I obtained my first full-time job as a writer in 1995, when the New York Daily News hired me to cover high school sports. The tabloid, which mainly competed with the New York Post, was the only paper in the metropolitan area that covered high school sports. After one year, my bosses promoted me to beat writer of the storied basketball program at my alma mater, St. John’s University. During the off season, I chipped in with coverage of almost all of New York’s pro teams: Giants, Jets, Knicks, Mets, Yankees. Regardless, my forte remained feature writing -- the lengthy articles would attract the attention of the Washington Post and the Seattle Times. One of my favorite features for the Daily News involved the superstar singer R. Kelly and his hoop dreams. (A partial image of the article — "A Shooting Star," published on May 30, 1997 -- is shown below). Within months, I would reach my own hoop dreams by accepting an offer to become an NBA beatwriter.
Funny story: Occasionally, the Daily News assigned a reporter to interview random New Yorkers for opinions on a hot topic. Once, as I approached a prospective interviewee, the person offered me a dollar bill. Before I had uttered a word, he assumed that I was homeless. The story still lives on among my one-time colleagues.