An introduction is only proper.

Since I already have begun opining on your teams, you deserve to know who I am. Back in 1999, when Google was an infant, this company hired me fresh out of Clark Atlanta University. I had two internships under my belt, a hint of potential, and some Oakland charm.

My first assignment was a girls water polo match. Since then, I've covered everything from De La Salle football to Warriors basketball, my beat for the past nine years. After much chiseling and polishing, trials by fire and few we-need-to-talk meetings, the people here decided it was time to give me a column.

Some of you will agree with me some of the time. Some of you won't. And some of you will call or email to tell me I'm an idiot.

All of that is fine by me. I just want to give you some context in advance. Let's take a journey.

1988: The A's

In the summer of my youth, my cousins and I would walk to A's games for the "Safeway Saturday BBQ." We trekked 30-plus blocks, from the San Leandro border to the Coliseum, a journey that was rewarded with food and a ticket to the game, usually an A's victory. Dave Henderson was my favorite player, because it was too cliché to pick either of the Bash Brothers. But I will never forget my first baseball card: Terry Steinbach.

1989: Leonard-Hearns II

My dad knew he couldn't keep me in the Kids' Room for this one, so he let me watch on the condition that I stayed quiet and out of the way. I watched grown people shout at each other. I watched Leonard survive the cement block that was Hearns' right hand. And I watched grown people shout at each other.

At one point, my father declared his allegiance to Leonard by emphatically placing a bag of sugar on top of the TV. My mother, also a Sugar Ray fan, made her statement by replacing it with brown sugar. Since, you know, Leonard isn't white.

1991: Duke beats UNLV

I cried. My AAU team, the Oakland Runnin' Rebels, was patterned after the UNLV powerhouse. So when those Runnin' Rebels lost in the NCAA semifinals, spoiling a 34-0 season, it felt like we lost, too.

1994: Hoop dreams

I made the varsity basketball team my senior year at Oakland Tech. My first action came in a preseason game, and it lasted one trip up the floor. The coach yanked me once he saw me dribbling with one hand and holding up my shorts with the other. As the last player to make the team, I got the last pair of shorts -- XL, with no draw string. Of course, back then, I could hula-hoop in a Cheerio. A couple weeks later, I quit the team to focus on being student body president.

1998: Old Milwaukee

As an intern for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, I became acquainted with Bob Uecker and well acquainted with bratwurst.

A highlight of the summer came while standing on the field before a Brewers game against Cleveland. I was the third wheel in a conversation that included David Justice. I had only one question I wanted answered: How do you not find a way to make it work with Halle Berry?

2002: Barry Bonds

The youngster in the media corps, I needed to make a mark. My big chance was sitting in a black leather lounge chair watching television, chilling before first pitch. "I ain't scared," I thought as I crossed the clubhouse to interview Barry Bonds.

Figuring he didn't hear me the first time, or the second, I asked once more for a minute of his time. His reply was a death stare, followed by a shoo-away gesture with his hand, as if I were a fly.

I humbly returned to the other side of the room, where the veteran reporters were giggling.

2007: We Believe

The upstart Warriors were leaving Dallas, having split the first two games on the road against the top seed in the West. Stephen Jackson was walking to the bus, explaining to me why the Warriors owned the Mavericks when we passed a crowded night spot. Mavs fans were jeering Jackson from behind the large front window when he stopped suddenly, pulled a wad of money from his pocket and flashed the bills and a grin at the crowd. He then put the money back in his pocket and resumed our interview.

2012: NFC Championship game

It was wet and biting cold. The 49ers defense had stopped the New York Giants in overtime, forcing the punt that would put the ball in Alex Smith's hands and put the 49ers in the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1994 season.

Rarely have I felt worse for a professional athlete than I did for Kyle Williams that day.

Walking across the field to the locker room for interviews, with no feeling in my fingers and toes, I dropped my tape recorder and notebook in the mud. I felt some of his pain.

December 2013: Sports columnist

There will be more memories, more crazy encounters with star athletes, more firsthand experiences at spectacular sporting events. And it will be an honor to share them with you.

In this space, you will get my heart, my passion, my all.

Contact Marcus Thompson at mthomps2@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ThompsonScribe.