The chat was conducted by an English basketball website back in the Spring of '03, as far as I can tell, when Scoop was still in his natural habitat at SLAM:
Steven Chang, Birmingham: Scoop - do you think the bridge between Europe and America has closed since the disappointing US finish at the Worlds, and do you think the future is in Europe with so many non-Americans featuring in the draft last season and this season too? Also, do you believe in the team approach as seen in Europe or do you believe in the one-on-one individual stuff in the NBA?
Scoop Jackson: I think the gap is closing but not to the degree that everyone thinks that it is. To me there’s still a defensive gap between how D is played in the NBA and how European players play D. I still haven’t seen one player from overseas that has made any type of defensive impact over here.
With an almost eerie lack of prescience, Scoop dismissed the defensive game of all European players (we'll put aside that he said overseas, which would technically include defensive standouts Mutombo, Bol, and Olajuwon, who played U.S. college ball - barely, in the case of Bol) the year before Andre Kirilenko began his streak of three consecutive NBA all-defensive team appearances (two second team and one first team). It's not like he was unknown back in 2002-2003 either. He'd been named to the all-rookie team the year before and was eighth in the league in blocks per game even as Scoop was speaking. More impressively (and common knowledge for an NBA insider like Scoop) Kirilenko was the only non-center in the top ten in blocks per game.
. . .
William Alimi, Philadelphia (USA): Were you always interested in being a writer? If so, as an aspiring basketball writer, were you always good or did it take time for you to get to the level you are at? PS - Any tips you could give me, on becoming a writer like you?
Scoop Jackson: Oh it took time. [SW: I think I just blacked out. My mind reels at the thought that Scoop was once significantly worse. Did he just bash the keyboard against his forehead and publish the result? I was going to make a monkeys and typewriters joke, but Scoop would probably think it was racist.]
I never really had visions of being a writer but I always had great love for writing and news. In high school I was a magazine fanatic: Sports Ill, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Parade, Esquire, all of them. [SW: All of them, Scoop? New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Harpers, Spectator, Paris Review, National Review, New York Review of Books?]
So I read a lot. Not books [SW: ::shocked::], but newspapers and magazines. Nelson George and Gary Smith were like my idols. As was my father, who was a writer for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. So I followed all of them. And I guess my passion turned into work ethic and career interest. I just studied the game and found out how I can be effective.
And I got lucky. [SW: Amen!]
Don’t get me wrong, when I was young, there was no outlets like The Source, Slam, Vibe, ESPN, none of that was around. So I was just lucky that there have been outlets. [SW: Can't say the same.]
My advice to you: read, find writers that you like and read everything that they do. Study them, dissect their stories, learn why they write what they write, the way they write, the angles they use. [SW: And do the opposite.]
To me that is the greatest asset any writer can have to find his or her own voice is to read others. [SW: Scoop, what were you reading, Finnegan's Wake? That isn't even a coherent sentence. You do know that, don't you? Don't you? "The fall(bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronn-tuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk!)
of a once wallstrait oldparr is retaled early in bed and later on life down through all christian minstrelsy."]