Post Kyle Tooley '13 Michael Lorenc '73

Zach Harper ‘00 is Covering the NBA at the Highest of Levels
From ESPN to CBS Sports and The Athletic, there's no denying Harper's impressive resume

Zach Harper ’00 fell in love with writing as a student at Jesuit High School. One of his teachers, Mike Lorenc ’73, really sparked that interest.

“[Mr. Lorenc] got me into writing for myself,” Harper said. “Not because I had to.”

Fast forward to 2019, and Harper has made quite the career out of his writing.

Harper is currently a staff writer at The Athletic, a rapidly growing sports media company that currently employs some of the biggest names in sports journalism. Harper has the chance to work with guys like Ken Rosenthal, Jayson Stark, Sam Amick, Shams Charania, Bruce Feldmen, Dana O’Neill, and more.

Harper dove into sports writing in 2007 when he started, a blog focused on all things NBA. The website was something Harper did aside from his day job as a clerical assistant in an appellate court, pumping out articles as often as he could. The readership of the site eventually ballooned, and Harper was being read by people at major sports networks. This led to a job offer to cover the Sacramento Kings for ESPN’s TrueHoop network.

The benefits to taking the job were obvious: Harper would have his name associated with ESPN, he would be a credentialed member of the media, and he would really experience the life of a sportswriter.  The cons of the job were simple: it was unpaid.

Harper decided to go for it, quitting his clerical job and joining TrueHoop in 2009. In addition to writing articles, Harper was part of the Daily Dime Live, an online chat where fans could ask questions to TrueHoop writers. Harper saw a real potential for growth with the Daily Dime Live, putting extra time and energy into that program. Before he knew it, Harper was flown out to ESPN’s headquarters and offered a full-time job working on the Daily Dime Live.

Harper spent two more seasons at ESPN before heading over to CBS Sports, where he was doing even more writing. The articles he was putting out paved the way for a job at FRS Sports Network (previously FanRag Sports), where Harper was the lead NBA writer.

Once he started writing for the FRS Sports Network, Harper got more and more involved in the world of podcasting. Harper reconnected with some people at ESPN and contributed to their TrueHoop podcast, before he and a group of former ESPN employees decided to create a new podcast network, Count The Dings. Count The Dings has been churning out content since March of 2018, including daily NBA podcasts.

Harper left the FRS Sports Network in June 2018, and signed on with The Athletic in September. Harper says that his job at The Athletic is the best job he’s ever had, as they allow him to do the type of writing that he fell in love with back at 1200 Jacob Lane.

Jesuit taught Harper a lot of lessons, a few of which he still carries with himself as he continues on his journey in journalism.

“My dad taught me about work ethic,” Harper said. “He’s the hardest working guy I know. [His lessons], coupled with my experiences at Jesuit, taught me a lot. Jesuit taught me how to learn. I felt that people were always memorizing things, but at Jesuit I was actually learning and learning how to question what was around me.”

You can read Harper’s work at his page on The Athletic or listen to him on Count The Dings. You can also follow him on Twitter at @talkhoops.

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