“Inside the story,” with David Vertsberger. Vertsberger took his journalism talents to the WNBA after he realized he can provide a larger impact. Also, he took us inside his early life and kept it completely real. Lastly, basketball talk.
I had to get in contact with somebody in the sports industry to help Spark Sports viewers get an important standpoint on the next few weeks of basketball. I had the chance to interview David Vertsberger of Summit Hoops.
Mr. Vertsberger’s work has been showcased on many large platforms, including Grantland, Sports Illustrated, VICE Sports, and Bleacher Report.
A pioneer for the youth. In this interview he explained his thoughts on Derrick Rose, the draft, all-time Kobe ranking, etc.
Jonathan Bates: Before we get to sports, I want to know, and I’m pretty sure other young aspiring journalists wants to know as well, what type of work ethic and the formula does it take to be in this industry?
David Vertsberger- Work ethic’s important in any industry, unless of course you’re just amazing at your job while at 50% effort. If so, more power to you. As for the formula, no joke, be better or be different. When you boil it down, this is an entertainment industry, and you need to attract eyeballs however you can. Best ways to do that are be better than everyone else, or do something nobody else is.
Everybody always goes through adversity or feels like quitting their dream job. What was your story you would like to tell before you got into the sports industry?
I used to win essay contests when I was in elementary school, then once I got into basketball in middle school I kind of just started writing about it for fun. I had takes and wanted to dish them. It all just steamrolled from there as I wrote for bigger sites/publications.
When you were young, this had to be your dream job correct? If that statement is true, who was that one reporter or media professional that motivated you to take on this job?
I don’t think there are writers I’ve enjoyed more than Zach Lowe, Jonathan Abrams and Lee Jenkins. These are popular picks, for good reason.
You are definitely changing the media game up by taking your talents to the WNBA. I know you did a little bit of reporting for the NBA as well. However, what’s the difference in reporting from the NBA and WNBA? Following that question what’s the beauty of covering the WNBA rather than the popular NBA coverage?
I doubt I’m changing much of anything, but the differences in reporting on the two probably lie in what I’m actually publishing. The process remains the same – try and find stories that haven’t been written yet. With the NBA, there are a million bloggers and a ton of exceptional journalists, so I’m tackling niche stuff. For the WNBA, massive, big-picture things aren’t covered nearly as much or as well as they should be, so I try to fill the gap there. For me, the beauty of covering the WNBA has been uncovering these stories nobody has bothered to look for and enjoying some good summer basketball.
David Vertsberger, whether you know it or not, you have a lot of people thinking about reporting for the WNBA. How did that come about? Was your heart set on reporting for the WNBA?
I’d like to say it came from wanting to bring proper coverage to a fun league or seeing a growing market and wanting to embed myself in it, but I had nothing to do one summer and thought writing about the WNBA would be a good experience. Good decision.
I asked Oliver Maroney of Dime UPROXX Magazine and his list was long; so who would you like to shoutout or who helped you get to the stage you’re at right now?
God, so many people. Ian Levy, Howard Megdal, Bo Churney, the good folks over at Knickerblogger and Hardwood Paroxysm. I’m definitely missing a ton of names, and apologize for that.
The NBA finals just passed, do you believe we will see the Cavaliers v. Warriors for another two years? Following that question, do you believe LeBron James will be in Cleveland after his contract expire?
It certainly looks that way, barring injury or an act of God. LeBron’s going to be LeBron’ing for at least another two seasons, and the Warriors aren’t likely to break apart following the success they had this season. As for the second question, I wouldn’t be shocked if he left. He accomplished what he wanted to, and he has a lot of non-basketball ambitions that could pull him towards a Los Angeles or (heh) New York.
Give me a number, how many rings the Warriors will win if this group stay intact for another 4–7 years?
We’ll likely see a threepeat, then guys might get burned out. Injuries are always a factor. Probably between three and five.
Enough of the two best teams in the league. Derrick Rose is a free agent, and we all know about his history of injuries. Which team could you see giving Rose another chance?
The Sacramento Kings are always a candidate to do something questionable. Not really sure who else would be interested, but I believe he has a future in this league. Strictly by his on-court merits, Rose was hardly a disaster last season. Bring him off the bench for 18 minutes a night, let him shoot his shots on reserve players, and he should be a net positive for some teams.
I got one draft question for you, what is the most realistic blockbuster trade you see happening on the proposed night or leading to draft night. Following that question, can you do a mock draft of 1-5 draft picks?
In line with last question, probably a deal involving Paul George to the Cavaliers, Lakers, or whoever offers Indiana the best package. My mock draft would go: 1. Fultz 2. Ball 3. Tatum 4. Jackson 5. Fox
Out of all the NBA players and WNBA players you have interviewed, which was your favorite?
Diana Taurasi is the greatest quote in basketball.
Who’s your team? Player?
The New York Knicks and Kawhi Leonard.
VIP Questions: Where do you rank Kobe Bryant in the NBA best players/greatest players to step foot on the hardwood?
He’s somewhere from 8-13. I’d have to sit down and go one by one to give you a definitive answer, but I won’t be able to get to the fifth spot before passing out due to dehydration.
Kyrie Irving or Allen Iverson? Why?
Kyrie Irving. Just enjoy watching him cook slightly more.
Thanks David Vertsberger for spending your time with Spark Sports.