Gary Washburn on his Time in the Bubble

On the latest episode of Listen In With KNN on Fox Sports 1340AM, host Kelsey Nicole Nelson welcomed National Basketball Association (NBA) and Boston Celtics reporter at the Boston Globe Gary Washburn to the show. 

Speaking of his journey, he was raised by a single mother and made it his mission to make her proud. When Washburn was at the University of California, Berkeley, he loved sports and developed an interest in journalism. 

“I started going to career fairs at 20 years old and met a lady named Annette John-Hall, who was a longtime columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer and worked at the San Jose Mercury News. She told me at the fair, ‘you could be a sportswriter for a living.’ When she told me that, I was in,” he said. “That encouraged me to get into the business.”

In addition to his journalism work, Washburn is an NBA Awards voter. In 2013, he was the only media voter who voted for Carmelo Anthony over LeBron James for the Most Valuable Player award and got criticized for it. 

“Different people have different ways for voting. There’s those who vote strictly on numbers, there’s those who vote on analytics, there’s those who vote for the effect on their team and those who they see the most. Nothing’s absolute and that’s why we live in America where everybody has different opinions,” Washburn said.

He’s been in the Bubble since July 12th as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been a surreal experience for the Boston Globe reporter being away from his family for 11 weeks.

“It’s like those old karate movies where the guy would go off to some journey and would come back in three years. It’s nothing but basketball and then all the health stuff we have to go through and you can’t leave campus. They would test you everyday and come to your door with a swab. It’s a definite adjustment to your life, food, not being around your family and limitations,” he said. “It’s a lot to digest but once you get used to it, you’re okay.”

The NBA tests the players, coaches, team personnel and media members everyday and there wasn’t any positive test. Washburn praises the league for keeping everyone healthy in a structured manner.

“It’s the experience of being in a place that we know this will never happen again like all the players, coaches, referees, scorekeepers and people who work behind the scenes in one place. We’re considered family now because we’re all going through the same thing. I’ll take away the friendships I made and this can mess up your mental health when you’re away from your family,” he said.

Additionally, he’s been proud of the players using their platform to become more politically and socially active. 

“A lot of these young men in the Bubble have read up on history and educated themselves on certain particular cases like Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown and Rodney King. I’m proud of them for being able to learn, read and ask older people what it was like before.  The George Floyd murder will be a benchmark point hopefully in Black and American history getting more people aware.”

Tadi Abedje
My name is Tadi Abedje and Journalism has been my number one passion since I was a kid, especially as it pertains to sports. I love, eat, drink and sleep sports. I got my Bachelor of Arts degree in communication with a concentration in journalism from George Mason University in May 2017. As a writer and reporter, I understand the media landscape, how to cultivate relationships with sources, and how to produce thoughtful and engaging content. I am highly motivated, adaptable, social-media savvy multi-media journalist, reporter, writer, producer and editor who produces, narrates, writes and edits my own stories.