I’m a homer, I have to admit. Everyone is, though. Whether you admit it or not everyone is biased (at least a tiny amount) towards one thing or another. It’s inevitable because we’re, you know, human.
So yeah, I’m biased towards Bill Simmons because without his side door entrance into sportswriting I’m not sure I would have fallen in love with it like I did and have the job(s) I have now.
With that out of the way I’d like to address the fact that you don’t have to look very far really ever to find criticism of Grantland’s editor-in-chief. It’s pervasive.
I saw this on Thursday.
Every time I think "Jon, your analysis needs A LOT of work", I see guys like Bill and Jalen spewing madness and I feel much better.
— Jon Hamm (@JonMHamm) October 23, 2014
That’s fine and probably fair. Simmons isn’t the best writer or the best analyst or the best anything other than the best at riding the right wave at the exact right time for an audience who would have followed someone both 100 percent better than him and probably 50 percent worse. He’s definitely the best at that.
Here’s what I love at Simmons, though — he gets that he’s not the best writer or thinker or analyst around. But he takes it a step further. He gets it and his ego is in check enough (I’m not saying it’s in check in full, just enough) to hire folks who 100 percent of people would say are smarter and better at writing and analyzing than him.
That’s a difficult spot and one he doesn’t get enough credit for.
When you go out and hire Zach Lowe, Brian Phillips, and Bill Barnwell to upstage you on the most culturally hip website this side of the invention of the Internet, that’s impressive both because he knows he’s going to get upstaged and because he’s okay with it.
For all the critiques of Simmons I’ve rarely seen him get the (deserved) accolades he gets for consistently doing this.
John Wooden once said “whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” I’m all in on that quote and it would appear Simmons is too.