Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Court of Opinion

  • The Book of Basketball
  • By Bill Simmons, October 27, 2009
  1. 1.Sam Anderson:The wisdom, the blasphemy, the stripper anecdotes ...
  2. 2.Sam Anderson:The inconsistency drives me crazy.
  3. 3.Sherman Alexie:The genius of Simmons: He is an obsessive-compulsive basketball populist.
  4. 4.Bethlehem Shoals:Simmons mistakes going too far, and wallowing in excess, for taking risks.
  5. 5.Jonathan Lethem:I felt starved for something booklike in this book-resembling object.
  6. 6.Tommy Craggs:The Secret: A hopelessly banal point about chemistry and sacrifice.
  7. 7.Ben Mathis-Lilley:Some thoughts on the book's horrible sexism.
  8. 8.Sam Anderson:I think Bill Simmons is a very good writer.
  9. 9.Bethlehem Shoals:I'm reluctantly raising an issue that could swallow up this discussion whole.
  10. 10.Sherman Alexie:The Last Great White American Player Syndrome?
  11. 11.Jonathan Lethem:Let me try a small stunt here.
  12. 12.Tommy Craggs:Placing the NBA in the heart of a certain kind of white-bread Americana.
  13. 13.Ben Mathis-Lilley:We can’t knock Simmons as an overcompensating tourist in hip-hop culture.
  14. 14.Sam Anderson:Good-bye to the soul-searching, the Vonnegut references, the Iverson jokes.
Sam Anderson
"Good-bye to the soul-searching, the Vonnegut references, the Iverson jokes."
12/16/09 at 12:20

I'm going to make this short, because I think that (between the round-table participants and the commenters) we've just collaboratively written some kind of terrifying 300,000-word hybrid blog-book about Bill Simmons, and if it gets any longer we'll all be guilty of the same sin of excess we've been having so much fun accusing him of.

That said, I think our discussion has filled a niche that desperately needed filling: an in-depth discussion of BS's work by and for a demographic that he appeals to but refuses to acknowledge—English majors, snobs, feminists, aesthetes, basically everyone who loves to watch his brain work but feels conflicted about the dude-ier extremes of his shtick. Just so you know, I'm planning to cut and paste all of this into a document, pump up the high-culture references, and pitch it to my agent as The Book of the Book of Basketball: The Namby-Pamby, Fuddy-Duddy, Hypersensitive, Unathletic, Whipped, Frat-Excluded, ABD Egghead Dork's Guide to the Sports Guy. It'll sell nine copies and get murmured about someday, apologetically, at a small-college faculty wine-and-cheese party somewhere in rural Indiana. I'm extremely proud to have been a part of it.

And with that I'd like to say farewell, forever, to the Bill Simmons Reading Room. Thank you very much for all of your hard work: the soul-searching, the Vonnegut references, the ironic misogyny, the Iverson jokes. ("We're supposed to be wrapping up a Reading Room and we're talking about Iverson jokes!")

I hereby release you back into the pickup games at your local gym, where I hope all twelve of Kevin McHale’s post moves descend upon you simultaneously, allowing you to lead your team to victory (although not in a way that unduly glorifies your individual achievements) over a squad of overpaid, coke-addicted, stats-hungry opponents.