ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Well, hello there. My name is Lang Whitaker, and up until this point, I’ve been something of an interloper around these parts the last few years, popping in irregularly to speak on the NBA on podcasts or in video clips. But now I’m here to stay. So we better get used to each other.
A little about me? I was born in Atlanta. I went to elementary, middle and high school in Atlanta. I went to college at UGA. I worked in Atlanta for a while after that. I moved to New York City in the fall of 2000, and I’ve lived here in NYC ever since. I root hard for the Atlanta Hawks, the Atlanta Braves, the Georgia Bulldogs, Manchester United and the Atlanta Falcons.
For the last 13 years, I worked for SLAM magazine. From about 2001-09, I wrote five days a week on SLAMonline.com for a column called “The Links.” I also wrote about a hundred features on various NBA players. In 2011, I left my full-time gig at SLAM and started doing other stuff alongside limited SLAM duties. I wrote a book. I wrote for newspapers and magazines and web sites. I took a few deep breaths.
And now I’m here. I’ll be writing here on the All Ball Blog every day. Once a week I’ll be podcasting with Sekou Smith and Rick Fox. I chat with folks on TNT Overtime during some of the TNT games. And from time to time you might even see my mug pop up on NBA TV.
For now, I’ve got to get settled in here. So while I figure out how to check my email on my phone, here are some other things you might want to know about me: I like to cook. I like to eat. I like to put soy sauce and sriracha on just about everything. My favorite restaurants include, but are not limited to: Red Rooster Harlem, Ma Peche, and Waffle House (any location). I have been married for nine years. I have a dog named Starbury. I have a son who is four months old, whose main objective in life right now is to make sure I don’t sleep more than a few hours at a time. I love sneakers and sportswear. I like to play golf. I like to watch TV and movies. If I had to pick a character on “Duck Dynasty” that I would most like to hang out with, it would be Uncle Si.
My favorite director is Wes Anderson. I think a billion dollar idea might be disposable tissues that clean your eyeglasses without leaving any streaks. I believe in the sovereignty of the SEC. I enjoy playing video games so much that I have to try and avoid playing them. I’m going to start working out again pretty soon, I swear. My favorite writers include, but are not limited to, Truman Capote, John Irving, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nick Hornby, David Sedaris and Mike Sager. I read the New Yorker cover-to-cover every week. I feel like anyone who serves unsweetened iced tea has some nerve. I believe that OutKast is the greatest hip-hop group of all-time, and I also believe that Big Boi is perpetually underrated. Branford is my favorite Marsalis. Tyrion is my favorite Lannister. Khloe is my favorite Kardashian. Finally, I believe that above all else, basketball is a game, and it should be fun to follow.
The last point is the most relevant to who I am, and to this blog. I love this game, and this blog will hopefully reflect that and celebrate that, every day. I’m sure I’ll reveal more about myself (and learn more about myself) as we go along here, and I’d like to learn more about you guys, too. If you have thoughts, ideas, links, whatever, leave a comment down below, or email me using the link up top in the header, or tweet via the link up above.
And just so I don’t leave you with nothing to chew on, here’s my favorite NBA-related YouTube video of all-time. This video explains my NBA fandom in many ways, from celebration of the game itself to the blind, ultimately misguided optimism. I’m old enough that I remember when this song was released, and I remain hopeful that one of these days the Atlanta Hawks will recycle this both as a marketing slogan and a theme song.