It's always preferable to have a choice between two very good options.
Such was the case recently for York Suburban High School graduate Mark Medina.
Medina, a sports reporter who covered the Los Angeles Lakers for the Los Angeles Times from 2010 to 2012 and then the Los Angeles Daily News from 2012 until recently, was not really looking for a new opportunity. He thoroughly enjoyed writing for the Daily News. He also enjoyed making appearances on the local Los Angeles cable sports channel, in addition to a few on nationally syndicated radio talk shows, such as "The Dan Patrick Show" and "The Herd with Colin Cowherd."
Sometimes, however, a door opens, and when it opens, sometimes you have to walk through it.
The Athletic, an online subscription-based sports site that began in 2016, expanded its coverage area this summer. The website poached away several prominent San Francisco-area NBA reporters during its hiring surge. Some of those writers covered the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
Among the positions that opened up was a job covering the Warriors at the San Jose Mercury News. While Medina was content where he was in Los Angeles, the opportunity to move to a new media market while continuing his pursuit as a high-profile NBA reporter proved to be too much to pass up.
The Mercury News hired Medina, who will begin his new assignment Monday, Sept. 11, as its primary beat reporter covering the Warriors.
“I was lucky that I had a good gig going with the Lakers beat, but this opportunity really opened up because of The Athletic,” he said. “I saw (the position opening) and thought that I should at least see what this role entails.”
Lakers still interesting: While the Lakers have been in a bit of a downward spiral on the court over the past few years, the demand for coverage of the team never wavered. Medina found himself reporting daily on many aspects of the club both on and off the court. The Nick Young-D’Angelo Russell controversy last year, as well as the hiring of Magic Johnson as the team’s president of basketball operations, both earned Medina time on national radio and television shows to discuss the Lakers.
Expanding his connections was an important reason behind Medina’s move to northern California. Over his seven-plus years of covering the Lakers, Medina has built up quite a Rolodex of resources. Still the 32 year old is always looking for ways to network with even more people.
“The chance to cover another high-profile team and have the ability to grow and expand connections with those teams only really broadens your area of expertise,” he said. “And that just makes you more versatile.”
Relevancy a factor: Relevancy also played a role in the decision, and no one is more relevant in the NBA these days than the Warriors.
“They’re exciting to watch,” Medina said. “I think around the league that there’s an expectation that they’re going to win the NBA championship again next summer. There seems to be a big talent discrepancy between the Warriors and everyone else. And the interesting thing about the Warriors is that they epitomize everything that you’d want in a sports team. They have a lot of really good talent, a really good culture built from ownership down to the players.”
Medina is definitely looking forward to beginning his new venture. He will be moving from Los Angeles to Oakland this weekend before officially starting his new role at the Mercury News Monday.
While it was a difficult decision for him to make, Medina feels like it really was a no-lose situation.
“The great thing about this is that I had two great decisions that I could weigh,” he said. “There really wasn’t such a thing as making the ‘wrong choice.’ But at the same time, when I was weighing all the different factors at play, I felt that this would be good for me to take this position.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.