If everything goes according to plan, Shams Sharana will get 20 hours of sleep this week. This is because the NBA is set to begin with possibly the busiest week in league history – the NBA draft on Wednesday, followed by the start of an NBA-free agency two days after the outbreak – and Charania may be the busiest man in basketball.. At 26, The Athletic and Stadium Reporter has established itself as one of the leading sources for everything NBA-related. His Twitter feed is home to an incredible amount of breaking news, from star contracts (note 1:53a. M. Timestamp) for the star of the positive COVID tests.
NBA draft is usually in June, free agency starts in July, and NBA season starts in late October. This year, due to the pandemic, the NBA draft is on November 18, the free NBA agency starts on November 20, and the teams will report to the boot camp on December 1..
“You will have one of the craziest weeks ever,” says Charania. But he notes that a lot of the news he’s reporting this week is the result of years he spent investing in relationships, the network he started building when he was 17 and still in high school in Chicago, teams and agents to make phone calls and email if he could speak to His players. To his surprise, they let him do so, and he has not stopped reporting since.
We met Charania this weekend, just hours after he published some news, to ask how all this happened, what his life looked like, and most importantly, how he feels about all that screen time..
Shams El Shaarania: I played abroad a lot when I was growing up. She played basketball throughout middle school and had a cut early in high school. Something has always drawn me more about the NBA, more than college basketball. Once you drop out of playing high school basketball, you have to find your way.
With my father, there was a certain expectation to be in the medical field or to be a lawyer, or at worst, to be an accountant. But I always saw myself in this field in some capacity, even when I worked as a secretary in a hospital during my middle school year in high school during my freshman year.. I used to work with nurses and doctors, keeping track of all kinds of paperwork and medication. Even in the midst of it all, I was trying to grow my early resources, through cold calls, cold emails. My whole mind was on it.
I think they feel like I’m making the right decision [laughs], but definitely before the Yahoo deal in 2015, my mom would still like me to come back and change my major to something other than communications. But I think it’s off my back now.
My initial goal was to meet the players because I wanted to be able to tell their stories. In first year and high school [in high school], I was just calling, “Hey, my name is Shams. I’m covering Bulls, or NBA, for RealGM or Chicago Now, I just wanted to get in touch and introduce myself. She hopes they will respond. The good thing is that people don’t usually ask you about your age right away so you are just trying to show as much maturity and professionalism as possible.. . I’ve exchanged 500, 600 emails with people based on conversations, in a year or two – it’s just a back and forth dialogue..
How many of these guys do you think knew you were 17 when you were first doing this?
Then you go to college. How do you balance going to the classroom and getting the NBA shovels?
The balance was hard. I still don’t know how I graduated. I was leaving the classroom for 20 or 30 minutes to take a call. I remember once I left the class for 20 minutes because I broke Anthony Bennett’s approval of a takeover with Timber Wolves.. I came back and I think most of my mates were looking at me. The teacher said, “I spoke to you at the end of the class.
I don’t know if they necessarily understood. You’re trying to let them understand, but I think at that point it was still like, “What are you really doing?” Your focus should be on school..
I was covering [Milwaukee] Bucks or Pacers, because the Bulls didn’t have me accredited when I was in high school, and even early in college. So I was going to Milwaukee, and I was going to Indy. In 2013, I covered the Pacers / Knicks qualifying series. I am 19 years old and this was the second half of my first year. I was driving home from a playoff game I was covering in Indy – these trips take three and a half hours – at like 5 and 6 in the morning. Some days I have a semester or a final exam at 9 or 10 am. M. You miss parties, social gatherings, and hanging out with friends. Bucks played a lot of games on Saturday nights. But that was the one thing that really consumed me.
What does your job look like on a daily basis? Are you on the phone all the time or what is your everyday life like?
I’m definitely trying to sleep. I guess there’s a common misconception that I’m not sleeping at all. Draft time, free agency time – it’s very limited. But for the most part, I definitely sleep. You just set your ringtone too loud and hopefully, you’ll wake up in the night. But the Kohi trade to Toronto, I think, happened at 2 in the morning. So you must be connected.
But for me, it’s only used every day and builds on the past. Lots of conversations are pre-existing and ongoing, because if you are the one trying to come up with a source when you really need something, then it probably isn’t working out in your favor..
And are there times when you don’t feel hot? Is there a sacred time when you are off your phone?
They give you mandatory reports, so I have to see them. But I don’t put too much stock in it.
I’m not proud of that. I mean, again, it’s not something I put into a résumé, but it is what it is.
Have you ever had a situation where you got stuck somewhere and found some news that you just couldn’t report because you were on a plane taking off or something?
There were some calls nearby. Sure, there are a few things I have to literally push through while taking off. There were some major stories that I worked on while I was on flights. Thankfully there is WiFi on flights now. I remember last year at a free agency, signing Thabo Sefolosha to Houston, I got a text message that came through SMS instead of iMessage, so I didn’t get the notification until I got.
It’s too late. Signature came out. I definitely got upset for an hour and then the next day.
You have to be wired all the time – has that caused you trouble with your family or caused you trouble on a first date? Or do people just know that it comes with the territory?
My family definitely understands. Sure enough, there have been instances where I go out with friends and you have to make a 15-20 minute call and come back and definitely feel like there’s some anxiety, like, what does he do? But at the end of the day, I think most people have an understanding.
At this point, you have established relationships with players. Have you ever heard them say, “How the hell did this news come to you?”
[laughs] There are definitely times you hear – you don’t have to be a player. But I tried to let that be very organic – the goal is to be branded and consistent. So, as if you were spending time with these guys, you check in on them, and see how they do. But yeah, I mean, there were definitely times I got, “How the hell did I hear this?” This is how you know you want something.
What were some of the lessons you learned about maintaining relationships and creating a network? What makes you so successful at it?
It’s just about honesty, honesty, and someone people can trust. Initially, the goal was not to go short and not burn bridges, and not get too excited about breaking a story. Of course, you want to break a story, but that’s just understanding, so now I have to remind myself sometimes it’s a process. Think more about the image. This is the balance for any young person in any profession: balancing your desires and desires with what is realistic and the actual time frame for success, or for a relationship.. Understandably, you would prefer a long-term relationship rather than a one or two-year relationship.
Let’s say I got six hours tonight, hopefully. Let’s say like three hours of sleep Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – that’s 15. I’d say about 20 to 21.
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NBA, Toronto Raptors, Shams Sharania, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors
News – US – A conversation with Shams Sharania, the man who will break NBA news all week