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Home arrow All Content arrow The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy
The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy Print E-mail
Saturday, 06 April 2013

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The Book of Basketball ~ The NBA According to the Sports Guy
The Book of Basketball
The NBA According to the Sports Guy
by Bill Simmons
with forewords by Malcolm Gladwell

There is only one writer on the planet who possesses enough basketball knowledge and passion to write the definitive book on the NBA... more to the point, he's the only one crazy enough to try to pull it off...

From 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, once and for all-every major pro basketball debate.

Bill Simmons, the from-the-womb hoops addict known to millions as'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 basketball.

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 Basketball.

Comprehensive, 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 chronicler.

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This excerpt is from a chapter called

"The Secret."

The Book of Basketball ~ The NBA According to the Sports Guy
"... In the summer of 2007, my buddy Hopper and I were in Vegas for the NBA Summer League. We were playing blackjack at the outdoor pool in Vegas when we ran into announcer Gus Johnson, who wanted to introduce me to his friend Isiah Thomas.
After I explained to him that this would be an absolutely horrible idea, Gus vowed to broker the peace.

Here's what transpired.

I played a few hands of rattled blackjack while wondering how to defend myself if Isiah came charging at me with a piña colada. After all, I killed this guy in my column over the years.
I killed him for some of the cheap shots he took as a player, for freezing out MJ in the '85 All-Star Game, for leading the classless walkout at the tail end of the Bulls-Pistons sweep in '91.
I killed him for pushing Bird under the bus by backing up Rodman's foolish "he'd be just another good player if he weren't white" comments after the '87 playoffs, then pretending like he was kidding afterward. (He wasn't.)
I killed him for bombing as a TV announcer, for sucking as Toronto's GM, for running the CBA into the ground, and most of all, for his incomprehensibly ineffective performance running the Knicks.

As I kept lobbing (totally justified) grenades at him, Isiah went on Stephen A. Smith's radio show and threatened "trouble" if we ever met on the street. Like this was all my fault. Somewhere along the line, Isiah probably decided that I had a personal grudge against him, which simply wasn't true -- I had written many times that he was the best pure point guard I'd ever seen, as well as the most underappreciated star of his era.

I even defended his draft record and praised him for standing up for his players right before the ugly Nuggets-Knicks brawl that featured Carmelo Anthony's infamous bitch-slap/backpedal.

It's not like I was obsessed with ripping the guy. He just happened to be an easy target, a floundering NBA GM who didn't understand the luxury tax, cap space, or how to plan ahead. For what I did for a living, Isiah jokes were easier than making fun of Flavor Flav at a celebrity roast. The degree of difficulty was a 0.0.

With that said, I would have rather been playing blackjack and drinking vodka lemonades than figuring out how to cajole a pissed-off NBA legend. When a somber Gus finally waved me over, I was relieved to get it over with. (By the way, there should be no scenario that includes the words "Gus Johnson" and "somber." I feel like I failed America regardless of how this turned out.)

Gus threw an arm around me and said something like, "Look, I straightened everything out, he's willing to talk to you, just understand, he's a sensitive guy, he takes this shit personally."Understood. I followed him to a section of chairs near the topless pool, where Isiah was sipping a water and wearing a white Panama hat to shield himself from the blazing sun.

As we approached, Gus slapped me on the back and gestured to a female friend who quickly fled the premises, like we were Mafia heads sitting down in the back of an Italian restaurant and Gus was shedding every waiter and busboy. Get out of here. You don't want to be here for this. Meanwhile, Isiah rose from the chair with a big smile on his face -- he'd make a helluva politician -- saying simply, "Hi, I'm Isiah."

We shook hands and sat down. I explained the purpose of my column, how I write from the fan's perspective and play up certain gimmicks -- I like the Boston teams and dislike anyone who battles them, I pretend to be smarter than every GM, I think Christmas should be changed to Larry Bird's birthday -- which made Isiah a natural foil for me. He understood that. He thought we were both entertainers, for lack of a better word.

We were both there to make basketball more fun to follow. He didn't appreciate two things I had written: that he destroyed the CBA (which he claimed wasn't true) and how I lumped him with other inept GMs in a widely read parody column called "The Atrocious GM Summit."
That led to us discussing each move and why he made them. He admitted two mistakes -- the Jalen Rose trade (his fault) and the Steve Francis trade (not his fault because Larry Brown insisted on it, or so he claimed) and defended everything else. Strangely, inconceivably, each explanation made sense.

For instance, he explained the recent Randolph trade by telling me (I'm paraphrasing), "Everyone's trying to get smaller and faster. I want to go the other way. I want to get bigger. I want to pound people down low." I found myself nodding like Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé in SNL's "Sinatra Group" sketch. Great idea, Chairman! I love it! You're a genius!

Only later, after we parted ways and I thought about it more, did it dawn on me how doomed his strategy was -- not the "getting bigger" part as much as the "getting bigger with two headcase fat asses who can't defend anyone or protect the rim and are prohibitively expensive" part. You get bigger with McHale and Parish or Sampson and Olajuwon. You don't get bigger with Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph.

But that's not why I'm telling you this story. After settling on an uneasy truce about his job performance, we started remembering those unforgettable Celtics-Pistons clashes from the eighties: how their mutual hatred was palpable, how that competitiveness has slowly eroded from the league because of rule changes, money, AAU camps and everything else.

Today's rivals hug each other after games and pull the "I love you, boy!" routine. They act like former summer camp chums who became successful CEOs, then ran into each other at Nobu for the first time in years. Great to see you! I'll talk to you soon -- let's have lunch! When Isiah's Pistons played Bird's Celtics, the words "great to see you" were not on the agenda.

They wanted to destroy each other. They did. There was an edge to those battles that the current ones don't have. I missed that edge and so did Isiah. We both felt passionate about it, passionate enough that -- gasp -- we were legitimately enjoying the conversation.

I was getting comfortable with him. Comfortable enough that I had to ask about The Secret. ..."

Bill Simmons

Praises for The Book of Basketball ~ The NBA According to the Sports Guy
by Bill Simmons

"... The Book of Basketball is a 700-page work of hoops genius that would make Dr. James Naismith beam proudly – and probably blush. Author Bill Simmons, best known as's "The Sports Guy," explores the NBA with hilarious insight, brilliant analysis, and a bevy of irreverent footnotes.

Simmons is a fan first – a fact best explained in an entertaining foreword by Malcolm Gladwell – and writes from the stands, not the press room. His knowledge and passion for the game provide him with few peers, yet his voice represents those who stick by their teams through thick and thin.

As a result, The Book of Basketball is not just a tribute to hardwood heroes, but also a celebration of yelling at TV sets, revering lucky jerseys, and holding our breath until the final buzzer sounds.

Throw in pages of nearly-insane statistical breakdowns (including a projected boxscore from the movie Teen Wolf), and it's easy to see why fans of all levels should clear shelf space for this instant classic. ..."
Dave Callanan

... Buy SAFELY   The Book of Basketball ~ The NBA According to the Sports Guy  ONLY at ...

The Book of Basketball ~ The NBA According to the Sports Guy

About Bill Simmons

William J. "Bill" Simmons (born September 25, 1969) is a columnist and podcaster for Page2 on and a former writer for ESPN The Magazine. He is also an Executive Producer of ESPN's new documentary project, 30 for 30. He is known by the nickname "The Sports Guy" (formerly "The Boston Sports Guy"). His column is written from the viewpoint of a passionate sports fan, and he often uses extended analogies and references to pop culture in his columns.

He moved to Los Angeles on November 16, 2002 to work as a writer for the Jimmy Kimmel Show. He has since left the show to work full-time for ESPN. He has signed a contract to remain with ESPN until 2010.

Simmons currently hosts his own podcast on, ESPN Xtra, and iTunes titled "The B.S. Report." From when he began his podcast on May 8, 2007, until June 14 of that year, it was called "Eye of the Sports Guy." He has also filmed segments for the television series E:60.

He set the record for the longest chat on ESPN's Sportsnation on November 28, 2007, breaking Rob Neyer's previous record. He did the chat to support ESPN's fund raising efforts for the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer. Neyer has since re-broken the record on March 31, 2008 on the opening day of the baseball season. Matthew Berry currently holds the record of 13 hours and 12 minutes.

He also "officially" announced his candidacy for the position of Milwaukee Bucks general manager, for which he was not hired. In a similar move he announced his candidacy for the Minnesota Timberwolves general manager position. Again he was not hired.

In the July 27, 2009 issue of ESPN The Magazine, Simmons officially announced his retirement from his magazine column. He continues to write for the website.

About Bill Simmons and the Controversy

Simmons is an avid NBA fan and is quick to express his opinions over who is doing a good job and who is not. He has heavily criticized Memphis Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace, Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge and head coach Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor (who once called Simmons an "asshole") and head coach Mike Dunleavy, Sr., and especially former New York Knicks coach and general manager Isiah Thomas.

This led to Thomas threatening Simmons on Stephen A. Smith's radio show in early 2006, saying, "If I see this guy Bill Simmons, oh, it's gonna be a problem with me and him." In a column posted on on July 19, 2007 Simmons stated that he and Thomas had a half-hour long chat, facilitated by sports announcer Gus Johnson, about Simmons' criticisms of Thomas, and that Thomas remained civil and cordial throughout. With regard to Rivers, Simmons wrote an article poking fun at the coach's use of the Ubuntu concept in his locker room. Ubuntu is an African tradition which emphasizes unity and togetherness.

Simmons and Red Sox announcer Jerry Remy feuded over the presidency of Red Sox Nation. The Red Sox asked Simmons to run for the ceremonial position and he accepted. In a candidate's memo, Simmons remarked that he was a better choice than Remy because he is not a smoker. Remy criticized Simmons for about five minutes during the July 16, 2007 NESN broadcast of the Red Sox - Royals game.

Simmons later removed himself from consideration and Remy was named president. Remy was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2008. He underwent successful surgery to remove the cancerous area, but suffered an infection and also pneumonia during his recovery. Remy took an indefinite leave of absence from NESN broadcasts as of April 30, 2009 due to the complications.

Simmons was embroiled in a feud with management at When asked by the editors of why he had not written a new column in over 2 weeks, he replied "I still love writing my column and only re-signed last year because I really did believe that we had hashed out all the behind the scenes bullshit and come to some sort of agreement on creative lines, media criticism rules, the promotion of the column and everything else on Within a few months, all of those things changed and certain promises were not kept. It's as simple as that."

Immediately before the feud erupted, Simmons was scheduled to interview Sen. Barack Obama for a podcast. Obama was still running against Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination at the time. ESPN nixed the interview, saying that they would only allow its reporters and columnists to interview a presidential candidate once the nomination had been finalized. believed this was an example of ESPN pulling rank, and speculated that ESPN was thinking, "Some online guy is gonna have Sen. Obama as a guest on his PODCAST? What the hell's a podcast? Better to wait until Stu Scott can talk to him about Carolina hoops after the convention. Why waste the access on a podcast?"
As it turned out, was quite prescient - Stu Scott interviewed Obama right before the convention began.

On October 31, 2008, ESPN refused to post Simmons' NFL Week Nine Picks, instead just put up his predicted lines. In response to many reader emails, Simmons posted to his long dormant blog explaining what happened (which has since been removed from his personal blog).

Simmons also stopped recording his podcast, which prior to the incident he had been doing at least one per week. At the time, Cousin Sal, a frequent contributor to Simmons' podcasts, noted on Dave Dameshek's podcast that Simmons was retired from podcasts.

Additionally, according to Deadspin, Simmons had quit the BS Report due to the content being edited out of them. The controversy revolved around the entry of pornography actor Christian into a ESPN fantasy basketball league. Simmons was upset that his explanation of ESPN's refusal to allow him into the league was edited out of a B.S. Report podcast.

On November 25 2008, Simmons returned to recording his BS Report podcast. The podcast now begins with a disclaimer, which says "The BS report is a free flowing conversation that occasionally touches on mature subjects."

Click here to check ALL the BOOKS & eBOOKS by ( or about )
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 • Author: Bill Simmons with forewords by Malcolm Gladwell
 • Format: eBook & Book
 • Paperback: 736 pages
 • Publisher: ESPN
 • Publishing Date: October 27, 2009
 • eBook Edition: July, 2010
 • Language: English

 • Also available: In the new 2010 eBook format

... more  The Book of Basketball ~ The NBA According to the Sports Guy  info at ...

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