Brothers share a passion for sportswriting

Malibu High School students Sam and Seth Rubinroit plan to spend summer vacation interviewing some of the NBA’s most talented players at the Long Beach Summer Pro League. For both boys, it’s just another step toward their ultimate career goals.

By Stephen Dorman/ Special to the Malibu Times

If everything goes according to plan, many years from now, Sam Rubinroit will be working for the Los Angeles Times as a sportswriter. His older brother, Seth, will be the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers and the two siblings will often converse on both a professional and personal level.

Now those might seem like lofty career goals to some, but considering what the two have accomplished thus far in their young lives, there appears to be a more than reasonable chance that Sam and Seth’s dreams could eventually come to fruition.

“[Both of us] would like to write for the L.A. Times because it’s really cool to be able to meet all of the players and write about them,” said 14-year-old Seth Rubinroit. “It also helps builds connections because my dream is that I can become the general manager of the Lakers. Already I’ve met [Laker General Manager] Mitch Kupchak at least 10 times, and I’ve talked with Jerry West, Joe Dumars and all of these amazing general managers that have given me some good advice. And now they all know who I am too.”

Interviewing famous athletes and sports figures is nothing new for the Rubinroits. Sam Rubinroit, 12, who just completed the seventh grade at Malibu Middle School, won his first writing contest at age 7. Over the next five years, he started sharpening his journalism skills and was eventually published in L.A. Youth, a bi-monthly newspaper that features student journalism.

“We work with teenagers, so all of our writers are young,” said L.A. Youth managing editor Elizabeth Hartigan. “But even among our writers, they are young. We call them the Rubinroit triple threat because it’s Seth, Sam and their mom. The three of them together are unstoppable. The mom helps get them there because they can’t drive. And they are the go-getters who go out and get what they want, which is to hear from interesting people.”

In the May/June issue of L.A. Youth, Sam wrote an article about the NBA Summer Pro League held each July at the Long Beach Pyramid. Some of the NBA’s up-and-coming players and assistant coaches participate each year in the Summer Pro League to keep their skills sharp for the upcoming season.

“A lot of the players talk to us because they think we’re so innocent because we are young,” said Sam, who lists John Wooden and Magic Johnson as some of his favorite interviewees. “And they give us all of their inside information because they don’t think we can do anything with it. But then we write a story and they get kind of surprised.”

Sam’s mother, Terry Rubinroit, later submitted the article to a youth reporting contest in Time Magazine for Kids, where his story was one of 33 semifinalists chosen out of more than 600 entries for a chance to become a reporter for a year for the magazine. The next steps in the contest for Sam are to write a story on an “amazing person” in Malibu, produce a video on five “amazing” things about himself and pitch a future story idea to the magazine’s editors. All of those things have to be done before the contest deadline in mid-July, which makes for quite an interesting summer project for a youngster who hasn’t even reached his teenage years yet.

“It would be really big to win because it would be a good reference point, like ‘Oh. I wrote for Time for Kids.'” Sam said. “It would be pretty big for college, too, for my transcripts.”

While Sam stays busy preparing to try and win the writing contest, his older brother has big plans for the summer as well. Seth will also be attending the Summer Pro League later this month to try and sniff out stories. There is even a chance that he’ll be writing a daily column for, the official Web site of sports radio personality Dave Smith, heard weekdays from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. on 1540 AM The Ticket.

“I may get to do a daily column and even go on the air to talk about it sometimes,” Seth said.

Seth has written for the school newspaper at Malibu High for two years and in that time has interviewed baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and Commissioner Bud Selig. He has also had a story on meeting John Wooden published in The Malibu Times. Seth shares his brother’s passion for sports journalism even though his advisors at school have asked him to branch out into other forms of news reporting.

“My teacher says, ‘OK, no more sports articles,’ but I’m like, ‘I just interviewed Dave Winfield and Bud Selig about the Jose Canseco book,'” Seth said. “And then he’s like, ‘Oh my god. How do you get these people?'”

No matter how Sam’s contest turns out, or whether Seth gets a chance to write a column and be interviewed on the radio this summer, the boys’ mother says she’s tremendously proud of the enthusiasm and hard work her children put into perfecting their craft at such a young age.

“I am incredibly proud of these boys,” Terry Rubinroit said. “They work really hard and they have gotten really great results. It’s nice to see them get recognition for the work they put out.”

See Seth’s story on page B6.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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