By Mike Jensen, Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer
The idea behind “A Year in Philly Hoops” is pretty simple — trying to get our arms around the sport in Philadelphia the same way we’d cover a big event, say a major golf tournament coming to town. The difference: We’re spending all year doing it.
I’d kicked this idea around for quite a few years but this year felt the right one to pull the trigger. Last fall I talked to Inquirer sports editor Gary Potosky about it. He only had one question: You’re still going to do the other things you do? Once that answer was yes (I write college columns, do some enterprise reporting), Potosky didn’t hesitate, let’s do it. He then shepherded the project through the many departments that needed to be on board.
Two conceits of the project are that Philly is the best place to write about the many twines in the hoop world and that hoops is the best sport for this sort of project in Philly. Both, in my opinion, happen to be true. Philadelphia is referred to as a city of neighborhoods, and basketball is one of those neighborhoods, where everybody seemingly knows everybody.
The idea of the series is to write about the sport as it is now, giving nods to the rich history, but showing scenes from contemporary Philly hoops. We’re averaging a story a week, focusing on important figures, both the well-known ones and the vivid characters who are known only if you are part of the day-to-day workings of Philly hoops. The hope is that by December, we’ll have a 360-degree look at the sport in and from this area.
Check it out here: A Year in Philly Hoops