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Saying goodbye to The Dream Shake

After four seasons, it’s time to step away.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been just over five years to the day since I wrote my first post for The Dream Shake, about the conundrum James Harden found himself in after the Dwight Howard signing.

It’s been four glorious, winning, playoff-filled, drama-intensive seasons since Patrick Harrel stepped down and I got the call from SB Nation that they wanted me to run the site in his place.

It’s been seven years since I started at SB Nation as one of the first news desk writers, writing stupid SEO posts about golf, the Nationwide Series and anything else they would give me. I was just out of college, living alone and desperate to write about sports. Chris Mottram, who ran at the time, gave me the chance.

Seven years later, I’ve written more than 1,000 articles for various SBN vehicles as a staff writer or editor — although always as a side hustle with a full-time job — including almost 700 for TDS alone. This is my last.

I’ve been a Rockets fan since I was 6 years old. The first real book I ever read was Hakeem Olajuwon’s autobiography. Growing up in New York, not only was I the only Rockets fan I knew, but in the pre-League Pass days, I couldn’t even watch the Rockets most nights, especially once they started sucking in the post-Dream years. I’d catch a game or two here or there of Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley. I cut out pictures in magazines of my favorite players to stay closer to them.

Then Yao came, then T-Mac. I finally was able to watch them more often, and as I grew into a basketball-obsessed teenager, I watched every game I could. I remember sneaking out of my bedroom at 1 a.m. to watch T-Mac score 13 points in 35 seconds. I remember watching the 22nd game of the 22-game win streak, still incredulous that my team was doing something that amazing. The Knicks fans I hung out with were less than thrilled, and wanted to do anything but talk about basketball.

In college, I found The Dream Shake. Reading Tom Martin, Dave Clark (aka grungedave) and Mike Kerns, reading the comments, it was the first time I ever remember even interacting with other Rockets fans. It was incredible. My college buddy and I started our own sports blog, and all I wanted to do was write weird shit like the TDS guys.

After college, I got to write for SBN, started focusing more and more on basketball, and eventually got to start writing for my favorite — and, for years what I thought was the only — Rockets website. When I was asked to take over the site, I still remember where I was (at a museum with my girlfriend in New York). It was an easy decision, but one I didn’t make lightly. I didn’t know if I was good enough to do it, and I feared I wasn’t Houston enough to ever feel like fully a part of the community.

But the internet works in mysterious ways. I got to meet Max Croes online, then in person, then again in person, and whom I now consider a friend. I got to edit and manage other writers for the first time. I got to go through our comments and try to help curate some sense of community.

I loved it.

It’s still the best job I’ve ever had, which is why this day is so tough for me. But the last year, even though it was the best Rockets season since I was a wee boy, I couldn’t find the time to devote to TDS like I once could. Thanks to heroes like Darren Yuvan, Ryan Dunsmore, Jeremy Brener, the immortal AK, Xian E, Danny Emerman and even my brother, this site was never just what I put into it. Thanks to commenters, this site was alive and thriving even when my life got in the way.

But after a captivating playoff run, Summer League, draft and free agency that I never could quite muster the same energy for, it’s time to acknowledge I’m done. I’m not a bright-eyed, fresh-out-of-college kid anymore. I’m sure I could write a few things, edit a few things and keep collecting the meager, but appreciated, paychecks, but this job was never about that.

I fell in love with The Dream Shake, and all I ever wanted was for it to be great. For a while, I hope I accomplished that. For the future, I don’t think I can anymore.

So I leave you in Darren’s capable hands for time being. TDS has been around since long before me, and will continue on long after I’m gone, hopefully better than it has ever been before. I hope you enjoyed my time here. I know I have.