Austin Green knew about Kristaps Porzingis before he was cool.
Green, who graduated from the University of Montana’s School of Journalism in 2014, interviewed Porzingis, the New York Knicks star, before anyone but die-hard basketball junkies had heard his name.
Then playing for Baloncesto Sevilla in Spain, Porzingis already had the skills that would carry him to runner-up for NBA Rookie of the Year in 2016. And at 7-foot-3, he had height.
“It was like when you go outside and you think it might rain, so you stare straight up at the sky,” said 5-foot-9 Green. “That’s what it felt like interviewing this guy.”
Interviewing future NBA stars was a step on the path Green embarked on when he decided, after graduating, to forego the normal course of internships and newspaper jobs and instead move to Spain, teach English to pay the rent and start a blog he hoped would serve as a “job application.”
His plan: Cover the Liga ACB, the top professional basketball league in Spain and widely considered the second best in the world. Players like the Gasol brothers, Serge Ibaka and, more recently, Porzingis and Mario Hezonja, starred there before playing in the NBA.
Green named his blog Los Crossovers, after the overseas journeys those players took. Armed only with his website and three semesters of college Spanish classes, he landed in Madrid in September 2014.
At his first press conference, he was so nervous that he ran his questions through Google Translate and past a Spanish-speaking friend beforehand. Only a year later, Smartodds, a betting analytics company, hired him to watch ACB games and provide information for clients.
Because all the games are online, Green can work from anywhere in the world, so he returned to Missoula for a spell, then planned to head to South America before going back to Spain for the ACB playoffs in May and Istanbul for the EuroLeague finals right after.
Now in his mid-20s, he said he wants to write a story from every continent before he turns 30, and South America will make four, although he said that using Istanbul for Asia feels like cheating.
“Just know that there are options out there as opposed to just taking an internship at your local paper or somewhere as a low-level reporter doing high school sports,” he said. “There are other options out there if you’re creative and you kind of think outside the box a little bit.”
Andrew Houghton graduated from the University of Montana School of Journalism in 2016. Houghton, originally from Washington D.C., worked as a sports reporter at the Montana Kaimin for two semesters, and currently holds the same position at The Daily Tribune in Cartersville, Georgia.
MJR has been tracking Austin Green’s adventures over the years. Read how he set out to shoot solo in 2014.