It’s been three full months since ESPN shut down Grantland releasing a whole slew of writers. During that time, we’ve seen some of the site’s former staffers join MTV News. Sports Illustrated is also picking up its share of former Grantlanders. Awful Announcing has learned that its latest pick up is Andrew Sharp, who will cover the NBA just as he did for Grantland.
He joins two other former Grantland staffers, Jonah Keri who will cover baseball and write his “The 30” and “Trade Value” columns for SI and Robert Mays who joined SI’s MMQB microsite in November and was welcomed by none other than Peter King himself.
Speaking with Awful Announcing, Sharp said he joined Sports Illustrated because it shared a lot of similar missions with Grantland “particularly on the NBA side with Chris Ballard, Lee Jenkins, Rob Mahoney and Ben Golliver. There’s so much talent already there and it seemed like a natural fit for me.”
Sharp said the creative energy he found at SI is similar to what he had at Grantland, “I talked to Robert Mays and he had had a great experience. He started at Monday Morning Quarterback and he’s loved his experience thus far and I felt that was a big reason it made sense to make the jump.”
Sharp said his duties at SI will include reporting and feature writing with some columns as well.
As for his time at Grantland, Sharp said editor-in-chief Bill Simmons assembled a talented team that became very close. Sharp said the freedom and time given to develop stories allowed the staff to make sports more fun. “There was a real positive energy that sort of permeated through the staff,” Sharp said. “I think that’s one of the things we all connected to. It’s been repeated often, but there was a ‘No Assholes’ policy from Simmons on down and it was a really tight-knit group. We all had a lot of fun together.”
But that fun ended when Simmons left ESPN and Grantland was left without its fearless leader. “It was a really tough few months. People on the outside didn’t realize quite how much Bill was responsible for in shaping Grantland and what it became,” Sharp said. “We all worked twice as hard. We believed in what we were doing in large part because of him so once he left it was definitely challenging and we all sort of had to band together to keep things going as long as we did.”
When asked what Simmons’ legacy will be, Sharp replied, “Bill’s legacy to too broad for me to even try to encapsulate in a quote. It’s still being shaped. But what happened at Grantland is that he added a new aspect to his legacy where he was able to empower a lot of young talent people and that has made him more than (just) a writer which has been very cool to watch.”
But for his new gig, Sharp is willing to get right back on the bicycle and start writing again, “I’m shaking off the cobwebs after a couple of months away from the internet,” Sharp said. “I’m excited to get back this week.”
Sharp said he doesn’t know what his first SI article will be as of yet, but he is looking forward to getting his feet wet very soon.