NBA.com writer and former Sacramento Bee columnist Scott Howard-Cooper took time out to talk about the Kings' glory years, address the swirling trade rumors, and give his expectations for the rest of the season. Mr. Howard-Cooper has also covered the League for ESPN.com and SportsIllustrated.com.
What made you decide to become a sportswriter, and do you have any advice for someone aspiring to have a beat writing job?
I don’t know that I ever decided to become a sportswriter, as much as the career just sort of evolved. I was lucky enough to be in a great high school journalism program, received a lot of encouragement from the adviser, joined an association for high school journalists, attended a summer workshop before my senior year, and met the man who would eventually get me hired at the Los Angeles Times. Fate smiled very kindly on me.
The best advice I can offer on being a good beat writer—any kind of writer, actually—is to be a good reader. Watch a game, then take a few minutes within the next couple days to see how some people covered it. Read one or two of the local stories—maybe the story from the beat writer for the other team, maybe someone from a national outlet if it was that big of a game. You don’t have to like everything you read, but watch the game, think about the points you would hit on, and then see how the others covered the moment.
Which teams did you follow growing up and who were your favorite players?
I grew up in Los Angeles and followed the Dodgers, Lakers and USC more than most. But I was also part of that strangest of niches: the passionate hockey fan in Southern California. For a while, I attended more Kings games than Lakers [games].
My favorite players were, in no particular order: Nolan Ryan, though I rarely went to Angels games; Bill Russell—the shortstop, not the [Boston] Celtics center; Rogie Vachon; David Thompson of the [Denver] Nuggets; and Gail Goodrich. Those are the ones that come to mind. I don’t think there’s any real common thread—different players for different reasons.
Who have been your favorite current or former Kings players to interview?