Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Finger Points Outwards - No. 105

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 greats.

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.

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