Covering Pro Basketball: Sportswriters Say It's Rigorous but One of the Most Pleasing Beats
Haughton, Jim, Editor & Publisher
Covering pro basketball
Pro basketball writer Lee Shappell of the Arizona Republic in Phoenix has run in 30 marathons, but admits that he has never faced any assignment in his 14 years in the newspaper business as physically demanding as covering the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association.
"I don't think editors anywhere really appreciate what an NBA writer goes through," Shappell said of the rigorous physical and mental pressures of covering the pro court beat.
Shappell's views are shared by most NBA men and women writers, including more than 50 surveyed by Editor & Publisher.
While there is practically unanimous feeling that covering NBA teams can be physically and mentally taxing, most writers agree that it is one of the most pleasant assignments in sports because the players, team management, and the league are so cooperative.
Writers surveyed rate player cooperation far above pro baseball players and say they are easy to deal with. The league and its franchises have polished their public relations to a high level. Game dressing rooms, for example, are open to the news media until 45 minutes before game time and 10 minutes after the contest.
Pro basketball plays an 82-game regular season schedule - it began in early November and ends this year on April 21 - before an interminable playoff schedule that can continue until mid-June. Most games are one-night stands, then teams move on to the next town a night or two later.
The pro court beat can take a writer to any of the league's 27 cities on swings of from four to seven games, often involving road matches on successive nights in cities far apart. A West Coast or Midwest team can make an Eastern swing covering Boston, New York or New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta, and perhaps Miami or Orlando. An Eastern team can open in Portland, play two nights later in Sacramento, then go to Oakland and Los Angeles.
The huge …
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Publication information: Article title: Covering Pro Basketball: Sportswriters Say It's Rigorous but One of the Most Pleasing Beats. Contributors: Haughton, Jim - Author. Magazine title: Editor & Publisher. Volume: 124. Issue: 16 Publication date: April 20, 1991. Page number: 18+. © 2002 Editor & Publisher. COPYRIGHT 1991 Gale Group.
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