❮KINDLE❯ ❆ The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy Author Bill Simmons – Peakpopa.info

The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy There Is Only One Writer On The Planet Who Possesses Enough Basketball Knowledge And Passion To Write The Definitive Book On The NBA Bill Simmons, The From The Womb Hoops Addict Known To Millions As ESPN S Sports Guy, Is That Writer And The Book Of Basketball Is That Book Nowhere In The Roundball Universe Will You Find Another Single Volume That Covers As Much In Such Depth As This Wildly Opinionated And Thoroughly Entertaining Look At The Past, Present, And Future Of Pro BasketballFrom The Age Old Question Of Who Actually Won The Rivalry Between Bill Russell And Wilt Chamberlain To The One About Which Team Was Truly The Best Of All Time, Simmons Opens And Then Closes, Once And For All Every Major Pro Basketball Debate Then He Takes It Further By Completely Reevaluating Not Only How NBA Hall Of Fame Inductees Should Be Chosen But How The Institution Must Be Reshaped From The Ground Up, The Result Being The Pyramid Simmons S One Of A Kind, Five Level Shrine To The Ninety Six Greatest Players In The History Of Pro Basketball And Ultimately He Takes Fans To The Heart Of It All, As He Uses A Conversation With One NBA Great To Uncover That Coveted Thing The Secret Of BasketballComprehensive, Authoritative, Controversial, Hilarious, And Impossible To Put Down Even For Celtic Haters , The Book Of Basketball Offers Every Hardwood Fan A Courtside Seat Beside The Game S Finest, Funniest, And Fiercest ChroniclerMore To The Point, He S The Only One Crazy Enough To Try To Pull It Off If you re a huge NBA fan, a guy, are between the ages 40 and 48 as of 2012 and have watched an insane amount of TV and movies this is a no brainier 5 star book 1 Otherwise I don t think you ll like it.I haven t enjoyed a book this much in a very long time Malcom Gladwell nails it in the forward here he says Bill Simmons is what you would be if you had endless hours to devote to being a fan Bill Simmons is hilarious his love of the NBA and his ability to create analogies from random stuff mostly movies and TV shows that I love gave me great joy I ve seen other people criticize B.S for his lack of objectivity in compiling his rankings It didn t bother me B.S s excruciatingly detailed arguments and justifications for each ranking were mostly ingenious, interesting and often hilarious The book opens with a love letter to the Celtics and then he proceeds to claim he s objective for the ensuing 750 pages 2 But he is a homer and that s part of what makes the book such a joy to read Seeing the game through his eyes makes it difficult not to love the NBA 3.I ll spoil it for you cause there s no suspense Russel was better than Chamberlain and the 85 Celtics were better than the 96 Bulls 4 1 I m considering it for my sports book pantheon Definitely better than Halbertsam s breaks of the game, which, ironically, would be sacrilege for B.S 2 citing his ranking Magic Johnson 1 spot above Larry Bird as definitive proof that he s not a homer 3 I almost had to go double negative I was so excited about this observation 4 Claiming anyone other than the 96 Bulls was the best team in the history of the NBA is definitive proof that B.S is a total homer. When Chuck Klosterman and, of all intellectual giants, Bill Walton can destroy the theoretical foundation of your 700 page book s analysis in ten pages worth of cameoswell, it s probably asking too much for you to admit that you wasted the last two years of your life and start over from scratch, but that s probably what you should do The Book of Basketball works alright as entertainment, though the expanded license for dick jokes fails to enhance Simmons humor much, but as a work of analysis, it s a complete waste In what field besides sports could someone claim to be an expert on a widely discussed subject without even attempting to engage the latest rigorous research devoted to it Wait, Sarah Palin, don t answer that.Most every potentially interesting position Simmons takes depends on just so stories or special pleading or just plain circular logic The Bill Russell vs Wilt Chamberlain chapter has been widely deplored, and rightfully so I became viscerally angry as I read it Most of the player ranking section is less maddening, but the bit at the end in which Simmons ranks the top teams in NBA history sets our teeth to gritting once A accurate and less risible version would ve been called Top NBA teams that Bill Simmons enjoyed watching or, having not been alive to see them, enjoys the idea of watching Not a very interesting list, sure, but at least it would have been honestly labelled.Nothing is as dumb as the Isiah Thomas The Secret story, though no, not that Secret It s a different Secret that applies only to the NBA He d teased the story in his column for years, and I was fully prepared to have my mind blown And then it turns out to be a fairly uneventful conversation between three minor celebrities about the fake almost fight that two of them had, which culminates in the earth rending revelation that BASKETBALL IS A TEAM SPORT I could see how, if you were Bill Simmons, this whole episode might have seemed a bit surreal, but to a third party it s not that astonishing at all.Or at least Simmons lacks the ability, even though he strains, to convey the surreality and astonishment to we the reading third parties And that s the main problem Bill Simmons is at best a competent writer He s agreeably conversational for the most part, and he has excellent comic timing although if you ve read many of his columns you can anticipate his rhythms as they unfold by now , but eliciting emotional responses is beyond him and has always been So is producing prose that is a pleasure to read just for its construction a rare gift, sure, but one that Klosterman possesses so obviously that his one page passage makes the text around it seem little but a vast ashen wasteland Simmons knows this, and apologizes for it frequently, but the best apology would have been to abstain from mediocrity in the first place. It s incredibly entertaining at best, infuriating and a drunken digression at others Simmons views himself as an expert, and that comes through on every page whether in his decision that John Stockton played in era of inflated assists or his condemnation of the last twenty minutes of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN He s just not that smart, frankly In both cases, he makes specious claims and then moves on to specious claims or backs them up with statistics that are supposed to be taken at face value.The most embarrassing section is early, when he reveals The Secret Spoiler alert the secret is that championship teams rely on teamwork, not individual superstars Wooah I ve never heard that before Oh, except I have my T Ball coach told me that when we just assumed that we would win every game with the help of this skinny, white headed kid named Kevin Geshke who hit solo home runs every time he walked to the tee we did, thus disproving Simmons thesis But Simmons dedicates pages and pages to a point that my Grandmother understood, without attempting to figure out the groups who disproved that the 06 Heat for instance, or the early 00 s Lakers.Simmons ranking of players is arbitrary and ultimate critic proof, but he finds a way to take pot shots at the players he doesn t like like Stockton and Clyde Drexler and elevates those he does on revisionist history like Allen Iverson The best part, and what it makes it ultimately worth reading for the ardent NBA fan, is his What if section when he takes episodes from NBA History and wonders what would have happened if the ball had swung a different way what if Len Bias hadn t died and the Celtics had an extra big man in the late 80s what if Jordan got drafted by Portland Still, while entertaining, it s pretty maddening. I have to confess that finishing this book felt like something of a chore At 700 pages, you really have to love basketball, or Bill Simmons or both to get through it I like basketball a lot, but I can t pretend to have followed it very closely, historically The Book of Baseball would have been an easier read for me, because I already know about the main characters I started this months ago and plugged away, plugged away, finally devoting the better part of a weekend to finishing it I told myself, You bought this book, now read it And why did I buy it I do love Bill Simmons Or, at least, I did I think I need a little break from him, for the time being His writing is much better suited to relatively pithy internet columns In this book, he makes too many jokes about his forthcoming Pulitzer for any of them to be very funny And enough jokes about the inevitable publication of The Second Book of Basketball to make me nervous I need a two week vacation from any sentence beginning The Mount Rush of obscure pop culture reference would have to include But he IS entertaining, and that s why I stuck with it I definitely learned a lot about a sport of whose history I was fairly ignorant The huge middle section of the book is devoted to the ranking and detailed analysis of the players Simmons deems the 96 greatest of all time Ninety six He s leaving room for four to emerge in the modern era He starts with 96 and works his way up, so it was somewhere in the eighties that I lost steam and gave up for a while However amusingly written, it is really hard to read pages and pages about Arvydas Sabonis and Cliff Hagan if you knew next to nothing about them, going into it But once I renewed my commitment to finish the damn thing, his countdown grew and interesting, as we entered the territory of players with whom I was familiar A statistical comparison of Bailey Howell and Bobby Dandrige is tough going for me, but by the time I reached Simmons Top 30 I was much interested.Here s the thing, though Simmons ends his book by assembling with the previous 650 pages as evidence The Greatest Team of All Time He s not just picking the twelve greatest players, of course, but the twelve who would best function together, complementing each other and assuring victory And guess what He picks all post merger players Going back to his Top 96 ranking, he included Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson and Moses Malone in his Top 12 Pantheon but none of these merit inclusion on his Greatest Team Ever roster Not even on the bench The reason is obvious we aren t confident that their game would translate to the modern era I understand that, and I even agree But what, then, is the point of ranking those top 96 all on one scale, if we re admittedly judging them on completely different criteria And, since this list takes up 300 pages, the obvious next question is What is the point of this goddamn book Simmons finally comes close to offering an answer, in his epilogue he visits Bill Walton at his San Diego home and, in the course of their conversation, Walton jokes about being known to later generations as Luke s dad Simmons is enraged, but his motivation for writing this book comes into clearer focus for me, as the reader He just wants us to know and appreciate these guys I don t know how many people will make it through the whole thing, but I appreciate what he s trying to do pay homage to a sport s history, and to the men who helped it evolve.Ultimately, I d say that Simmons failed to convince me that lists like these the bread and butter of his NBA columns are anything less than wildly arbitrary He does, however, provide a terrific reading list of the NBA related books mentioned throughout his own, and once I finally feel the need to pick up a basketball book again, there are several on there I definitely want to check out Just give me a couple of months. Here s the problem with being a huge fan of a prolific columnist When you ve read every single word a guy has squeaked out for 7 plus years, you start to know all his or her, I suppose jokes, all their beats and all their tendencies You lose the element of surprise.So when it was announced that The Sports Guys new basketball book was than 700 pages, I cringed Not sure if I could take that many pages of Karate Kid jokes and Celtics handjobs My infatuation with the guy has died wuite a bit over the last year and a half, and I absolutley planned to avoid this monstrosity But goddamn roped me in for like 12, and I couldn t pass it up I put it next to the shitter and away we went.For the most part, I was very pleasantly surprised Yeah, a lot of the jokes and riffs are familiar, and huge chunks are just over expanded versions of ideas he shat out in columns ad nauseum over the years, but for the most part, I was entertained There isn t a single person who knows the NBA better than this guy As one of the last true basketball fans alive, that means something to me And except for an entire chapter devoted to tongue bathing Bill Russell s taint, Simmons manages to keep his Boston centric blatherings to a minimum Even the Russell chapter is digestable because it destroys Wilt Chamberlain at the same time, and that is always a good thing.Anyway If you haven t been exposed to Simmons nonstop for the last decade, and you give a shit about the NBA at all, give her a read It s beter than you think. Thoughts Simmons style Simmons must have hired John Iriving s editor to edit this book and that s not a complement What was the point of the Grumpy Old Editor To not edit I think this is the world longest coffee table book.The Most Valuable Chapter Why was this in the book This was excruciating to read Over all, it s hard to disagree with where Simmons ranked everyone The only WTF ranking I saw was Garnett over Isiah and Pippen But everything else is nitpicking.I m not sure I needed a few thousand words about how Simmons once sat next to Jordan at a resturant Actually, I m positive.Again, the editing of this book killed my rating of it Stories are told twice, footnotes are repeated, guys are mislabeled or represented crappy editing that absolutely killed this book When talking about the 83 Philadelphia 76ers, when mentioning who they lose to in the playoffs next year, it says Philly in five Apperently Vancouver and Minnesota entered the league at the same time they didn t, Toronto and Vancouver did These mistakes happen all the time I know mistakes are made in a 700 page book, I expect three or five things to get past people but twenty five or Most annoying aspect of the Book of Basketball When Simmons starts out with quote from a former player say Bill Bradley discussing another player random 70s player Simmons tells us that this PERFECTLY describes random 70s player and then Bill spends a few thousand words discussing random 70s player hey look, I know that Bill Bradley just totally nailed Jerry West, but I m going to lob on an extra 2,900 words to hammer home my own views on a guy I never saw play and as I said, is perfectly described by what Bill Bradley said already Finally, I should say, Simmons passion and love of basketball comes though and his endearing style makes the book hard to hate But the flaws are too great to over come what should have been a fantastic book The book wasn t a history of basketball as much as a review of the games great players and a few teams I can t help but think that a Fever Pitch type book where Bill discusses his love for the Celtics would have been a trillion times better I know Bill has said that this is the best book he ll ever write but he s setting the bar far too low. This highly entertaining book is many things a fan s love letter to his favorite sport and the players and teams who made it so , an attempt to place professional basketball in the cultural and racial landscape of twentieth century America, and an attempt to settle arguments about what matters on the basketball court.Bill Simmons is successful on the first two counts, but is tenuous on the third The first is the emotion of the fan s experience there are passages that sent shivers down my spine, particularly about the nearly indescribable feeling of watching someone like Michael Jordan or Larry Bird walk into a packed basketball stadium with very little doubt as to who would win the game in the end The second refers to both the author s facility with pop culture references and analogies, which provoke genuine laughter page after page, but also the league s impact on the American consciousness as it has evolved since the 1950 s.Simmons provides insights into players psychology and experience, mainly to try to explain the Secret of basketball, which is that team play and unselfishness trump ball hogging and stats in a sport which often seems to revolve around individual excellence Can we really say that a player like Wilt Chamberlain was great when he often obsessed over reaching various statistical milestones rather than willing his team to win at all costs What if his teammates considered him a pain to play with, and being around him often made the game difficult On an emotional level, all of these arguments make great sense, which to me invalidates the central structure of the book, which is a comprehensive ranking of the greatest NBA players from 1 96 in addition to the best teams As Simmons says himself, there have been maybe fifteen players who have understood the Secret That s it An ordered ranking of these players seems like splitting hairs, and it distracts from the central pleasure of the Book of Basketball a steady stream of great anecdotes about inhuman talents, flashy dunkers, the kinds of men who couldn t bear anything but winning, and those who could never quite push themselves to lift the veil. Ultimately, a pretty disappointing book As a big fan of the Sports Guy s columns about the NBA, I thought I would be laughing from beginning to end and learning a lot Neither turned out to be true By expanding upon the worst parts of his columns his obsessive biases towards certain types of players and teams and mostly ignoring the profound insight he usually incites with his biting humor, Simmons comes off as someone who spent too much time watching pro basketball and now can do nothing but rant about it I wanted to learn about all the great players of history in this book, but instead I mostly learned what Simmons thinks is wrong with them It s clear that Simmons has thrived online due to the work of his editors in corralling his babbling and refining his humor The supposedly hilarious footnotes in this book consist of nothing but bad porn star humor, bad 80 s movie humor, and Simmmons making jokes about how he can t stop making porn star and drug jokes It is to our great benefit that ESPN keeps this boorish immaturity out of his columns I began glazing over them about halfway through the book I thought, perhaps, that I was just on Sports Guy overload, but I kept reading his columns online while I read this book, and they continued to make me chortle By the last section, the best teams ever, I was skipping pages entirely, as it was obvious that Simmons was just blasting out whatever it took to prove his favorite team of all time, the 86 Celtics, were also the best team of all time You could pick apart this book s rhetoric from many different angles, but I think it can be nicely summarized by saying that Bill Simmons is a second rate writer who, because of the popularity of his humor and his honest insights, has been tricked into thinking he is in the upper echelon The best parts of this book are when Bill quotes other writers But just because you hang out with Malcolm Gladwell and Chuck Klosterman and get them to contribute amazing passages to your tome of rants doesn t mean you can keep up with them on the page. The Sports Guy is known for his willingness to authoritatively state his opinions in an entertaining manner featuring his parenthetical prowess, command of pop cultural metaphor, crazed zeal for his subject matter, seemingly endless encyclopedic dissertation of facts, and personal connection to the material and the reader His 700 page tome features all of these Simmons standby techniques, as well as his signature voice, punctuated by his overactive love of footnotes and casually vulgar interjections You have to like Simmons to like the book, especially since it contains many ideas, considerations, or even direct excerpts from his past decade of work It s not hard to like Simmons the challenge is the subject matter, as he delves as deeply as almost anyone has into the history of the NBA statistically, anecdotally, and argumentatively The result is a highly informative and entertaining read that sustains its momentum throughout its length, though it occasionally succumbs to fatigue a point not unnoticed by Simmons in his myriad footnotes It allowed a casual fan like me to appreciate the game intimately, and I now have an authoritative source to whom I can appeal if ever I feel the need to reiterate some of the assertive assumptions provided in the book I am not sure if I would sit down and re read the entire book, but it will certainly stick around as a resource and a source of entertainment It was a great summer holiday read I ve read the book in the context of being away from home over the past ten days , and a great reminder of some of the things I love about sports and writing Now if only someone would write a book like this about the NHL


About the Author: Bill Simmons

Bill Simmons is a sports columnist, author, and TV personality He rose to prominence as a columnist for ESPN s online Page 3 forum, before becoming editor in chief for Grantland, a sports and pop culture website and ESPN affiliate After a dispute with ESPN in 2015, Simmons began working with HBO both developing a television show and continuing his podcast.


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