Sports Journalism Institute

Helping women and minorities get into newsrooms since 1993

Alum Thompson held firm with his convictions

Navigating sports journalism can be tricky. But Marcus Thompson seems to have figured it out. The SJI alum spoke to our class Wednesday about his journey to becoming a columnist for The Athletic Bay Area, and his confidence has shaped his career almost as much as his talent. The Bay Area native said he’s had that confidence for a long time. He said he knew how good a writer he was since before he even became a professional journalist. He’s turned down jobs at smaller publications. He once demanded that a potential employer come to him in Oakland to a local chicken and waffle restaurant to recruit him. And he made a declaration long ago that he wasn’t going anywhere to cover sports. He was staying right in the Bay Area in his hometown. But Thompson’s seemingly unorthodox methods of betting on himself and challenging the norms of most paths to success in sports journalism has worked for him. He has covered the Golden State Warriors for 10 seasons and has written two books, “Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry” and “KD: Kevin Durant’s Relentless Pursuit to be the Greatest.” And Durant’s story showed that persistence can work for others, too. The key is simple: Be great. Put in the effort and be so good at what you do — whether that’s writing, reporting or whatever else — that people can’t help but say yes or take a chance on you. Just put in the work, and your talent will make you a star!

— Alanis Thames