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Are You There Sam? It's Me, Blogger

So last week I chose not to mention the fact that Chicago Tribune ace NBA writer and resident old person Sam Smith hates bloggers. With Leather's Sam Smith takedown was swift and painless, and I figured he had sort of handled the issue. Also, With Leather used a naughty word as a tag, which I'm not allowed to do.

However, if I were going to go after Sam Smith--who asked "How is it I can work for decades developing contacts around the NBA and traveling regularly around the NBA and talking with the decision makers and some guy in his basement in his underwear is writing something that has credibility?"--I would say that the only reason I even knew that he hated bloggers was because of a blog. Freaky. And that without that blog, I never would have seen Sam Smith's other musings. On, for example, Horace Grant being a mensch. And that, on the whole, you just don't want to set yourself up as an enemy of the underground.

(Another Sam Smith gem: "I never see any of them, I never hear the coaches and general managers and players I talk to saying they talked to them. So where do they get their information?" Sam, we're everywhere! We look just like you, except without the mustache! (Not counting A.J. Daulerio!) That's why you can't find us! Look behind you, right now! Did you see that? It was a blogger!)

But then With Leather pointed out that Sam Smith was really sorta joking, acknowledging that his is a decaying and dying breed that will soon be buried under a mound of pwned references it doesn't understand, and so I figured I'd just let it slide.

Until I saw this line, which, amazingly, stupefyingly, mind-blowingly, appeared in a story by Sam Smith:

Can't forget battlin' centers Etan Thomas and Brendan Haywood, the latter telling anyone who will listen that he's the heavyweight champion of the Wizards with knockouts over Thomas in all three fights they've had.

Huh????? Anyone who will listen????? I was there when Brendan delivered that priceless line in a back hallway of the Wachovia Center, and I can tell you exactly how many people were there: two. Brendan Haywood, and a blogger.

And the manna from heaven doesn't end. Next, Sam Smith on Arenas:

He took a shot at LeBron James the other say [sic], saying James doesn't want the last shot, probably after consulting with former teammate Larry Hughes, who is unhappy in Cleveland and looking to be traded. Arenas suggested the Cavs deal for Sam Cassell.

Huh????? Where did this come from? I'll tell you where: from CSTV's mad hoops bloggers. Who, as their names suggest, are bloggers!!!

So in one syndicated newspaper piece, Sam Smith, without attribution, ripped off two bloggers, bloggers who presumably should have been home in their underwear making things up while Sam Smith was out on the road talking to all the important NBA people about all the important NBA news and eating his metamucil. To which I say: hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah.

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 20, 2007; 4:23 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Defend the Cassell
Next: Calling All Bloggers, Again

Comments

Fan-tastic

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | February 20, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

the post and the headline

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | February 20, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

All hail the Internets.

Posted by: Tennessee Curler | February 20, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

To which you also say (to the Trib's sports editor): "Isn't attribution kinda standard business practice, ethically and legally speaking?"

Posted by: Rob Iola | February 20, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

This may be your best blog entry ever. Except for all the ones about Gilbert. Classic.

Posted by: TSW | February 20, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful, the guy who hates bloggers rips them off without credit in his article. Sam Smith, a true pillar of journalistic ethics.

Posted by: Brett Edwards | February 20, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

This was awesome.

Posted by: Matt Watson | February 20, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

That's it, I'm growing a mustache! See you in six years!

Posted by: J.E. Skeets | February 20, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Awesome investigating reporting.

I won't even ask if you were wearing pants when you did this excellent work!!

Very very funny. Very very informative. Very very good!

I LOVE THIS BOG!

Posted by: Nancy | February 20, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful! Just beautiful! Sam got pwned and he didn't even know it. I wonder how long until spell checker recognizes pwned as a legitimate word.

Posted by: John Radcliff | February 20, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I read the insidehoops.com nba rumors page regularly, which gathers what reporters around the country are reporting. And noticed a few months ago that almost everything in sam smith columns was already reported by some other writer days earlier

Not saying he copies beat reporters, just saying, the beat reporters seem to be the ones doing all the work

Posted by: hoez | February 20, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

steinberg FTW

Posted by: littles | February 20, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

All Sunday/Monday columns come from the same notes pool. The same anecdotes in Dave D's column you'll find in Heisler you'll find in May's you'll find in Smith's you'll find in McCosky's, on and on ...

But Smith barely stops to change words sometimes. Doesn't even bother to change the phrasing behind "Player A mentioned last week that "some goofball statement," but we wonder where he's coming from, because Player A's team is 3-12 when Player A [does something related to the quote]."

The ha-ha will run in every notes column, but most writers have the good sense to change the phrasing. Sam doesn't. I've emailed Tribune editors with examples four times over the last two NBA seasons when he straight ripped the exact wording in a Monday anecdote from Chris McCosky's Sunday column. And, full disclosure -- Sam has been nothing but a mensch towards me since I was 18, and McCosky was kind of a dick to me the one time I was around him for a while.

Posted by: Anon | February 20, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

We hit Smith for this, but it wasn't nearly as priceless.

This is outstanding.

Posted by: The Big Lead | February 20, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Nicely done Dan; an anti-blogging writer stealing quotes from blogs is certainly worth an eye-rolling chuckle. Perhaps if you're lucky Sam will write something about it and quote the Bog without crediting you. ;)

Posted by: OrderedChaos | February 20, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Steinz 4 Prez '08.

Posted by: TheHype | February 20, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Why do established writers such as Smith (Whom I presume has journalistic talent) resort to plagiarism like this? It just goes to show that the Old Guard of sports journalists (who shall remain nameless) are in some way being pushed aside to make way for new media too. Both will still exist, but side by side.

Facts are facts. It doesn't matter who reports them. Smith's comments are nothing more than jealousy. The guy is afraid because times are changing. Adapt, Sam, adapt.

Posted by: Blackaces | February 20, 2007 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Mr Tony will ask him about it next time Sam is on his show? You should ask him to do it, Cheese Boy.

Posted by: JG | February 20, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Sam Smith has enough of his own material don't flatter yourself

Posted by: Davan | February 21, 2007 2:56 AM | Report abuse

There will be a day when Smith is physically unable to put on his pants. Then maybe he'll get some of the stories that bloggers are getting.

Posted by: The Big Picture | February 21, 2007 4:03 AM | Report abuse

Bloggers blogging about bloggers and blogging. Is there nothing more butt-sniffingly boring in the universe?

Posted by: Yawn | February 21, 2007 6:20 AM | Report abuse

The whole blogosphere is decending on the Bog!

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | February 21, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

"butt-sniffingly boring"

downright Shakspearean.

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | February 21, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Wait....who's Sam Smith again?

Posted by: Awful Announcing | February 21, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Sports journalism as we know it is changing forever. Dinosaurs always become extinct, but at least those same dinosaurs bowed out as giants of their era and not disgracefully like Smith will. Consider bloggers the proverbial asteroid hitting the sports journalistic earth. That's the magnitude of the impact of bloggers on sports writing.

Posted by: Eric | February 21, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Sports journalism as we know it is changing forever. Dinosaurs always become extinct, but at least those same dinosaurs bowed out as giants of their era and not disgracefully like Smith will. Consider bloggers the proverbial asteroid hitting the sports journalistic earth. That's the magnitude of the impact of bloggers on sports writing.

Posted by: Eric | February 21, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Blogosphere - part reporting, part feature writing, part real-time feedback/connection with the readers. When done right it's the next stage in journalism. Or something.

Posted by: Rob Iola | February 21, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Bloggers: 2
Sam Smith: 0

Posted by: Dan L. | February 22, 2007 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Sam Smith stole my underpants.

And I want them back.

Posted by: NOIS | February 22, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Sam Smith stole my underpants.

And I want them back.

Posted by: NOIS | February 22, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I've known Sam Smith for more than 30 years. In fact, I stood up for him at his wedding. He's a helluva journalist. I've read about this controversy over the bloggers and I can't resist commenting. I'm a fellow newspaper journalist, so I think I bring some knowledge and context to this little dust-up.
Sam's old-school, there's no doubt about it. He and I probably won't agree on the whole blogging issue, but I have to offer a heart-felt character reference here. He's an honest, ethical journalist and person, so I hate to see anyone suggest otherwise.
I also want to note that he really was the first journalist to challenge the god-like myth that so many sports writers created around His Airness, Michael Jordan. Sam wrote a best-selling book about Jordan, titled The Jordan Rules. It was the first truthful account of Jordan's early career.
Sam is a dogged reporter and gifted analyst. Yes, he can be cynical and opionated. He's also funny, original and impossible to intimidate. I don't care about the NBA these days, but I still read his column as often as I can. He's still at the top of his game.

Posted by: Gary Graham | February 22, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

How much longer until Sam changes his name to "Al Capwned?"

Posted by: F.C. | February 23, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Sam Smith now will be at a loss for what to write with the passing of the trade deadline.

And I think he's obsessed with underwear because he traded his for a can of Chicken of the Sea tuna and a lottery pick at the next cheese giveaway.

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