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Get to know sports writer Nolan Bianchi: He wanted to be a blue crayon when he grew up

The Detroit News

Editor's note: As coronavirus sweeps the globe, shutting down so many entertainment options including sports, we thought this would be a good opportunity for you to get to know a little bit about us. Up today: sports writer Nolan Bianchi, who can be followed on Twitter @nolanbianchi.

►1. I have seen less movies than any adult you’ve ever met. The only "Star Wars" film I’ve watched is the "Phantom Menace," which makes a lot of people mad. I also have a bachelor's degree in screenwriting. None of this makes sense. This will be a theme. 

Nolan Bianchi, always smiling, even on the job.

►2. The reason I pursued a career in writing is because of an inspirational commencement speech I watched by “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” star Charlie Day when I was 18 years old. 

►3. The first big event I covered was UFC 218 in Detroit. I’m on camera missing one of the most devastating knockouts in UFC history. You can see me cageside in a blue shirt, looking down the second before Francis Ngannou nearly killed Alistair Overeem with an uppercut.

►4. I had a two-year stint with Oakland University’s club lacrosse team. I played maybe four minutes total over 40-plus games, but still managed to score a goal as a sophomore (shoutout to team captain Zac Compeau for the feed), which I think makes me the most efficient scorer in program history.

►5. I work at the best sandwich shop in Michigan, Chadd’s Bistro in Rochester Hills. If you visit any time between Tuesday and Thursday, I’ll be greeting you and making your food. It’s also turned me into a ruthless sandwich critic.

►6. The first thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a blue crayon.

►7. I did a half-year of first grade and a half-year of second grade. With a late birthday, I was over a year younger than most people in my graduating class. Which was fine, but didn’t bode well for my dreams of becoming a pro football star.

►8. My dad is the reason I fell in love with sports. My mom is the reason I fell in love with reading and writing. If they’d known that their combined parenting would one day land me a job as a freelance sports writer, I’m sure they would have pushed me into other interests. 

►9. I can tell you where every single one of the animals in the Detroit Zoo are located without a map.

Nolan Bianchi is kind enough to pose for a picture with Barney. Lucky Barney.

►10. My favorite food is onion. It’s hands down the most important asset in the kitchen. If onions aren’t a staple in most dishes that you’re cooking, I don’t want to try your food. 

►11. I bought tickets on Craigslist with two of my friends for last year’s Michigan-Michigan State basketball game at Breslin Center. We somehow got in but soon found out that our seats didn’t exist. They felt bad and sold us lower-bowl tickets at face value ($34). The get-in price on StubHub was over $190. I’m not saying this is a useful strategy for getting cheap tickets to sold-out games, but ...

►12. In my senior year on the Utica High School hockey team, we finished with one of the best seasons in over a decade. I recommended we should all bleach our hair for playoffs. We did. It was the deepest sense of camaraderie that I’ve ever felt. Then we lost 5-0 in the opening round. 

►13. In ninth grade at Eppler Junior High, I was called to the principal’s office on Halloween to do my Steve Urkel impression for the assistant principals.

►14. John Mayer is the best artist I’ve ever seen live. If you think that’s lame, you don’t know John Mayer like you think you do.

►15. My first byline in a major newspaper was in the Detroit Free Press. I was in between Oakland basketball player Isaiah Brock and a friend of his while in line at Chipotle, and heard Brock tell his friend he was considering transferring. I called my sportswriting professor, longtime Freep scribe Perry Farrell, who helped me get a byline when the story went public. The day the story was published, my mom accidentally picked up a copy of The Detroit News and texted me, “They gave your story to some guy named Tony Paul! *Angry-faced emoji*"

Previous installments

Get to know sports writer Matt Schoch: For some reason, he left the Virgin Islands to come back here

Get to know columnist Bob Wojnowski: He once was a short-order cook; now, he just writes long

Get to know columnist John Niyo: His newspaper career began as Johnny Orr's delivery boy

Get to know UM football beat writer Angelique S. Chengelis: She starred in 'Hoffa', or so she thinks

Get to know Red Wings beat writer Ted Kulfan: He can't skate, seriously (though if Brooke Shields asked...)

Get to know Pistons beat writer Rod Beard: #StartWriting was wrong just this one time

Get to know UM beat writer James Hawkins: No, he's not related to Jim Hawkins

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