Brett Dawson: I’m back to cover the Thunder the way I want — with an assist from you

Brett Dawson: I’m back to cover the Thunder the way I want — with an assist from you

If people are the priority, context is a close second, and it’ll be a keyword in coverage that will strive to go beyond the news of the day — an injury, a win, a personnel move — and tell you what the moment means in the bigger picture.

Brett Dawson

By Brett Dawson

| Sep 18, 2023, 7:00am CDT

Brett Dawson

By Brett Dawson

Sep 18, 2023, 7:00am CDT

OKLAHOMA CITY — In the final minutes of “Stan Lee,” the Disney+ documentary about the late Marvel Comics creator, the titular genius addresses a group of 2017 UCLA graduates. 

From a seat at center stage, he implores them to believe in their passions, to give everything they’ve got to everything in life. 

Before he signs off with the “Excelsior!” that was his trademark, the guy who created Spider-Man and Iron Man and the X-Men offers the assembled students a little career advice. 

“You can only do your best work if you’re doing what you want to do, and if you’re doing it the way you think it should be done,” Lee tells them. “And if you can take pride in it after you’ve done it — no matter what it is —  you can look at it and say ‘I did that, and I think it’s pretty damn good.’ That’s a great feeling.”

I am no Stan Lee, to be clear. 

Nothing I’ve created ever will rake in a billion at the box office.

But I know what I want to do and how I want to do it, and I’m at Sellout Crowd starting today because it offered me a new chance to chase that “great feeling” Stan the Man was talking about. 

It’s why, after a brief detour from the NBA and an even shorter one from journalism altogether, I’m back covering the Thunder. 

If you read my work at The Oklahoman and The Athletic, you have a sense of what to expect now: Coverage focused on the people playing the games and working behind the scenes and sometimes the ones sitting in the stands. 

In the year that I taught sports journalism at the University of Missouri — the past few years have been a journey  — I stressed to my students not to think that they covered sports but that they covered people who happened to play sports. 

It’s a subtle reframing, but an important insight into what I’ve always enjoyed about writing basketball. 

That doesn’t mean every story will dig into a player’s personal experience or the meaning behind his tattoo or a superstitious quirk. But that kind of thing will be a strong influence on the things I cover and the stuff I write and talk about on my show, Heard Thundering. 

If people are the priority, context is a close second, and it’ll be a keyword in coverage that will strive to go beyond the news of the day  — an injury, a win, a personnel move — and tell you what the moment means in the bigger picture. 

Those twin tenets will define a whole lot of what appears in this space. 

But you’ll play a part too. 

I’m on social media for your feedback. I’m here, too: [email protected]. And I want to hear from you. About what you’re enjoying and what you’re not. About what you’d like to see more of — and less. I won’t fill every request. But I’ll read them all. 

There will be mailbags in this space, and questions answered on the podcast, too. But I want more.

If you have Thunder thoughts and you’re looking for a place to share them, my email is right there. Social media DMs, too. I’ve been gone a while, but before I left I felt like I had a sense of the Thunder-fan pulse. I want to get it again, and that depends on you. 

I’ll go looking for the best stories. It’s my favorite thing to do. But if you think you have one, send it my way. Share it if you see me at a coffee shop (where I’ll be more days than not) or a brewery (where I’ll be more days than I should). 

You can leave the writing to me, but I want to collaborate with you. 

Because I want to share my genuine thrill to be back in this city covering this franchise. 

Share with your crowd
Brett Dawson, the Thunder beat writer at Sellout Crowd, has covered basketball for more than 20 seasons at the pro and college levels. He previously worked the Thunder beat at The Oklahoman and The Athletic and also has covered the New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Lakers and L.A. Clippers. He’s covered college programs at Louisville, Illinois and Kentucky, his alma mater. He taught sports journalism for a year at the prestigious Missouri School of Journalism. You can reach him at [email protected] or find him sipping a stout or an IPA at one of Oklahoma City’s better breweries.

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