I ended up really liking this, and the race stuff I mentioned upthread got put into context almost immediately after I posted that, and it made way more sense by the time I finished. Overall the time he spent writing about race + discrimination issues wound up being one of the most thoughtful parts of the book.
For some reason I thought the pyramid would turn out to be a total Ronald Thomas Clontle routine, but Simmons spends a lot of time trying to articulate a bigger point: that basketball fans have short memories, sure, but also that a lot of the measures of greatness in this sport rely more on subjective analysis and intangibles - since not only is the sport constantly evolving and changing its own rules in a way that, say, baseball isn't, but that the markers of greatness often manifest themselves in things that aren't obvious if you only rely on box scores and highlights to analyze performance. (Cf. "The Secret," etc, but the stuff about the ABA's struggle to get TV coverage and its subsequent effect on how ABA players were perceived relative to their NBA peers is really fascinating.)
I realize that all sounds kinda corny, but Simmons is very good at writing this kind of sports pop science, and while this book definitely didn't need to be 700+ pages, it's surprising how much of what he threw out there sticks.
― Conservative HOT Mom! (govern yourself accordingly), Saturday, 14 November 2009 01:26 (ten years ago) link
Also it made me wish somebody with his exact level of access/obsession would write a similar book about NCAA basketball.
― Conservative HOT Mom! (govern yourself accordingly), Saturday, 14 November 2009 01:29 (ten years ago) link
wishing Michael Lewis would write a book about basketball
― 囧 (dyao), Monday, 16 November 2009 09:01 (ten years ago) link
His Battier piece was pretty good but I don't know if he could sustain an entire book without just rewriting Moneyball.
― windy = white, carl = black (polyphonic), Monday, 16 November 2009 17:44 (ten years ago) link
love the book, but ranking paul pierce and parish that high is some pretty serious homerism. and in the whole list of 96 there's no room for any of the '04 pistons? there's room for big shot rob but no finals mvp chauncey billups? they were only the best/most consisten team in the east this decade.
― Danny Duberstein (hmmmm), Tuesday, 17 November 2009 09:43 (ten years ago) link
the human beans story otoh makes me pretty happy
I am absolutely LOVING this book, and I'm not even much of a basketball fan! Simmons makes me laugh.
― Mr. Snrub, Wednesday, 18 November 2009 02:34 (ten years ago) link
It was hit or miss with me, until he started describing the hall of fame inductees. I stayed up WAY past my bed time last night reading it. Really good.
― Ultraviolet Thunder (B.L.A.M.), Friday, 20 November 2009 19:19 (ten years ago) link
Simmons was banned from twitter for two weeks by ESPN because he talked shit about some Boston radio station.
― windy = white, carl = black (polyphonic), Friday, 20 November 2009 23:45 (ten years ago) link
lol know what i might say to espn had i the #1 bestseller
― ice cr?m, Saturday, 21 November 2009 05:53 (ten years ago) link
First ESPN totally assrapes Simmons by not letting Obama onto his podcast, and now this. Assholes.
― CLEVELAND DOES NOT DESERVE MANGINI (Mr. Snrub), Monday, 23 November 2009 01:49 (ten years ago) link
I read this whole thing. I love how he rates The Answer.
― Mordy, Monday, 23 November 2009 01:57 (ten years ago) link
i read this over thanksgiving break. i don't know anything about basketball so i can't dispute his knowledge there. he's an entertaining writer and occasionally very funny (his section on great basketball players who made shitty announcers/commentators made me LOL). this may be an obvious thing to say about a 700-pg book but he needs better editing, it got really repetitive by the end (making the same points and jokes over and over) and was just too long in general. also a lot of his pop culture references are so dumb and/or wrong. i enjoyed the book though.
― congratulations (n/a), Monday, 30 November 2009 15:08 (ten years ago) link
^^kinda sums up how i feel about his writing, in general. i am not a sports guy (lol) and rarely ever know who he's talking about or why it ought to be funny, but sometimes a lot of his jokes work without that, which i think is a credit. or i'm just easy, and the kind of person who laughs if someone gets the delivery and misses the punchline
― crazy farting throwback jersey (gbx), Monday, 30 November 2009 15:12 (ten years ago) link
oddly his pop culture analogy that made me the most mad was comparing the development of basketball to the development of comedy, saying if you listen to woody allen and bob newhart routines they won't make you LOL because comedy wasn't as advanced as in the '80s. i was like "nah brah" but then again i am weird and old-fashioned about comedy i guess, i love old woody allen and newhart stuff :/
― congratulations (n/a), Monday, 30 November 2009 15:15 (ten years ago) link
if there is def one thing bill simmons is consistently wrong about, it's other people's comedy. in that, i think a lot of the comedic pop cultural stuff he mentions off-hand in his columns is sort of milquetoast or outright bad, though he himself can make a good joke
then again, i couldn't possibly think of a specific example of this, so i might be making it up.
― crazy farting throwback jersey (gbx), Monday, 30 November 2009 15:24 (ten years ago) link
i just picture him laughing his ass off at some current standup while i look disgusted
he probably rates dane cook as G.O.A.T.
― 囧 (dyao), Monday, 30 November 2009 15:41 (ten years ago) link
nah I wouldn't go that far. i'd put my money on will ferrell. def agree with gbx on this tho.
― hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Monday, 30 November 2009 15:46 (ten years ago) link
yeah i think even he knows that dane cook blows. or even just that everyone THINKS he blows (ie - some of his readers). but i am sure that he will at some point in his career right some will ferrell GOAT hagiography
― crazy farting throwback jersey (gbx), Monday, 30 November 2009 15:52 (ten years ago) link
assuming he hasn't already
i think he creates cognitive dissonance within some people, such as in the writer of the "u mad" article linked to above. "this dude makes me laugh, i wouldn't mind hanging out with him and shooting the shit...but wait, he's all about bro'ing down with his crew--all of whom go by nicknames--in Vegas. I need to go overboard criticizing his negative aspects so I can totally dismiss dude."
― hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Monday, 30 November 2009 15:58 (ten years ago) link
If I were one of his buddies, I would DEMAND that he refer to me by a nickname. He makes way too many references to activities that, while I certainly don't condemn him for engaging in, employers would probably have a problem with.
I have to say that his statistical arguments mesh pretty well with his "You have to get it to get it" over-arching theme. If anything, this book serves as a compendium of references for other places to go look for basketball knowledge. It also has motivated me to pay more attention to sporting events for those special moments. I may not be as encyclopedic as he is with what games I've seen and who played in them, but I want to get to the point where I can have more specific and detailed recall of key plays. An anecdote that goes "Yeah, remember when that one guy did that thing with Barkley? The no-look pass from...shit, was it the right or left side of the lane..." does little to spark more conversation/reminiscing.
― Ultraviolet Thunder (B.L.A.M.), Monday, 30 November 2009 21:24 (ten years ago) link
the membership of this book club is kinda http://nymag.com/arts/books/bookclub/book-of-basketball
― ice cr?m, Friday, 11 December 2009 05:40 (ten years ago) link
ha yes i felt exactly this was abt fortress of solitude
― ice cr?m, Friday, 11 December 2009 06:14 (ten years ago) link
lethem's response is baffling and over-written. is there a joke i'm not getting?
― being being kiss-ass fake nice (gbx), Friday, 11 December 2009 16:35 (ten years ago) link
love how everyones all i read this 700 page book in 30 hours and i feel kinda icky now, yes hello welcome to the sports guy
― ice cr?m, Friday, 11 December 2009 16:42 (ten years ago) link
The NY Mag thing made me feel bad that I have been reading Simmons all decade and basically don't even pay attention to the sexist stuff anymore. Although I do not know if a chauvinist (or feminist) perspective would really influence one's thoughts on the NBA at all.
Between this book (esp. the epilogue) and whichever blog collected the finest Bill Walton goofy hyperboles a few months back, though, Walton is now like my favorite dude ever. Like, just kicking it with Big Red in his tepee watching a terrible NBA game and asking him questions about John Wooden would basically make my entire life complete.
― C-L, Friday, 11 December 2009 16:59 (ten years ago) link
one time saw him on tv riding bikes w/jerry X)
― ice cr?m, Friday, 11 December 2009 17:01 (ten years ago) link
his bike was LOL HUEG
saw him on haight st asking darius miles if he knew who jimi hendrix was
― ice cr?m, Friday, 11 December 2009 17:02 (ten years ago) link
he did not
A+++++ So jealous
― C-L, Friday, 11 December 2009 17:06 (ten years ago) link
lol it was on tv
― ice cr?m, Friday, 11 December 2009 17:10 (ten years ago) link
I am stupid
― C-L, Friday, 11 December 2009 17:15 (ten years ago) link
it was still pretty good tho
― ice cr?m, Friday, 11 December 2009 17:23 (ten years ago) link
It reminds me of the time those three guys came up to you in a restaurant in Chicago and told you that they were reading "The Tipping Point" in their book club and were big fans.
How could I forget?
Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes.
Greatest moment of my life.
― max, Saturday, 19 December 2009 11:51 (ten years ago) link
Tiger's comeback tougher than Ali's
Note to ESPN’s Bill Simmons: Tiger Woods is not Muhammad Ali
― ╬╬╬╬╬ (am0n), Thursday, 4 March 2010 00:39 (ten years ago) link
There was a famous story about two of the Dream Team IIers--definitely Shaq and someone else, I can't remember the second guy--pulling the players together before a key Olympic game and Dumars thinking, "Great, they're finally going to take this seriously." Then the two guys started singing a rap song they had written for the game.
― johnny crunch, Tuesday, 8 June 2010 13:26 (ten years ago) link
That Bill Simmons Woods/Ali column is unbelievably moronic even for Bill Simmons.
― Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 8 June 2010 16:29 (ten years ago) link
lol tweeting about freddie gibbs today
called him the savior of gangsta rap
i should send him some gucci
― righteous lecoq (J0rdan S.), Tuesday, 3 August 2010 19:30 (nine years ago) link
i got pretty grossed out by some of the joeks by the end of this book frankly. a sprinkling of the frattier stuff goes a long way, the occasional vegas column is fine but it kind of wore me down
the footnote about the all-dong team was just massively hilarious tho
― enjoy your day (agent hibachi), Tuesday, 3 August 2010 20:15 (nine years ago) link
yeah the strip club/boob size analogies are pretty awful
― symsymsym, Wednesday, 4 August 2010 05:16 (nine years ago) link
How has Simmons not become the Godfather of bros icing bros?
― EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 4 August 2010 14:03 (nine years ago) link
― call all destroyer, Wednesday, 4 August 2010 14:06 (nine years ago) link
Thus the Godfather. Like Neil Young and grunge.
I really enjoyed the book despite the length and Simmons' crutches that prop up huge sections of it. Though the end made me realize I want "Bill & Bill" as the followup. Walton's insights made Simmons a better writer; it freed him from his persona.
― EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 4 August 2010 14:13 (nine years ago) link
this is a really bad paragraph
Digging deeper: 2012 will be the first time since 1992 that we had this many mega-stars in their primes or near-primes -- LeBron, Wade, Howard, Durant, Paul, Williams, Carmelo Anthony -- all of whom will also be battling for NBA titles in 2011 and 2012 (throw Kobe in there as well). Can they shut off that competitive switch and come together on short notice? What if Durant fully supplants LeBron and Kobe as America's basketball darling by that time? What if Miami just battled Oklahoma City in a NBA Finals bloodbath? In 1992, the pecking order was pretty established: Jordan and Pippen were the champs/alpha dogs, Bird and Magic were the washed-up leaders, Barkley was the unstoppable wild card, and everyone else fell into place behind them. There will be no established pecking order in 2012. If anything, there might be multiple stars who believe in a pecking order that's different from what the other stars believe. Verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry interesting. Hold this thought for 22 months.
― banaka socka flame (J0rdan S.), Tuesday, 14 September 2010 01:48 (nine years ago) link
jordan, did you transcribe that
― ice cr?m, Tuesday, 14 September 2010 01:50 (nine years ago) link
yeah considering the calling card of this generation of talent is that they all get along and they're all unselfish i don't think this is really anything worth thinking about for the next 22 mos.
― call all destroyer, Tuesday, 14 September 2010 01:51 (nine years ago) link
is bill simmons to the nba what pitchfork reviews reviews is to pitchfork
― max, Tuesday, 14 September 2010 01:51 (nine years ago) link