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Hoop Memes: Bill Simmons

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ESPN.com’s “The Sports Guy,” the most popular online sports columnist in the country, has a new tome, The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy. The always no-bull Bill spoke to Will Leitch.

We should prepare readers. Your book is massive: 700 pages!
I could have split it into two books, but I never understood the purpose of that. I’m not doing a romance or a spy novel, or something that you have to read in four days. Mad Men does thirteen episodes per year. If they did fifteen, would people say, “Ah, fuck! That’s too many episodes! I only want to watch thirteen!” The length is the length.

Can you give us the Cliffs Notes?
My goal was to figure out why some players or teams matter more than others. Is there a theme we can use to figure everything out? Is there a secret to all of this? I actually think I figured it out.

What do you think of Knicks GM Donnie Walsh’s moves since he took over from Isiah Thomas?
Replacing Isiah is like being the next boyfriend of someone who was engaged to a dude with a two-inch dick. You’re getting rave reviews no matter what happens. Still, I think he’s done a lousy job, other than signing Mike D’Antoni and masterfully manipulating the local media. I also believe they’re misleading their fans to some degree: The perception is that LeBron James—or someone almost as good—is coming in the summer of 2010, and that’s why they haven’t signed anyone to long-term deals or traded for any star players. But really, they won’t have enough cap space to add LeBron and two more quality guys until 2011. If LeBron was dumb enough to sign with the 2010 Knicks, it would be like Gretzky and the Kings all over again.

Is there any way for Isiah to get his good name back?
Probably not. It’s a bad idea to hire a great player to run an NBA team. The thing that makes them great players makes them unravel as executives: They’re conditioned to believe they always have the right answers, that they will always come through.

You’ve developed a love of soccer. What brought that on?
Between the Cup team, youth soccer, and the first generation of adults weaned on the 1994 World Cup, the next decade really will be one where soccer takes off here. I don’t want to be one of those old farts on The Sports Reporters grumbling, Soccer? Who watches soccer? Though that’s a bad example; they’d never let me on Sports Reporters. I’m taller than five-foot-nine.

The Book of Basketball
ESPN Books. October 27.


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