CEO Robert Littal did not hide anything in this interview. Oh boy. He went through a lot to get where he is now. Mr. Littal also shared tips and what it’s like on a regular day in the office. Lastly, we talked BASKETBALL!
As we all know, this has been one of the most anticipated finals since the big three Boston Celtics v Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers. Unlike other sports, the NBA/Basketball world doesn’t dry out after the championship game, the fun just begins. Mr. Littal is here for me to talk about his story and much more. You can find his work here.
Jonathan Bates: Black Sports Online, you are one of the most talked-about Twitter accounts today, whether it be at basketball games or any other sporting events. Where did the idea come from and why?
Robert Littal– The original concept came from a lack of black voices in online media. We have seen a lot of improvements in that area, but it is still an industry where it is 90% white males, so it is important that we have a voice especially when the majority of athletes look like us.
For young black males, you are like a pioneer for young journalists. Personally, you are an inspiration to myself as well. How is it in the sports industry as a black male? Was it harder to get into the industry because of your color or being blackballed by some companies?
I will answer your second question first, it is always harder to do anything as a black person in this country. You have to work twice as hard and even then people will see you as inferior. I equate to the presidency. President Obama is a brilliant guy, family man, generally a very nice person and there are people who think he is beneath Donald Trump simply because Obama is black and Trump is white. Even though Trump is a moral trainwreck.
I think being black you automatically have a different perspective on things and see them through a different lens. My job is to add to the discussion. I don’t try to be anything that I am not. That means I might go from talking about Rihanna at NBA Finals to speaking on serious racial issues. When you are just being you, everything else will fall into place.
What was some adversity you went through in life? What situation almost made you give up and say “I’m done” with trying to become in the industry?
Everyone is going through something. So I don’t like to say I had it tougher than anyone else and frankly a lot of it was my doing. Wasn’t good with my finances. Lost jobs cause I wasn’t focused. Got in a deep hole. At that point, as you start getting older you wonder if you can dig yourself out or are you destine to be a failure. That’s where I was at. I had to choose to get my life together and I got really lucky along the way. That’s why I try to teach others so they don’t have to deal with what I dealt with. Not just in the industry but life.
There is a testimony behind all accomplishments in life. What were your steps to get where you are now in life or what was your journey (sports journalist, reporter, CEO, interviewing players)?
It was a process, a lot of missteps, but graduating from college was important. I always wanted to be a sports journalist and not just a guy with a blog.
So, what I did was built up my brand and reached out to people, showed my work and keep hustling.
When I got the opportunities I didn’t blow it.
What’s a regular day like for a sports journalist? How your day go in the office on the regular?
I work it like a regular 9-5 but in sports and entertainment, it’s 9am-2am. It’s non-stop. But I have systems and routines in place. You have to have a schedule and keep organized. I’ve been doing this for a while. I know what works for BSO and what doesn’t. But it’s just like any business owner: make a daily plan and execute it.
What are some of the pros and cons that are arising in the industry today?
It is a different industry. If anything, I tell people I was ahead of my time. A lot of the things that are being done in 2017, I was doing in 2010 in regard to blending sports and entertainment.
The pros are it is much easier to start in media, while I’d always recommend getting your degree it isn’t required. Today you can start a podcast, website, YouTube show in like 30 mins. That wasn’t available 5-10 years ago.
The cons, of course, is that the market if flooded and it seems to be a success you have to be loud, ignorant and have WWE style takes. So, it is much more complicated, but in the hard, the people who hustle are the ones who will stand out.
Before we get to the sports related questions, what’s next for Robert Littal?
I just moved to LA, so I am doing more Entertainment and movies. I am speaking to kids at HS and colleges. All about expanding the brand and helping others.
You asked Kevin Durant about Rihanna after Game 1; the media world went nuts and I’m pretty sure everybody jumped on your bandwagon after that. Did that question boost your popularity?
— Robert Littal (@BSO) June 2, 2017
I have a pretty good following, so I think it was more the people who have been riding for me for years felt good to see the things that frankly, I do everyday go viral on a National level.
This is what BSO does and how we can move the needle, but thinking outside of the box. Having my face all over TV did have a few more people coming up to me, so that was new.
You are witnessing one of the best offensive teams in NBA Finals history that we’ve seen in a long time. Do you believe Michael Jordan & Scottie Pippen can take down the Warriors?
I think it would be a good series and Warriors definitely wouldn’t be swept, but this Warriors team with KD, when they are clicking, would be a problem for any team of any era.
What’s the experience like being in the NBA finals atmosphere?
It’s interesting because frankly it is easier to break down the game from home, but the energy you get from the crowd at an NBA Finals game is next level.
Kevin Durant is killing the match-up against Lebron, do you think it is now safe to put him back into King James rearview mirror?”
I never thought he was that far away, it was just he was on a very good team and was trying to find his place. It always seemed like everything was building up to this and now people remember what a freak of nature he is.
As you know, the NBA draft is nearing…which player would you prefer on your roster if you were the Lakers? (De’Aaron Fox, Lonzo Ball or Josh Jackson) and why?
Lonzo Ball with or without his dad is the best fit. The Lakers haven’t had a true PG in forever and Ball is the best passer in the draft and makes all his teammates better.
Let’s shift towards the offseason; Derrick Rose is a free agent for the first time, what team do you see him going to and do you think his career will be made on that team?
If he is willing to take less money, I think a team like Spurs may be interested even Knicks may want him back, but he will never be the D Rose of the past, those days are over. He is just a solid PG with an injury history nothing more nothing less.
Carmelo Anthony is one tough player to analyze and see what team he’s destined to go to. Which team do you think to have the best chances of trading for Melo?
It depends on Melo, he seems like he wants to stay in New York and rot. If he does want to leave he has to call LeBron and beg.
You’re an LA Guy, Paul George to the Lakers this year or you not buying it?
I would not trade for Paul George he isn’t a franchise player. It is ok if he wants to come as a Free agent, but don’t trade any assets.
If Adam Silver told you to set up a team to defeat the Warriors, who will be in your starting five/sixth man?
I mean if you can get CP3, Russ, Kawhi, LeBron and Anthony Davis probably could get some games won.
You been in many, many arenas. Which NBA arena have the best atmosphere that makes you want to go every day?
I will say the HEAT arena has the most talent and I am not talking about on the court.
Let’s get away from the Sports related question. Who was your favorite interviewee? Following that question, which player in the NBA you believe would be a close friend to you based on their personality?
I am not big on being friends with the people I cover, I always got along with Chad Johnson almost hard not to like that and our personality clicked. I don’t really have a favorite interview even though I did get a kicked out of interview WWE The New Day at ESPYS
What’s next for BSO? Following that question anything you haven’t told anybody that you will like to release in this interview?
You have to keep watching because we are always evolving, never know when we are going to break the internet again.
TIP-Ins from Robert
Robert Littal- Just my last word to anyone who wants to be in the business is learn to adapt but always be yourself. You don’t have to be the next of someone else but be the first you.