Today marks the third anniversary of Bro Jackson’s first post, and more than 2000 posts have been published in the past three years. Today also marks the official start for the site’s new Co-Managing Editors, Kat Gordon and Varoon Bose. Here’s a look at the past and also the future for this upstart little ragtag band of bros.
On the Past…
Bro Jackson posted its first story three years ago today, but what ended up as a collaborative effort by nine writers to establish a Grantland-like clubhouse for sports and pop culture writers actually began as a competition on the actual Grantland (RIP).
In August of 2012, Grantland announced its Fantasy Island Competition, where regular readers like you and me could compete to become the site’s new fantasy football writer. Writing samples were submitted and ten writers were selected to compete. They would be placed in a fantasy league and would compete to have game previews and waiver wire columns published. All selections were made by our editor, Robert Mays. If you’re dying for a super dated time waster (Bryce Brown anyone?), you can see the whole 2012 season on Fantasy Island content here.
Well, it became clear pretty quickly that this was slave labor and there were 10-20 hours of research and analysis to be done every week if you wanted to do it right. A couple people died early, but most endured. We shared a co-misery email thread where we lauded each other’s successes, shared the posts that went unpublished, and face-palmed about the hilarious bits that Robert Mays edited out of our pieces (which included all Sarah Palin references, most references to butt stuff, and all of Shane Morris’s content, because despite Shane’s canny fantasy instincts, he mostly just swore and talked about how high he was at any given time).
After an exciting late season run by Josh Klein, Matt Borcas won the whole enchilada and wrote for Grantland until its untimely demise last year. The rest of us commiserated about being losers and made what we thought were empty promises about staying together and keepin’ a good thing going. We went to our respective corners to lick our wounds during the playoffs that year, but right after the Super Bowl, that pesky Shane Morris wrote to us all with a link to a fully developed Bro Jackson and a user’s guide. We went to work. Three years later, there have been engagements, breakups, marriages, children, and feuds (mostly just Shane versus Fall Out Boy), but we’re still pounding away.
We’ve added some unique, amazing voices along the way, writers like Ken Griggs, Robert Inks and Mel Evans, and I marvel at their sharpness and singularity. They epitomize our mission: excellent long form sports and culture content. We are lucky to have them. Our future is bright.
Grantland is dead. Long live Bro Jackson.
On the Future…
I joined (or begged my way into) Bro Jackson in 2013. The premise was simple: I was unemployed, and was looking for a way to entertain myself. I liked Grantland, and I found out later that the same people that created Bro Jackson all met doing some work for Grantland.
Why these insanely talented people allowed me to join their beautiful kitchen of sports and pop culture, I have no idea. But they did. Over the past three years, they’ve allowed me to write corny jokes about “The Bachelor,” conduct fake interviews with NBA stars (and their headbands), and even start the site’s flagship podcast. I’ve learned so much, and have gotten to know so many people I can call friends, even if it’s just through Twitter. I even got my current job because of my writing samples at Bro, so I’m eternally grateful.
Over the past few years, we’ve all put our hearts and souls into this site. We don’t write for money, nor do we scribble words to believing we’ll change the word with one blog post (although Shane’s iconic post about EDM drug culture has actually come close). We do it because we love it. This site was birthed from Grantland, one of the few sites that believed in writing not for clicks, but for message. It believed in writing for writing’s sake. It believed, as we do, that perhaps if one person reads the 1000-word post one of us put together, it might make their day just a bit brighter.
And that’s why I’m here today, like Diddy in his white-t and diamond chain, screaming at the top of my lungs, “we ain’t going nowhere!”
Bro Jackson has been running solely because of the dedicated individuals who donate their time and creativity to the pages on our site. Some have moved on, but we’ve also gained so many others. Under the leadership of Kat Gordon and myself, our plan is simple: to continue to produce the most unique and engaging sports and pop culture content. We’ll continue to dish out some of the best short-form and long form written content on the internet, but we also have several other projects cooking that we’re very excited about. But we’ll announce those in due time…
For now, we just want to thank you guys for reading, sharing, and engaging in our hard work. To anyone who has been a reader, our gratitude is endless.
And know that because all of you are so dope, we’ll continue making dope shit.