Posts Tagged ‘Bill Simmons’

Monday Medley

What we read while not marrying Chelsea Clinton…

  • Our disappointed reaction to the headline: “Oh, they meant verbally and NOT physically.”

In Quasi Defense Of LeBron James

Is choosing teammates worse than inheriting them?

I don’t want to be put in the position of defending LeBron James. As I’ve said, I’m not happy about his decision—it’s basically a sports tragedy. So while I generally agree with those criticizing him, I can’t help but notice some unfair attacks.

Most of these deal with claims about LeBron’s personality. Fans have a tendency to do this a lot: They project personality traits and character flaws onto athletes based on no real knowledge of the players as individuals. If a player strikes out in a key situation, he must be unable to handle pressure. If a basketball player misses the open man, he must be a selfish person. If a football player happens to be the quarterback of a team that loses, he must not be a motivated individual. In a few instances, there is some merit to this—sports would not be nearly as special if it didn’t give us insights into the human psyche.

Far more often, though, it is utter schlock. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while taking our talents to South Beach…

Monday Medley

What we read while getting caught watching the paint dry…

The Book of Basketball: Where Flawed but Entertaining Happens

“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

Monday Medley

What we read while debating the plausibility of the Shroud of Turin…

Did The Marriage Ref Single-Handedly Ruin Jerry Seinfeld’s Reputation?

The following things were written following the “sneak peek” of The Marriage Ref—the new show from Jerry Seinfeld that has been promoted like it was the boss’ son—that aired after Sunday’s Closing Ceremonies on NBC:

“And then, just as the ceremonies were reaching a brilliant crescendo of Canadian self-satire, NBC cut away… to the premiere/preview of Jerry Seinfeld’s The Marriage Ref, the most God-awful mishmash of a comedy-variety show to lead into local news on NBC since immediately before the Olympics.”

“Painful, pointless, obnoxious… I would almost rather have The Jay Leno Show back.”

“I had just watched 30 minutes of the goofy Olympic Closing Ceremony which was — and I say this with all due respect to my second favorite country on earth — the sort of thing you would see if you gave a third grade teacher $30 million to put on a school play. And that 30 minutes at the Olympics was like heaven, like sheer bliss, like a show co-written by William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Mel Brooks and the author of the 23rd Psalm compared to The Marriage Ref.”

“The only good thing I could find about this was the fact that I only had to watch half an episode. When the show comes back on Thursday, it’ll be a full hour long. And that’s probably the worst thing about it.”

“Would you rather watch dolphins get slaughtered, or would you rather sit through a second episode of The Marriage Ref?”

It’s worth noting that all of these statements came from writers who have made a point of highlighting their appreciation of Jerry Seinfeld and his classic sitcom (the first quote came from James Poniewozik of Time, the second from TV critic Alan Sepinwall, the third from sportswriter Joe Posnanski’s blog, the fourth from Todd VanDerWerff at The AV Club, and the last form Bill Simmons’ Twitter). I cannot remember the last time, if ever, a show with such a prominent and well-regarded name attached to it has failed so spectacularly. Continue reading