HOUSTON — July 29, 2019, marked the first time I walked the halls of the Toyota Center as a credentialed media member. The Houston Rockets had executed a trade to acquire Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the organization held an introductory press conference for their new superstar point guard.
The general public assumed that the trade for Westbrook was the start of an exceptional era — that would feature the Rockets pairing the passionate and dynamic combo guard alongside the prominent offensive playstyle of James Harden.
Fast-forward three years later, Houston’s trade for Westbrook became another era of a missed opportunity. The Harden and Westbrook pairing lasted one season before their departures sent the Rockets into the basketball abyss.
The franchise failed to capitalize on the Harden-Westbrook opportunity. But I took full advantage of the limited media access the communication department provided in the days that followed.
Since Westbrook’s introductory press conference, the sacrifices and dedication I made have led to a new chapter in my career. Today, I am officially moving on from The Dream Shake to accept a role as a Rockets beat reporter for Sports Illustrated’s team channel — Inside The Rockets.
Words cannot express how grateful I am for my four-year run here at The Dream Shake. I began my tenure here as a young journalist at a crossroads trying to decide whether or not it was worth trying to pursue a career in sports writing.
I covered the Rockets for two seasons as a blogger for Fansided’s Space City Scoop. I left following the end of the 2016-17 campaign because I felt my role was becoming stagnant. But after missing out on the Rockets’ 65-win season in 2018, I decided to give my journalistic career one more chance.
Reaching out to Darren Yuvan — TDS’s Managing Editor — was one of my most profitable decisions. Not only did he give me a chance to revise my career, but I learned how to enhance my writing under his stewardship. Without Yuvan, there’s no way I am writing this swansong to SB Nation.
In addition, I want to acknowledge all of my colleagues who helped encourage me to take more chances with my writing to provide a new voice to The Dream Shake. And lastly, the readers. You all motivated me each day to stay committed to honing my craftsmanship to provide some of the best coverage regarding your favorite team.
As I move forward into the next chapter of my career, I will maintain the same drive and motivation that helped establish myself as one of the up-and-coming Rockets reporters today.
I am nowhere near the pinnacles I plan to reach. But thanks to The Dream Shake, I feel I’m drawing closer to my destination.
Attending Westbrook’s introductory press conference did not bring another Larry O’Brien trophy to Houston, but it did enable a foundation to help my career reach new heights. I am forever grateful for The Dream Shake. But in the words of the late-great Kobe Bryant, “job’s not finished.”