Live Blog: Bill Simmons’ Live Chat

It has been established by now that I will live blog nearly anything.

But I don’t believe anyone’s ever done this.

I’ll let you scroll down and read them, because there are unfunny chestnuts from me interspersed in there, but the main points of this chat are thus:

  • Everyone liked the column about his dog.
  • Housekeeping: the basketball book is due October 27th; Simmons’ magazine deadlines have changed; Simmons loves the podcast format, but once the book is done, it’s back to “2 podcasts and 2+ columns per week”; Simmons compares himself to Brian Scalabrine when discussing 2010 free agency.
  • Deadspin is mentioned, and Will Leitch mentioned without name.
  • On the Super Bowl: Cardinals fans are scarce; the overplayed story is Larry Fitzgerald, Sr.; Pittsburgh is likely to win the Super Bowl for a variety of reason.
  • ESPN’s tech guys are awful.

11:53 AM EST: And, of course, silly me, he starts early, at 11:43 EST, instead of waiting like a decent person. I suppose this makes him a little bit less Left Coaster, but as a reader, I’m miffed.

11:54: He begins by making reference to everyone who emailed in about his tremendous column on the Dooze, the late Simmons family dog.

But first: I wanted to first thank everyone who e-mailed about last week’s Dooze column; all the feedback and dog stories from readers helped Team Simmons immensely. It was really nice. What frightened me was how many people lost dogs before the age of 7; I’m not convinced that getting a dog to 10 is a 50-50 proposition… maybe even 40-60. Unfortunately I was traveling last weekend and and my AOL mailbox got filled three different times, so there were two different 10-hour stretches were every e-mail just got bounced back to the sender. Sorry about that. Thanks again for writing in and we really appreciated it.

Simmons having a heart for something other than Boston sports isn’t a bad thing.

11:57: Simmons takes a softball on the Arizona Cardinals’ run game (he thinks it won’t exist Sunday) and bunts on one Larry Fitzgerald, Sr. question. Then he fires:

Alex (Olathe, KS): When your daughter makes the WNBA a legitimate sport, are you going to cover it as objectively as Larry Fitzgerald Sr. is handling the Super Bowl?

Bill Simmons: (11:49 AM ET ) I will be in my garage with the car running.

Look, that hurts, for a guy who claims to love basketball. And WNBA jokes are a dying breed.

12:01: Simmons won’t give up the ghost on that “Simmons for Bucks GM” campaign:

Anyway, it’s clear that the NBA GM job is overrated as we’ve seen by how many people have failed at it – why not take a chance with someone like me and get fans talking and message boards buzzing? What could the Bucks possibly do that would be a bigger national story than a controversial GM or coach hire? Name me one thing. You can’t. The other move would be to just make someone a player-coach… which I think is illegal.

They could win. Not that hard to take a young team to an inspiring playoff run in the top-heavy East, especially if you miss Boston/Cleveland/Orlando in the first round or think, like I do, that catching the dead-tired Celtics might actually be a blessing come March. Doing some grand experiment in their front office with a sportswriter pushing the nicest papers would be a sign of ultimate desperation.

12:05: Simmons, on dingleberries and Blackberries?

Mike (Boston): My Streak for Cash is at 26 Wins. I took 2+ hours for this chat, am I winning a million dollars?

Bill Simmons: (12:03 PM ET ) You’re definitely winning 2+ hours. You know, that would have been a fun streak for the cash wager – along with “Teen Wolf” references and “Number of questions I will answer while sitting on the bowl.”

Or smoking one. Am I right?

12:07: Quick hits: Simmons doesn’t talk Lost because he doesn’t want to spoil it for the troops overseas; All-Star teams are a joke; Mike Tomlin is the coolest coach in sports ever in history.

Does Simmons know that Jeff Fisher jumps out of planes?

12:11: Simmons vs. Skip Bayless?

Tim (Walla Walla, WA): Why don’t you ever go on ESPN First Take to debate Skip Bayless?

Bill Simmons: (12:07 PM ET ) You Know, I’ve thought about doing this. My plan would be to go on, then after every point he makes, I’d do a Sarcastic Clap like the SNL skit with the Sarcastic Clapping Family. And I’d never make any actual points. Just two hours of sarcastic claps. I think he’d be flustered.

Bill, I have it on good authority that the man is a big Lil Wayne fan. If you think he would be flustered by you clapping, you clearly have never seen Skip sip that lean.

(I mean, I haven’t, either, but it would explain some of his points, right?)

12:15: Simmons talked about Super Bowl prop bets in his podcast this week, but he saved the fun one for the chat:

Bill Simmons: (12:10 PM ET ) Also liked this one…

Bill Simmons: (12:11 PM ET ) Jersey Number of Player to score First Touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII: Over/under for number is 38.5 (-115 for each side)

For the record, Troy Polamalu is 43. Willie Parker wears 39. But Santonio Holmes and Larry Fitzgerald are both in the under. That’s a fun bet.

12:17: Misdirected Bitterness Report:

John (OKC, OK): Why do continually refuse to recognize the (TEAM THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED)? Look, I feel bad for Seattle fans, but they didn’t pony up the necessary cash and we did. I would’ve preferred it to go down differently, but this kind of thing happens. Why does (THE HIJACKERS) get the silent treatment when plenty of other teams have done the same thing?

Bill Simmons: (12:16 PM ET ) You know what’s great about our chat machine? You can edit everyone’s questions. Good times!

You know who really got screwed in the Sonics’ move to OKC? Fans in both places. One popular team gets unmoored from the city that birthed it and plopped in a city that, after taking care of a team that was essentially homeless, gets hammered by the press every time someone mentions the team. The Oklahoma City fans earned the right to be considered for pro franchises with their ardent support of the post-Katrina Hornets; that they got the Thunder, who will always be viewed as a “stolen” team by some, is unfortunate.

On the bright side: Kevin Durant.

12:20: Better conspiracy theorists than I: is Simmons baiting Will Leitch here?

Chris: As someone who’s never watched Mad Men, and after all the podcasts and columns, I just now realized that Don Draper is the character and not the person who you watch football with on Sundays. Well done!

Bill Simmons: (12:19 PM ET ) I am desperately trying to get Draper/Hamm on a podcast next week – he is a HUGE Cardinals fan. And not just that, the only football Cards fan I have ever met.

Simmons reads blogs. If you read Deadspin, you know that Will Leitch was one of something like three public fans of the Arizona Cardinals pre-2007.

So is Simmons just asking for something, or is he blanking on Leitch, or is Leitch’s name verboten?

12:25: That basketball book may actually exist.

The Dish (Elgin, IL): Any updates on a release date for your new basketball book? Will there be another signing tour?

Bill Simmons: (12:21 PM ET ) The book is coming out on October 27th. I am almost done – that’s why I haven’t been writing as many columns for the past few months. I am hopefully handing in the book by the end of this month – after that, columns galore! Or at least 3 more a month. OK, maybe one more a month. We’ll see. But I am almost done.

Another date to circle on the calendar: Feburary 3rd. And mostly because I want to read Will’s thoughts on Erin Andrews.

12:27: Backpedaling on that “Draper/Hamm loves the Cards” thing:

Lance (Chandler, AZ): Don Draper is the only Cardinal fan you have ever met? A certain former editor of Deadspin would like a word with you.

Bill Simmons: (12:22 PM ET ) That’s a great point. Actually, I have met four if you include the Sklar Bros… but Hamm was the only one who floored me by casually mentioning he was a Cards fan.

Oh, and, yeah, THAT’S STILL ON THE CHAT PAGE. It’s saved in Paint; I’ll have it up if it vanishes.

12:34: Right, I have to update this.

12:35: Some inside baseball stuff on ESPN the rag:

Andrew (Los Angeles,CA): Did you write your mag column before Andrew Bynum was named Western Conference Player of the Week and dropped 42 on Los Clippers? Have your thoughts changed on his ceiling or his contract extension?

Bill Simmons: (12:32 PM ET ) It’s funny you should ask. They changed my magazine deadline (which sucks for me from a “timing” standpoint) – I now hand in my column on Wednesdays the week before the issue comes out… which means it makes it online 7 days later and on the newsstands 2 days after that.

See, these are things you’d like to know, especially if you’re playing Bill Simmons’ Magazine Column Topics bingo. Now I can cross-reference the date with the Los Angeles listings for USA and Bravo and the local CBS affiliate and figure out which ’80s teen comedy I should watch for next!

12:38: Simmons, black newspapers, and you:

Bill Simmons: (12:34 PM ET ) Just got some interesting info on Larry Fitz Sr.’s paper from a friend…

Bill Simmons: (12:36 PM ET ) Apparently Larry Fitz’s Sr’s newspaper is a longstanding African-American newspaper that covers the community (and major sporting events)… there are a few of them dating back to the 1900 (they used to cover the Negro Leagues way back then) and this is one of them. So that’s why you might live in Minny and not have heard of the paper… you know, if you’re white.

Guess what, Simmons? You may not know this, having grown up in a lily-white suburb of Boston, but you can find those papers at local shops and libraries and things like that. I know that I know where I can get the Brevard Ebony News.

But I also understand that some people would have no clue about it. So you have a point.

12:43: Presented without comment:

Mark (New York): How do you feel about SI’s cover story about LeBron’s size and strength that never mentions steroids or HGH, even to deny his use? I felt like I was reading every baseball article from the late 90’s again.

Bill Simmons: (12:39 PM ET ) There were a few weird things about that story – mainly, that LeBron weighed 275 LAST YEAR and they made it seem like a new thing. I don’t think it’s a news story that a kid hits his mid-20’s and his body starts filling out. The story that would have been good (and was touched on only briefly) was LeBron’s experience playing for the Olympic team and how he saw the work ethic of guys like Kobe firsthand and realized that he wasn’t getting enough out of his own talents. That’s been the difference.

Bill Simmons: (12:40 PM ET ) Similar story: When Barkley played on the Dream Team in ’92, it had a profound effect on his career – he showed up for the Suns in shape and won MVP. And that’s because he was hanging out with MJ and Karl Malone every day that summer and his competitiveness kicked in.

Bill Simmons: (12:40 PM ET ) To me, THAT was the LeBron angle if you’re going to write about him.

I’ll admit, that angle makes sense. Seeing how Kobe was deified in China didn’t hurt, though.

12:45: Simmons on Favre:

Rick (Milwaukee, WI): As a former Brett Favre fan, I was curious if you can name some other athletes who have completely tarnished their long-established on-the-field/off-the-field image/persona at the end of their careers?

Bill Simmons: (12:41 PM ET ) You mean, other than OJ? Hmmm…

Bill Simmons: (12:41 PM ET ) Steve Carlton. Gary Payton. Emmitt Smith. Patrick Ewing. Wayne Gretzky.

Bill Simmons: (12:41 PM ET ) It happens more than you think.

Color me amazed that Jordan doesn’t get grouped in here. He was a shadow of himself with the Wizards as a player, helped destroy that franchise, and seems to be a figurehead in Charlotte. Plus, this.

Even MJ’s not unassailable. His legacy is tainted, a bit. At least, it is to me.

12:48: Simmons on the Bahstahn media:

Jason (Boston, MA): Dan “The CHB” Shaughnessy says Tom Brady is now soft because a smoking hot Brazilian super model was offering him a bite of her lunch. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Boston print media!

Bill Simmons: (12:46 PM ET ) Nothing ever changes in Boston. It’s amazing. WEEI just re-signed Glenn Ordway for 5 more years. It’s Groundhog Day. The Globe has had the same two sports columnists for TWENTY ONE YEARS.

When you think about that, though, it’s incredible. I know the papers I read have turned over columnists quite frequently, and I mentioned to a friend while watching Around the Horn (I know, but there was nothing else on) the other day that none one of the four “writers” on the show (Woody Paige, Jay Mariotti, Kevin Blackistone, J.A. Adande) had a job in print journalism for a paper.

Update: I’m informed, via Twitter, that Paige still has a job at the Denver Post. My apologies for the mistaken assumption, and thanks to mccombie for the correction.

And this comes about five years after they were big enough names at their papers to get the ATH gig. That’s a stunning decline for newspaper journalism, and Boston flies in the face of that.

12:52: Simmons nails podcasting. Nails it:

PeteFitz (chicago): Mr. Sportsguy, Any reason for the podcasts over the columns these last two weeks? I personally like the columns better (for selfish reasons, I like to read at work), so I was wondering if there was a specific reason.

Bill Simmons: (12:50 PM ET ) Again, I am desperatrely trying to finish my book – so that’s one reason, I only have so many writing hours in me each day. The other reason is that I love doing the podcasts and feel like I’m on the ground floor of a medium that is really starting to take off. It’s like radio on demand and I think it’s going to kill satellite radio in 2 years. I really do. It’s also a huge threat to real radio in my opinion, especially when people can get internet in their cars and can just cue podcasts up within 3 clicks. It’s astonishing to me that nobody has written a long piece about podcasts yet. This is EXACTLY the same as what happened with sportswriting in the late-90s where nobody was taking the internet seriously and suddenly within 7 years there were a million sports blogs, mainstream sites were crushing newspapers and newspapers were hemorrhaging money. We are headed that way with podcasts. I just think radio is going to become much more niche-oriented over these next 10 years… people don’t see it yet. Christian Slater in “Pump Up The Volume” is going to look like a genius.

I don’t think podcasts decimate radio the way the ‘Net is killing blogs, because there’s really no Craigslist effect: people still turn on radios in cars and local listeners still have their shows, which means local advertising will stick around. But podcasts will turn into more micro-targeted, locally-focused things. Bet on that.

12:57: Remember that Kurt Warner puppy bet? It matters to Simmons.

Chris (Phoenix): WARNER PUPPY ANSWER: The interview where Kurt talked about the Puppy issue, this is what was said. His wife Brenda told the kids that if daddy won the superbowl he would get them a puppy. Kurts response to her was that he wants to win the superbowl, but doesnt want a puppy.

Bill Simmons: (12:52 PM ET ) Exactly. This makes me worried. I don’t want to bet against god and puppies and gambling theories hatched in Pakistan, but at the same time, I think God is going to be mad at Kurt if he reneges on the puppy bet. Hmmmmmmm.

Satan could be mad, too.

1:00: Simmons can’t quit Manny:

Conrad (Phila.): Sorry about the Dooze. As someone who watched his dog get run over by a car, losing a dog before they’re supposed to is tough. Now that that’s out of the way, you’re an idiot — Manny Ramirez is perfectly rated. He’s just a nut case. That’s why nobody wants him; nobody doesn’t say he isn’t like one of the top 10 hitters in baseball EVER . . .

Bill Simmons: (1:00 PM ET ) But he’s not! He is NOT properly rated! Here is a guy who got on base 24 of 36 times in the 2008 postseason and the fans of teams like Anaheim and Texas and San Fran aren’t clamoring for their GM’s to sign him. It’s crazy to me. Everyone seems to think he is a cancer of the highest order… why? Because that’s what the Red Sox front office told their media minions. We have NEVER HEARD MANNY’S SIDE EVER. We are hearing one side of the story. It’s a smear campaign. How could anyone NOT think this guy would produce for 3 years if you gave him $75 million… in a league that’s given AJ Burnett and Barry Zito huge money? I am just flabbergasted by this whole thing. His teams have won everywhere he’s gone. Without fail.

As someone elsewhere pointed out: Barry Bonds fits many of these criteria. And no one wants him, either. Unless you’re willing to deny that Bonds is one of the ten greatest power hitters ever, Simmons, you can’t call Manny underrated; the rarefied air there won’t allow it.

1:03: By the way, this chat’s got a strong Boston flavor. Simmons has touched on the Celtics firing their mascot, dropped local sobriquets for Dunkin’ Donuts, rehashed the 1988 Celtics’ loss, and taken a question about Jason Varitek.

He may be a Los Angelite by the grace of the Dooze, but he’s still a Masshole, too.

1:05: Starred-out Expletive Alert:

Jeff (SF): What’s Manny’s side of the story? The clubhouse attendant had it coming?

Bill Simmons: (1:04 PM ET ) Manny got manipulated by his agent. We know that much. But at the heart of it is this: The Sox won the 2007 WS, and heading into 2008, Manny made it clear he wanted to stay and he wanted some resolution to his contract one way or the other – either waive the 09 10 options or pick them up. The Sox did neither. They let him twist in the wind. Did he deserve that after giving them 7 HUGE years and helping them win two titles? I say no. I think they were d**ks about it. But that’s what nobody seems to take into account … the Sox could have avoided a potential mess with Boras simply by waiving those last 2 option years. Why didn’t they do it? Because they wanted to control the process.

Oh, and Jeff in San Fran wins the One-Liner Award.

1:07: Scheduling news:

Ryan (Vancouver, BC): See I think this podcast-article debate needs to be discussed more. Sure I love podcasts and I listen to them at the gym or commuting to work. But it’s pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to listen to them at work. Listening requires more focus than reading, which you can ‘put down and pick back up’. Whenever I try to listen to a podcast at work, I end up trying to read emails or work on something and then I’m rewinding the thing or just give up entirely.

Bill Simmons: (1:06 PM ET ) As soon as I finish my book, we go up to 2-plus columns per week and only 2 podcasts.

So he praises podcasts as a pioneering medium, then says he’s cutting down on them.

People make so much sense sometimes.

1:12: Simmons, puerility, and you:

Steve W, Baltimore MD: What would your reaction be if you were watching the Real World and saw yourself bumping and grinding with a girl you met at a bar in NYC when you were on vacation over the summer? Only now that you see the episode, you realize that the girl was born a dude. Video of you groping a post-op has now been broadcast on national television. What actions must be taken to restore your image? Thanks for taking this question, my “friend” wanted me to ask.

Bill Simmons: (1:10 PM ET ) This was always my dream scenario for any lifelong ball-busting rights over a friend. Never happened. One of my college roomies did pass out once on the bowl with poop all over the bathroom, and when we were videotaping him, he suddenly threw up on camera. We reminded him of it for the rest of senior year. Actually, I think we went too far because we never hear from him anymore. That’s the thing – when you have a “My God, my friends are going to have carte blanche over me forever” moment like that, you’re really just better off finding new friends and starting over.

Do you think Simmons would jump at the chance to have his own hidden camera show with college kids, him in the earpiece? I think he would.

1:15: The Deadspin reference remains intact. Here’s a picture.


1:17: It’s movie time:

Ryan (Pittsburgh): IF you are going to recalibrate the Pacino DeNiro debate, how does the Righteous Kill disaster factor in? I mean are we sure these two are even still alive?

Bill Simmons: (1:17 PM ET ) I haven’t seen it yet. And I will. Pacino’s last 15 years since Heat – other than Any Given Sunday – has been totally indefensible. DeNiro at least had a couple of decent ones. Hold on, Im going to IMDB

I did, too. Throw Insomina in as good stuff, and maybe his caricature of himself in Ocean’s Thirteen.

And remember that there is no Alpa Chino in Tropic Thunder without him. Almost makes up for S1m0ne. (That’s a crime to even type.)

1:24: Simmons just did seven lines on Pacino’s filmography.

Why doesn’t he just have a blog for daily stuff like that, again?

1:25: I wonder if this will stay up (check my italics):

Gabe (Boston): Sprts Guy, I got to ask for your Oscar pick for Best Actor. I mean, The Rourke totally takes it down in The WRestler, yet Sean Penn is Sean Penn. Will the inspiring story of the underdog rising from the washed up grave give Rourke the Oscar?

Bill Simmons: (1:25 PM ET ) It’s one of the best categories ever – Brad Pitt’s retarded nomination aside. I’d vote for Langella over Rourke. Langella was amazing. Frost/Nixon was amazing. That was the best movie I saw this year.

After all, no one say this was going to be a free-flowing live chat that occasionally touched on mature subjects.

And Best Actor is brutal this year, just like Supporting Actor, and, in all honesty, Supporting Actress. You know it’s stocked when Dev Patel, who was really, really good in Slumdog Millionaire, has zero buzz.

1:30: Simmons, like the Carnac of ESPN:

John (KC MO): What do you think/know the odds would be on the parlay of Arizona to win straight up and the over? I heard you and Cousin Sal talking about that bet in a podcast and it sounded decent.

Bill Simmons: (1:28 PM ET ) Bets 100 and you win $486. What scares me is that I know this off the top of my head.

Bill Simmons: (1:29 PM ET ) By the way, I’d like to mention that it’s 74 degrees and sunny in California right now.

An over/under: hours Simmons spends thinking about gambling per day? I’m going with four and a half, and only because he has children at home. And I might take the over.

1:37: One of the things I’ve loved about Simmons on the West Coast was his adoption of the Clippers as the local team to follow:

Dave, Kansas City: After the Clippers fiasco Wednesday night against Chicago, how can Dunleavy still be employed? As a season ticket holder you should organize a deep ops mission to get the pictures he must possess. I’d help but as a Royals season ticket holder I’m looking through the Walmart files to get the dirt on David Glass.

Bill Simmons: (1:33 PM ET ) I want to cover this in more detail at another point…

Bill Simmons: (1:34 PM ET ) But how the Clippers have treated their season ticketholders by NOT firing a complete fraud by Dunleavy, coupled with Dunleavy’s total unwillingness to accept any responsibility whatsoever for this crappy season and/or a roster of players who actively hate him … I mean, it’s honestly one of the most depressing sports-related situations I have ever seen. Mike Dunleavy, I like sports less than I did 3 months ago – just a little, but still – because of you.

Bill Simmons: (1:36 PM ET ) You should quit. Have the dignity to step down as coach. Keep your GM job and continuing making bad moves. The Clips fans don’t care – they are smart enough to know that Sterling will never fire you because he’s too cheap. But don’t keep going out there with your crappy gray suits and pretending that these players are listening to you. I have been to 11 or 12 games this year – the fans hate you, the players hate you, we all want you to go. Do the dignified thing and step down. Hand the team over to Kim Hughes.

Bill Simmons: (1:37 PM ET ) And by the way, you might be a nice guy and a great family guy – if you are, that;s fantastic. I just know that this specific Clippers team, and this specific fan base (small, but still), thinks you’re awful at your job and wants you to leave. So do it. You are stealing money from the team.

Bill Simmons: (1:38 PM ET ) Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. My tickets cost $340 for a pair and I get to go watch Baron Davis jog up and down for 20 minutes a night looking like he just smelled a horrible fart. It’s so much fun.

Those are some pointed words, from a not-insignificant season ticket holder. You think Bill Simmons doesn’t have some sway with people who buy Clippers tickets? Wait until he starts the Official Clippers Conspiracy Theory (Presented by Sobe LifeWater) segment on the podcast.

1:48: Simmons, burying the lede:

San Antonio, Tx: Why is it that you hate on Kobe & Bynum and i still read your columns? Laker Fan

Bill Simmons: (1:44 PM ET ) I don’t hate on anybody, I am just giving my opinions that’s all. I think Kobe has been fantastic this season. I have him 2nd for MVP behind LeBron right now. He’s playing the way we’ve always wanted him to play. And I have clearly underestimated Bynum – the 42-pt game meant nothing because he was going against a D League team, but the Spurs game was super-impressive.

No, Bill, ask why someone from San Antonio is a Lakers fan. I can’t make that make sense.

1:50: Still can’t.

1:56: Simmons, going after the execrable “Mount Rushmore of Sports” idea:

Jay (Toronto): So what did SportsCenter steal from you without telling you first?

Bill Simmons: (1:55 PM ET ) The Mount Rushmore gimmick. I’ve been doing that in columns and mailbags for at least 18 months. Even did a whole Mount Rapmore last February. I just think it’s petty to say, “hey, that’s a good idea, let’s take it.”

Who watches SportsCenter by choice?  I want names.

And, Simmons, your Mount Rapmore sucked. In your defense, it’s pretty much impossible to pick just four names for hip-hop, though.

1:59: Simmons gives me a chance to rip something I hate about him:

Matt, Huntsville: Is that anything Out Side the Lines other than steroids?

Bill Simmons: (1:57 PM ET ) Sure! What about coaches hooking up with their players?

Bill Simmons: (1:57 PM ET ) What about college athletes getting paid?

Bill Simmons: (1:57 PM ET ) What about college athletes getting paid?

Bill Simmons: (1:57 PM ET ) That would be a fun blog – just name every bad thing that’s outside the lines.

The double-post is ESPN’s or Simmons’ doing.

Simmons has used “that would be a fun blog” or variations thereof at least a dozen times across all media since 2005. It’s as if he thinks every blog needs to be committed to just one thing, or to fitting his whims, rather than develop a variety of features.

Not every blog is Stuff White People Like. And not every one of your ideas needs to be followed by a blogger; you could do some of this, too, Simmons.

2:09:  Simmons is taking longer to answer some questions now:

Tom (Meridian, Idaho): Bill. We haven’t heard your thoughts on Jim Rice FINALLY making the Hall of Fame. What’s the over/under on the length of his speech? 5 minutes, 10? My bet is he says thanks, then sits down and lets Ricky talk for the next hour.

Bill Simmons: (2:02 PM ET ) Talked about it on a podcast a little. My thoughts go like this: If he wasn’t a HOFer for 14 years, why is he one now?

Bill Simmons: (2:04 PM ET ) I thought it was an reaction to the Steroids Era to some degree – basically, Rice’s numbers from 1975-1986 now look better than they did because they happened before everyone started juicing. Of course, steroids have been around since the 70’s, or as we just found out yesterday in TJ Quinn’s excellent piece about the ’63 Chargers, the early 60’s. So how do we know that the guys from Rice’s Era weren’t juicing?

Bill Simmons: (2:05 PM ET ) That reminds me, I finished the first half of Kirk Radomsky’s book (it was randomly mailed to my house) and it’s really interesting… he mentions at once point that he got HGH for an NBA player and how more NBA players are doing it then people thing… got me wondering why this hasn’t become a story at all.

Bill Simmons: (2:06 PM ET ) When you read about the benefits of HGH, really, it’s all about helping someone recover faster from injuries and wear and tear. And nobody is clear if the side effects are THAT bad. In fact, they use it for cancer and HIV patients all the time. So what would stop an NBA star in his late-20’s or 30’s from taking it?

He’s not great at brevity, but he rambles well.

2:12: Sometimes, answering one question leads to another:

Sean (New York, NY): Speaking of books, What’s your take on the new Joe Torre book?

Bill Simmons: (2:11 PM ET ) I wanted to lose respect for him, but at the same time, he didn’t do anything different than what Phil Jackson did with his books (especially the one that killed Kobe in 2005). But I do think Torre did a nice job of pulling off the “i’m a good guy” routine when he’s really secretly a media hound and an opportunist who rakes in as much money as he can… also, I just don’t think someone like Terry Francona would write a book throwing Sox players under the bus in 5 years. He has more respect for the job than that. So maybe Francona is the guy we THINK Torre is.

When did Simmons respect Torre? He’s been making fun of him since I started reading him, and I know I started reading him no later than 2001 or so.

2:19: Simmons and reposting, reproduced as it exists in the chat:

Rocco (Ardmore, PA): Please rank from first to last the housemates on “Confessions of a Teen Idol” in terms of who has the best shot to reclaim fame. Contestants are Billy Hufsey, Adrian Zmed, Chris Atkins, Eric Nies, David Chokachi, Jeremy Jackson, and Jamie Walters. Also, who is clearly missing from this show, besides of course Billy Zabka?

Bill Simmons: (2:15 PM ET ) Great question. First of all, I am convinced that Hufsey was a last minute fill-in for someone like Zabka or Ian Ziering because even I couldn’t remember who Hufsey was. But I think it goes like this: Jackson, Walters, Chokachi, Atkins, Zmed, Hufsey, Nies.

Bill Simmons: (2:15 PM ET ) Great question. First of all, I am convinced that Hufsey was a last minute fill-in for someone like Zabka or Ian Ziering because even I couldn’t remember who Hufsey was. But I think it goes like this: Jackson, Walters, Chokachi, Atkins, Zmed, Hufsey, Nies.

Bill Simmons: (2:16 PM ET ) Great question. First of all, I am convinced that Hufsey was a last minute fill-in for someone like Zabka or Ian Ziering because even I couldn’t remember who Hufsey was. But I think it goes like this: Jackson, Walters, Chokachi, Atkins, Zmed, Hufsey, Nies.

Bill Simmons: (2:16 PM ET ) Great question. First of all, I am convinced that Hufsey was a last minute fill-in for someone like Zabka or Ian Ziering because even I couldn’t remember who Hufsey was. But I think it goes like this: Jackson, Walters, Chokachi, Atkins, Zmed, Hufsey, Nies.

Bill Simmons: (2:17 PM ET ) Here’s why I have Jackson first – he looks exactly like Jose Canseco. He’s the logical pick for any Canseco TV movie except for the slight issue that he’s about 5-foot-5. But they could just have all short actors in the movie and nobody would know. This is how the cast every Tom Cruise movie and every episode of the Shield. No, really.

Bill Simmons: (2:18 PM ET ) And Walters has been the only guy on the show who really seems to have a good sense of humor about everything… he’s also aged OK, and we know for a fact that he is one helluva musician. I continue to be proud of the fact that I once downloaded “Why?” on I-Tunes.

Simmons has made his fame almost exclusively behind a keyboard. So why can’t he figure out how to manage the ESPN system a little more gently than this? Seriously.

Also, he’s killing me by adding new paragraphs to responses every so often. I’ll have a block of text copied, and he adds another 60 words. Not easy, no.

2:24: Adventures With Typos:

Eric (Manitowoc, WI): Will “Ben” have to double, triple, or quadruple his Super Bowl XL QB rating (22.6) for the Steelers to win this game? And, could this be a prop bet?

Bill Simmons: (2:24 PM ET ) That’s an awesome pro bet! Will “Ben” quadruple his QB rating from XL? That would be a 90.4 rating. And Im taking the under!

I’m all for introducing “pro bet” to the lexicon as a snide little aside when someone takes the asinine side of a bed. (Sorry for the sibiliance.)

“Oh, you picked Clemson at Virginia Tech? That was a pro bet, Mike.”

Think about it.

2:28: The chat has crashed. I can’t get it to load in either Chrome or Firefox.

This is, granted, substantially better than a refresh redirecting me to a 404 from the ESPN Fantasy section, but ESPN’s techies should probably know how to handle a high-volume chat like this, right?

2:29: It’s back.

2:30: On Springsteen’s setlist:

Keith (Vernon, CT): Bill…prediction for the Springsteen setlist? I’m thinking The Rising, Working On A Dream, Born To Run…how do you give The Boss only 12 minutes to work with?

Bill Simmons: (2:27 PM ET ) He definitely ends with Born To Run. That’s a definite. Middle song will be from his new album – the Boss is shrewd like that. For the first song, really, anything is possible. I think he goes uplifting… for some reason I am fearing “Born in the USA” which was always one of my least favorite Bruce songs.

Bill Simmons: (2:27 PM ET ) He definitely ends with Born To Run. That’s a definite. Middle song will be from his new album – the Boss is shrewd like that. For the first song, really, anything is possible. I think he goes uplifting… for some reason I am fearing “Born in the USA” which was always one of my least favorite Bruce songs.

Bill Simmons: (2:28 PM ET ) He definitely ends with Born To Run. That’s a definite. Middle song will be from his new album – the Boss is shrewd like that. For the first song, really, anything is possible. I think he goes uplifting… for some reason I am fearing “Born in the USA” which was always one of my least favorite Bruce songs.

Bill Simmons: (2:28 PM ET ) I am going with these three…

Bill Simmons: (2:29 PM ET ) 1. Glory Days 2. Song from new album 3. Born to Run

If Springsteen doesn’t work “Born in the USA” into this setlist post-Obama, I’m honestly going to be shocked. He definitely closes with “Born to Run,” though.

2:32: Is 2009 is the Year of the Simmons Non-Apology?

O’Neal (Minneapolis): Bill I have to say I?m extremely disappointed in you. When you ripped the newspaper that Fitz Sr. writes for you had the perfect opportunity to be in the situation where everyone would have demanded an apology, and you could have refused starting a huge controversy. Why are you sorry for ripping a newspaper that no one has heard of? Here?s more proof that you have no reason to apologize: I am a African-American sports fan who lives in Minneapolis and played against Larry Fitzgerald Jr. in high school and I have NEVER seen a copy of that paper, anywhere. If I’ve never seen it, who has? Don?t try to retract your apology-it?s too late. I hope you are ashamed.

Bill Simmons: (2:30 PM ET ) It’s a great point. But I also like to be accurate – at least most of the time – and I didn’t know the whole story behind that paper. Don’t worry, my time for refusing to apologize for something will come. I think 2009 is going to be the year.

If only there were a feature on a gambling or sports-centric site that took a random event and gave random odds to a number of different possible occurrences. Hmm.

2:42: Are you noticing that my posts are getting more infrequent? I am, too.

Phil: St. Louis, MO: What is up the the Sports tickers 24 hours a day. Remember when the : 28/:58 would pop up and you would get all your news? Now you can’t watch a any game without knowing a player is probable for a game three days away. I mean, with the internet these days doesn’t everyone already have all the information by the time they eat lunch? The MLB Network is the worst. How many times do I need to see that Manny is still unsigned while watching the replay of the 2006 World Series? How about useful information like when a player hits the clubs and we can bench him the next day for our fantasy leagues?

Bill Simmons: (2:40 PM ET ) It’s a great point. There should be a button on the ticker that says, “NOTHING HAPPENING RIGHT NOW… COME BACK LATER.” I rode Jet Blue cross-country last week and found out about Andy pettitte’s 5.5 million one year deal at least 935 times in 6 hours.

That’s not the solution. The solution is turning those tickers, as we personalize everything in our world, into the equivalent of RSS readers. You’ve seen that Sidney Crosby won’t be suspended by the NHL because Gary Bettman’s an idiot? Mark it as seen.

Interactive TV has been promised for a long time, and we haven’t exactly figured out how to use it yet, but if Facebook can personalize ads to the person online, surely we’re not that far away from figuring out how to tailor ads to Joe Schmoe on his couch, right? That makes a MyESPN premium channel (pick your programming from across the ESPN network, all broadcast in SD and HD, exclusive options like the mark-as-seen ticker) sound even better, no?

2:47: About that Super thingy:

Jerry – Chicago, Il: Bill, Pittsburgh vs Arizona..reminds me of 85 Bears vs New England. Bears had the best defense in the league and a good offense (Pittsburgh)..Patriots were Wildcards (Arizona 9 – 7 nuf said – even though they won their division sort of a wildcard) with 2 qtr’s Tony Eason(young) / Grogan (old)..kinda of like Leinart and Wagner..To many similarites…I say if one of the Cardinals receivers cuts his fingers before the big game (ala Irving Fryar)then the Steelers go on to win this game 41 – 24…call Vegas and bet the house….

Bill Simmons: (2:45 PM ET ) Thanks for bringing that memory up again. But you’re right… some slight similarities there.

Slight similarities is code for “No, Kurt Warner is neither Steve Grogan or Tony Eason, and there’s nothing remotely resembling Larry Fitzgerald on that Patriots team, and the Bears had Walter Freaking Payton at running back, and the only reason those Bears lost even one game is because Miami sideswiped them in one of those weird, defend-our-heritage sorts of games, and you’re an idiot.”

Or at least I hope it is.

2:51: Time to rip Simmons on hockey:

Jamie, Milton, MA: The Bruins need you….

Bill Simmons: (2:51 PM ET ) I will be there in April. I can’t start watching hockey until after March Madness. I am monitoring from afar and couldn’t feel more proud for the long suffering fans. The bottom line is that the salary cap has eliminated the franchise’s biggest obstacle for the last 30-plus years: The cheap-ass owner. So the B’s actually have a shot at winning a Cup.

Look, I’m a newly converted Canadiens fan. I don’t watch hockey on TV because there is no hockey on TV where I am. But I follow my team. I’m aware of what’s going on. And if they were on, I would watch.

But I’m calling BS on not being able to follow hockey at all until the end of March Madness. Hockey is like basketball’s kid brother; it’s around when basketball isn’t, and a sneaky kind of entertaining, and, refreshingly, isn’t promoted to death by ESPN.

Soccer, at this point, which ESPN is angling to make the States’ fourth Big Sport with the rumored Premiership contract, has a better chance at being “popular” than hockey. But that doesn’t mean hockey isn’t possibly the most satisfying professional sport to follow right now.

And Simmons, who’s supposed to be the voice of the average guy, seems to jump on hockey only when it’s convenient for him and/or his ESPN editors. The average guy on the Internet has seen a few fantastic hockey goals, and knows some players, and has figured out that NHL 09 is as good a sports video game that has ever been.

It all just rings false to me.

2:55: But after that, I have to praise Simmons.

Chuck (Long Beach, NY): When your wife makes you move off the West Coast are you going to write a book with Verducci called “The LA Years” where we learn things like people were calling Sal, Cousin Sally behind his back and Kimmel’s NFL Parties lost there way once he allowed people like Tom Cruise and the Killers attend?

Bill Simmons: (2:54 PM ET ) See, I would never do that. That’s why I am a little down on Torre – when Jackson played a similar card with his books, if you read them, the salacious stuff was really for a larger purpose: How Kobe’s antics affected the concept of team, collective zen and all that stuff. Torre’s motivation seems more like a spurned lover to me – “the team went into the tank, it wasn’t my fault, they did wrong by me, I’m gonna get them back.” I think that’s the difference.

I read that Phil Jackson book. I’ll probably read Torre’s book. Simmons is right about this: Jackson wrote about the team, and the Shaq/Kobe drama was just part of that, part of how the philosophy went haywire. He tried to remain blameless, to an extent, like Torre seems to be doing, but he wasn’t ripping people to cover himself. Torre might.

3:05: I like this question:

Tim (Los Angeles): Bill, while your dog “Dooze” is in Heaven, what sports hero do you want throwing him tennis balls? I like to think my dog, Steve, chased Roberto Clemente’s majestic toss right thru the pearly gates.

Bill Simmons: (3:04 PM ET ) Hmmmmmm. I’d go with Teddy Ballgame. I picture Teddy Ballgame being totally impressed with the Dooze’s two-ball trick.

I like the answer, too, but I want video of the two-ball trick.

3:07: The Deadspin thing is still there. I don’t think it’s moving.

3:12: Do you think Simmons gets texts like this?

Jay (NYC) [via mobile]: Yo simmons! Checking in from the blackberry here as I ride the 7 train past Shea. And our unfinished ‘Citi’ field sitting next to the decrepit hulk of Shea reminds me of nothing more than our TEAM! Is there any more unsettled team in sports? We have 3 #6 starters and can’t sign Ollie Perez. We have no left fielder and the wilpons hate Manny. Louis Castillo (or Alex Cora) projects as our second baseman. Yet I am still pumped about 2009? Why?? The only thing I can think of is the fact that Phillies fans are more annoying than the guy from the ‘sham-WOW!’ Commercial. Thoughts?

Bill Simmons: (3:09 PM ET ) I rode by Citi Field on the way to JFK Airport earlier this week. It’s huge! And nice! Way too nice for that area. It looks like the first thing that’s been built around there in 30 years. Seeing poor Shea sitting next to it reminded me of when they built the Hart Center at Holy Cross and then you had to walk by the decrepit Field House to get to it… it’s that much of a difference.

And if Simmons wrote more about Holy Cross, I wouldn’t mind.

3:23: One last good shot at Roger Clemens:

Bob (Kansas City): What, no mention of Clemens’ pre-game ritual of whirlpools and liniment on his boys’?

Bill Simmons: (3:19 PM ET ) It just gets better and better. I don’t even really have a reaction – the way this Clemens thing has played out makes me feel like Andy Dufresne after he escapes and the Warden’s life falls apart.

And he got to make a Shawshank reference.

He did also mention that the Super Bowl pick happens in seconds, the chat ending five minutes after.

3:25: Whoa. Acknowledgement of a possible future beyond ESPN:

Dave (Denver, CO): Are you the underrated free agent of the 2010 class? Next to LeBron, I think I’m most looking forward to seeing where you land.

Bill Simmons: (3:23 PM ET ) I am just ahead of Scalabrine.

He’s been dodgy about things before, with “promises have not been kept” talk and such, but he’s never really noted anything about what could happen.

That said, referencing Scalabrine means ESPN is the Celtics, right? And Bill Simmons wouldn’t bail on the Celtics, right?


3:30: Kick PETA when they’re down, Bill.

Adam (Toronto, ON): As a Raptor truther can you think of another franchise that has had a worse run of GMs than we have? Isiah, Glen Grunwald, Babcock and the most overrated GM in the league Colangelo. That’s almost a Mount Rushmore right there (except in Canada we would call in a Mont Rushmore!)

Bill Simmons: (3:24 PM ET ) Let the record show that I called the day that the Raptor Truthers woulkd turn on Jermaine o’neal (Jan. 19th) almost to the day.

Bill Simmons: (3:24 PM ET ) By the way, this link bugged me.

Bill Simmons: (3:24 PM ET )

Bill Simmons: (3:25 PM ET ) PETA makes me want to not like dogs. Just go away, PETA, it’s a free country.

In fact, kick PETA whenever you want. PETA is an example of the noblest aims (animal rights) being perverted by people who cannot see shades of gray or develop rational, measured approaches to things, and they’re as much media glutton as they are useful activist group.

And if you’d like to know more, with NSFW language, go here.

3:42 (Final Update): The Super Bowl pick is massive, and I’m itemizing my response:

Last Chance- Pitt: Enough with the TV crap. Lets talk football!!!Dont you think Steelers are being overlooked? They have #1 scoring D in NFL. Historically, #1 D’s are 11-2 in super bowls. I can easily see a 3INT, 3 Fumble game for Warner.

Bill Simmons: (3:27 PM ET ) Good segue for my pick. I am going with the Steelers (-7) for the following reasons…

Bill Simmons: (3:27 PM ET ) 1. The Cards don’t have the “Nobody believes in us” factor anymore because they have turned into a huge sleeper pick.

I agree. I don’t think there’s a lot of stock in this at the Super Bowl level except in really rare, could-be-a-steamrolling cases, like Pats-Rams or Giants-Pats from this decade. People think the Cards have a chance. It’s when only the people in one locker room think that team has a chance that you worry.

Bill Simmons: (3:28 PM ET ) 2. If anything, the Steelers now have moved into “Nobody respected us all year!” range because so many like the Cards and because people seem to think that they can’t win without Hines Ward.

Arguable. The Steelers have probably been the most-dissed favorite this year, having lost to the Giants and been verbally taunted all year by the Ravens that they beat three times. The Titans stomping on the Terrible Towel comes to mind.

But, I think the respect factor’s a wash here.

Bill Simmons: (3:29 PM ET ) 3. The Cards won’t be able to run on the Steelers and both teams know it. Pitt has either a great defense or a historically great defense depending on how you feel about them… the numbers back it up. So why wouldn’t a (historically) great defense be able to stop a team that can only move the ball one way?

This is a big one. The Eagles tried to run it. The Panthers couldn’t cover Fitzgerald. The Steelers have almost certainly learned from that; for all the talk about Ken Whisenhunt knowing the Steelers, it’s true that the Steelers know him, too. They’ll be prepared for that.

Bill Simmons: (3:31 PM ET ) 4. Because Zona basically can’t play any decent tight ends, they are relying solely on their WR’s… and you know Pitt is going into this game thinking, “We are going to punish Fitz, Boldin and Breaston and make them miserable.” And I think they can do it. It’s such a physical team – Zona just hasn’t played anyone like that. They really haven’t. I also worry about Boldin going into this game because really hasn’t been the same going overe the middle since that jets game.

And, in the forgotten subplot that Simmons was banging the pots and pans for earlier this year, the Steelers defense finally gets a half-decent field to run on. The last time the Steelers played on a field that wasn’t Heinz’ slop or bitterly cold (New England, Baltimore, and Tennessee were the road games) was in November, when they visited the Redskins.

The Steelers had more sacks, seven, than the ‘Skins had points, six.

And Tampa’s not going to be cold.

Bill Simmons: (3:32 PM ET ) 5. My biggest fear with Pitt – no Hines Ward or limited Hines Ward. But what if he plays and plays well? Doesn’t history show that of anyone, he can fight through the pain and be good?

The Steelers don’t have much of a weapon on offense even with Hines Ward; Santonio Holmes is probably their deep threat, and he seems as likely to botch the big play as he is to make it.

But with Willie Parker running well as long as the game is close–and the Steelers’ defense will at least keep it close–all the Steelers are going to need from the passing game is the occasional third-down conversion. Ward at 60% can do that.

Bill Simmons: (3:33 PM ET ) 6. The Cards looked great in the past 3 games – two were home (and they were helped greatly by the crowd), while the 3rd featured Delhomme’s inexplicable stinkbomb. Sunday’s game will basically be a road game for them with all the Pitt fans. How will they handle it? What if they fall behind early? What if Warner turns the ball over early? I just don’t trust them.

Take the flipside: if they jump on Pittsburgh early, there’s no way the crowd gets taken out of it, right? These are people who drink Iron City and take pride in a towel. They’re roaring for as long as possible.

If Kurt Warner struggles early, the Cardinals won’t be in the game by halftime. Mistakes will pile up and things will fall apart.

Bill Simmons: (3:34 PM ET ) 7. Black president, black winning super bowl coach, maybe a black NBA Finals coaching champ if the Cavs come through… I don’t know. I’m sensing a theme.

This wins the Moronic Statement of the Day Award: Tony Dungy won a Super Bowl in calendar year 2007, and Doc Rivers won one in 2008. Unless we’re engaging in some sort of litmus test of “blackness” for African-Americans in these professions, it’s happened before.

There’s no streak there. Period.

Bill Simmons: (3:35 PM ET ) 8. Warner angered the Gambling Gods by reneging on that puppy promise. I can’t forgive him.

That’s similarly flippant, but, well, Obama is delivering on his puppy promise.

Bill Simmons: (3:35 PM ET ) 9. I don’t trust Clancy Pendergast even remotely. He takes too many dumb chances.

We saw what happens when you take too many dumb chances with the unfortunately stricken Jim Johnson in the NFC Championship Game. In the first half, Philly blitzed just to blitz, and Warner/Fitzgerald torched them.

Is Dick LeBeau likely to make the same mistakes, or will he hew to the Eagles’ disorienting second-half scheme? You tell me.

Bill Simmons: (3:36 PM ET ) 10. I just have a weird feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of sad shots of Cuba Gooding Jr. and Larry Fitz Sr. in the stands in the fourth quarter.

Rod Tidwell mention. Check.

Bill Simmons: 11. This game reminds me a lot of that Ravens-Giants SB, and as I have always preached, the NFL title always comes down to which team did their “thing” better than anyone else did their “thing.” The 2008 Steelers played defense better than anyone else did anything. And so I’m picking them in a surprisingly easy romp: 29-13. MVP: Willie Parker.

That Ravens team also had a much less able quarterback in Trent Dilfer; Roethlisberger can at least make the throws that Dilfer rarely did.

These Steelers have a defense that we’ve slept on all year. Sunday, we won’t.

Bill Simmons: (3:39 PM ET ) As for the Sports Gal: She is going with the Cards +7.

Oh, so we should really just pick the Cards.

Bill Simmons: (3:39 PM ET ) So there you go. Thanks to everyone who e-mailed a question, good times and we’ll be back on Tuesday with a SB Review podcast… enjoy the weekend and enjoy the game!

I was thanked!

So there you have it. Almost nine thousand words of mine and Bill Simmons’ combined, for one of the most meta live blogs of 2009. Thanks for being part of it, and leave any comments, gripes, or thoughts down there after the beep.

I’ll be around this weekend, doing some Super Bowl previewing and such, but definitely check in on Sunday, both for an Australian Open Men’s Final live blog, and for what could be an epic live blog of Super Bowl Sunday.



Filed under ESPN, Live Blogs, Media Personalities

12 responses to “Live Blog: Bill Simmons’ Live Chat

  1. Jordan tainted his legacy by becoming the first player over 40 to average over 20 points a game. He was also the first and only player over 40 to score 40-plus points in a game?

    Yes, he’s been hit (Augustin) and miss (Adam Morrison) as Charlotte’s VP or GM or whatever position they created for him, but just because you can play the game doesn’t mean you can build a team who can.

    If failing as a basketball executive taints Jordan’s playing career, what does Magic’s stint as the Lakers head coach do to him?

  2. Worded that first part completely wrong. Sigh. Trying again:

    Are you saying Jordan tainted his legacy by becoming the first player over 40 to average over 20 points a game? What about being the first and only player over 40 to score 40-plus points in a game?

  3. I’m saying that Jordan, despite being the sort of talent that could probably STILL average around 20 points a game, had a chance to step off the court as the greatest ever with one of the most iconic moments in the history of sport behind him.

    And he decided, for whatever reason, to come back and average 20 points a game for two teams that went 37-45. He was, like it or not, less accomplished than Kevin Durant is right now for teams that played in a weaker region of the NBA than Durant does.

    Yeah, the rosters were awful: Rip Hamilton, Larry Hughes, and Jerry Stackhouse were the only guys other than Jordan from that you ever probably envisioned as a top-four option on any team.

    But legends shouldn’t come back and toil in mediocrity with diminished skills. If you’re trying to hang on because you love the game, sure, great, whatever, but don’t make the world watch you. Play one-on-one with Magic and do what you need to on Showtime or something.

    And Magic’s legacy is tainted by his coaching and whatever The Magic Hour was. It’s also resuscitated in some ways by his entrepreneurship and philanthropy and by what he symbolizes to the HIV/AIDS and African-American communities. He’s not off playing golf and dancing in Cabo.

  4. I’m still struggling with this “the best 40-year old to play basketball” as being something that tainted his legacy, even after your reply.

    I’m not even sure how that’s considered mediocrity. Yes, the team wasn’t very good, but how much of that falls on the shoulders of MJ? Oh and, Rip and Stackhouse were traded for each other…

  5. I know they were traded; I’m cheating a little by putting them both in the same discussion because they both played with Jordan, but on different teams at different times.

    If a team isn’t very good, shouldn’t at least some of the blame fall on the most talented player on the team? I went back and looked at the 1985, ’86, and ’87 Bulls: the talent wasn’t much better, but the team was, marginally, Jordan was better statistically, and it was a dangerous team every night out because of him.

    I’m not sure that was true in the Wiz years.

    I’ll admit that some of the problem I have with Jordan, specifically, was that what he did prior to those years set the bar so stratospherically high that he couldn’t have reached it. You can’t improve on “the greatest” except by being greater, and Jordan was fool to try.

    And I’ll submit that this is a matter of perception, too: you see a fantastic 40-year-old player (though I believe he turned 40 in the last season, in February), while I see a legend who was a shadow of the phenom he was even in his mid-thirties.

    I’d rather the twain hadn’t met, but the world kept spinning, obviously, and Jordan is still the greatest. He just has a tacked-on chapter that doesn’t read quite like the rest.

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