Lights shine brightest when you accomplish something significant. When those lights burn out, you know it's time to walk away.
On January 26th, 2005, I created a message board to simply discuss hoops. Immediately, goals were established and met, and OTRBasketball eventually found itself standing among the elite basketball forums online, not solely because of its activity, but largely because of the intelligent discussion we produced as a community.
Over the course of eight years and a strong run, many changes were made...some positive, some negative. A malicious hack, and deleted server backups, resulted in the loss of nearly 620,000 posts and over a thousand member accounts. Numerous incidents of spamming, through PM's and AIM, assisted members in discovering newer sites. Ultimately, the close-knit community became too comfortable, which resulted in the rejection of newly-registered members and the idea that any "dedicated" member had a pass to say and do as they please without consequences.
On a positive note, I believe OTRBasketball was the first site to have fully-customized team forums (complete with banners, logos in posts, and team colors), and also the first message board to feature a huge amount of basketball players in banners (60+ at one point, at least two for every team). To my knowledge, no other message board had ever provided their members with 1,230 game discussion topics at the start of each season. Additionally, OTR is the first IPB or vBulletin board to wear a transparent skin, one that featured team logos as backgrounds leaking through every post.
As founder and owner, I promised I would never give up on our basketball community. As of March 27th, 2013, I could no longer recognize us as such. Instead, we slowly transformed into a broken, dysfunctional community that had little to no desire to discuss the game.
Unfortunately, that lack of desire has depleted my passion for running the very site I put up eight years ago, a board that would have never been considered if it wasn't for another's staff making racist and sexist jokes to three female basketball fans (all three original members of OTR), and many personal attacks to other registered members of their online forum. It never did occur to me that similar actions would burn bridges here.
This is where the story comes to a close. I have deep appreciation for our staff, and for a handful of dedicated members that continually respected everyone in what once was our basketball community, all while striving to contribute in each discussion we provided. I would like for those that were on staff to get in contact with me very soon. My email will be listed below.
One ball, one board.
OTRBasketball and DiscussHoops Founder