Not much free time for me today, but I did want to at least acknowledge that, 3 years ago today, I started the Blogspot site that eventually grew up to be Orlando Pinstriped Post, which you're reading right now. I've been privileged to cover the last two-plus full seasons of Orlando Magic basketball, as well as the tail end of the second Brian Hill Era, and never did I imagine that a site born of frustration about unfulfilled expectations would eventually land me, say, on press row for the NBA Finals less than three years later. It's been wild, really, going from refreshing Yahoo! Sports every 30 seconds on game nights alone in my dorm room to getting to wander about the Magic's locker room and hearing, for instance, that Brandon Bass thinks I look like Harry Potter.
I'd like to thank some people who've helped along the way, because this is not something I did on my own. Were it not for the awesome folks at SB Nation, including Matt B., who recruited me and whom I nearly turned down; Seth Pollack, who runs the basketball gig now; and Tom Ziller, as influential a writer in my life as anyone, I would not be writing this post today. Kelly Dwyer, Henry Abbott, Kevin Arnovitz, John Hollinger, Steve Perrin, Brian Windhorst, Ira Winderman, John Krolik, and the FreeDarko folks also indirectly nudged me in the right direction; I'd list Winderman introducing himself to me during Game 3 of the NBA Finals among the 10 most gratifying and surreal experiences of my life. And I would not be as comfortable in locker-room settings were it not for Josh Robbins and Tania Ganguli, who've taught me more about that side of the writing/reporting gig than I can adequately express.
Obviously, I wouldn't be in the position of requiring their tutelage were it not for the Magic organization, which is ahead of the curve with regard to its treatment of bloggers. First-class.
Eddy Rivera's obviously been a big part of helping this site grow, and I'm glad I accepted his offer to jump aboard for free. He's a superstar.
Jon Nichols graciously contributed weekly, in-depth statistical analyses to our site before a job opportunity required that he step away, and I'm indebted to him for making my Monday nights a bit easier.
But most of all, really, thank you guys. Your participation here has also grown this site, and knowing that there's an audience for what I write keeps me going; I've gone from writing for IZOD Center-like crowds to Madison Square Garden-sized ones. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support.
Also, happy 31st, Hedo.