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Bill Simmons
Born William J. Simmons
September 25, 1969 (1969-09-25) (age 40)
Residence Los Angeles, California, United States
Education B.A. in Political Science
M.A. in Print Journalism
Alma mater College of the Holy Cross
Boston University
Employer ESPN
Home town Greenwich, Connecticut
Known for Sports and comedy writer

William J. "Bill" Simmons (born September 25, 1969) is a sports columnist and podcaster for Page2 on ESPN.com 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 ESPN.com column is written from the viewpoint of a passionate sports fan. He often uses extended analogies and references to pop culture, on which he is an expert as well, in his columns.

He moved to Los Angeles on November 16, 2002 to work as a writer for the Jimmy Kimmel Show. He 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.com, ESPN Xtra, and iTunes titled The B.S. Report. Between May 8, 2007, when his podcast began, until June 14, 2007, it was called "Eye of the Sports Guy." He has also filmed segments for the television series E:60.

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 ESPN.com website.[1]

Contents

Personal life

Simmons grew up in Massachusetts and Connecticut. He attended The Greenwich Country Day School for ninth grade. He then attended Brunswick School in Greenwich, Connecticut and, in 1988, completed a postgraduate year at Choate Rosemary Hall, a prep school located in Wallingford, Connecticut. According to Simmons, he scored a 690 on the math portion of the SAT.[2] He then attended the College of the Holy Cross, graduating in 1992 with a 3.04 GPA in Political Science. Subsequently, he studied print journalism at Boston University, where he received his master's degree.[3] Before his affiliation with ESPN, he was known as the "Boston Sports Guy" on the web site Digital City Boston. Simmons also worked for the Boston Herald briefly in the 1990s. He was also a bartender for a short time before he established himself on the web. He was originally referred to as "The Sports Guy" by childhood friend Steve Jung.

On November 16, 2002, he moved to California to work as a comedy writer for the show, Jimmy Kimmel Live. Although he left the show in 2004, he remained in California.

Simmons also frequently writes about his non-sports-related personal life in his columns. He often mentions his wife, Kari Crichton Simmons, but only as "The Sports Gal," and his baby daughter Zoe Josephine, born in 2005. He and his wife also have a son, Ben, born in 2007.[4]

Simmons has his own section of ESPN.com's Page 2, titled "Sports Guy's World," and in late 2004 ESPN launched an online cartoon based on his columns (the cartoon has since been discontinued). His wife occasionally writes mini-articles within Simmons' own Page 2 articles, on subjects such as hatred of actor Michael Rapaport and searching for good donuts in L.A. He has appeared on I Love the 90s: Part Deux, Colbert Report and Jim Rome Is Burning, and is an occasional guest on several sports talk radio shows.

On October 1, 2005, Simmons released his first book, Now I Can Die in Peace. The book is a collection of his columns, with minor changes and lengthy footnotes, leading up to the 2004 World Series victory by the Boston Red Sox.

In the March 13, 2006, edition of ESPN The Magazine, Simmons revealed that he would be competing in the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event. Simmons was eliminated from the tournament during his first day of play.

On April 19, 2006, Simmons won the NBA Cares Celebrity Fantasy League, beating out Bernie Mac in the final by a score of 1028-852. Other celebrities who participated were Pamela Anderson, Cedric the Entertainer, Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew Modine, Michael Rapaport, Star Jones Reynolds, Kenny Smith and Diana Taurasi. Simmons attributed his success to his extensive knowledge of the NBA and to star player Kobe Bryant, as well as the ineptitude of TNT analyst Kenny Smith.

In July 2008, Simmons announced that he would be taking 10 weeks off from writing columns for ESPN.com's Page 2 to concentrate on finishing his second book, The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy, which was released on October 27, 2009.

Rooting interests

A native New Englander, Simmons is a passionate fan of the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Holy Cross Crusaders (his alma mater), and Boston Celtics. He is also a Los Angeles Clippers season ticket holder, and has been very critical of their head coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy, Sr.[5][6] He was a longtime fan of the Boston Bruins and the NHL, but claims that their poor management led to his completely losing interest in them until the 2008 playoffs.[7] Simmons's interest in soccer was piqued by the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He subsequently wrote a column detailing his efforts to choose an English Premier League team to follow, eventually selecting Tottenham Hotspur.[8] Following the United States' success in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, Simmons traveled to the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City to cover the USA's World Cup qualifier against Mexico. His ensuing article detailed the events that transpired.[9] He also passionately roots against certain teams, specifically the New York Yankees, New York Jets, Boston College, Indianapolis Colts, Montreal Canadiens, Duke University Men's Basketball, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Style

Simmons' writing is characterized by references to movies, television shows such as Lost, The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men, The O.C., Entourage, and Jersey Shore, as well as his "everyday Joe" sense of humor, and his bias for Boston-area sports teams. While his articles and podcasts have no set schedule, Simmons writes at most one column per week and also submits two to three podcasts per week.

Simmons frequently mentions friends and family in his column, and trips to Las Vegas or other gambling venues with his friends. He frequently writes about his gambling, whether it's at the blackjack table or his many parlays during football season. On Fridays during the NFL season, he makes picks for every game.

Simmons also discusses movies (most notably, Hoosiers, The Godfather, Teen Wolf, The Shawshank Redemption, Boogie Nights, Dazed and Confused, the Rocky series, The Karate Kid and Almost Famous, his favorite film from 2000-2009), favorite TV shows of the past and present (for example, Friday Night Lights), his many fantasy sports teams, memories regarding professional wrestling, especially Roddy Piper (mainly with the WWF/E), video games and even throwing in a few references to adult video. One of his ongoing projects is "The Best 72 Sports Movies of the last 33 Years," which he updates in no particular order. He has named eight of 72 movies and has not written a column for this project since November 27, 2005.[10]

Simmons also occasionally writes columns answering readers' e-mails. He almost always ends these columns with a strange e-mail, followed by the statement "Yup, these are my readers." He also engages in lengthy chat sessions with readers on ESPN.com.

One of his recurring columns is his annual Draft Diary, where he discusses watching the NBA Draft, usually with his father (who was born in 1947), and mocks various aspects of it. He has admitted that the 2007 Draft Diary was his worst and would like a mulligan.

Simmons has attended several Super Bowls since being hired by ESPN and has admitted to disliking Jacksonville and Houston, citing them as inadequate locales for the event. He gave Arizona slightly better grades overall, but complained that it couldn't compare with the ideal locations of Miami, New Orleans, and San Diego. He has suggested that the Super Bowl be permanently rotated between these three cities.

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, former Los Angeles Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor (who once called Simmons an "asshole") as well as former 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 ESPN.com 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.[11] With regard to Rivers, Simmons wrote an article poking fun at the coach's use of the Ubuntu concept in his locker room.[2] 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 ESPN.com. When asked by the editors of Deadspin.com 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 ESPN.com. Within a few months, all of those things changed and certain promises were not kept. It's as simple as that."[12][13]

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. Deadspin.com 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?"[3] As it turned out, Deadspin.com 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 putting 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).[14] 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.[15] 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.[16]

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."[17]

Memes

Simmons responds to issues in the sports world in a unique way, usually putting a different spin on events, ideas and theories. He uses such terms so frequently that ESPN.com has a glossary of Simmons conventions, with links to articles in which they were used.[18] He sometimes has stated that something he highly dislikes in sports or elsewhere "never happened" - such as the San Antonio Spurs NBA title during the lockout-shorted 1999 season, the Florida Marlins 1997 World Series win, and (repeatedly) Rocky V. He refuses to call the Oklahoma City Thunder by name, instead only calling them "the Bennett City Hijackers," "The Team that shall not be named," as well as "Seattle's Sloppy Seconds," "the Zombie Sonics" or "Kevin Durant's Future-Former Team."

Ewing Theory

One of Simmons's most used Internet memes has been the Ewing Theory,[19] which was conceived by reader Dave Cirilli and named after Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks. In 1998-99, the Knicks made the NBA Finals after Ewing sustained an Achilles' tendon injury. Thus, the Ewing Theory claims that when a longtime superstar who has never won a championship leaves the team via injury, trade or free agency, and the media writes the team off, the team will play better. Other examples noted by Simmons include:

One reader asked if Iraq was a contender for the Ewing Theory, based on the notion that the country would become a huge success story after a future withdrawal of U.S. troops. Simmons' response was "No".[21]

Given the time since the name Ewing Theory was coined and the Giants' Super Bowl XLII victory, a number of readers suggested the name be updated to the "Tiki Theory" and Simmons agreed.[22]

Levels of Losing

Another recurring Simmons topic is the 13 Levels of Losing, where he defines, describes and ranks the most painful ways for a sports team to lose, such as the "Stomach Punch" (a game that ends with an opponent making an improbable and game-winning play, e.g. the Music City Miracle), or the "Guillotine" (when your team is hanging tough, but somehow you just know they will fail in the clutch).[23] Not surprisingly, given Simmons' background, he ranks Game 6 of the 1986 World Series as the most painful defeat in sports history.

Simmons revised and updated the list to have 16 levels because of the New York Mets' collapse during the 2007 season and Michigan's football loss to Division I FCS Appalachian State.

Reggie Cleveland All-Stars

Simmons also created the "Reggie Cleveland All-Stars," a list of sports figures whose names would seem to indicate that they are of a different race or ethnicity than they actually are. Simmons first mentioned the phenomenon with Marcus Giles and Sidney Ponson. One of his readers suggested Reggie Cleveland (a white former pitcher with a black-sounding name) as the best possible example of this phenomenon which led Simmons to name the list after Cleveland.[24]

He also noted in his 2006 NBA Draft diary that Patrick O'Bryant, a first round pick of the Golden State Warriors, was a "mortal lock" to be named to the All-Star team. In a 2007 column, Simmons named former Denver Broncos linebacker Rulon Jones as a "first-ballot Reggie Cleveland All-Stars Hall of Famer."

In a recent column Bill mentioned that he wanted to name his second child "Nate" so he could create his own Reggie Cleveland All-Star from scratch named Nate Simmons.

The Tyson Zone

Simmons also created the "Tyson Zone," named in honor of boxer Mike Tyson. The Tyson Zone is the status an athlete or celebrity reaches when his or her behavior becomes so outrageous that one would believe any story or anecdote about the person, no matter how shocking or bizarre.[25] For instance, if one would not be surprised to hear reports that a particular athlete agreed to fight a caged lion for a sum of money or started a career of breeding unicorns, that athlete has entered The Tyson Zone.[26]

Simmons has stated that Ben Roethlisberger secretly entered the Tyson Zone during the summer of 2006 after news of his motorcycle accident and a later incident involving a burst appendix, for which he was rushed to the hospital.[27] The term may also be used in adjective form as the word "Tysonic."

Manning face

The Manning face is a known facial expression displaying a mix of frustration and disgust. It is most often displayed by NFL quarterbacks Peyton Manning and his younger brother, Eli.[28]

Although the expression was named for the Manning brothers, the term has become synonymous with other professional sports players and coaches, including New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin,[29] It was coined in 2004[30] and was later defined by Malcolm Gladwell as "the look of someone who has just faced up to a sobering fact: I am in complete control of this offense. I prepare for games like no other quarterback in the NFL. I am in the best shape of my life. I have done everything I can to succeed - and I'm losing. Ohmigod. I'm not that good."[31] Simmons still refers to this despite his own home team's loss in the 2007 playoffs, later writing "Eli Manning gave me the Eli Manning face!"[32]

References

  1. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?id=4343991
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Bill Simmons '92 is "Boston's Sports Guy", HolyCross.com, College of the Holy Cross, 2001-06-01. Retrieved on 2008-02-11.
  4. ^ http://www.wickedlocal.com/easton/news/education/x2045584135/Simmons-retiring-next-year
  5. ^ Open letter to Blake Griffin
  6. ^ Bill Simmons' Twitter
  7. ^ Simmons, Bill (2001-10-26). "So long, hockey; Allison deal is last straw". ESPN.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?id=1269245. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  8. ^ Simmons, Bill (2006-07-19). "And my team is ...". ESPN.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/060719_2. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  9. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/090817
  10. ^ Simmons, Bill (2005-11-27). "The Sports Guy's Top Sports Movies: No. 11". ESPN.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/movies/karatekid. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  11. ^ Simmons, Bill (2007-07-18). "Nothing tops Vegas and hoops". ESPN.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/070718. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  12. ^ Simmons: "Certain Promises Were Not Kept"
  13. ^ Simmons, Bill. "Unhappiness at the Worldwide Leader". The Washington Times. http://video1.washingtontimes.com/sportsbiz/2008/05/unhappiness_at_the_worldwide_l.html. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  14. ^ http://sportsguy.blogspot.com/
  15. ^ http://deadspin.com/5093550/ohand-about-simmons-podcast-he-told-me-he-quit-it
  16. ^ http://www.hankbrockett.com/2008/10/espn-and-porn-evidently-dont-mix.html
  17. ^ http://podloc.andomedia.com/dloadTrack.mp3?prm=2864xhttp://query-origin.andohs.net/8000A6/content-root3.andomedia.com/origin/mp3/espnradio/sportsguy/simmons081125.mp3
  18. ^ Simmons, Bill (2007-08-14). "Welcome to the glossary". ESPN.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/glossary. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  19. ^ Simmons, Bill (2001-05-09). "Ewing Theory 101". ESPN.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?id=1193711. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  20. ^ Another large side order of links
  21. ^ May 14, 2007 Mailbag
  22. ^ The Super Bowl XLII mailbag
  23. ^ Simmons, Bill (2002-05-28). "The 13 levels of losing". ESPN.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?id=1387731. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  24. ^ Bill Simmons (2002-05-09). "Mail Call for Sports Guy". Page 2. ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/020509. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  25. ^ Simmons, Bill (2004-12-17). "Hunkering down in the mailroom". ESPN.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/041217. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  26. ^ Simmons, Bill. "Hunkering down in the mailroom". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/041217. Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  27. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/060929
  28. ^ Gallo, DJ (2006-01-16). "Hey Peyton, need some help?". ESPN.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=gallo/060116. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  29. ^ Simmons, Bill (2008-01-22). "Finally, some hardware for LT and Tiki". ESPN.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/080122. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  30. ^ Philbrick, Mike (2007-01-30). "A.M. Jump". ESPN.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/amjump?page=amjump/070130. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  31. ^ Simmons, Bill (2006-03-02). "Curious Guy: Malcolm Gladwell". ESPN.com (ESPN Internet Ventures). http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/060302. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  32. ^ Hoffman, Dave (2006-03-11). "Simmons-Gladwell Chat". ConcurringOpinions.com. http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2006/03/simmonsgladwell.html. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 

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