Quick update before I get going: the NBA draft lottery was tonight, and the Celtics moved down one spot from 5th to 6th. Bill was on the NBA Countdown set and had to comment on what the ping pong balls did (including giving the Cavs the #1 overall pick for the third time in four years, to which he said "The system is broken and we need a new one;" IT'S NAWT FAY-UH!!!!) just minutes after the coverage of the lottery ended. It was wonderful. It was beautiful. At this point, we can just skip ahead to next Monday. My week is already made.
Whew. This article has been exhausting. What's next?
No sportswriter has ever had as much success as Simmons,
ESPN has both enabled this growth and benefitted from it, and is now worth $50.8 billion, making it the most valuable media brand in the world, according to Forbes, with 7 domestic and 24 international TV networks, radio networks, a weekly magazine and websites. That's a staggering sum for a network that launched in 1979 with a lineup of college soccer, wrestling, and slow-pitch softball.
Look, I'm the first person to admit that Bill has been very successful, but ESPN's meteoric rise, especially during the last ten years, is about 0.1% due to him. Let's not trip over our dicks trying to give him credit. In any case, speaking of the early days of ESPN, read Those Guys Have All the Fun (or at least first 300 or so pages) at some point. Pretty interesting how it all came together, and sad/predictable that the guy who founded it got fucked out of all his potential money by scummy investors. (To his credit, he's not mad about it. Seems like a free-spirited kind of guy.)
Tony Kornheiser, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his sportswriting,
Tony Kornheiser, a contrarian know-nothing piece of smug human garbage, has somehow almost won a Pulitzer. That might be even more flabbergasting than Rick Reilly's 15 AP Sportswriter of the Year awards or whatever the fuck he has.
and a host of ESPN's lively Pardon the Interruption, calls this "a Golden Age for sportswriters," though not a Golden Age for sportswriting.
"Those damn bloggers and their hippity hop music why back in my day only REAL sportswriters were allowed to make up bullshit and pass it off as presentable content blah blah blah condescend condescend condescend"
In spite of all these opportunities — or maybe because of them — sportswriters have never seemed more unhappy. They bicker like Real World cast members, and beef like gangsta rappers in the Nineties.
Sweet analogies, diddley-dawg.
And Simmons is often in the middle of these tiffs, partly because people only beef up, and partly because Simmons' name guarantees website traffic, especially if he replies.
Simmons is a thin-skinned baby who is incapable of letting anything roll off his back. He's a fool. I'm glad he doesn't "beef" more often, because watching his sycophants defend him is the only thing more painful than reading his writing.
Deadspin is to mocking Simmons what Michael Jordan is to basketball,
Huh? How often do they pick on him these days? Deadspin is the Michael Jordan of a lot of things--you might be able to say they're that good at antagonizing sportswriters in general--but I'm pretty sure Simmons isn't exactly high on their list.
so I asked Tommy Craggs, the site's editor, to summarize the case against him. Craggs denounced Simmons' "chuckling, incurious, cleverest-guy-standing-around-the-Phi-Delt-keg writing voice," and dismissed him as "nothing more than a dispenser of dull, honkified conventional wisdom about sports." He also said Simmons had been smart in not hiring Bill-Jr. clones at Grantland, adding that a site full of Simmons-ish prose "would suck."
Craggs is kind of a turd, but I can pretty much co-sign everything said there.
What is it with these guys? They're nearly as bad as Sports Twitter. Charles Pierce of Esquire wrote a snarlish review of Simmons' Book of Basketball (on Deadspin, of course), mocking his frequent digressions into gambling, movies, his friends, and strip clubs, and concluding with the words, "Get the fuck over yourself." This lead to an angry exchange of emails and posts, during which Pierce called Simmons a "mendacious, whiny little thin-skinned bag of breeze." Several months later, Simmons hired Pierce as a staff writer, so presumably, all has been forgiven. Also: Tommy Craggs, Simmons' chief tormenter, was set to take a job at Grantland in 2011, before he shit-talked an ESPN.com writer and the new job fell apart. Why do even Simmons' most severe critics want to work with him?
First of all, let's get a source on that last part. Could be true but I've never heard it before. Second of all, I love the idea that because someone thinks Simmons is a dunce (or that ESPN sucks in general), they should never take at Grantland (or ESPN), which comes with what is almost certainly higher pay and an unquestionably awesome support network/platform. Old media is dying--short of Sports Illustrated, I can't think of a print journalism sportswriting job that sounds glamorous. If you're going to get a new media job, why not swing with the big boys? I don't begrudge anyone who does that. "IF U NO LIKE HIM DEN HOW COME U WANT TO BEE HIM LOL" is the argument of a mouth breather.
For an impartial opinion, I asked a younger journalist who works for one of ESPN's competitors if he thought Simmons is a good writer. "As far as craft? No. His pieces are too long, there's too much I in them, and he goes on too many tangents.
All true. Also, he has nothing interesting to say and a 9th grade vocabulary.
But he's very smart,
Well, we can write whoever this person is off as an idiot themselves.
he's wittier than all the people who imitate him,
and he has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the NBA.
And that's what you're looking for in a sportswriter with a huge national profile--no knowledge about most sports, and a lot of knowledge about one sport, which is projected through so many layers of fuckass whining/preening homerism that it's barely even worth reading.
The Internet made Bill Simmons, and it also produced all the people who like to tear him down.
OH THE CRUEL CRUEL IRONING! POOR BILL! CAN'T THE GUY CATCH A BREAK????
That's the thing about the Internet — it makes its own gravy, over and over again."
Yeah, whoever this anonymous source is, they're a fucking moron.
Once Simmons got an ESPN assignment, he quickly found an audience. But just as immediately, his relationship with the Worldwide Leader in Sports was full of conflict. "ESPN was idiotic," says Simmons, who can match any athlete for self-confidence.
"They fucked with my column for the first year, taking out jokes, and I was pissed off.
Douchechills, douchechills, douchechills.
They were rebuilding their site around me,
No. No they were not. Not even years and years later, when you had enough clout to get Grantland and the budget that comes along with it, was the country's #1 sports media company building anything around you. Get over yourself, you pathetic horse's ass.
but they were paying me nothing. So I had a meltdown: I didn't turn in a column. I was like, 'Attica! Attica!' " He laughs. "I was probably smoking too much pot."
WHOA! PRETTY EXTREME, DUDE! CAN'T WAIT UNTIL YOU TURN 16 AND GET YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE, YOU'LL BE A REAL REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE!
ESPN rewarded his work strike with a raise. "Bill likes to be in control," an insider says.
This insider's name: Sill Bimmons.
"In the early days, he was very upset about where they placed his column, versus where other columnists were. He's a great advocate for himself and his brand."
Ah shit, OK, it was Darren Rovell. I should have guessed. Man that guy is a dickhead. I hope he gets fired soon.
It wasn't Simmons' last fight with his bosses. They've suspended him from Twitter twice for tweets: for referring to Boston sports-radio hosts who worked for an ESPN affiliate as "deceitful scumbags,"
Captain tinydick strikes again. Not that WEEI DJs are probably any less horrible.
and also for saying an interview that aired on ESPN was "awful and embarrassing." Does he think they were right to suspend him? "No, I don't."
/"tiniest violin in the world" finger rubbing motion
ESPN is owned by the Walt Disney Company, and some of Simmons' behavior — like, say, calling soccer "gay" or mocking people for being fat — makes him a far more troublesome employee than Mickey Mouse.
The author of this piece is somehow a more worthless writer than Simmons himself. Jesus that's bad.
Periodically, the two parties get annoyed at one another. ESPN president John Skipper once said working with Simmons was "about 99.8 percent great." ("Working with ESPN is 99.1 percent great," Simmons counters.)
Convincing the network to do 30 For 30 required "a year of arm-twisting," he says. When it was a success, and his basketball book had been a big hit, his contract was up for renewal. "I had a little leverage." He told ESPN that he wanted his own site, or he'd leave and do it elsewhere.
Spoken with all the cunning and accomplishment of a man born on third base who believes he hit a triple.
Grantland's success, like Simmons', has resulted from good fortune as well as talent. Since 2002, Boston teams have dominated pro sports, tallying eight titles in twelve calendar years, including baseball, basketball, hockey, and football. No other city has ever had that kind of success, and it brought a lot of attention to Simmons. No wonder he loves Tom Brady so much.
What? 1) Grantland launched in 2011--Boston has won two championships since, and one happened like a week after the launch--it's not like it's been around since the days of NOMAHHHHH; but more importantly, 2) Grantland has nothing to do with Boston in the first place, other than being affiliated with Simmons. What the fuck is going on in that paragraph? Can anyone parse it for me?
"When we were launching, we didn't realize technology advances would help us so much." GIFs, Instapaper, wi-fi, embeddable links — all foster the ease of promoting a digital magazine.
Again... 2011. As in three years ago. What the fuck are they talking about? Wi-fi? They started installing it on fucking airplanes three years ago. Christ, it was available in subway tunnels like eight years ago. It's been available in coffee shops and residences since the turn of the century.
"The iPad has been a godsend — it's probably the greatest thing that's' happened to Grantland. Nobody knew the fucking iPad was coming. I didn't. We hit at the right time."
I promise you, the iPad has about as much to do with the success of Grantland as Bill has to do with the rise of ESPN. Christ, what a moron.
In a recent month, Grantland, according to comScore, had 4.7 million unique visitors, which represents just a sliver of ESPN's 62 million unique visitors
YA DON'T SAY! I could swear we were just talking about how Bill was ESPN and ESPN was Bill.
and pales compared to Yahoo Sports' 57.9 million. (Even Deadspin, the Johnny Lawrence to Simmons’ Daniel LaRusso, had 13.8 million.)
But you can subtract 13.7 million of those, because secretly everyone who works there wants to be best friends with Bill!!!!!
But the site's balance sheet isn't the point. ESPN likely pays him more than $5 million a year, the insider estimates — not because of Grantland, but because Simmons is a guy with big ideas, a one-man vertical-integration engine.
Barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf
Now that he oversees an empire, Simmons says he doesn't care as much about Boston teams. "It's not life-or-death anymore," he says with a shrug.
Wrong. Wrong. Lies. According to his ESPN co-anchors (who announced this live on the air tonight, so it's probably more good-natured ribbing that anything else, but I still believe there's real emotion behind it), when he saw that the Celtics didn't move up via the lottery tonight, he said "This is murder" or "This is torture." (I forget which but it was one of the two.) IT'S THE DRAFT LOTTERY, YOU DUNCE. IT'S NOT EVEN THE DRAFT ITSELF. FUCK YOU.
But that might not be true. His daughter loves L.A.'s hockey team, the Kings, so he took her to see them play his team, the Bruins. "Boston won, and I taunted her on the way home.
She started crying. She was, like, six years old." A few years later, they went to another Kings-Bruins game, and this time her team won. "She was yelling and high-fiving everyone," Simmons says, "and she taunted me." Of course she did. It's in the bloodline.
What an uninspiring choice for an anecdote that's supposed to wrap up the whole article. All I learned from it is that Bill is a asshole and his kids will probably grow up to be mean. This has been uninformative to say the least. Rolling Stone sucks ass and I hope it goes out of business soon. Good night and God bless. SMH.