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Six years ago this morning, I clicked on a little button that said publish and started a blog with this sentence:

Welcome to my attempt at keeping personal sanity in the midst of the swirling vortex of controversy that is the Lakers.

As I remember, 25 people read it, and they all found the site on accident stumbling through Blogger. But to this day that idea is sort of what this site remains, save it’s not just for me anymore.

Six years later, it feels all so different. The Lakers aren’t controversial, they are steady and professional (well, maybe professional isn’t the word I’d use to describe last night’s Timberwolves game). My sanity is fully up for debate, but life feels far crazier.

Forum Blue & Gold is different, but the same at its core. It’s not really mine anymore. But it still feels like home.

For those of you a little confused, my name is Troy McClure Kurt Helin, you might remember me from such posts as “Tip Off” and “Forum Blue?” I was the guy who started this little site as a hobby and had no plans for what it would become or how it would change my life. It really was my little attempt to keep some sanity and have some fun. I had gotten married and was watching more Lakers games focused in at home on a television rather than slightly blurry-eyed at a bar. Then I’d wake up the next morning and read the analysis of the game — not the Lakers beat writers, who have always been good, but the columnists — and think, “what were they watching?”

Basically, I was watching Rudy T’s painful inside-out, live-or-die by-the-three offense (which works fine with Hakeem surrounded by shooters but was a dud in LA) then picking up the paper and reading about what Shaq said about Mitch. I didn’t care. I wanted to talk basketball, and if nobody else would, I just would start my own little site. I modeled it after Dodger Thoughts. Maybe some others would find me and we could have a semi-smart conversation that didn’t involve how anybody’s ass tasted. There was no marketing plan or goals, no thoughts of monetization (which wasn’t even a word yet), no thoughts of getting into the business, there was just me writing and chatting with likeminded souls.

To me, that’s always what FB&G was and will be. It’s why it’s still home.

I wasn’t totally alone. The NBA blogsphere was just a handful of us — me, Mike at Knickerblogger, Jeff at Celtics Blog, Matt at Blog-a-Bull, Henry at TrueHoop, a few others — and all of us just doing it for fun. Just because. No corporate entities and no money. Which makes it sound far more idealistic than it was — it wasn’t all puppies and rainbows.

Things change. The site grew. FB&G became part of the TrueHoop Network at ESPN, because I liked and trusted those people. More people found the site and the conversations became more interesting. The goal was always not just growth but growth in a way that fit FB&G. That’s why no message boards, there are great Lakers message boards out there but the feel on those is different. FB&G was always seemed a little more mature and nuanced, it seemed to me.

I’ve got this new(ish) gig, a new home on the Web. But I view that as my Upper West Side place in NYC. Posh and somewhat high profile (that may be overstating it, but I’m stuck with this analogy now). Urban, and both stimulating and isolating the way a great city can be. I work hard to make it home like I remember. But it means I am rarely around the place I grew up on the Web (I read everything but rarely participate).

FB&G is that home, it is coming back to may parents place in Woodland Hills to see the Christmas lights up and smell peanut butter cookies being baked. It’s Lakers fans talking Lakers, but in a sane way. Most of the time. It’s warm and comfortable.

It’s all that more because of all of you than me. I was just the host, but the party is no fun with just a host. It took Scott, Darius, Reed, now Philip and Jeff and Bill Bridges and so many others. It took all of you. FB&G is a gathering spot, a warm and inviting one hopefully. One where we can really enjoy celebrating Lakers wins with friends.

And hopefully this season, we’ll get to celebrate another big one. Thanks for coming by and being part of the fun.

Yesterday afternoon and through this morning FB&G had some server issues that disrupted the site, leaving the site down for that time period.  My sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused to all of you looking to talk Lakers with us.

This issue is now resolved and we will continue putting up posts this afternoon, starting with some thoughts on Summer League in preparation for today’s game between the Lakers and the Spurs.  Over the next couple of days, we’ll catch up with all the latest news including Raja Bell spurning the Lakers for the Jazz and the likely return of Shannon Brown.  We’ll also continue with our player evals and may even throw in another mailbag.

I was having serious FB&G withdrawls, so I’m happy things are back in order and we’ll update the site soon with some new thoughts.

First, things first: I enjoyed the Lakers win in Portland as much or more than any Lakers fan. It was kind of cathartic. And because of the circumstances for that win, I am now on the bandwagon for having Kobe as the sixth man, coming in off the bench. What do you want in a bench player? A guy who can light up the scoreboard and just comes in and changes the tempo and feel of a game. Does that describe anyone better than Kobe? Clearly, this is the direction Phil needs to go.

I kid, I kid. My quick 2¢: The win in Portland and the team’s play may have had something to do with the locker room mood after the Denver loss. The Lakers, more than any time this season, seemed clearly stunned by that outcome, it hit them in a way other losses have not. It seemed to make them think about how they are doing things, going about the games. At least that seemed to be the feeling. Whether or not that translates into anything beyond a win against a banged-up Portland team remains to be seen, but the feeling was there. And there is plenty of time to right the ship, if the will is there. As a fan, that remains my hope.

While Kobe has been taking nights off, sitting with his feet up in the back of the bus, I’ve been busy at my new project, which launched today: Pro Basketball Talk. Please click the link, come on by and check out my new digs. There’s a great group of bloggers there working with me, and I’m excited about what we can do with the site.

I again can’t thank everyone who reads and comments at this site for all they have given me the last five years. I have loved talking basketball with all of you, I’m a smarter and better basketball fan for it. I see and think of things differently.  This blog will always be close to my heart, and I’ll still be around commenting this year. And celebrating (I hope).

Now you may resume arguing about Derek Fisher.


The Transition Game

Darius Soriano —  January 29, 2010

As you’ve likely read, Kurt is leaving Forum Blue and Gold. He leaves us to pursue the dream of any NBA junkie that loves to talk, debate, and write about basketball – a full time gig covering the entire league. I wish him nothing but the best of luck and plan to bookmark his site the day it goes live. Kurt is nothing short of a legend around these parts (and by “these parts” I mean the entire basketball blogosphere) and he deserves a big congratulations from all of us and a thank you from me. I thank Kurt for creating Forum Blue and Gold. For providing a place for me to come every single day, discuss the team I love, and learn something about the Lakers and the game of basketball. For being smarter, wittier, and more level headed than any other Lakers fan I know. And, most of all, I thank him for handing me the reins of this tremendous site.

First things first, this site and all of its core values are not going to change. FB&G has always been a community that thrived on high level discussion and analysis about the team we follow every day. None of that is going away. In fact, we’re going to try and bring you more of it. More analysis. More information. More topics to discuss and debate with a style and substance that all of us who have called this site home have come to love and appreciate. And that’s where you come in. In order to move FB&G in this direction, I’m going to need some help. I’m going to need more people that love this team to help contribute to the growth and further development of this site. Do you love to break down the X’s and O’s of the game? Are you a person that can’t get enough of the statistics and advanced analytics of basketball? Are you a Lakers fan with a unique take that wants to write about our team? If so, I’m looking for you. And if you’re looking to contribute, get at me. Submit writing samples, links, proposals, etc. to me at

My goal for the future of this site is simple: I want to grow this site while keeping alive the tradition that has been established over the past 5 years. The foundation has been laid, let’s build this thing bigger than ever before and evolve the site to its next incarnation. We’ll be here every single day trying to make this site the best place for Lakers fans to follow our team. I hope to have you join us.


And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

I, Kurt Helin, am about to leave Forum Blue & Gold.

I tried about 256 ways to phrase that first sentence, but sometimes being direct is the best approach. Know first and foremost — this is a good thing for me and a good thing for the future of the site.

It’s good for me because I have been hired full time to start and write a new NBA blog for Not just Lakers but the entire league, and in a format that is proven to work (if done right). I feel like someone who got the call to head up to the majors — excited and a little bit nervous. But, like Nuke LaLoosh, I’ve practiced my cliches and learned to throw a punch with my non-typing hand (?) so I’m ready to go. You’ll hear and find out more about the blog when it launches on Feb. 8. But know that I am not disappearing, I will still be reading this site every day (and throwing in comments now and again).

The new blog is going to take up virtually all of my time, I couldn’t stay on here and do it right (plus, NBC doesn’t want me working for ESPN on the side anyway). After five years of building Forum Blue & Gold and living on this site every day, one thing I had to do was find the right person to take over the helm.

That is Darius.

The great basketball mind and long time amazing contributor to this site has agreed to step up and be the man. I couldn’t be happier, because I know he is going to do a great job and make this site even better, to help it evolve. I’ll let him talk about his own plans and goals, but I sort of picture him as Bono out in front of the band (and when I do that I’m picturing 1985, mullet and fur boots at Live Aid Bono).

But he wants more band members. That is where writers out there can come in.

Maybe you’re a master narrator who can compose a recap for the ages for even the most lopsided blowout. Or you might be a breakdown artist who loves dissecting the x’s & o’s. Or Are you a stat geek who wants to use all these cool advanced analytics to figure out what’s ailing the Lakers’ offense? A humorist who can tackle the most profound questions facing the team with gallows humor? Or you could be someone who just wants to add thoughtful observations to our community.

Send whatever you think we need to see (links, writing samples, proposals, references, errata) to And remember, I’ll be reading.

Radio Is A Sound Salvation

Kurt —  December 10, 2009

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Tonight I’m going to do the same thing I do every night: Try To Take Over The World.

That starts with being part of the ESPN Radio NBA Game Night pregame show. Tune in around 7:00 Pacific, 10:o0 East Coast time, and you can catch about 30 seconds of me talking Lakers defense. Also, the clip should be part of the post game show (and the site will get a few national radio plug). Here in Los Angeles that is on 710 ESPN, everywhere else check out your local ESPN affiliate.

Of course, I have a long way to go to take over the world. Or even catch up with Jerry Buss, who now owns the NBA franchise worth more than any other.

Reminder that this Friday night at 6 p.m. at the ESPN Zone at LALive (right across from Staples Center) will be the Lakers bloggers forum, and it should be a lot of fun. We’ll spend an hour or so taking questions and asking Brian Kamenetzky where his cooler brother Andrew is. Besides Brian (he’s from the LA Times Lakers Blog) there will be Eric Pincus of Hoopsworld, Brett Pollakoff from FanHouse, Kam Pashai and video god Chris Manning from The Lakers Nation, Gary from, and Colin Ward-Henninger from The Examiner. Oh, and me.

After the Q&A we’ll have some food, a couple adult beverages and watch the Lakers/Nuggets game on the roughly 4,821 screens in ESPNZone LA Live. It’s a fun space (it was hopping after Finals games last year).

Should be a fun night, love to see you all there.


As for some thoughts from the Lakers/Clippers match up, first thing is I love how active Bynum was on the offensive glass in the second half. One of the things I think we should expect from this team is a lot of offensive rebounds and second chance points. The Clippers (even without Marcus Camby) provide a stiff front line test and in the second half Bynum really answered that challenge.

We also expect the Lakers to be a better defensive team this year, but they were not against Eric Gordon and Baron Davis in the first quarter. This was not just about perimeter play but rotations inside, the Lakers just looked out of synch on defense (and the Clippers weren’t even running the pick-and-roll). It’s preseason, and as Phil Jackson said after the game right now practices matter more than games, so we shouldn’t make a big deal of it. But it’s worth watching.

I like Ammo’s shooting right now too, but as he said himself after the game if he can’t defend well he will not get the minutes. Not on this squad. And we have yet to be sold on his defense. The previously mentioned, very cool Andrew Kamenetzky has an interview with Ammo from after the game you should check out.

Finally, while this is a few days old, it is just too good not to post.

First, some quick thoughts on the most interesting thing to come out of Lakers training camp so far (and no, letters to Ron Artest are not close, but because he loves to interact with the public and can be direct, we can expect more of that this season, sometimes with people baiting him because they can).

Andrew Bynum could come off the bench.

UPDATE: Probably not, Phil Jackson said after practice today it will still be Odom most likely. But let’s got back to the post, because the discussion still has some merit.

I think that is a fascinating idea, you think other teams had a hard time matching up with Odom off the bench? Plus, Farmar and Bynum have shown chemistry in the past and if that continues it could provide a real spark to the second unit again. Bynum says he just wants to get some burn at the end of games. My comment to Bynum: Then you’ve got to earn that over the course of each game. Part of the end of game lineups will be match-up based, one night Odom may sit, another night Fisher, another night Bynum, another night Artest. But I expect Phil will go with the lineup he thinks gives him the best chance to win each night (except on the nights he decides to experiment or teach a lesson). You want the burn, with this talented and versatile roster, everyone is going to have to earn it. Each game.


Once again bloggers are banding together to do team previews, there will be a few here. But for those that want a look at the Atlantic, here are some link:

Here’s the full list of Atlantic Division Previews.

Boston Celtics

CelticsBlog | LOY’s Place | Celtics17 | Red’s Army | Hoops Addict | Celtics Central | Celtics Hub | Gino’s Jungle

New Jersey Nets

Slippery When Nets | Barkley’s Mouth

New York Knicks

Posting and ToastingBandwagon Knick

Philadelphia 76ers

Liberty Ballers

Toronto Raptors | Hoops Addict

Bonus Links

See full schedule here


You’ll here more about this, but mark your Google Calendars for Oct. 23, as a rare Lakers bloggers round table is taking place at ESPN Zone at LA Live, right across from Staples Center. From 6-7 we’ll be talking Lakers, then we’ll be watching that night’s Lakers preseason game against the Nuggets.

I’m going to be there, along with Brian Kamentzky from, Kam Pashai from, Eric Pincus from, Brett Pollakoff from, Colin Ward-Henniger from, Ryan Kane from, and Gary Lee from

It should be a fun night, come watch all of us stare lovingly into Pincus’s eyes.