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Retrospecticus: A 2013-2014 Professional Basketball Yearbook


As my post on Monday alluded to, Hickory-High has reached its end. But before we set off on our new adventures, we have one more big project we want to share with you. Today, we’re ready to release this bad boy.

Over the past few months we’ve been working frantically to assemble a massive (at least it feels that way to us) review of the 2013-2014 NBA season. We framed our project as that most familiar vessel for nostalgia — a yearbook (and a not-so-subtle nod to one of our favorite Simpsons episodes). It is neither perfect, nor comprehensive, but it is ours — our memories, our stories, our joys and our frustrations. These are our experiences from the most recent season of NBA basketball.

Retrospecticus is available for download through Smashwords, an ebook publisher we selected specifically because they have an option which allows the purchaser to set the price. We’ve given away hundreds of thousands of words over the past few years and we’re happy to share these last 50,000 with you at no cost. But if you value the work we’ve done and wish to show it through monetary compensation, at a level of your choosing, we’ll be happy to put it in the fund for the big Hickory-High pizza and root beer float party we’re planning as a celebration. At some point today (assuming I’ve done everything correctly) it should also be available at Amazon and through other fine purveyours of digital books.

Buy (or download for free) Retrospecticus here!

If you’re still feel ambivalent, you can sample the introduction below:

Letter From The Editor

Last summer I had the enormous privilege of collaborating on the Hardwood Paroxysm 2013-2014 Season Preview, a 100+ page ebook assembled by the approximately 357 collaborators at HP. It was an incredible experience — the writing was a joy, but the collegiality throughout the process was something particularly special. In the end there was a surplus of group pride and a thorough and weighty final product. That experience was the direct inspiration for the text you are now reading.

Retrospecticus is an attempt to recreate that experience with my own staff at Hickory-High. The talented group of writers who volunteer their time and creativity to Hickory-High are an absolute blessing but, although we waste hours every day on group email threads, our work is mostly done in parallel — written separately and not seen by colleagues until it is published. I wanted to try something more intentionally collaborative, and bigger, much bigger.

The idea to frame this season review project as a yearbook came fairly early on and it seemed like a ludicrously appropriate choice. You’ll quickly notice that this is not a yearbook in the traditional sense, mostly because licensing photos of every NBA player was well outside our budget of zero dollars. We’ve tried to keep some yearbook structures in place but still work in our own styles to tell some of our favorite stories from this season. You’ll find memories from the regular season and playoffs, senior superlatives, prom songs and individual sections on each team’s season.

As with everything at Hickory-High, this project is far from perfect. This was our first swing at a project of this magnitude and I’m quite certain that we’ve missed in places. Editing on this scale and formatting in this style were both new experiences for me and the execution is clumsy at times. But at its core, I believe Retrospecticus is true to the Hickory-High experience. It was created with creativity and care, joy and ambition. We had a blast putting it together and we hope you enjoy reading it as much we enjoyed writing it.

While we are excited to share Retrospecticus with all of you, it is also a bittersweet benchmark. As you may have heard this is the last project from the Hickory-High collective. A wonderful (yet-to-be-announced) opportunity has opened up for us that necessitates shutting the door on Hickory-High. Although many of us will be working together in the future, this is the last project from this particular group of writers in this particular configuration. I have been so privileged to blindly lead this talented group over the past few seasons and I can’t thank them enough for all the wonderful work they have done. Not all of our writers were able to contribute to this project and since this may stand as Hickory-High’s tombstone I want to make sure I thank Andrew Johnson, Cole Patty, Jacob Frankel, Sean Widmer and Kyle Soppe for all their terrific contributions.

Summer is a wonderful time of year, but it also marks the end of many things. At this moment in time, the arrival of summer marks the end of the 2013-2014 season and the end of Hickory-High. We hope Retrospecticus will serve as a wonderful reminder of the memories we’ve made together, both on the court and on the internets.

Thank you for reading and thank you for being a friend.

Have a great summer and see you next year,

Ian Levy

  • Lucas

    Just say you’re quitting this for money. Honesty is the best policy

    • Ian Levy

      I can’t tell you how much I wish that was why we were quitting. I can’t talk about the move yet, but I can say that I’ll be keeping my day job.

  • heretikeen

    Just reading this retrospective … it’s grand and positively the best piece(s) of writing I’ve seen about any NBA season so far.
    Makes me miss you so much more. Good luck out there!

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