News this week broke that Bill Simmons has left the sports entertainment network ESPN, where he had worked for 15 years. As I’ve highlighted on this blog before I am a big fan of Simmons’ writing, particularly his writing on the National Basketball Association. Here are links to what I think was some of his best stuff:
Simmons’ annual ‘NBA Trade Value’ columns were always fun. The idea
behind them was that Simmons ranked the NBA players in terms of their ‘trade
values’, in that any given player would theoretically be traded by their team if
that team could get back a player that was higher on the list. Grantland
recently collected the whole
lot, dating back to 2001.
Also fun was Simmons’ annual NBA Draft Diaries.
Basically Simmons kept a running diary of his thoughts and predictions while he
was watching the NBA Draft Coverage. (I used a similar format on my blog
post on reading the final Harry Potter book.)
Simmons also often used the ‘retro-diary’ format, such as for his
re-watching of the 1987 NBA
All-Star Game. Even within the column itself Simmons admitted this was
possibly taking sports-obsessiveness to new levels. However, his preview of the
eventually good but hardly famous 2011 NBA
All-Star Game probably went even further in its obsessiveness of NBA
Simmons had a bunch of amusing ideas that he
liked to repeat throughout his columns. One was the Ewing Theory,
which was the theory that sometimes team play better without their supposedly
best player. Another was the Entertaining-As-Hell
Tournament, which was an idea for determining the last couple of spots in
the NBA playoffs. Another was the Pyramid
format for sports Halls of Fame, which was an idea he took to epic, rambling,
but entertaining, levels in his ‘Book of Basketball’.
I also liked his questions
for determining the NBA MVP, but hated his idea that if no-one ‘deserved’
the award it should
be rolled over into the next season.