2016 ETB Founder Shout Out, Thanks to Brian and Andrew for the hard work in establishing ETB.
Andrew Thell and Brian Spencer co-founded Empty the Bench (ETB) in February 2007, just before the sports blog craze (s)hit the fan.
At the time, the two noble scribes and avid NBA fans, each with different writing backgrounds — due diligence and travel, respectively — found themselves consistently uninspired by online NBA analysis and decided to do something about it. The result was ETB, which soon developed into a minor force within the nascent NBA blogging community thanks to its particular sense of humor, unique perspectives, and willingness to explore “controversial” topics without resorting to proverbial hot takes. (They still think Shaquille O’Neal and Steve Nash were way overrated, and that Vince Carter is depressing.)
NFL, MLB, and fantasy sports coverage soon followed, though the NBA remained the site’s bread and butter. During its active five-year run under Thell and Spencer’s astute direction, ETB earned coverage in such respected quarters as ESPN, USA Today, NBA.com, Yahoo!, Deadspin, and AOL. In 2012 the site went on hiatus, and in 2016 turned the page to a new chapter.
ETB Historical Detail
Launched in February 2007, Empty the Bench, LLC is geared toward serious NBA basketball fans and fantasy sports enthusiasts, and currently offers insightful, in-depth analysis, commentary, and fantasy advice on the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Football League (NFL). Empty the Bench, LLC, became an official affiliate partner of Fantasy Sports Ventures (FSV) in November of 2007.
ETB’s founders and principle writers are Brian Spencer and Andrew Thell, two avid sports fans and skilled writers with over 20 years of combined experience in the fantasy-sports industry and professional backgrounds in small, successful start-up companies.
Empty the Bench, LLC, has been featured on sites that include ESPN’s TrueHoop, ESPN’s SportsNation, Deadspin, AOL Fanhouse, Yahoo! Sports, NBA.com, USA TODAY’s Game On, and HoopsWorld.
Brian Spencer, Editor/Writer/CEO
Brian Spencer was born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, MI, before spending the late-90s and (very) early-00s at college in the bustling metropolis of Murfreesboro, TN. He once cried tears of humiliation after getting bombed (and benched) in the 1st inning as starting pitcher of his only Little League All-Star Game appearance. He also earned his fair share of technical fouls—unwarranted, of course—before retiring from high-school basketball, and twice suited up for football games on the Pontiac Silverdome’s unforgiving
pavement artificial turf.
Brian currently lives in Singapore. He’s a travel editor, freelance writer, travel blogger for Perceptive Travel, and devout runner. You’ll find the likes of Clutch, Ellen Allien, Ween, Baroness, and The Knife in his regular music rotation. He’s a fan of almost everything ‘70s, including glam hotels like Bangkok’s Asia Hotel and Glen A. Larson-produced TV shows such as The Hardy Boys, Knight Rider, and Battlestar Galactica (both versions).
Contact Brian at brian (at) emptythebench.com.
Five Albums to Check Out:
1. Jennifer Cardini, Feeling Strange
2. Hum, Downward is Heavenward
3. Deftones, White Pony
4. Roni Size/Reprazent, New Forms
5. High on Fire, Snakes for the Divine
Andrew Thell, Editor/Writer/Frotteurist/President
Andrew hails from the heartland of our own Midwest, a small outpost known as Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a graduate of The George Washington University, but he has decided to eschew the fame and lucrative business opportunities typically associated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in favor of a more rewarding cubicle position.
Growing up he played basketball (point guard) and Little League Baseball, where his teammates affectionately referred to him as The Big Whiffer (No, he wasn’t a pitcher). He still clings to his 92% free throw shooting, and to this day will mention it to anybody within earshot every time an NBA center goes to the foul line.
The NBA is his first love, but outside of sports Andrew is an avid fan of graphic novels (Or ‘comic books’, if you wanna be a dick about it), film (The Coen brothers, David Lynch, Beat Takeshi, Werner Herzog, Chan-wook Park), beer and rock music (Steely Dan, Clutch, Opeth, Kyuss, Mark Lanegan, Tom Waits, William Elliott Whitmore, Ween, early 90s era Grunge and most anything with Mike Patton). In addition to Empty The Bench, Andrew is also passionate about his small but burgeoning mail-order taxidermy business.
Contact Andrew at andrew (at) emptythebench.com.
Five World/Latin Albums to Check Out:
1. Willie Bobo, Spanish Grease & Uno, Dos, Tres
2. Orchestra Baobab, Bamba
3. Les Freres Dejean, L’Univers
4. Various Artists, Nigeria 70 – The Definitive Story of the Funk Lagos Vol. 1 & 2
5. Los Zafiros, Bossa Cubana