I always appreciated Marty Burns' writing at SI.com, yet I could not think of one particular article that truly stood out to me. Yet, every time I saw his column up on SI.com, I would instantly click the article. For most writers, I carefully check the content first to see if it was worth my time. Some of you probably don't know who he is, but you might recognize him by his SI.com headshot:
I was rarely disappointed. He always had something interesting to say. I enjoyed how he could write a good article without gimmicks. He didn't have to make references to popular culture or convince us how funny or brilliant he was. He was willing to let other people be the focus of the story. I struggle with doing this myself, so I greatly admired his ability to let the story speak for itself without making it overly dramatic.
Take a look again at his last column. It's his farewell column...and he waits until the very last paragraph to talk about himself! He instead talks about the great Jerry West and how hard-working all the NBA players and coaches are. Read his last paragraph:
These kinds of basketball conversations with the men who made the NBA great are one thing I will miss as I get ready this week to leave SI.com. To widen my court, so to speak. Whether or not I continue to write about the NBA in the future, I will remain a fan of the game and an admirer of those like West who care so much about it that they will never close their minds to ways of making it better.It's very classy of him to say that. I encourage you to read some of Marty's old work in the archives of si.com. Thank you, Marty, for your consistently good writing about the NBA, and for your willingness to put the story first. Marty mentioned in his last column that he has a family, and I'm sure they've had to sacrifice at times so that he could do justice to the column. So I hope the lay-off is a blessing for them and that he can then soon find work again. Wherever he ends up, I'll read him there too.