Generally speaking, you don’t usually notice AP bylines. The stories are printed all over the place and while they may be well-written, they’re still designed as somewhat generic stories for any subscriber to use.
So while we never really thought about this, at a certain point, when we saw AP basketball stories, we stopped to see who was on the byline. If it was Jim O’ Connell, we knew it was going to be worth the time to read it.
We never met the guy, had no idea how old he was, what he looked like or anything else. All we really knew was that he was very, very good at what he did and we always checked to see if it was his work before we read it.
So we were really sorry to see that he has died. For us, it’s just good writing; for his family and friends and the many, many people in the basketball world who respected him greatly it’s obviously much more.
Read through this and see what people thought of him. He was obviously deeply loved. We should all be so lucky.