“So that’s what this book is about: capturing the noise, sorting through all the bullshit and figuring out which players and teams and stories should live on. It’s also about the NBA, how we got here, and where we’re going. It’s way too ambitious and I probably should have stuck to an outline, but screw it—by the end of the book, it will all make sense.”
Bill Simmons’ The Book of Basketball is a book best read over time and on the side. Simmons, ESPN’s The Sports Guy and arguably the most famous sportswriter working today, has penned an overlong and overly ambitious paean to professional basketball in America that can, if needed, stop a bullet in its pages. It is fun to read but in smaller doses—roughly the length of a Simmons column at a time, or, as so many of his readers like to point out, one trip to the bathroom.
This is because Simmons’ style wears on you after a while, or at least it has on me after eight years of more or less devoted readership.* He’s fun and informal, and he makes a lot of clever references; this has never been in doubt. It’s just that, over the course of 700 pages, the allusions to porn, Boogie Nights, trips to Vegas, and Teen Wolf get a little tiresome. It becomes frustrating that Simmons’ only means of articulating one thing is through the prism of this other thing. In breaking down why Rick Barry was the 26th best player of all time, Simmons starts sentences with the following clauses: Continue reading »