If you're a long-time reader of BDL, you probably remember the work of past contributor Rod Benson. A standout at Cal and in the D-League, Benson blogged about life as a basketball player trying to work his way into the NBA. He did so expertly, with a mix of humor, honesty, and flat-out solid writing unmatched by any other blogging basketballers. He was like Paul Shirley, just without the misguided political statements and constant air of superiority.
Sadly, Benson wrote his last post for BDL exactly one year ago, citing a desire to focus on basketball and cut out any possible distractions. His voice has been missed at a time when most players run all their Tweets through publicists and handlers.
Thankfully, Rod is now back in the blog game at HoopsHype.com to tell everyone about life in the Korea Basketball League. It's unclear how long this will continue, but for now, Benson is clearly still on top of his game. A short sample from his first missive, posted Monday:
It seemed like we [Benson and the NBA] were destined for one another, but in 2010 I had to make the move and take my talents to South... Korea. The more time I spend here, the more I think about the reasons why I'm not there. The simple answer is that I'm not good enough, but it's not so cut and dry as that. Still, if I could pull a Derrick Rose(notes), to myself, then Blake Griffin(notes) on a team of Al Jeffersons, I wouldn't just be in, I'd be the man. But let's be honest, I'm just a slightly too skinny, misunderstood San Diegan (SD gets little respect in the ball "tough" factor), who spent most of his career in the D-League (the D-League gets just slightly more respect that San Diego). This was always an uphill fight and it didn't help that, by blogging, I was fighting against myself.
"But I love to play the blame game..."
Blame the blog. Blame the GM's. Blame the coaches. Blame the D-League. Blame everyone but myself. It's clearer now on NYE than ever before.
There's much more where this came from, and the whole post is well worth your time. But this short passage displays everything that makes Benson such a valuable voice. He doesn't hold anything back from his audience, including the kind of personal feelings that most people -- in general, not just athletes -- usually keep to themselves. Few basketball players are willing to get this deep, and none are able to do so with the skill of Benson.
Benson has occasionally said that his blogging made him a less attractive prospect to NBA teams looking for help inside, and that's certainly a strong possibility. But his writing has also made him one of the most welcome presences in basketball in the past decade, far more important than most D-League call-ups. In a just world, Benson could easily write and perform at whichever level of basketball he can reach based on the merits. That's unfortunately not the case, but he remains an important part of the basketball world no matter what.
Everyone at BDL wishes him the best of luck. Here's hoping he can live the NBA dream while also showing the Internet public why he's so deserving of attention, even when he's playing in Korea.