Joel Anderson is a writer's favorite writer.
I was first introduced to Joel's work while he was at Buzzfeed serving as their senior sports writer producing incredible pieces like his profile on "The Two Michael Sams" and "The Rise, Fall and Rise of Winston-Salem State University". However, the title of 'senior sports writer' was always limiting, and for four years he's cranked out incredible profiles on "The Man Who Finances The Alt-Right" and "Oakland's Gentrification Struggle". Writers like Anderson, Nathaniel Friedman, Lindsay Gibbs and Shea Serrano continue to motivate me to be a better scribe, and I'm thankful for the inspiration.
Joel was gracious enough to take a few minutes to participate in our recurring questionnaire challenge, The Tens.
1. What is your favorite jersey number of all-time?
The Natural, Leon Johnson. (Source: Jamie Squire)
No. 12. Leon Johnson, who played a few years for the Jets, wore that number as a running back at North Carolina and I’d never seen anything like it before. Most running backs at the time — and today — either went single digit or 20s and 30s. LL wore it in the “Hey Lover” video, evidence of how iconic it was. Of course, I wore it my senior year of high school.
2. Who is your favorite follow on social media?
Probably @1GottaGo. There’s so many smart and funny people out there — Bomani Jones, @tressiemcphd, @jbouie, @adamserwer, @eveewing, @geedee215, etc etc — that i can’t pick from any one of them, but I try to come back to their timelines as much as possible. But @1GottaGo? I go looking for it every time that I cut on Twitter. It’s a delightful distraction in a time where Twitter can be a constant stream of bad news.
3. In an alternate world, you're a MLB player/boxer/fighter, what is your walk-up/entrance music?
Tie between “You’re a Clown” by The Beatnuts or “No Wheaties” by Big KRIT feat. Curren$y and Smoke DZA. If I was listening to something *just* before my entrance, it’d probably be “What We Do” by Freeway.
4. We have a golden ticket to get you on any game show ever made. What show is it and would you win?
Double Dare and hell no. (I’ve never been a big game show guy either.)
5. You get one sneaker to wear for the rest of your life, what is it?
Someone find Joel a pair of Etonics. (Source: Etonic)
I’m not much of a sneakerhead and never have been, sadly enough. I didn’t grow up a Jordan fan and I can’t tell a quality sneaker from anything I might find on the rack of a Nike Outlet store. But if someone can get me those Etonics that Hakeem Olajuwon used to endorse back in the mid-80s, though, please do holler at me.
6. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Probably high school football coach. But I’d be more of a CEO-type than, like, one of those offensive geniuses who can’t stand to let anyone else call the plays.
7. What's the one sports movie you will always watch when it comes on?
He Got Game. I feel like it’s one of the more underrated sports films of all-time given that, you know, Spike Lee essentially predicted the phenomenon of LeBron James.
8. What are you currently binge-watching or what is your must-see TV program right now?
Definitely Insecure. I’m not much of a TV person, but so many people I know and like on social media are into it, so that compelled me to give it a shot. Me and my wife basically focus our Sunday nights around it. The second season has been fantastic, even beyond the drama of Lawrence and Issa’s estrangement.
9. Is putting pineapple on your pizza the greatest or the worst thing in the world?
I lean closer to greatest. I can’t think of a circumstance in which pineapple doesn’t make things better.
10. If LeBron James is coming over your house for dinner, what would you serve?
Dawg, he better bring some food. He’s got all the money. But just to be a good host, uh, probably getting a 50-piece family meal from Wingstop. Lemon pepper, garlic parmesan and then he can pick whatever flavor he wants. And a pound of ranch. Actually, he’s big so make it two pounds.
Bonus: How can we better #ShockTheWorld?
At the suggestion of a very good friend, I’d like to promote the work of Village of Wisdom, an emerging nonprofit that works with black youth to keep them engaged in their classrooms and communities. Further, Village of Work effectively creates a “village” of families to nurture these children and their gifts. In a time like this, we gotta protect the babies and their genius, man.
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Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”