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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Simmons’

Save The Hyperbole, John

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John Calipari and John Wall

During last night’s NBA Draft-powered run on Kentucky basketball players, head coach John Calipari offered this assessment of the “historical” evening: “This is biggest night in the history of Kentucky basketball.” I have seven reasons to disagree with Coach Calipari, but more than that, I wish he’d just ease up with the unending hyperbole assault that erupts from him at will. Yes, it’s true he has every reason to be proud of his first recruiting class for Kentucky, but are over-the-top comparisons really necessary?

Bill Simmons doesn’t think so either:

5:04: John Calipari tries to claim with a straight face that, since Kentucky might have five first-round picks, it’s the biggest day in the history of Kentucky basketball. Yeah, I’m sure it beats winning the title in 1996 or 1998. Go away.

While the “go away” is a probably more drastic than I’m thinking, Simmons and I agree on this: Stop the hyperbole, Cal. So far, you’ve proven to be exactly what the realistic Kentucky fans expect: a fantastic recruiter who knows how to capitalize on popularity, but a suspect bench coach. That’s always been the give-and-take with Calipari, and failing to at least advance to a Final Four with the roster he put in the draft last night emphasizes this quite well. Clearly, he gets his fair share of top talent; however, he doesn’t go all the way when he’s got such teams.

Granted, winning a National Championship is never easy — Kentucky has seven in over 100 years of basketball history — but please, save the “greatest day” stuff for an actual banner-raising; one that’s safe from being taken away by the NCAA, preferably.

Bill Simmons Loves Him Some LeBron

After watching LeBron James hold court against the Los Angeles Clippers last Saturday, Bill Simmons delivered a 3000-word thesis declaring his unconditional love for all things King. While there was some criticism of James’ desire to win, overall, the article was one long lovefest for the current “King” of the NBA. While Kobe’s fourth ring might disagree with this claim, the ease at which James performs his devastating basketball acts of greatness has made Simmons a believer.

An example of said belief:

Look, if that was the only fun moment of the game, I would have left happy. But LeBron has those “HOLY S—!!!!!!” moments once a quarter. Late in the fourth, Gordon drove past Delonte West and tried to get to the rim, only West timed it and elevated to meet him at the backboard. And I’m watching the play thinking, “Damn, Delonte might get that,” when out of nowhere, the smoke monster from “Lost” came gusting in at warp speed, jumped five feet in the air, soared over both Gordon and West and somehow blocked West’s block. The smoke monster? LeBron. A blocked shot of a blocked shot!!! Have you ever seen that one before?

All of that hyperbole for a blocked shot. But see, there’s a method to Simmons’ madness. LeBron makes these acts being described with reverence seem commonplace, if not outright easy to do; and has a long admirer of professional basketball, Simmons sees how easy the game comes to James and he can’t help himself by unleashing a verbal onslaught rivaling verbal fellatio.

However, this is not a criticism of Simmons.

When you see an otherworldly player dominate a sport you’ve loved your entire life so effortlessly, it’s hard not to get giddy. While I don’t necessarily share the same level of love for James, I too find some of his game-by-game exploits head-shaking — that is, I have no choice but to shake my head when I see him pull off yet another act that should defy normal basketball physics. Conversely, at some point, a player with that much drool-worthy talent has to do more than just move the crowd.

He has to win; and that’s something Simmons doesn’t know if LeBron will ever aspire to.

Right now, he doesn’t want it as badly as Jordan did or Kobe does. There’s more than a hint of Shaqitis with him, a feeling that LeBron wants to win but isn’t obsessed with winning. And you have to be both. Just look at what happened last summer: Kobe distinguished himself by perfecting the footwork for a startlingly effective low-post game; LeBron distinguished himself by promoting a documentary and a book. Does he want this or not?

So what happens if LeBron never develops that “win-or-else” killer instinct that drove the Michael Jordans, Larry Birds and Kareem Abdul-Jabbars of the world? What happens to his legacy? Is he doomed to being another Dominique “Human Highlight Film” Wilkins for the modern era? Of course, where LeBron lands after the 2010 season will go a long way when it comes to determining his place in NBA history.

Bill Simmons Agrees With Curt Schilling

Bill Simmons

A lot was made about Curt Schilling’s comments about Kobe Bryant’s demeanor after Schilling blogged about attending Game 2 of the NBA Finals. In case you don’t quite recall; essentially, Schilling said Bryant was extremely hard on his teammates and apparently displayed noticeable levels of aggravation towards the other Lakers, including some sailor-like cussing.

For his observations, Schilling was taken to task by a number of sports blogs and one MSM (mainstream media) columnist in particular. In his LA Times piece, T.J. Simers called the Boston pitcher a jerk and a hit-and-run blogger.

I wonder if Simers would change his tune if someone else — someone actually employed by the MSM — agreed with Schilling and supported pretty much everything in the 38 Pitches post. Well, maybe we’ll find out now that Bill Simmons has planted his flag in Schilling’s corner with his latest Page 2 entry:

2. The Kobe anecdotes are so damning you have to read them to fully grasp the significance. All I can say is I sat close to the court for Games 1 and 2 and can confirm everything — the glares, the yelling, the extended staring, the poisonous body language and everything else. If this had been pickup hoops, some of Kobe’s teammates would have intentionally thrown a game just to get back to the sidelines, then done the “No, I’m running with these four guys” routine when he came over to ask if they wanted “Next” with him.

That’s two Boston-area supporters singing the same tune. Is this just a case of hearing with a homer’s ears or is Kobe really that surly to his teammates? Is Simmons just standing up for Schilling because of the pitcher’s role in getting a World Series championship back to Boston or are they merely confirming what many NBA watchers already assumed about Bryant? I mean, it’s not like some of these boorish mannerisms escaped the camera’s watchful eye completely. It was quite easy to see the MVP was upset with his team in Game 2.

And with that Mr. Simers, the gauntlet has been thrown down. It’s your move.

In some final, not-so-related news, a GIS for “Bill Simmons” turns up some interesting and amusing results. Things like this are always good for a chuckle. And she’s just hot.