ESPN's Sports Guy Pays A Visit
By Marcus Gilmer in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 2, 2009 7:00PM
Ah, Bill Simmons aka ESPN's The Sports Guy. To know him is to either love him or hate him. To those that love him, his constant pop-culture riffs and irreverent takes on today's athletes make him seem like one of us: a fan. To those that would rather see him deleted from ESPN's archives, he's a Boston sports homer whose schtick has long since worn thin. Us? We love the guy. While his writing occasionally comes across as just a tad too jokey (sometimes undermining some good points), we can dismiss his homerism - at least he's honest and upfront about it - he's producing an entertaining podcast, he's doesn't suffer for a lack of passion, and he definitely knows sports, particularly basketball.
The latest proof is the just-published and aptly-named The Book of Basketball, a 736 page behemoth. While littered with the usual jokes and pop-culture references readers will recognize, the book is nothing short of impressive in its depth and the way in which Simmons devours everything about the NBA, the ABA, and just basketball in general - check out the level of detail he goes to in the chapter debating who was better between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain (spoiler alert: he picks Russell). We're only a third of the way into the book and already we're bordering on overwhelmed, but in a good way. The book is brimming with anecdotes, stories, and stats, plus a use of footnotes that would make David Foster Wallace proud.
In the midst of a nation-wide tour and media blitz to promote the book, Simmons will be in town this evening at the ESPN Zone to sign copies of his book. Swing by, say hi, and get pick up a copy of the book; just don't mention Aaron Boone.
Bill Simmons, Monday, November 2, 5:30 p.m., ESPN Zone, 43 E. Ohio Street