looking at a site redesign. We need more space, some more tricks, and a little upgrade. We're debating platforms, and if any of you have thoughts on this, let us know in the comments or shoot us an email.
  • Adding more writers. There are a ton of great writers we read on a daily basis out there, and we want to give you more exposure to them. Holly, from SLAM, has joined us, and she promises SwaggerJack will be coming regularly very soon. Trey, AKA Goathair, AKA the Blowtorch, is going to be dropping some stuff over here. He's a terrific basketball mind and I've encouraged him to trust his instincts and actually write about the league some more, on top of the lights-out stuff he produces at his own place. I'm talking to a few more about doing some work for us, and I'm pretty excited about it. If you're interested in writing for HP, again drop us an email with a pitch for a column. In case you're wondering, it pays somewhere between zilch and squat. But it is damn fun.
  • Typos. We're trying to improve the writing so it doesn't make the copy editor in you spontaneously vomit and stab things.
  • Considering all the angles. One thing I've found is that most of the things I thought were simple? Pretty freaking complex. And seeing the other sides of things won't just help me be a better guy, but a better writer.
  • Easing off on the Lakers. Yes. I'm going to make a concentrated effort to peel back on the anti-Laker rhetoric over the next 12 months. The more I write about the league and the more I get to love it wholly, the harder it is to blindly hate the purple and gold. Kobe Bryant Day opened my eyes quite a bit, and by the time the Finals rolled around, I really didn't hold an ounce of vitriol towards them. But still, I'll try pretty hard to cast as little hatorade towards them unduly as possible. That said, they lost a 24 point lead at home in the NBA Finals. Which is pretty funny.
  • Calling Vince Carter a douchebag. Vince Carter is a douchebag. He's always been a douchebag. He's our vice. And we'll continue to indulge that vice as often as we like.
  • More humor. The playoffs happened so quickly, we got away from some of our lighter stuff, which we like to do. So we'll be doing some more of that stuff, along with the analysis stuff we've done.
  • Podcasting. Because really what the world needs is more of Corn and I yelling at each other on MP3.
  • Keep on, keeping on.
Some final notes on things of interest.

  • There's been discussion of the comments, and why we don't respond. We love our commenters, and we think it's awesome when you guys interact. Here's our policy: Our work speaks for itself. If the commenters open fire on us and convince us, I'll post a genuine retraction. One of the best things about the blogosphere is the fact that if I'm wrong about something, everyone's going to know it, say it and tell others, and I have to correct it. We don't respond because we like the idea of this being a place where things are put up for discussion. Our entry to the fray isn't beneath us, but it's beneath our commenters. For the record, our commenter policy is every comment is allowed, no matter how vitriolic, angry, or derogatory, as long as it doesn't employ any of the terms you can probably imagine. (This policy also extends to every blogger we'll be adding over the next couple of months.) We don't reject anything as long as it doesn't cross any of those lines. We want you comment, we love it when you do. And we'll try to at least make our presence felt, but if you wonder why we don't, it's just that. The work speaks for itself. If we don't explain something we should, or fail to cover a relevant angle, then the piece needs editing.
  • Things we love: Monta Ellis in transition; Nash on the break with spot-up shooters on the wing; Chris Paul on the pick and pop; Dwight Howard when he's in his zone; Kobe's fadeaway runner; the Blazers, teams that draft well; Kevin Martin; watching bad GMs make terrible moves; Tyrus Thomas (me, not Corn); man-help on dribble penetration; Dirk Nowitzki, suprisingly enough; anything Josh Smith does; Crazy Pills Artest; Joe Dumars' philosophy; El Tigre Monstruoso; handing out arbitrary nicknames; the regular season; a healthy Dwyane Wade; LeBron with separation; Al Jefferson; Yao's footwork; MACHINE (we've converted); Thornton and Brand back and forth; the Hawks; Hedo Turkoglu's desire to be the man inside ten seconds left in the game; Caron Butler's entire game; Amare down the lane; the expectation of Greg Oden, maybe more than what Greg Oden actually will be; value players under 25; Delonte West; Darko Milicic; Gerald Wallace; players going Nova; and a wicked pump fake. And we can't wait to watch all of this again next season.
That's where we're headed. I want to thank all the readers of this site for your support, and we're looking forward to the next 365 with you. Thanks for your time.

Matt Moore
Hardwood Paroxysm
Ridiculous Upside
AOL FanHouse

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