At only 32 years old, Dan Reed is the president of the NBA's D-League. He's also a blogger and advocates for his league to be accessible and open on the Web. Check out this post on D-Leage pay rates. It's pretty candid stuff. We caught up with him before the season starts next month to chat about what to expect this year as well as how he's used his blog to improve and change the league.
MAG: What's a specific idea you've implemented via reader feedback on your blog?
REED: One fan from Europe gave us an idea for a playoff format. It worked really well in the league that he follows overseas, where the top seeds in the playoffs choose their opponent from the bottom seeds. We've thought about implementing it for a number of different levels: creating rivalries, potentially it creates intensity in the locker room by getting called out by an opposing team, and we think there's a lot of benefits to it just because of the way our league is, so that's an idea we're thinking of implementing for this season.
Is there a point where you or someone else blogging in the D-League can become to open or accessible? There were whispers that some GMs in the NBA were leery of Rod Benson because of his blog.
In the case of Rod, I'm not sure that I buy that. But, more generally, I think that everyone has to decide from the way that you dress when you go to work, to the way you present yourself when you're in person and the way that you write online, how you want to present yourself to the world. And I think it's everyone's choice on how to do that. I think collectively we feel like we want to be open and honest and forthright and let people in on what we're doing, because what we think we're doing is pretty special. Our league has been a tremendous success story, and we want players to tell those stories. I want to be able to tell those stories. And my thoughts and their thoughts, when we present them in an authentic way, I think fans really appreciate that.
Are there writers or bloggers you're checking out on a consistent basis online?
I'm a bit of Web geek myself. I read Ridiculous Upside; I read Deadspin; I read TrueHoop; I read a lot. I'm a little bit of a junkie because I think that's where a lot of the really interesting content is and I really enjoy it.
Is it frustrating for that you have been so successful getting players in your league to the NBA, but at the same time players are going overseas and getting large contracts in Europe instead of sticking it out and trying to make the pros stateside?
You know, it doesn't bother me that much, because we've proven ourselves as the path to make it to the NBA. Player know that, agents know that. I think we have a pretty compelling value proposition for players to play with us and really it's up to every player. But look at our stats and see we produce five times more NBA players than any other professional basketball league in the world and every single mid-season callup in the NBA has come exclusively from the D-League, and see that 25 percent of the players that were playing in our league just last year were in NBA training camps last month. We offer the chance to play in front of NBA scouts every night and the chance to be called up right away. We play under NBA rules and offer a really superior development system that makes players much better when the leave our league than when they come in, so no matter what happens they're going to be much better off playing in our league.
What are the plans for this season and what are some new things we can expect?
We do try and innovate every year. We're the NBA's testing ground. We were the first and I think still only league to have live streaming of all of our games online. We're going to continue to enhance that and grow that this year. We're going to continue with the H.O.R.S.E. contest this year. We learned a lot last year, on what's really great about a contest like that. We're going to be testing a new version of the ball this year. For the first half of the season we're going to be using the NBA leather ball, then we're going to be using a new two-panel construction by Spaulding, which is pretty exciting. We're actually going to be testing new uniforms as well. Three of our teams are going to be testing new fabric, it's sort of the uniform of the future. We've got some other things up our sleeves as well that I won't be able to mention here but I think it's going to be a pretty exciting year for the D-League.
Elsewhere in the Jock-o-shpere…
Now with the Warriors, Turiaf reflects back on his relationship with Kareem Abdul-Jabaar.
"I have to tell you that yesterday at practice I got to see my man Kareem Abdul Jabaar," he writes. "He has been a great force behind a lot of my success. He is not the type of guy that is going to speak his mind about your game too much … unless you want him to. When I was in Los Angeles, he would sit on the sideline and watch how I play—he could tell I was struggling and trying to pass the ball too much at certain times. He really helped me gain faith in myself and confidence in myself. He always worked on the Mikan drill with me before practice and he would always tell me: 'Ronny, I know you are a great passer, but I want you to be able to score the ball and create fouls after you get offensive rebounds.'"
The Rays win, and Jacoby Ellsbury pours it out:
"It's definitely not a good feeling, but you can't dwell on it," he writes. "Just get better because of it and make another run at it next year."
"We played with a lot of heart. We have nothing to hang our heads about at all. A lot of guys did a tremendous job as a team to get to this point."
"Now that it's over, I'll let the body recover a little bit and go in the offseason and work hard, and build on it and just get better. I know I can get a lot better. This was my first full season, going through all of it. I'll take a lot of the knowledge I gained this year and take it into this offseason, this Spring Training and into the regular season next year."
"I been going thru a personal battle with myself on whether I will vote or not," he writes. "To be real honest with you, I really didn't give a damn. But after having a series of talks with my girl and watching and listening to different debates, I decided I will vote. Nov 4 is a big day the people of the United States. We have the choice to pick our next president. We have two candidates running for the office, and some people have they personal opinion of who they think should be. My personal vote will be going to Obama. I'm with Obama because he wants to help the less fortunate plain and simple, but McCain could help me too. But I'm not a selfish person and god has blessed me to be able to support my family, I feel that he's bring a different and change to the world in which is much needed. Also, with me being afro-American, this will be huge for my heritage and the world, just thinking he might be the first black president leaves me speechless."