Posted Wednesday, June 1, 2011, at 5:45 PM
Add another voice to the chorus of anticipatory skepticism about ESPN Sports Guy columnist Bill Simmons' still-gestating Quality Sports Writing website, Grantland: ESPN columnist Bill Simmons. The New York Times Magazine profiled Simmons as he bopped around Los Angeles in preparation for Grantland's debut. Note: the most useful way to reconcile an "oppositional" regular-guy persona with participation in a huge corporate establishment is probably not to preemptively disparage your own contribution to the enterprise:
Simmons sounded as if he was having some regrets about Grantland. "It hasn’t been as much as fun as I had thought," he told me. "I’m not sure I would do it again." Too much of his time was being spent in the office, dealing with administrative tasks, which was encroaching on his column.
Do it again? He hasn't done it once yet. Way to rally the staff.
Beyond that, there's a little of the usual Sports Guy racial/ethnic disciplining:
Between cheers, Simmons hunkered down over his BlackBerry, not to check his e-mail but to post gloating messages on Twitter. "I don’t care if J. J. Barea is from Puerto Rico," Simmons typed. "We need to put him on a dollar bill. He’s an American hero."
(Puerto Rico fields its own team in international competition, and Barea plays for it, but it is a United States commonwealth and its people are American citizens. It even has its own U.S. quarter.)
Also I finally learned what kind of person wears those atrocious Komfy Foot padded fake-old-timey Jack Purcells that Converse replaced its real Jack Purcells with a few years ago, thereby ruining a small but important part of my life:
ESPN’s press presence at N.B.A. games is dominated by men who, in their slick suits and Italian loafers, seem to be taking their misguided fashion cues from the players themselves. Simmons, who is 41, was dressed more like a TV comedy writer — which he was, briefly, on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" — in a T-shirt, Jack Purcell sneakers, a baseball cap and blue jeans.
Yes, that is what a nonconformist wears to a Lakers game.