First off, I want to give a huge thank you to Skeets for the interview. He was super cool and he also answered super quickly as well. But, if you don’t know who J.E. Skeets is, he is a host for “The Starters” on NBA TV. He is from Canada, and he attended Ryerson University. This is where he would meet Tas Melas, and Jason Doyle. This show was much different from the start for NBA TV. Usually every show has an NBA player or at least an NBA coach hosting with other analysts. “The Starters” are just four regular guys who love basketball. That is where I really could relate to them. “The Starters” have become one of the most popular shows on NBA TV now and they get guest appearances from NBA players and coaches alike. Their success didn’t just happen over night though, they worked extremely hard and Skeets also mentioned to me that it took four years for them to even see a penny from doing podcasts.
Where He Started
J.E. Skeets started his own blog, which he called “J.E. Skeets”. As you can imagine, this isn’t his real name, his real name is Phil Elder. But on this blog, he wrote about random things, observations, photographs or about videos. Then one day he wrote a basketball article that got linked to the website “Deadspin”. This increased the traffic on his blog, so he then started to write about basketball. These basketball posts grew a lot in popularity, and he eventually started his own website and he called it “The Basketball Jones”. Since Skeets used to do radio, he was able to start his own podcast on his website. Eventually, the popularity grew and they were seeing around 60,000 viewers a month. They were getting so popular that they were listed under the top 100 podcasts within iTunes. At the end of the 2007-08 season, Skeets would be hired by Yahoo! Sports to edit their basketball blog. He ended up renaming the blog, “Ball Don’t Lie”. Eventually, in 2010, the podcast grew so much in popularity, and they would join the website, “The Score” which was a Canadian multi-media sports network. Then in the the 2012-13 season, Tas Melas revealed that “The Basketball Jones” would no longer continue and that they would be joining a new site which turned out to be NBA TV. This forced the whole team to move from Toronto Canada, to Atlanta Georgia.
Q: What was the hardest lesson to learn before you made it on to NBA TV?
A: That it’s going to take a lot longer than you think to get truly noticed. We did the podcast for four years before we ever made a penny off of it.
Skeets speaks from experience, he revealed to me that it took them four years to see a penny. But they stuck with it, and now they were able to get their own tv show on NBA TV.
Q: When you were younger, could you imagine yourself where you are now?
A: In front of the camera? Definitely not. But I’ve always loved sports and television, so I’m fortunate that I was able to merge both of those interests into a career.
He was able to turn his blog into so much more with one simple article, which I will get into this next. But he was able to show a lot of people that hard work pays off.
Q: What was your favorite post back when you started your “J.E. Skeets” blog?
A: My “Romance on the Hardwood” series, which started when a weird photo of Kobe and Jannero Pargo landed in my e-mail inbox. It looked like the two of them were slow dancing, so I downloaded “If You Don’t Me By Know” by Simply Red and wrote some imaginary dialogue.
This was the article that got Skeets the notoriety he needed. This was the article that would change his blog and get the traffic he needed to become a lot more popular as well.
Q: Who was the first NBA player you interviewed?
A: Tony Parker in a Subway sandwich shop in Phoenix.
This is definitely a great first interview, future hall-of-famer, all-star, and NBA champion. Other than the location, would have been a perfect first interview!
Q: If you could change anything about the journey you guys took to NBA TV, what would it be?
A: Honestly, nothing.
This is a great mindset to have, no matter the set back, the journey was always worth it to them. One way or another they ended up here and they were all able to create a great show.
Q: What was your inspiration for your guys first podcast, “The Basketball Jones”?
A: After university, JD, Tas and I wanted to work together and create something of our own. Podcasts were brand new in 2006, so we picked a topic we were passionate about and got to recording.
I talked to Skeets almost three and a half years ago, and something that stuck with me was I have to make content as soon as possible. It’s the only way to get noticed and a great way to work on your techniques for writing, or anything that you want.
Q: How did you come up with the name J.E. Skeets?
A: Happened one hungover morning at a friend’s cottage. It just sounded funny.
This is something I never knew till this interview. Was not expecting this to be the reason but definitely a funny way of getting the name he goes by today!
Q: What was the most difficult thing about your journey to NBA TV?
A: Just acceptance when we actually arrived in Atlanta. A lot of people were, um, confused by our unique show and take on the game. But we eventually won ’em all over.
They were definitely able to win them all over. But from the first time I saw this show, I could tell it was different and unique in its own way. They were a huge reason I got into this field.
Q: What was your initial reaction when you guys first found out NBA TV was interested?
A: Very excited.
Getting on NBA TV was a huge accomplishment for them. Over the years they had grown very popular because of their different style and takes on the NBA.
Q: Being where you are now, what is the next goal you guys have for the show?
A: I really don’t know. Maybe start a whole podcast network?
The show has been running since 2013 so they have been a very popular show since then. They still continue to run their shows on podcasts and YouTube as well!
These next six questions are going to be random basketball questions. They could be about the show itself, the NBA, or even sneaker preference!
Q: Other than the Toronto Raptors, who is your favorite team to watch?
A: Sacramento Kings. Love De’Aaron Fox.
With the fast-pace scoring they do, not surprised this would be his favorite team to watch. De’Aaron Fox is one of my favorite players to watch and I’m pretty sure one day he will be an all-star.
Q: Who was your favorite player to have on The Starters?
A: Wow. Tough question. As a Raptors fan, I probably have to go with Vince Carter, Chris Bosh or Kyle Lowry. I’m a huge Devin Booker fan, too.
It would be amazing to get interviews from players on your favorite team, especially legends like Bosh and Carter. Devin Booker is definitely going places, can’t wait to see what else he does with his career.
Q: If you could have one pair of shoes to wear for the rest of your life, what would they be?
A: These Blazers that I can’t find anywhere. https://twitter.com/jeskeets/status/1102387253161218049
These Blazers are definitely a classic. I’ve never actually seen these before but these are definitely some of the nicest Blazers I’ve seen.
Q: What is your favorite time of year to film? (Draft day, Offseason signings, Summer-League, Opening day, All-star weekend or Playoffs/Finals)
A: The Summer League shows are a blast because we have a live audience behind us and great, young guests, but I prefer breaking down playoff games and series so give me April to June.
Summer league is for all of the rookies or players that are trying to make an NBA team. The summer league shows are some of my favorites to watch. But there’s nothing like the playoffs, going over the matchups and watching some upsets.
Q: Who is on your Mount Rushmore for all-time Raptor players?
A: Vince, Lowry, Kawhi, DeMar. (I really want to put Siakam on this.)
This is definitely a great Mount Rushmore. For those who don’t know, a Mount Rushmore is typically done in sports to explain the top four players. I’m surprised Bosh didn’t make this list, but definitely a solid top four. Siakam will definitely get his time, sooner rather than later.
Q: What did you think of Damian Lillard’s game winner?
A: *waves goodbye*
See Dame Lillard’s game winner.
I want to say thank you to
J.E. Skeets once again for being my first every interview! It was a great experience and I definitely had a lot of fun with it. If you like my content please share it!
Categories: NBA News Blog