It was nearly eight years ago, to the day. Anthony Puccio (aka Pooch) - with his old school AOL.com email - reached out to me to ask me for advice in getting started in covering the NBA.
December 17, 2012.
The best advice I could give him, as someone who was making barely enough money to survive was: “I think it matters less where you write and more that you write” (emphasis, legit). Lol. What did I know?
Well, Pooch did just that - he wrote. And wrote. And wrote. His first season covering the Nets for NetsDaily we talked about practicing his craft. So he covered every single game from his home. Home games. Away games. Every game.
The next season, the Nets were kind enough to offer up a press credential to him - so Pooch joined me at Barclays Center to cover the team. He was there. Every night. Without fail.
My third, maybe fourth season of covering the team I once joked to Devin Kharpertian and Fred Katz that I missed a Nets game because my girlfriend at the time was making tacos - and I wanted tacos.
Pooch, however, showed up every night. He wanted nothing more than to cover the NBA for a living.
Seven seasons he was a constant - for little pay, he traveled to the Barclays, stayed until they turned off the lights, and would go home and Periscope with the fans.
I eventually married that girlfriend (find you a woman - or man - who can make a mean taco). I work full-time in a position that I love. I’ve gone from writing 20 times per week to writing, like, maybe a handful of times each month.
It works for me.
But I stick around because I get to watch Pooch work. I get to watch Bob work - harder than anyone, ever, to do this for “fun.” I get to watch people like Brian and Brooks, and Chris and the Glue Guys do really incredible work. And get to celebrate Reed, Brian and Dexter as they go on and work full-time in content.
That’s fun for me.
For Pooch, though, I’m in awe as he’s literally been knocked down a countless number of times and continued to fight for what he wanted. All he’s ever wanted to do was to work. And write. And Periscope with his community.
That’s it. That’s what makes him happy. That’s all he’s ever wanted.
*Some personal news*— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) December 15, 2020
I’m proud and excited to announce I have been hired full-time, and will be launching The Association: a daily NBA newsletter (3pm ET), website and community for hoops fans. And, Periscopes TWICE a week!
Sign up here: https://t.co/XPfSgQv7KQ pic.twitter.com/nx53EY3Kgo
Eight years ago, almost to the day, Pooch wrote to me:
May sound crazy but I’m very confident in my writing and feel very strongly about doing what ever I can to get a head start.
This means, of course, Pooch is no longer writing for NetsDaily but it doesn’t mean that he isn’t as much of NetsDaily as Bob, me or any one of you. He’ll always have a home here.
One last time, from Pooch:
What more can I say? I was with you guys at the Meadowlands. I was there for 12-70 anxiously waiting for John Wall. I was there for Dwightmare (all editions!), the move to Brooklyn and the five year plan that came with it. Donald Sloan. Oh, Donald Sloan. The DLo Nets. And I was there with you guys for the start of KD and Kyrie.
It brings me back to when I was a little kid driving to CAA with my dad. Nothing but Nets and championship aspirations. But the sense of something more special: family. Those drives to Jersey represent my tenure here in a nutshell.
I write this with full gratitude — through the good and the bad. You guys were ALWAYS there with me in the trenches (or swamps?). You guys banded together and made a hashtag to help me get hired. You guys made t shirts with my face on it. You sent me to Philadelphia during the Nets-Sixers series because I couldn’t afford to do it on my own. You started a gofundme when you heard I was losing my house.
You will always be my family. Brooklyn will always be my home. And NetsDaily will always be a huge part of who I am today. This is only the beginning, and I hope you will all follow along on my next endeavor at The Association.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Thanks, Pooch. Don’t be a stranger.