(No Bolts today. Have a very happy New Year’s Eve and don’t do anything too stupid.)
UPDATE: Simmons wrote about his experience in OKC in this week’s “Miller Lite Man Up” section of his column.
So Bill Simmons showed up at the Thunder-Nets game Wednesday in Oklahoma City. For those of us, myself included, who enjoy Simmons’ columns and podcasts but also want him to fully embrace the Thunder, a reaction of maybe 10 percent of the intensity of the Double Rainbow Guy swept over us.
Why was Simmons here? What did his presence mean? Why does it matter to me and people like me that he was at the Thunder game, and what he thinks about the team and city?
Simmons is the most popular sports columnist in the U.S., and by extension the world. (I’d be surprised for various reasons if China and India, the only two countries more populous than the U.S., have sports columnists as widely read as Simmons.) I suspect that it’s not even close. That also makes him the most polarizing, thanks to the combined natures of sportswriting and popularity.
Readers who don’t like Simmons probably don’t like him for the same reasons readers don’t like other columnists: They don’t like his style, or his opinions, or perceived biases and so on. But many other sportswriters and columnists seem to have a particularly pointed dislike of ESPN.com’s Sports Guy, and it most certainly is the result, in most cases, of jealousy of one kind or another. Common criticisms include charges that he’s not a “real” journalist, mainly because he doesn’t do locker room interviews or face many of the people at whom he takes shots, that he makes too many jokes and that he’s a homer. In reality, those critics within his profession are mostly jealous that he makes more money than they do, that he has more readers than they do, and that he has all that despite writing only once or twice a week and talking mainly to his professional and real-life friends on his podcasts. Keep Reading…