Writing a story on certain aspects about an athlete or sport that are unknown to most people — such as a hydrogen bomb that miraculously didn’t detonate during 1961 in a city known for producing the most NBA players in America — requires more than putting a pen to paper.
From the NBA’s addiction to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, to Brooklyn Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell’s profound relationship with dogs, Baxter Holmes wasn’t fatigued by any storytelling when he spoke to the Society of Professional Journalists chapter at Cal State Fullerton.
A week after signing a multi-year contract with ESPN, the NBA national-feature writer shared his words of wisdom with college journalists about finding a story and how to tell it.
Harrison Faigen, president of Fullerton’s SPJ chapter, invited Holmes to the biweekly meeting for students to learn about his personal journey and how to write daily beat coverage.
“He finds these angles that no one else finds and tells these stories that no one else is telling, and I think that’s what makes him such a unique and talented writer,” Faigen said.
Holmes didn’t start his reporting career in the most traditional way.
As a teenager in Oklahoma, Holmes was a member of his high school’s basketball team. At some point, a teacher asked him to cover the team for the local newspaper.
The days of game previews and recaps are now long gone for Holmes, as behind-the-scenes stories of the NBA and even a James Beard Foundation media award are stacked underneath Holmes’ byline.
Holmes has fixated himself in the nooks and crannies of the NBA’s on-and-off the court stories.
From tales of the league’s brightest stars frequenting the grapevines of a Napa Valley winery, to the chaos of Los Angeles Lakers’ legend Kobe Bryant’s farewell season, the …