When he’s not on the basketball court at Lake Brantley High, Zack Weiss is writing about the NBA for the online news outlet League Alerts.
Zack Weiss says his affinity for basketball began when he was in elementary school, and it’s been nothing but net for him ever since. Currently a senior at Lake Brantley High School, Zack is a member of the Patriots basketball team, where he dominates the court as a shooting guard and small forward.
But Zack’s basketball fever doesn’t cool down when he’s off the court. In fact, he has found a way to continue his full-court press in, ironically enough, the press. At age 17, Zack is a weekly, contributing writer for League Alerts, an online news outlet that covers and critiques the NBA.
Several months ago, while scrolling through the League Alerts Instagram page, Zack spotted an ad asking for interested contributing writers. Because his passion for basketball runs so deep, Zack quickly emailed the company, indicating his interest. He was hired to write for League Alerts only two days after he submitted his writing sample.
Zack enjoys his newfound extracurricular activity, especially the autonomy he’s been given to choose the topics about which he writes.
“When I was first hired by League Alerts, I was assigned topics to write about,” explains Zack. “Eventually, I pitched a story idea to my boss, and he told me to run with it. To this day, that story is my highest-viewed entry on the site. Now, for the most part, I pitch what I want to write about and am usually given the green light.”
Zack says that his motivation for the stories he writes is two-fold: what he is interested in writing about and what he thinks others would find interesting to read. His writing reflects both his vast knowledge about the sport and intensive research.
“I’ve watched professional basketball for almost my entire life,” says Zack. “While I use that insight, I also spend a tremendous amount of time, using a variety of sources to conduct research to support the content and statistics in my articles.”
It’s not just the research that provides Zack the point of view he needs for his stories, it’s playing the game, too, that gives him important perspective.
“Being on my high-school basketball team offers objectivity that is important for a writer,” Zack says. “Playing the sport I research and write about, even at just a high-school level, gives me a sense of understanding toward aspects of the game I wouldn’t otherwise fully understand, like the importance of team and individual practices, the need for conditioning, locker-room conversations, and what’s happening during time-out huddles. All of that goes into my writing.”
With graduation quickly approaching, does Zack plan to play college hoops or write about the game from the press box?
“I have no plans to play college basketball, other than on recreational leagues and at local gymnasiums,” says Zack, “I do hope, however, that I will be active in playing the sport that I love until I physically can’t anymore.”
Just what is it about basketball that mesmerizes this young athlete and writer? According to Zack, it’s all about the excitement of the game.
“During a game of basketball, there is always something happening,” says Zack. “No matter where the ball is or who has it, everybody on the court is involved. If one person dozes off or slips up, it affects the team as a whole. It truly is a team sport with no tolerance for laziness at any time, from anyone."
Without a lazy bone in his body, Zack has big goals for college and beyond.
“I plan on attending the University of Florida to study journalism,” he says. “I eventually want to earn a job as an NBA analyst and reporter for ESPN or Fox Sports. I know that goals like these are nothing short of difficult, but they are by no means unachievable. I truly believe that with my work ethic and head start with League Alerts, I can get where I want to be.”
Zack’s mom, Andrea Anderson, couldn’t agree more.
“Zack is my hero,” says Andrea. “He amazes me with his natural desire to entertain others and educate himself, all while taking time to have fun and play the game he loves.”
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