OU Daily alum Baxter Holmes wins James Beard Foundation media award

Baxter Holmes (Screengrab from OU Alumni Association video)

OU Daily alum Baxter Holmes won a James Beard Foundation media award, the top honor in the culinary industry, on Friday in New York.

Holmes, an NBA writer for ESPN and 2009 OU graduate, was honored in the journalism feature writing category for his piece in ESPN Magazine called “The NBA’s Secret Addiction.” The nearly 4,000-word feature explored the role of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich in professional basketball. An excerpt:

No matter how you slice it, it’s hard to swallow: The NBA is covered in experts, obsessed with peak performance — and still this pillar of grade-school cafeteria lunches is the staple snack of the league. An exorbitantly wealthy microclique, backed by an army of personal chefs, swears by a sandwich whose standard ingredients boast a street value of roughly 69 cents.

Holmes, a Tuskahoma, Oklahoma, native who now lives in Los Angeles, returned to campus and The Daily in the spring of 2017 as he was still working on the piece that was published that March.

“The greatest thing I can say about (The Daily) was that it was an opportunity to learn and get better and produce actual clips and learn on the job and gain real-life experience,” he said in a video (see below) produced by the OU Alumni Association during that visit. “And without that, I wouldn’t have been able to so immediately go into a professional working environment.”