Monday, May 12, 2014

3 comments Rollling Stone's Profile of Bill Simmons Intrigues Me

Believe it or not, I try to avoid writing about Bill Simmons. His writing tends to frustrate me so much and the constant nagging feeling that I will end up psycho-analyzing him as opposed to critiquing his writing tends to overwhelm me. His writing is so much about him and what he thinks, it's very difficult to separate the two at times. "Rolling Stone" did a feature on him recently and much of it really intrigued me because of things that Bill said and the little contradictions in his personality that I think has an effect on his writing showed up in the feature. It's well-written and actually is intended to actually be about Bill, which is a nice change of pace since many of Bill's columns are supposed to be about sports and end up being about himself.

In the last few minutes of a belligerent game, full of glaring, taunting, and pushing, the hometown Clippers are in the process of erasing Dallas' comfortable lead, scoring 23 of the last 27 points. To Simmons' dismay, the crowd doesn't seem to appreciate that they're watching one of the best games of the year.

This is why Bill speaks for all sports fans, because no one can appreciate sports like he can. 

The L.A. fans celebrate his feat with a mild golf clap. "He could dunk with his dick and nobody here would stand up to applaud," Simmons mutters.

These are fans of Los Angeles' second favorite sports team. It's not like fans in Los Angeles have a reputation for being rowdy, much less become rowdy for the city's second favorite team. 

Simmons was raised mostly in Boston, where every loss is like a death in the family,

Cliche alert! Other cities take losses hard like Boston does. It's just most other cities don't have major journalists on repeat telling their readers just HOW FUCKING HARD those cities take the losses.

and even at 44, he watches sports with the delight of a kid —

Bill Simmons is the Brett Favre of sports fans.

"We have similarly thorough backgrounds when it comes to movies, TV, sports and other worthless things," says his friend Jimmy Kimmel,

Would any profile of Bill Simmons be complete without a name-drop of Jimmy Kimmel? Did you know that Bill used to write for Kimmel's show? He has Kimmel's phone number too. Just ask him to show you and he will. Really, he has it!

who hired Simmons as a joke writer on Jimmy Kimmel Live! "Bill's very funny, he's married pop culture and sports more than anyone else, and he built his own media empire from a little blog."

He's married pop culture and sports more than anyone else, but this marriage hasn't really progressed very much in the past 5-7 years. If it's a marriage, then this marriage is at the "We know each other's jokes and are bored with each other stage of marriage, so maybe we should have kids to see if that spices things up." Spoiler alert: Grantland has succeeded and "30 for 30" is often brilliant, but Bill's writing did not get spiced up. In fact, Bill's passion for Grantland and his other endeavors only highlights the lazy, recycled manner of his columns and pop culture references. 

Simmons started to accrue a huge following in 1997, when he began blogging on AOL's Boston website in the role of an irritant and smart aleck, under the name Boston Sports Guy. 

All magnates have haters; Simmons makes it easy by frequently getting into feuds.

Bill probably should have just kept that "Boston Sports Guy" name. It was apt then and is still apt now. Also, keep the idea Bill played the role of the "irritant and smart aleck" in mind. Later Bill will say that he doesn't want to hire writers for Grantland who aren't nice on Twitter. It's fine for Bill to be an irritant as long as he has ESPN's backing while doing so, but he doesn't want to hire those other writers who are irritants on Twitter. Interesting set of rules for himself and others. 

On NBA Countdown, Simmons plays a slightly exaggerated version of himself: a comedic troublemaker, "the wild card who doesn't give a shit," he tells me. "I'm part historian, part know-it-all, and part shit-stirrer. I don't hold back – that's the key."

It's okay to stir the pot, just don't start feuds or be a troll. Well, other people shouldn't start feuds or be a troll. If Bill chooses to do both of these things then that's fine. There are different rules for him because he's Bill Simmons. 

The shit has been successfully stirred: Within minutes, Twitter is in flames. "Never hated a sports analyst as much as I hate Bill Simmons," I read as I scroll through his mentions, followed by "I want to punch him in the face," "He is such a douche" and "If Bill Simmons ever got in a car accident, I would be happy." There are compliments, too, but, let's face it, those are boring.

It just shows Bill's popularity that there are negative things being written about him on Twitter. No other media personality ever has anything negative said about him on Twitter. Bill is the only one to experience hatred, this is what makes him so unique. 

Sports Twitter is a mire of stupidity, homophobia, and violent threats.

But hey, it's a great place for Bill to advertise Grantland and these people who are stupid and homophobic are many of the same people who make Bill popular. But yeah, fuck these people.

Sports Twitter also has some intelligent thought about it, but sportswriters tend to prefer to respond to and focus on the idiots on Twitter. For some reason, a lot of people complain about Sports Twitter and then take great pains to highlight those who are stupid on Twitter, as opposed to highlighting those who aren't stupid. 

Simmons uses Twitter almost exclusively to promote and link to Grantland material.

This is seemingly becoming more and more what Bill uses his Grantland columns for. Well, linking Grantland material and linking YouTube videos. 

He also writes fewer sports columns than he used to, partly because

He's out of ideas, he thinks he's better than just being a writer, he has no interest in writing, and he understands that his shelf life is limited and he has recycled material for a few years now? 

TV and movies occupy more of his time.

Plus, Bill seems to be a starfucker at heart and it's really, really hard to try to be a popular media personality when he is associated mainly with writing. Television and movies is where the real potential to starfuck comes into play. 

The Internet gave him a career, an audience, wealth, influence, and fourth-row seats for the Clippers. But lately, Bill Simmons is kind of over the Internet.

Ah, well here's something that isn't a shock. Bill uses the Internet to become who he currently is, but then once his status has been elevated he's too good for the Internet. The Internet is just so mean these days, unlike the old days when Bill used to get recognition by writing entire columns around taking cheap shots at coaches, teams, and general managers. That wasn't mean, because Bill had ESPN behind him when he took cheap shots at Isiah Thomas, teams and players. 

Unlike almost every other site, Grantland doesn't pick fights. "There's a mean-spiritedness on the Internet that we've stayed away from," Simmons told me in his office. "It seems to be getting angrier — especially Twitter, which is full of coyotes, waiting to attack the next victim."

Right...If Bill had any sense of self-awareness he would know that there's a certain mean-spiritedness to some of the things he said about Isiah Thomas over the years. He even had Thomas threatening to fight him. Bill used to beat on Thomas for comedic effect and many times some of his comments felt below the belt. It's fine for Bill to take shots at Isiah in an ESPN column, because how could any column with ESPN behind it be mean-spirited? Once Bill managed to attain fame, suddenly a peace was brokered with Thomas. Bill got what he wanted out of it, he's used Isiah's terribleness for his own ascension and now he's ready to move on. 

Isiah Thomas isn't the only target of Bill's feuds and mean-spiritedness. He got in a feud with WEII-AM's "Big Show" as well. Why was the "Big Show" mad at Bill? Well...

Ordway said that Simmons "has ripped his show in print, but he's always been friendly in person." Ordway: "We're not bullying anybody. We're doing exactly what he's done for years in print where he's ripped everybody. He does the exact same schtick that he's accusing us of." 

It seems Bill used some of that mean-spiritedness on Twitter that he accuses others of to Tweet the following: 

"Hey WEEI: You were wrong, I did a Boston interview today. With your competition. Rather give them ratings over deceitful scumbags like you."

But no really Bill, it is everyone else on Twitter and the Internet that is mean-spirited and you just want Grantland to stay above the fray like you did, right?

His thoughts about vengefulness took on a different meaning only a few hours later, when the shit-stirrer was now in a shitstorm of his own.

Interesting how Bill wants to be a shit-stirrer but gets upset at those who react to the shit-stirring he causes. The Internet and Twitter are so mean to react to Bill's attempts to cause trouble! What a victim! Bill is so cursed! How can it be that Bill intentionally stirs up trouble and then people react negatively to it? How unforeseen!

Two days earlier, the site had published a story, "Dr. V's Magical Putter," about Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt, a female physicist who had invented a new, possibly superior golf putter. When writer Caleb Hannan investigated her background, he learned Vanderbilt was a transgender woman. Despite having agreed to her demand that he not write about her life, Hannan told Vanderbilt that he'd discovered the secret she clearly wanted to keep private, and he outed her to an investor.

On that Friday night, Simmons dismissed the furor — just more "mean-spiritedness on the Internet."

This shows how Bill doesn't like to be criticized. Any criticism of his or Grantland's work doesn't have merit and it's just mean-spirited. Because after all, when could Grantland or Bill EVER be wrong about something? 

Oddly, a master of new media was badly misreading what was happening. The next day, he took his daughter to her soccer tournament, and during a break between games, looked online, where the angry reactions had continued. "That's when everything turned," he says, "and I started to think we'd made a serious mistake.

Notice the use of Bill's typical "we" made a mistake. The editor-in-chief of Grantland isn't going to say "he" made a mistake, because admitting a mistake would go against Bill's ego believing himself to be perfect and without fault, but "we" made a mistake. Bill loves to use the proverbial "we" whenever he is wrong about something, even when he's the editor-in-chief of Grantland who is glad to soak up any compliments he may receive for the success of the site, but says "we" made a mistake when something goes wrong.

The story's misjudgment was not the result of malice. The Grantland staff is more diverse, in gender and race, than most publications ("God forbid we ever get credit for that," he grumbles),

What an ass. Oh sure, a Grantland article led to a person committing suicide due to subject of the article being outed as transgender, but Bill wants this to be ignored in favor of Grantland's diversity. 

"Sure, this article led to a person killing themselves, but isn't this a small price to pay for diversity at Grantland?" 

But Simmons also didn't fully understand why people despised the article. "Crazy" and "hysterical" responses on Twitter had made him "embarrassed for mankind,"

Bill is your typical stereotypical only child. He doesn't like being told he is wrong, so he naturally refuses to initially admit he is wrong, and then when confronted with being wrong he gets defensive. These are the hallmarks of a person who grew up rarely being told he/she was wrong so he/she doesn't know how to handle this type of rejection. Of course, it's embarrassing for mankind there is a negative reaction to a Grantland column that resulted in a suicide. It's mankind's fault, not the editor-in-chief's fault. 

and he didn't agree with me that Grantland never should have mentioned the fact that Vanderbilt was a transgender woman.

It was agreed upon before the article was written that Dr. V's private life would not be a part of the article. If this agreement was in fact real, then Bill is absolutely, unequivocally wrong that Vanderbilt being a transgender woman should have been mentioned in the column. 

Like a lot of people, especially people in the sports world, he's amiss in issues of gender and sexuality; a few weeks later, during a podcast in which he discussed Michael Sam, a college football player who came out in February, Simmons used the offensive phrase "sexual preference" – not out of hostility towards Sam, but out of ignorance. 

I don't think "sexual preference" is derogatory if used in the correct fashion. I have a sexual preference for women. It's who I prefer. This doesn't indicate anything bad or that I have/don't have a choice in this preference. It simply indicates what I prefer. I don't see the ignorance here to be honest. Perhaps I'm too ignorant to see the ignorance. 

Simmons wrote a lengthy apology for the "Dr. V" story, which Grantland posted the next Monday. The article, he admitted, lacked empathy for Vanderbilt, and should not have outed her posthumously. His apology was thorough and almost self-flagellating, but was also mitigated by his defensiveness, which ESPN Executive Vice President and Executive Editor John A. Walsh told me he found "unfortunate."

Bill does not want to be wrong. It's not something I made up because I'm bored. It's why he uses the term "we" when talking about himself being wrong about an issue. Of course ESPN isn't going to piss off their golden goose, so "unfortunate" is as far as they will go in publicly discussing Bill's response to the Dr. V article and controversy (started by those "crazy" and "hysterical" people who put a black mark on know, those people who don't like it when an editor-in-chief gets defensive rather than just accepting he was wrong). 

And ESPN ombudsman Robert Lipsyte, an accomplished 76-year old writer, added his own column, in which he called the article "inexcusable" in its "unawareness and arrogance." He described Simmons as "a talented, overextended 44 year old" with "considerable vision and celebrity." Lipsyte did not intend "celebrity" as a compliment.

Bill would never hire Lipsyte for Grantland because he is attempting to start a feud with Bill by criticizing him. Also, Bill chases this celebrity so it's not a compliment nor is it inaccurate. 

He won't say whether or not he has a bookie in L.A., which means he likely does.

He's so cool. He has a bookie, he drinks and smokes pot.

And if he offers you a bet, you should probably take it — last football season, he won only 108 out of 256 picks against the spread in his column. "It was kind of a bummer," he says, though he points out that in 2006, he had his wife Kari make her own football picks in his column. "And she beat me. So if I had credibility after that gimmick, it was an accident."

Here's the issue though. I get that Bill says he believes himself to have no credibility, but he does not really believe this. He spends inordinate amount of his columns writing rules for gambling and setting up corollaries and other guidelines on how a person should gamble. For someone who doesn't think he is good at gambling he sure has a lot of gambling advice he likes to dispense to others. It's almost like he doesn't believe that he believes he is not good at gambling. It's the fake humble thing he tends to do. 

Simmons is credited as an Internet visionary, but he went into new media only because old media rejected him. "Boston," he says, "is where I failed."

And you aren't going to believe this, but Bill doesn't like going back to where he failed and he acted like a child by taking shots at Boston writers early in his career. Yes, the same Bill Simmons that is embarrassed by mankind and talks about a meanness on the Internet used to spend his early career taking shots at Boston writers because he wanted to be them. Again, the same meanness that is a bad thing today is what drove Bill Simmons to start a career writing online. 

He began his career as a lackey at the Boston Herald, the lesser of the city's two daily papers, "organizing Chinese-food orders" and covering high school teams. He stood outside the Herald building on the Mass Turnpike, smoking cigarettes and "wondering what the fuck I was gonna do with my life."

These are the types of things a lower-level newspaper employee does to pay his dues and eventually get a shot to write more. But Bill Simmons isn't happy being lower-level because he's Bill Simmons and through his mere existence he doesn't deserve to be anyone's lackey. 

TV anchors and newspaper columnists keep their jobs for decades, and at the Herald, "mediocre writers were blocking my way," Simmons later wrote. 

What mean-spiritedness Bill displays. 

"I didn't do myself any favors," he adds now. "I was probably too arrogant, and could barely hide my disdain for some of the writers."

But since it turned out okay for him, this wasn't him being an asshole like those people on the Internet today who are arrogant and barely hide their disdain for a writer's work. It's totally different because it's Bill Simmons who has disdain, which makes it perfectly fine. 

He considered going into commercial real estate with his stepdad before he came across a new website, AOL, where even a Herald reject could write.
He wrote with a fan's dismay and delight, rejecting the idea of being objective (a Boston partisan, he openly despises the L.A. Lakers and any team from New York), and attacking local sportswriters by name.

I'm sorry, what was that again? 

and attacking local sportswriters by name.

I must have read that wrong because that seems mean-spirited. Let me read it again. 

and attacking local sportswriters by name.

In the mid-90's Bill Simmons was attacking local sportswriters by name, while in 2014 he is railing against the following: 

"There's a mean-spiritedness on the Internet that we've stayed away from," Simmons told me in his office. "It seems to be getting angrier — especially Twitter, which is full of coyotes, waiting to attack the next victim." One false move, he added, and you find yourself in "a 24-hour shitstorm."

just more "mean-spiritedness on the Internet."

"Crazy" and "hysterical" responses on Twitter had made him "embarrassed for mankind,"

So when Bill started out taking shots at local sportswriters, after working side-by-side with some of these writers by the way, it was perfectly fine. No problem there. It's just Bill giving his opinion and it's the correct opinion because it's the opinion of Bill Simmons. But when others on the Internet give their opinion and get angry at something written on Grantland Bill thinks these people are "coyotes" and "mean-spirited." But of course. What's good for Bill isn't good for everyone else. He now is the guy getting attacked and all of a sudden being attacked gives Bill a sad face, so attacking sportswriters is no longer okay. 

In 2000, when ESPN launched Page 2, a site that mixed sports, pop culture and humor, Simmons waited for his phone to ring. "That was probably the lowest I sunk, when ESPN didn't hire me for Page 2," he says. He was in his early thirties, still borrowing money from his parents. A few months after the launch, he wrote a column mocking ESPN's annual awards show, and his taunts got noticed.

Yes, Bill got noticed by being mean-spirited and being angry about ESPN's annual awards show. He was just another Internet writer being mean and that's how he got noticed. Now that Bill has made it, he would hate the guy he was in early thirties for doing this, right? 

If there's a moral, it's this: Bite the hand you cannot kiss. 

Or the moral could be that you need to be a really good writer, which Bill was at the time. Back during the time when he was self-aware enough to realize he is the angry person on the Internet that currently scolds. 

Deadspin is to mocking Simmons what Michael Jordan is to basketball, so I asked Tommy Craggs, the site's editor, to summarize the case against him. Craggs denounced Simmons' "chuckling, incurious, cleverest-guy-standing-around-the-Phi-Delt-keg writing voice," and dismissed him as "nothing more than a dispenser of dull, honkified conventional wisdom about sports." He also said Simmons had been smart in not hiring Bill-Jr. clones at Grantland, adding that a site full of Simmons-ish prose "would suck."

I'm getting ready to link a column from Deadspin where Craggs gives his entire unedited version of how he described Simmons. It has a much different tone than these quotes. 

What is it with these guys? They're nearly as bad as Sports Twitter. Charles Pierce of Esquire wrote a snarlish review of Simmons' Book of Basketball (on Deadspin, of course), mocking his frequent digressions into gambling, movies, his friends, and strip clubs, and concluding with the words, "Get the fuck over yourself." This lead to an angry exchange of emails and posts, during which Pierce called Simmons a "mendacious, whiny little thin-skinned bag of breeze."

I'm sure this wasn't mean-spirited though.

Several months later, Simmons hired Pierce as a staff writer, so presumably, all has been forgiven.

In the Deadspin article of outtakes from this interview, Bill will say he won't hire writers who beef with other writers on Twitter. This hire of Charles Pierce seems to prove this wrong. Maybe the difference is Simmons-Pierce didn't beef on Twitter. I'm not sure I see the difference in beefing in email form or over Twitter. Again, another little Simmons contradiction between his expectations for others and his personal actions. 

"ESPN was idiotic," says Simmons, who can match any athlete for self-confidence. "They fucked with my column for the first year, taking out jokes, and I was pissed off. They were rebuilding their site around me, but they were paying me nothing. So I had a meltdown: I didn't turn in a column. I was like, 'Attica! Attica!' " He laughs.

Bill is very, very lucky ESPN saw his talent and didn't tell him to hit the road. ESPN gave Bill a forum to become popular and this temper tantrums could easily lead to "What happened to the Boston Sports Guy?" articles in present time. 

It wasn't Simmons' last fight with his bosses. They've suspended him from Twitter twice for tweets: for referring to Boston sports-radio hosts who worked for an ESPN affiliate as "deceitful scumbags," and also for saying an interview that aired on ESPN was "awful and embarrassing."

But again, Bill wasn't angry about this. He didn't do this in anger or to be mean. He works for ESPN so how could he be compared to a random person on the Internet/Twitter who would call Bill a "deceitful scumbag" or say he's "awful and embarrassing." It's totally different when Bill does it because he is famous and the random person on the Internet/Twitter is not. There are things that it is okay for Bill Simmons to do, while he is proud to look down on others for doing those same things.

Convincing the network to do 30 For 30 required "a year of arm-twisting," he says. When it was a success, and his basketball book had been a big hit, his contract was up for renewal. "I had a little leverage." He told ESPN that he wanted his own site, or he'd leave and do it elsewhere.

"When we were launching, we didn't realize technology advances would help us so much." GIFs, Instapaper, wi-fi, embeddable links — all foster the ease of promoting a digital magazine. "The iPad has been a godsend — it's probably the greatest thing that's' happened to Grantland. Nobody knew the fucking iPad was coming. I didn't. We hit at the right time."

And the part that Bill won't acknowledge, being backed by ESPN helped so much too. Having Grantland cross-promoted across multiple ESPN forums and media, allowing Bill the money and name to hire big name writers so these writers feel comfortable a move from to Grantland isn't a lateral move, and just overall helping Grantland get started so it gains momentum and works. That's partly because ESPN is behind him, though I'm sure Bill won't acknowledge this. 

Let's be a little honest here. Even the success of Bill's books are partly attributed to his affiliation with ESPN. I give Bill a lot of credit, he did a hell of a job building his brand, but his first book was a collection of his ESPN columns and his second book benefited from Bill's presence on Page 2 and Bill of course had something to do with it, but I don't think Bill ever gives ESPN enough credit for his successes. But why would he? Having the largest sports media site behind him couldn't have been an advantage for the success of his (admittedly great) ideas, could it? He's fortunate he didn't bite the hand that fed him too hard early in his career.

Now that he oversees an empire, Simmons says he doesn't care as much about Boston teams. "It's not life-or-death anymore," he says with a shrug.

And it shows. It shows in the articles Bill writes. He's just like the everyday fan, if that everyday fan became wealthy, rejected the method on which he became wealthy, forgot where he came from and then dismissed those things he once liked and kept him grounded for those things which make him a lot of money and fame. For Bill, this is probably a win. He's not the guy who lives and dies by his teams, though this does call into question the assertion early in this article that "every game is life or death in Boston." It seems it's life or death for Bill until it becomes about money and fame. 

But that might not be true. His daughter loves L.A.'s hockey team, the Kings, so he took her to see them play his team, the Bruins. "Boston won, and I taunted her on the way home. She started crying. She was, like, six years old."

Wow, what a big man. Hopefully Bill does make $5 million per year so he can pay for his daughter's therapy when she gets older. But hey, taunting a six year old until she cries, that's pretty fucking manly. 

You know what I'm going to taunting a six year old "crazy" or "mean-spirited"? 

A few years later, they went to another Kings-Bruins game, and this time her team won. "She was yelling and high-fiving everyone," Simmons says, "and she taunted me."

Bill probably smacked her. That'll learn her to taunt the great Bill Simmons!

So here is the Deadspin article on the 18 things left out of this Bill Simmons profile. 

I ate sushi with Bill in L.A., watched him tape podcasts in New York, talked to him on the phone, and emailed with him, and when it was over, I had a bunch of quotes that didn't fit into my Rolling Stone profile, but would, I thought, interest Simmonsologists,

I have no idea where the word "Simmonsologists" comes from, but if you search my archive I first used the term in 2008 as a tag on a Bill Simmons post. Carry on...

1) There will probably be another edition of The Book of Basketball
"I've got to re-do the pyramid to figure out where LeBron James is. I think I'd put him sixth, all time. Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and then LeBron. Kevin Durant might be in the top 50 or 60 now. Dirk Nowitzki moved into the top 20. Maybe I'll charge people half-price, or you can get a discount if you bring back your copy of the old book." 

Right, I bet this will happen. Sure. I'm sure Bill's publisher will be perfectly happy with this happening. 

4) David Stern hates him.
"David Stern hates me. I wrote some negative stuff about him during the last lockout, and I think he took it personally. I sat next to him at a documentary screening once. He said to his wife, 'This is Bill Simmons.' There was a little contempt in his voice. She shook my hand like I had just pooped in it."

I'm sure it's nothing a little Gus Johnson brokering a handshake or two won't fix. 

5) If you want a job at Grantland, stop being a jerk on Twitter.
"We have a kind of 'no dicks' policy. We try to hire decent people, not people who are assholes or cause trouble.

Hmmm...would 1997 Bill Simmons get hired by Grantland? It doesn't sound like it. Also, Bill has been suspended by ESPN for being a jerk on Twitter. So it's another case of "Do as I say, not as I do" from Bill...which of course fine since he is the editor-in-chief of Grantland, but it also doesn't make me a jerk or mean-spirited for pointing this contradiction out. 

8) He jinxed the Pats' 2008 Super Bowl victory.
"When there were two minutes left in the game, my dad and I took a picture with the scoreboard behind us, like, 'Hey, we're going to go 19-0!' And I do feel like that might have singlehandedly swung the game. People don't mention that. They mention the [David] Tyree catch, but they don't mention that picture, or God going, 'Really? You're taking a picture? Alright, watch me change the outcome of this game.' The larger point is, every Pats fan felt that way. Karma killed us." 

If Bill is being serious about this then his self-absorption has reached an all-time new high. "People don't mention that Bill singlehandedly swung the game." This has to be Bill being not serious, though it is hard to tell since Bill tends to be pretty fucking self-absorbed at times. He may really think the fact he and his dad took a picture with the scoreboard behind them changed the outcome of the game. 

12) He might leave ESPN.
The NBA's current TV deals with ABC/ESPN and TNT run through the 2015-2016 season, and Fox Sports and even NBC are expected to bid aggressively for subsequent rights. "My contract expires next year. If ESPN doesn't have the broadcast rights to the NBA, it will make me re-evaulate what I should do next. I want to work for whoever has the NBA."

I see Bill is already renegotiating his next contract with ESPN by pretending he would leave. Maybe he would, who knows? I've heard this stuff before though and it didn't happen. 

13) He's made peace with nearly everyone he's antagonized.
"Doc Rivers and I talked on the phone. Isiah Thomas and I did a handshake hug. I think the guy who's maddest at me now is Rick Barry. I said in my book that he was unlikeable. He was! He was the most loathed guy in the league, probably of all time.

I'm still having trouble reconciling Bill's anger towards Internet comments and his suggestion he only hires "nice guys" on Twitter for Grantland with the fact he's antagonized sports figures in print and on Twitter. 

14) ESPN is his other spouse.
"I had a weird epiphany about ESPN last Christmas. Sometimes my wife gets mad because I watch football all day—which is funny, since me watching sports pays for everything.

Even if true, it's not a thing to say. 

ESPN is a complicated place. Many people have used pieces of the company to their advantage. You can do a radio show and go home, or you can do a radio show, then badger the website until they let you write for them. I've probably done it the best, and I don't mean that as a compliment to myself."

By Bill saying, "I don't mean that as a compliment to myself" I think Bill entirely means this as a compliment to himself. Really, I don't know another way this can be taken. 

16) Joe Montana > Tom Brady.
"The rules were different when he played. Guys could dive at his knees, hit him in the head, crush his receivers over the middle. If Brady wins a fourth Super Bowl, then I'd say Brady."

This is a good example of Simmons logic. He attributes the difference in Brady and Montana to the rules changes, then says if Brady wins EXACTLY AS MANY SUPER BOWLS AS MONTANA WON, then Brady was the better quarterback. So basically, Montana is the better quarterback because he's won more Super Bowls. But yeah, rule changes and all...that's the reason. Sure. 

Anyway, read the Bill Simmons piece at "Rolling Stone." It's interesting for no other reason than to hear Bill go from the blogger who criticizes sportswriters using his opinion of that sportswriter's work to the multi-media mogel who thinks anyone who criticizes sportswriters using their opinion of that sportswriter's work is mean-spirited and that's why he essentially ignores criticism of work he or Grantland has done.


HH said...

Simmons used the offensive phrase "sexual preference" – not out of hostility towards Sam, but out of ignorance.

I don't think "sexual preference" is derogatory if used in the correct fashion. I have a sexual preference for women. It's who I prefer. This doesn't indicate anything bad or that I have/don't have a choice in this preference. It simply indicates what I prefer. I don't see the ignorance here to be honest. Perhaps I'm too ignorant to see the ignorance.

The issue is that some people use the term "sexual preference" to argue that that means that sexual orientation is a choice. The shift to "sexual orientation" is made largely to avoid the implication.

Like you, "sexual preference" is pretty non-judgmental to me, but I can see why some people would insist on the distinction.

Anonymous said...

Simmons comes across as an even bigger...jerk than he ever has before. And sexual preference is perfectly fine, don't know what the writer was talking about there, hopefully people aren't starting to police words.

Bengoodfella said...

HH, I've used the term and didn't know all of that. I always look at it from the way of saying that a person "prefers" men or women. I try to be nice if people don't like a phrase, mostly because even if it was a choice to be gay or straight I don't think the implication is bad either way.

Not to go too far down the rabbit hole, but I think it's irrelevant whether a person chooses to be gay or chooses to be straight because neither of those attributes a person may have is negative to me. So choosing to be straight or gay doesn't matter to me or is any different from being "born that way." I do see how others can differ though.

Anon, yeah he came off as someone who really likes to get his way and knows how to build a long-term brand. He was sort of a dick though, especially when talking about those people who are mean on Twitter. I mean, that's partly how he made his name, taking shots at people on the Internet. It's different when people take shots at him though.