Sunday night, I left a strangely cryptic post. My plan was that I'd get sleepy while doing it but, before I knew it, I was clicking send. Why was I nervous? Because I was heading to meet with the folks at the next morning.

Business…here’s my second open letter to LeBron James, found here at the BSN. Call this my contribution to Atlanta. Also, peep the bidness blog and see the update on Geeksta Rap. We have found the grandsons of the 2 Live Jews, I guess.
Sunday night, I left a strangely cryptic post. My plan was that I’d get sleepy while doing it but, before I knew it, I was clicking send.
Why was I nervous? Because I was heading to meet with the folks at the next morning.

I have read every day since I became familiar with their website. I mean that literally. If I’ve had access to a computer, I’ve read the dot-com. The first thing I do after 9am is read Dan Shanoff’s Daily Quickie. I come back around noon to read Page 2. It’s just what I do, and that will probably never change. And judging from the numbers I’ve seen, I’m not the only person like that.
Because of that, writing for them has always been a mind blower. Considering how I started writing for them, “mind blower” may not be the right term. There must be something I could say that has more magnitude.
Here’s the story. A little more than two years ago, my good buddy Cory Brown met Ralph Wiley at a book signing or something like that. If you’re not familiar with Ralph, get your Google on. If you like that, click here right now and pick up Classic Wiley. You’ll love it.
Anyway, Cory–who first put me down with Africana, making him one of my earliest supporters and someone to whom I owe a great deal–told me that he met him, and I asked him if he would please send him a piece I’d just done on The Source. At the time, I was certain it was the best piece I’d ever done, so I wanted him to just send it Ralph’s way. It never dawned on me that he’d ever actually read it, but I had nothing to lose. Everything I have in my career has come about because I asked someone to just read something, and some folks have liked my stuff enough to keep reading. Nothing is cooler than having someone you respect, someone you grew up reading, say that he or she likes what you do.
So Cory sent him the piece, and he then e-mailed me with what Ralph thought. I still remember exactly what he said.
“Tell Bomani that if he keeps writing great shit like that he’s going to be dangerous.”
I nearly passed out. Something like that would be like Michael Jordan saying he liked my jump shot. It was really that serious. Early on, he told me that he was “becoming a big fan of my work.” I literally had to stop myself from crying, and I have no shame in admitting that.
So for the next year, Ralph and I e-mailed back and forth. He would give me advice about how to tighten up my work and we’d talk sports. He’d send me stuff of his that he thought I would like, and he’d give me previews of stuff he had coming up. It was amazing to me.
Well, fast forward to last January, and I got an e-mail titled “ query.” It came from an editor at the dot-com, and he was telling me that he wanted something on the dot-com about the Marcus Dixon situation and that Ralph told him I was on top of it and one “helluva writer.”
Of course, I jumped on it. Read that piece here.
That’s how the dot-com relationship began. Even now that Ralph has left us, my relationship with them has continued, and it’s a blast working for them. Beyond the exposure, they give enough freedom there that I’m allowed to throw out obscure music references, make unequivocal statements about racist–which is not allowed at many sites–and they’re always honest with the folk. That’s big.
Going there was something because it’s hard to imagine what a place like that would be like. And with my minimal knowledge of all things northern, I had no idea what I would see when I got there. Well, here’s the best description–the place is frequently called a “campus,” and that’s the most accurate. Bristol is like a college town. The school? ESPN University. There’s more outside of UNC in Chapel Hill than there is Bristol outside of ESPN.
The complex is a mass of buildings and satellite dishes. That’s what I saw. That’s all I can tall you. There wasn’t a studio tour or anything. This wasn’t a tourist visit. ‘Twas business. I would have liked to have met Scott Van Pelt, though. He’s a funny, funny guy.
So after a year or so of contributing with them, they wanted to talk about some things, so I headed to Bristol. Long of the short–get ready to see me writing a lot more about sports, taking a lot more trips to sporting events, and doing a lot more stuff for them about sports and lifestyle. I’m also hoping to do more work for Page 2, so I’m pretty stinkin’ excited.
Here’s the biggest thing. Have you ever dealt with people and simply felt respected by the time it was done? Not talking about money or anything else. I mean just the feeling that the people you’re talking to appreciate what you do. Now that I’m at a point where I’m into what I’m going to do with my life, that’s something. In his last piece, Ralph said that a man’s only got “the integrity of his work.” That’s real, and that should explain why this hit me in such a great place.
While riding clouds on the way to the hotel after meeting with the folks, I just felt energized. I started thinking of things I would like to do, places I would like to go, all of that stuff. I had been reading Classic Wiley on the way up there, so all the things I was learning while reading that were starting to manifest themselves. The next morning, I was still rolling. I hooked up the Dell in the airport and just started writing, throwing ideas together on a piece and thinking of what to do next. It was like a creative explosion.
Something tells me the next year is going to be a special time. For the first time, I’m devoting all my energies and attention toward writing. I’ve always been pleased with my work, but I’ve never felt like I was doing the best that I could. I don’t write enough. Instead of a great piece every month or so and being consistently pretty good, I want to get to the point where people know that reading something with my byline is reading something that could be the greatest shit you’ve read in a while. I want people to read my shit for the same reason people would watch Nolan Ryan–there’s a chance history could be made, and no one would want to miss that. I’m trying to throw seven no-hitters in this here thing, dig?
And now, we start moving toward that. Today is the first day of the rest of the week, but now is the time to do this for real.