News: Rafael Barlowe Taking Over NBA Big Board
Next month, I'm retiring from NBA draft coverage, but not before I hand the keys over to Rafael to take our NBA draft content to new heights
Aloha, readers of the NBA Big Board Newsletter
I’m writing to you today with some big news.
Starting April 11, Rafael Barlowe is taking over as the full-time author of the NBA Big Board newsletter and host of the NBA Big Board podcast.
I am retiring from covering the NBA Draft.
For the past 17 years, I have led multiple lives simultaneously.
I’ve been an NBA and NBA Draft analyst for ESPN.com and then the NBA Big Board podcast and newsletter.
I have been a college professor since 2005.
I have worked as a conflict mediator, NGO advisor and author of a book and podcast about conflict resolution.
And, most importantly, I’ve been trying to raise a family.
Somehow, I have managed to juggle all of that all of these years. It has been exhausting AND deeply rewarding. I am so grateful for each of these lives and all of the amazing people I’ve been able to work with and the opportunities each of them have brought me and my family.
This past month it became clear that I cannot keep living all of these lives simultaneously. My own health and opportunities to spend more time with my family and get more involved in the conflict resolution space have led me to the conclusion that it’s time, with a deep sense of appreciation, to retire as an NBA draft analyst.
I am so grateful to all the NBA has done for me. I have lived a dream that the 20-year-old Chad would’ve thought near-impossible. I have met and reported on childhood heroes, sat courtside and watched legends play the game and made deep friendships that I will cherish forever.
I want to thank everyone who gave me this opportunity over the years: the NBA GMs, scouts and coaches who taught me; the players who inspired me; the agents, trainers and families who gave me access; and the other writers who befriended me and pushed me to be better.
I want to send a special shoutout to Royce Webb, my longtime editor at ESPN and here at the NBA Big Board newsletter. Every time you read me, you also read a bit of him gently guiding me to be better and more creative.
I also want to thank Marc Stein, John Hollinger, Tony Jones, David Thorpe, Fran Fraschilla and Jeremy Woo, who were frequent guests on my pod, for the amazing conversations we’ve had.
Most of all, I want to thank my readers, many of you have been supporting me since I began a startup called SportsTALK.com in the ‘90s. Your loyalty and support mean more than you’ll ever know.
And … I want to thank Rafael Barlowe for taking on the challenge of heading up the NBA Big Board newsletter and podcast. When I first met Rafael last year, I knew there was something special about him and knew instantly that I wanted to partner with him in any way I could. That dream has been short-lived. I was hoping we’d work together for years instead of months. However, one reason I feel comfortable walking away is knowing that Rafael will take the newsletter and podcast to bigger and better things.
Rafael is one of the most hardworking people I’ve met. He has a brilliant eye for scouting and has really put his whole life into becoming the best draft analyst in the world. But most importantly, he’s one of the best, most humble human beings I’ve ever worked with.
He deserves your support.
I hope you will support him with your continued subscription to the site. He will be earning all of the revenue from your subscriptions and will be doing this work full-time. It is very difficult for young journalists to break through in this business.
I can promise you that Rafael will give you everything, more than I could, to make this experience worth your hard-earned cash. He’ll need your support, the same support you gave me, to make this work.
I trust that he’ll earn it from each of you.
Thank you again for the great conversations, and great times we’ve had over the years.
I’m excited to see where Rafael, and all of you supporting him, will take this over the years.
hey chad, can i ask one favor of you, don't quit entirely. Come around when you get free time and share a post or two. Nobody needs full time, just maybe a post a month or two. You know you can't quit us anyways. lol
Bittersweet to hear. I was so excited when you came back on the scene with NBA Big Board. I always appreciated your attitude when it came to draft evaluation. A lot of draft analysis seems very snooty and jocky. Like their opinion is an indisputable fact when it comes to evaluating prosects and it would get somewhat aggressive or offended if they were questioned. I get it, I get in sports arguments all the time, but you seemed above that. You always seems to have an open mindedness and kindness in this. You make it known that your rankings are based on what the insiders are telling you. You let the reader know your "crushes" and biases (betting on KU prospects has been a fools errand, jk Embiid give ya something!), but I never felt like that alters your work. I have followed NBA draft coverage since I was 11 in 96, when I was convinced that John Wallace was going to be the best player in that draft, and through all of years and competitors, you were always the best of them. I'm hopeful Rafael has taken a lot from you and will continue to provide great content, but you will be missed! All the best in your future endeavors!