On Dec. 11, 2006, a fledging Wizards site with a botched name and an editor who went by stupid moniker became the ninth NBA one to join a small blog network. The goals were modest: create a safe place for fans of one of the league's woebegone franchises to live out their addiction. The motivation: that editor hadn't found that safe place anywhere in his own life.
A lot has happened in the ensuing eight years. The site gained more legitimacy and started covering actual games. The parent company grew into one of the biggest sports sites on the Internet. The team rose, fell hard and is now rising to heights many of us haven't seen in our lifetimes. That editor grew up and dropped the stupid moniker. The community grew into one of the biggest and smartest in the sports world. Several talented writers used this space to further their careers and provide unique coverage of their favorite teams.
But the biggest thrill goes back to those early modest goals. The objective at the beginning was to find a place where Wizards fans could connect with each other. Everything else was gravy. And we certainly have and continue to accomplish that every day. Every visit to the site yields an insight and a laugh from the comments section or FanPosts. Every day, we disprove the stereotype that there are no serious Wizards fans.
This is my last post for Bullets Forever*. As the site has grown, so too have my responsibilities elsewhere. Editing SBNation.com's NBA page is a big job, one that now requires my full attention. This change has been in the works for several weeks; the biggest reason it hasn't happened yet is because it's been difficult for me to leave a place that's been so special for so many years. But it's time.
The rest of the crew isn't going anywhere. Jake has been here since almost Day 1 and he'll be continuing as the social media manager while taking on a bigger editing role with Amin's help. Umair and Albert joined us on the front page last year and will continue to do the great work they do. Ryan, Nick, Michael, Kelly, Mitch and Akbar have all come on in the last few months and will be writing even more. You may even see the return of some old favorites that are poised to keep writing. I leave knowing the site is in good hands.
Thank you to everyone who helps make this place special. Thank you to each and every contributor over the years for giving so much of their time to growing this site to the level it reached. Thank you to each and every community member for keeping me honest and making this place feel like family. Some of you have been here since the very beginning. Some of you just joined this year. All of you are responsible for this place's growth.
A special thank you to everyone associated with the team for working with me as the site grew. Thank you to our friends in the PR department over the years, especially those who took a big leap of faith in letting me and other writers be credentialed during a time when other teams would have been (and still are being) more skittish. Thank you to all the members of the front office, players and coaches for all the conversations and insights over the years. Thank you to those at SB Nation, from Jim Bankoff to Seth Pollack and countless others, for taking a chance on the site and supporting it these last eight years. And a special thank you to Ted Leonsis, who has always been responsive in a way that other sports owners haven't.
I won't be going far. You can still find me on Twitter (@MikePradaSBN), email (mikeprada AT sbnation DOT com) and on the main SBNation.com NBA page editing all the great writers we have. I'll still be checking in every day, because how can I not?
Farewell, friends. One more time for old time's sake:
*: Barring occasional cameos