Bill Simmons is a writer for ESPN that you probably have heard of. He's probably the biggest "celebrity" writer on the internet and is responsible for roughly 1/5 of the posts at Deadspin. Despite influencing roughly every sports blog on the internet and setting a gold standard that anyone who thinks that it's a good idea to write on the internet should try to attain, he is one of the most divisive figures in the sports blogging world. Often accused of being smug, a name dropper and overusing the same references time and time again (I once emailed him begging him to stop with the Battle of the Network Stars references) Simmons is generally un-apologetic over his style. His style is his style. He has his fans (which I count myself as one) and his detractors, but in the end there's not much you can say negatively about him. His "voice of the fan" perspective has become skewered a bit over the years, but it still is a "voice of the fan" because when it comes to baseball, the NFL or gambling on the NFL he doesn't know what he's talking about most of the time (just like a real fan.) However, when it comes to basketball Bill Simmons leaves the "voice of the fan" behind and becomes something wholly different, one of the greatest living basketball writers alive.
Now, I've never been the biggest basketball guy. I think it's a great sport to watch, but there have been one too many times in my lifetime when the officials have clearly affected the outcome of a game and you can't tell me any different that the league didn't influence these decisions. The most egregious example would of course be the Dallas/Miami Finals from a couple of years back. I know that I'm not the only one who feels this way and was completely turned off by this series, but somehow the NBA always finds ways to pull me back in. Whether it's Lebron James or Brandon Jennings, I always find a reason to end up watching some games and a lot of this can probably be attributed to the writing of Bill Simmons. His passion for the game in his columns is infectious and there have been more than a few times I have ended up watching a playoff series because he will not shut up about it (Bulls/Celtics from last season is a great example.) When I found out that Bill Simmons had written a 700 page book about basketball I pre-ordered it right away. I've always enjoyed him as a writer and he is far too serious about the sport of basketball to mess this up. When The Book of Basketball arrived eight days ago I dug right in and I wasn't disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »