Welcome to 🏀5x5!
If you love the NBA but want it to be better, you're in the right place
Hi, I’m Royce.
You might not know me … but you might know my work.
And if you do, that’s probably because you visited ESPN’s NBA page during the years — 2004 to 2021 — I played a leading role in developing what you saw there.
“ESPN.com’s secret weapon” was how John Hollinger tagged me in his farewell column.
But I have a new role now, right here, talking with you about the NBA, NBA culture and NBA coverage — and how to make all of those things better.
I’m very excited about it — I’m looking forward to interacting with you here, and I believe you’ll enjoy it too.
Here are two key questions to let you know more about me and 🏀5x5.
What exactly did you do at ESPN?
The quick way to sum it up comes from Kevin Pelton when talking to Zach Lowe on the Lowe Post podcast on my last day at ESPN:
Royce played a key role in shaping what modern NBA coverage would become.
Along with senior deputy editor Chris Ramsay, Royce thought bigger, helping bring in John Hollinger and giving him a prominent platform long before analytics was a buzzword, highlighting Chad Ford’s draft coverage and eventually adding Henry Abbott and his groundbreaking TrueHoop site.
So many of the features we now take for granted as part of NBA coverage on ESPN.com and elsewhere were influenced by Royce’s creativity and willingness to try new things, from NBArank to HoopIdea to Future Power Rankings.
What exactly will you do at 🏀5x5?
At 🏀5x5, I’ll push further into fresh territory.
You’ll get at least 2-3 original pieces per week — some will take apart the news of the day and some will have a more timeless quality. Others will delve into media commentary, including insights into my ESPN colleagues and the internal dynamics there. And I’ll tell you what I learned in my years at ESPN.
And some pieces will be pure fun.
While I’ll be responsible for the site, I’ll also be collaborating at times with other writers, or featuring them, such as analytics godfather Dean Oliver’s debut later this week at 🏀5x5 to introduce his upcoming book.
And there will be a community here, too — paid subscribers will have a voice in what we’re doing, plus easy ways to interact with us and each other. In addition to receiving full access to the site, paid subscribers will be able to participate in Q&A sessions and suggest coverage ideas. I expect interacting with subscribers will be half the fun, and no doubt it will influence what happens here.
The main point of 🏀5x5 — and why I’m asking you to join us and subscribe — is to uncover deeper truths about the NBA and explore the best ways to understand and improve it. Your subscription will make you a participant and a supporter of this effort.
For my critiques of the NBA as well as unique angles and perspective on a sport that holds so much meaning for so many of us, subscribe today.
🏀5x5 is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.