I’m a late bloomer when it comes to reading Bill Simmons work. I heard of him for a better part of a decade, but didn’t start reading his junk until he actually came out with the Book of basketball. Love or hate the dude, that book is a basketball treasure if you are into the game.
For the most part, I don’t hate him like some do, but I do tend to feel that he tries too hard to crowbar in pop culture references in his takes, that he tries to be the voice of too many teams when he doesn’t know dick about them (See: Memphis not getting over Martin Luther King’s assignation), and his playing up of Boston teams, which all suck.
Other than that, I find him to be tolerable and mildly insightful. No hate or Godly like pedestal for Simmons to stand on from me.
If you’ve been watching the NBA coverage on ESPN, you obviously know Simmons is a big fixture on it. It has been a lot of peaks and valleys for the most part during his tenure. The valleys being that he doesn’t exactly look comfortable on TV, needs chap stick and is a bleeding nose away from looking like a zombie on The Walking Dead.
However, I respect his basketball knowledge and I am rooting for him to succeed on ESPN. Yes, most of it has to do with Simmons being what some would call a blogger or fan, which of course, I tend to want to work out for the betterment of the blogosphere. More importantly, Simmons offers an alternative to the blowhard personas we get to see 24/7 on ESPN. That’s why I want to see him succeed. We need alternative voices.
Last night, when the rumors were running rampant that the Celtics were about to trade their heart and soul of their team, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Simmons was visibly shaken and pissed off.
For this viewer, I was praying for the deal to go down so I could see his reaction. Maybe it was a combination of wanting to see him blow up or me taking pride in the horrible week Boston teams have had, but I think a majority of it had to do with seeing an actual fan’s real emotion on live TV. None of this contrived bullshit of embracing debate that ESPN shoves down our throat. It was going to be natural and not rehearsed.
Then the bombshell officially hit and the rest was history.
That’s a punch in the stomach. It was riveting television to see Bill Simmons’ heart being broken like that. It was real and I loved it. It was real because Simmons is a fan and he doesn’t adhere to that oath in a tree house that all journalists have to be unbiased and not care about the teams they cover.
I know what it is like to goto school for broadcasting and have all these shackles thrust upon your fandom, which is what ultimately brings most kids to the broadcasting or media table, only to then have it evaporate. I hated that in college and that’s what ultimately led me to changing my career path. The only way for some of them to enjoy it is by being their own biggest fan of their voice. Hence, the reason most are dicks.
That’s why I enjoyed Simmons fanboy approach last night. Some may find it unbecoming because he’s obviously showing his agenda, but I think with the way sports are now being served as a 24/7 entity, what is wrong with having different types of voices? God knows we have enough television time devoted to it. We know he’s a fan and not a unbiased journalist.
The fan’s voice should be showcased and if Simmons is the guy who breakthroughs that mold, then I think we should all be fans of his work..no matter how annoying Boston can be.