Everything changes today, yet everything stays the same. It’s business as usual this banner day, but I’m revolutionizing the emotion surrounding my approach. I’ve been too much like Chad Ocho Cinco or Terrell Owens when it comes to handling success. Cocky, brash, bragging about traffic stats, tweeting my Alexa traffic rank.

However, now that we’ve reached a new benchmark, a new summit, I’ll be more professional than a Ron Turner press conference. Success is no surprise; it’s standard protocol. Like Barry Sanders visiting the end zone: “act like you’ve been there before.”

Quote Eminem’s 8 Mile soundtrack, “I was playing in the beginning; the mood all changed!” In two years and change I’ve gone from blogger/hobbyist to entrepreneur.

I am a journalist, but I do a helluva lot more than attending and covering sporting events. In addition to doing an overwhelming majority of TSB’s posting and writing, I also do the programming, source code debugging, SEO strategy, content editing, managing, recruiting/motivating of writers, and negotiating/working with our 11 ad networks.

All the while trying to augment/maintain our site’s ComScore rating. Whatever that is.

Orange krush

The passage above, and much of what occupies my mind these days reminds me of Lando Calrissian in Empire Strikes Back and his responsibilities running the mining colony of Cloud City.

“I’ve had supply problems of every kind. I’ve had labor difficulties.”

Han Solo responded:

Listen to you. You sound like a businessman, a responsible leader. Who’d have thought that, huh?”

Yep, who would have thought that from this boy from SICA.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I crave the responsibility, thrive being my own boss. It’s why I wear my suits to cover games- I’m there to get things done; and I’m not going to let the television reporters out-dress me!

But today is a joyous day from International Falls, MN to Carbondale, IL. From Youngstown, Ohio to Sioux City, Iowa and everything in between. You, the readers made this possible!

You web surfers, bored at work, wanting to see a picture of Jenn (whether it be Brown or Sterger) or read a mock draft (whether it be NFL or NBA) you made this happen for me.


If the rest of this post sounds like an award acceptance speech, well today I made my first million; in page views.

I didn’t get here by myself, and it all starts with Dave who told me for years “we need to start a Page 2 style website together; let out all our sports nerding.” And it all began there.

In ’06, the Fulbright Commission provided me with the opportunity to study the media industry in Berlin, a mind expanding experience for me, with other gifted and hard-working elite young American journalists studying abroad in Europe, exchanging ideas with the global media establishment.

When I returned in ’07, it was time to make the idea Dave and I shared reality.

My business school background at Michigan State, Loyola, tech training I picked up along the way, my formative years at the University of Illinois and the Daily Illini. Our site colors are navy blue and orange for a reason. All of this was the foundation. Keep learning in life. Always. Education never ends.

And no Middle-American Empire is built in a day, so a ton of credit must go to my writing staff who put up with my Belichickian or Tom Izzo esque leadership style. Thanks for putting up with my hard-line ways.

Especially Schmidthead, who drives my white ass around as we road trip, covering games all throughout the Midwest. You’ve grown to become one of my closest friends.  Shout outs to the remaining senior writers: “Shirts,” Vick, McCormick, Soxman or “Bruce Parker” (we’ll have another special toast at TBC VIII!)

You’ve been the “glue guys” holding the team together like Horace Grant or Dennis Rodman on the Chicago Bulls championship teams.


The rest of the writing staff, the recently added recruits, occasional contributors, Patrick Herbert- couldn’t have gotten here without you. All our link partners, in-bound linkers, Facebook, Twitter followers, you people are the lifeblood.

Need to mention Ryan, you effectively made 2-19-08, the day the re-design went live, our official transition date from hobby to business. And when the hackers attacked in April you saved our asses last April like America saved the British in WWII. Your jersey is forever retired here.

Can’t forget Sarah, our fourth original member who’s moved on to bigger things. You pushed me to finally get the re-design done and shorten the domain name, two decisions instrumental in getting this thing off the ground. I’m really glad to see your career taking off.

Jerod, Derick and the rest of Orangecast Media, your help and customer service has been way above and beyond the call of duty. I’ll send all aspiring webmasters I encounter your way.

I need to take a moment and go “Michael Jordan Hall of Fame speech” here and call out all the people who 1.)  told me I should get a “real job,” a “corporate job,”

Obviously you were wrong, and I was right. You were small-minded, I was visionary. Your example is the reason I try not to tell others what to do with their lives.

2.) Teams that have denied us access. Someday, you’ll get with the times and learn what “established media is.” We’re a Google News site with an outstanding and worldwide (as well as local) traffic ranking. There are lot of teams that do credential us. We are extremely grateful for those press passes, we can’t do this without you.

Makes a perfect transition to my high road.

Even though there’s probably a 1% chance she’ll ever read this, I must thank Lisa, my ex. We didn’t just burn that bridge to one another, we nuked it. But it was obviously for the best and it still doesn’t take away all she did for me: buying me a desk, pushing me to monetize, become more organized and professional, recruiting interns (I would have done all this myself anyway, but because of you- I got there much faster).

Most importantly, both the time we lived together, and the time we’ve been apart since inspired me to drop bad habits, pick up better ones and propelled PB to new, never expected heights. To quote the theme song from ’80s sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati “the price of finding me was losing you.”

Might seem like a cheesy reference, but a song about a man forgoing his inevitably doomed relationship, in order to establish his Midwestern media career seems fitting.

one million

And props to all my ad networks, sponsors, link buyers. You’re the reason I work my ass off at something that I don’t even remotely consider “work.”

Need to acknowledge Chicago Now! First #1 post on the network yesterday! Thanks to UNC’s Roy Williams for giving me the bites I needed to make that happen. Guess every journalist earns his wings when he asks a question that ignites a tirade.

The Washington Times, NBC Chicago. You people were the best for helping me cut my teeth! And for getting me in to so many great events. the Final Four! One of the greatest experiences of my life, coming at exactly the right time. The Stanley Cup, NBA playoffs…it’s all been a dream.

Big ups to Walter Football, Yardbarker Network and Fox Sports. You give me the exposure I need and help me get paid. I’m in great debt to you.

And the penultimate gratitude goes to my bedrock, my emotional support system: my parents, my Aunt and my bff Fayth. You’ve contributed to the growth of The Sports Bank in the most important way possible. You’re there to listen, so I can vent, and return to productivity and efficiency.

“use your MBA Voice” Fayth always tells me. And it’s exactly right. How else can I deal w stupid PR chicks, sideline princesses, fratboy meatheads, douchebag commenters and other idiots in this world who lie to me, verbally assault me for no reason and/or try to use me. “My MBA voice” is my personality in 2 keywords!

As Jay-Z would say, “I’m not a businessman, but a business; man!”

As critical as my parents, and my aunt whose like a third parent, have been, and really they have been as instrumental and influential to the direction of my life as anyone, there is still one more group of people who I need to thank.

Dr. Stephanie Gregory and the rest of her team at Rush-Presbyterian hospital. Those who are close to me know I battled and defeated cancer twice during  2000-2003. Dealing with, overcoming, and then adjusting to life after the monstrous illness that is Hodgkin’s Disease consumed most of my 20s.

For years afterwards, I felt like I would never get back the years that were viciously taken from me.

Because when you’re dealing with something like that, there really isn’t a whole lot much else you can do with you life. But since 2007, when the doc told me that nightmarish chapter of my life was over, I’ve started to realize I can get those years back. Without that prior burden holding me back, I can now see just what I really can do.

So what’s next? Well Nike is flying me down on the 12th for the Football Media Summit at the site of this year’s Super Bowl, and putting us up in the Ritz-Carlton. I’m guessing the next chapter starts there. Or when I’m back in Texas covering bowl games, or next March Madness or…now I need to chill for a bit.

The millions page views party is going to be April 30th 2011, so everyone mark your calendars.

You don’t want to miss it! why 5 months in advance?

We hit this number so far ahead of even the most optimistic  projections…and we we can’t have it in the winter, needs to be during “shirtless driving season,” of course.

If I could paraphrase fellow Chicagoan Kanye West, “no one blog should have all that power!” but we do and that makes me sleep very easy tonight.

All the best,

And here’s to the 2 million mark  and 3 million mark and so on and so on:

Paul M. Banks

CEO The Sports



  1. Congrats!!!!!!!

  2. YESSSSIR!!!! to quote Jay-z, “it’s on to the next one (million)”

  3. paulmbanks says

    Yep! It’s on! and now back to the grind.

    I’m a little surprised that there aren’t a few more comments here

  4. paulmbanks says

    I’m looking forward to hearing Brian check in here.

  5. kristen diaz says

    Congratulations little bro………. not so little afterall you’re bigtime!!!! I quote Dr. Evil “one million (dollars)” good for you.

  6. Peter Christian says

    The only think I can think of saying is a loud, emphatic, “BOOOOOOOOOM!” Certainly a big day for TSB, you and our team. Now (switching into my newfound “coach mode”), we must move on and move up. If you celebrate your achievements too long they simply become past accomplishments and that is where you stay. We have so much more to achieve. So much more.

  7. paulmbanks says

    Thanks! great to have a shout out from my family! Love me some Dr. Evil…I hope I can succeed where he failed…and get freaking sharks with freaking laser beams on their heads. not just ill-tempered sea bass

  8. paulmbanks says

    @PC agreed. now everything resets, or we’re 0-0, and we’re just trying t0 go 1-0 this week and “the next man in” ok, i’ll just stop there. too much coachspeak and sickening cliches make me nauseaous

  9. See, I told you this would be a good year! Thanks Banks – for 1) being a great friend, 2) for patiently explaining the misc sports mysteries to me, 3) being one of the few people I know who can dish it out AND take it! Congratulations on one million, and I’ll be giving you my two (thousand) cents all the way to the next major benchmark (because you can take it)!

  10. paulmbanks says

    It has been a pretty good year, and 2011 will be even better. I’m predicting big things for myself next shirtless driving season.

    Looking back on this speech, i can see I did a little, like Eminem’s song “cleaning out my closet” just with much much less violence, hatred and anger

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