by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

(I realized yesterday that this post was going to be going up on the site on April 1, better known as April Fool’s Day. But this isn’t an April Fool’s Day joke. So i almost held it until next week, but figured I wanted to go ahead and get this out there.)

For the last eleven years of my life — roughly 4,015 days — through rain (like today), sleet and snow, I’ve moved myself out of bed every weekday morning and made my way down to Manhattan’s Flatiron District, to enter the SLAM Dome. I moved from Atlanta to New York City  to work for SLAM in the fall of 2000. The first issue I worked on was SLAM #46, the issue with T-Mac on the cover in his Orlando uniform. I worked at the SLAM Dome through getting married, through losing family members, through gaining family members, through 9/11, through the New York City blackout. There were snowstorms and rainstorms and heatwaves and subway outages.

Last summer, I started thinking about how I was surpassing a decade of obsessively covering the NBA full-time for SLAM. The thought was staggering. Almost one-third of my life has been spent sitting here at this desk in the SLAM Dome, where I am sitting right now, trying to tell stories as best as I could, and also doing whatever I could to help other people’s words sing, too.

The more I tried to think about not leaving, the more I thought about what it would be like to not be here every day. And I constantly have ideas and thoughts and dreams and other things I’d love to pursue, but I haven’t been able to.

So, getting to the point: As of this Friday, I will no longer be a full-time editor here at SLAM.

What does that mean? Well, we’re not really sure just yet. I’ll get a fancy new title like Editor at Large. I’m still going to write a lot in every issue of SLAM, will still write on the site. The Links will probably go from the homepage to the drop-down menu, but the biggest change is that I won’t be working out of the SLAM office any longer. And now I’ve got the free time I’ve been dreaming about to chase down other dreams.

What are those dreams? Well, that’s a great question. Right now, besides SLAM, I’ve already got a few pots on the stove. I’m still rep for SLAM on bigger stages, doing things like NBA TV and the podcast on NBA.com (50th episode is available here). My memoir is out and, kinda amazingly, has been getting some greatreviews. (BTW, if you’re around NYC, I’m doing a reading on Monday night, April 4, at 7:00 PM at The Half King.) I’m writing essays about random lifestyle things in each issue of Antenna magazine, and I’m working on a food website for guys (it launched this week and my first column is up here).

That’s what I’m up to now. And I love all of that. We nailed all this down on Tuesday, and I left the office on Tuesday night and felt excited. For the first time in a really long time, it feels like I’ve got an open road ahead of me. The only excuse I have for not making my hopes and dreams come true will be that either I screwed it up or that I wasn’t good enough.

Am I good enough? I think so, and I hope so. Mostly, I’m looking forward to finding out.

It feels weird to write this, because it feels like I’m writing a goodbye letter. But this isn’t goodbye, it’s just…I’ll be seeing less of you, at least around here on SLAMonline. Most people who read SLAM might not be able to tell any difference. I’m already working on a couple of things for issues of SLAM down the road, including something for issue 150 that should be tremendous if we can pull it together.

Anyway, let me know if the site gets crappy and I’ll post Ryne’s cell phone number in the comments section so you guys can complain directly to him. But I don’t anticipate having to do that. SLAM is in great hands. I’m still in the huddle, I’m just not one of the guys in middle.

I have no idea what’s next, but I hope to see you there. And I’ll definitely see you here.

–lang