Valley Of The Suns: A Goodbye From The Editor

Phoenix Suns alternate logo redesign by Addison Foote
Phoenix Suns alternate logo redesign by Addison Foote /

As you may have noticed, Valley of the Suns has been slacking in its Phoenix Suns coverage over the last few days. Though the news is quite sudden, I can now announce the reason why: as of Oct. 21, 2015, I officially stepped down as the lead editor of Valley of the Suns.

As someone who’s covered the Suns from afar for years, I was thrilled to be offered the co-editor position alongside Jeffrey Sanders last November. I was determined to elevate the already stellar work of the site to new highs and the opportunity to cover the team in person for the first time since my college days at ASU was one I took to heart.

Over the last 10 months, I’ve enjoyed every minute of my tenure with the site. Okay, maybe not EVERY minute, but I cherished being able to fulfill my career dream: covering an NBA team and actually getting paid to do so.

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In college, I created my own NBA blog on WordPress that I updated in my spare time. It soon grew into an obsession for me. In an accelerated collegiate program, I didn’t have the time or resources for an internship or a job, so whatever extra time I had outside of class and homework was dedicated to pursuing my career goals with that NBA blog.

The year that Derrick Rose tore his ACL in Game 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers, I wrote a game recap and analysis piece on each and every single game of the postseason, from the first round to the end of the championship series. It cost me a girlfriend, a few extra years of good eyesight and probably a little bit of my sanity, but I knew then and there that this was my passion.

All my hard work for a blog that only a few people read stood out in 2013 when I applied to write for, a fellow FanSided NBA site. At the time though, HoopsHabit was a young site on the rise with only a few writers and a ton of room for growth. In the summer of 2014, the social media company I worked for went under and I was left without a job and a source of income.

At that point, I decided to take a chance on myself and turn my passion project on the side into my full-time day job. Months of hard work, late nights and God knows how many prayers later, I was blessed with the opportunity to join Valley of the Suns as a co-editor in addition to my role with HoopsHabit.

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  • Years after first joining HoopsHabit, I’m proud — as one of the site’s assistant (to the regional) editors — to say it’s a flourishing site that’s been absorbed by FanSided and Time Inc., with more than 40 writers on staff. And so it’s HoopsHabit where I’ll be focusing my full attention now, continuing to cover the Suns in addition to the Golden State Warriors and general NBA beats.

    While I’ve loved every second of my time with Valley of the Suns, it’s time to focus my efforts solely on the site that got me to where I am today and gave me my first opportunity. That job is what led me to this site, where I finally got to answer people’s questions of “What do you do for a living?” with “I’m a sports journalist covering the Phoenix Suns.”

    I’ll forever be grateful for that, but I’m also excited to be able to continue covering the Suns for HoopsHabit. For those of you who have enjoyed my writing, I invite you to continue doing so on Twitter and on HoopsHabit, and I also want to thank you for your reads, your enthusiastic commenting and your support.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ignored sleep deprivation and been outright giddy at 2 a.m. in the morning, waiting for a new article to publish so you all could read it and respond.

    For those of you who haven’t enjoyed my writing, I thank you for the feedback and your honest criticism. I truly believe this site has an excellent group of loyal readers that make it an even more enjoyable source of Suns-related discussion.

    I’d like to thank Jeffrey Sanders for helping me get acclimated to the role, especially since his guidance early on is what helped me feel comfortable by the time I fully took over.

    I want to thank all of my staff as well: Scott Chasen, Spencer Hann, Gavin Schall, Colton Dodgson, Troy Tauscher and Mark Harris. It’s been a genuine pleasure watching you all grow as writers and I look forward to seeing great things from the site in the future, once this current transition period is over.

    In my 10 months on the job, we’ve increased traffic by an average of 260 percent compared to those same 10 months the year before. I have the fullest confidence that current staff will continue to produce that same high quality of content our readers have come to expect, and I’m excited to see where the site goes from here.

    One last shout-out goes to Michael Dunlap, who first recommended me for the open position with Valley of the Suns and put me in this position to cover an NBA team in person. Ever since I was a college kid first applying for the site, you’ve believed in me, advised me on how to improve as a writer and and given me the opportunity to express myself through my writing, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

    Though this position was only a part of my life for about 10 months, they were 10 months I’ll never forget. I’ve learned so much about writing, managing people and sports journalism in general, and I’m extremely grateful to all the readers who have made those lessons so enjoyable.

    In college, I was in the upper decks for Steve Nash‘s final game in a Suns uniform. After I had graduated, I snuck into the lower bowl to witness Goran Dragic‘s 40-point game against the New Orleans Pelicans. But even though I always dreamed about watching a game like that from press row, I never thought it was so close to actually happening.

    When Eric Bledsoe and Russell Westbrook had their epic duel with me sitting in that same press section just a few months ago, I knew my drive for making sportswriting a legitimate career option was finally paying off.

    I didn’t finish writing about that game until 3 a.m. that night, but the magic of the evening perfectly encapsulates what my experience with Valley of the Suns has been like: exhausting, but worth every second of it.

    I wish the VotS staff and readers the best for the future, and I encourage all of you to check in on me over at HoopsHabit from time to time.

    Thanks for reading,

    Gerald Bourguet

    Next: Steve Nash: Top 10 Moments With The Phoenix Suns

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