Monday Media: The Biggest All-Star of the Weekend Wasn’t CP3, it was Zach Lowe

I realize this isn’t an innovative take on the internet or anything, but one of the cool things about writing about basketball in 2013 is that anybody that wants to do so and has access to the internet can. This has allowed people from all backgrounds and walks of life to enter a field that was previously only the province of those with writing, journalism or entertainment backgrounds. The anonymity of the internet has allowed people that previously wouldn’t even get through the door to write; the average reader would probably be surprised at how many of their favorite writers are 20 years old. At 25 I feel like I’m a middle-aged member of the basketball writing blogosphere.

Given this reality, Zach Lowe of Grantland’s background is a bit unusual. Lowe is in his mid-30′s, has two masters degrees and was a real, honest to goodness beat reporter for six years before turning his attention to basketball full-time. Now, despite his obvious talent, Zach Lowe’s writing usually isn’t my cup of tea. That’s okay though, because there are thousands of basketball writers out there and not everybody is going to appeal to all readers.

While I really enjoy the words penned by this new breed of basketball writers, they often fall short when interacting with actual players. They have learned how to write through many different venues but never had any training or experience interviewing subjects, and boy was this on display All-Star weekend. I’m not going to link to the plethora of bad interviews because that is mean-spirited and I’ve never actually interviewed a basketball player so what the hell do I know, but it did highlight one thing: holy crap is Zach Lowe good at interviewing.

I’ve watched many interviews of Klay Thompson and while he is slowly becoming more comfortable, he’s usually a somewhat awkward interview subject, but you wouldn’t know that from the above video. Zach Lowe manages to make the interview feel simultaneously like a chummy conversation while also asking Thompson pointed questions and letting him explain his answers. Lowe asked both the formal interview questions, and also some of the dumb stuff that a lot of others wouldn’t ask. He makes sure to get to the things he has written down in his notebook, but is also flexible enough to follow-up on Thompson’s most interesting points. Lowe also doesn’t ask any of those stupid, leading “tell me about…” questions that aren’t really questions. All of this serves to make Klay feel comfortable and engaged, and it is notable that he gives very few stock non-answers (“both teams played hard”), and the few times he does Lowe interjects and redirects the interview.

I’m guessing that my sway at Grantland is non-existent, but if I do have any it is all now directed towards Zach Lowe’s editor: please, please, please have him do more on-camera interviews with NBA players.

About Kevin Draper

Kevin “Franklin Mieuli” Draper was born and raised in Oakland, California, and loves it more than you can possibly imagine. Follow him on Twitter @kevinmdraper
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