In which I interrupt my vacation to complain about this asshole.
A brief history of the NBA in eight fake quotes, five exclamation points and two question marks:
It seems silly to get riled up about any of these summaries, but we're at this point already.
1946–56: “White guys, set shots, clotheslines and layups!”
Easy joke, but whatever. Fine. Accurate enough AFAIK.
1956–66: “Hi, I’m Bill, and this is Elgin, Wilt and Oscar.”
Amazing that Simmons managed to use BS character assassination to tar only two of the three superstars that dared challenge Russell and his historically good set of teammates
1967–76: “Things are going well, so let’s double the number of leagues, triple the number of franchises and overpay everybody!”
Is he actually fucking blaming the NBA for shit the ABA did? What?
1977–83: “We’re back to one league — only it’s plagued by drugs, ugly fights, tape-delayed playoff games, stupid owners and unapologetic media racism!”
I doubt it, but OK if you were there..
1984–93: “Bird, Magic AND Jordan! Holy shit! We saved this thing!”
Funny that either Bird or Magic being in the finals every year from 80-83 managed not overcome racism and drugs to save the league.
1994–2003: “Too much money, too fast, too soon … oh, and the quality of play sucks. Wait, MJ’s gone. Now what?”
I know I've harped on this point way too many times, but so has he...the "too much money too soon" shit is so overblown I can't begin to tell you. Kevin Garnett, Kobe, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, and many others had perfectly fine careers despite the rookie salary scale not changing until the 99 lockout. So who exactly fell victim to the corrupting effects of money? He always cites Chris Webber, who had a perfectly good career and probably would have won the 02 title if not for a few bounces going against him. Then his prime was cut short by injuries. So was Penny Hardaway, another guy Bill stupidly groups into this phenomenon. Who, then? Jim Jackson? LaPhonso Ellis? Glenn Robinson? Not exactly enough to destroy the entire league.
2004–11: “Seriously … how do we fix this?”
Being on vacation and all, I'm not going to dig through his column archive, but I'm pretty sure he's wrote a million times in this interval that the '03 draft class or other waves of talent saved the league from the bogus "too much money" era. Also, I was there watching NBA basketball during that era. It was perfectly fine and entertaining.
2012–16: “Wait a second … I think we fixed this!”
Oh yeah, the 2011 lockout totally made the league more fun to watch. Why? because it gave shitheads like Bill moral grounds to lecture Rashard Lewis on his selfish insistence on taking the shitload of money he was offered for his services. Fuck you. The league was not "fixed" in any way.
Even though it’s the same age as Sylvester Stallone, Steven Spielberg and Donald Trump, the National Basketball Association looks better than all of them.
And the English football league system is still going strong after being founded in 1888. In your face LeadBelly!
Did you know that Ian Mahinmi will make almost $16 million this season … and he’s not even one of the league’s 49 highest-paid players?
Oh, we're playing the "salaries went way way up!" game? Welcome to four months ago.
What better proof that the NBA has belatedly matured into a marketable, profitable, forward-thinking and massively entertaining cash cow?
What better proof that you know jack shit about the business end of sports than anything you've ever written thereabouts?
The innovative leadership of Adam Silver and a newer class of owners provides a stark contrast to everything happening in the NFL.
Totally comparable. What, with those decades of research showing that basketball causes heretofore unknown severe health risks.
And a fan-friendly style of play
All Adam Silver's doing.
honed over the past dozen years with savvy rule changes
Let's make perimeter defense illegal! So savvy.
intelligence from advanced metrics
This from the guy who's still on the "DURR WINS AND RBI'S DURRR" train.
and the supernatural shooting prowess of certain stars
Who could forget the coma-inducing 2004-2011 period, when stars like Ray Allen and Steve Nash were bricking away? I'm cringing just thinking about it.
makes those ugly Pacers-Pistons playoff series feel like they happened 50 years ago.
Yeah, between Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, and Reggie Miller, no one could piss and hit an ocean on those teams. Stupid sexy good defense.
. LeBron had spent 13 years cruising through his career without a signature series or moment, and within the span of three games, he had both. (Long live The Block.)
Classic Simmons hindsight bias. Obviously, that series will likely be what he's most remembered for. But he still had plenty of great moments before that, what with him singlehandedly pulling out the 2007 conference finals (and the 25 points in a row game) or his 45-15-5 against Boston in the 2012 ECF on the road in Game 6, or any of a number of others.
But that Cavs-Warriors rematch stands as our most unforgettable Finals since 1998, one of those rare times when you could feel the league’s history shifting (and then it did).
I mean, his point is correct, but it's not like plenty of other finals since then have had historical implications. Shaq's first title? Duncan's first? Kobe's first post-Shaq? Dirk and co upsetting the Heat?
We don’t just follow our favorite basketball teams, we follow everyone. We consume NBA content on high-definition televisions, through clips and snaps and GIFs, through the real-time reactions of other fans on Twitter, through the endless array of columns and features and blog posts. It’s just part of our lives, every day, day after day.
Thank God. I was beginning to think he was going to go a whole column without mentioning that the internet is a thing and acting like a genius for pointing it out.
As owners and players peacefully bang out a new collective bargaining agreement right now — maybe the first time that’s ever been written — they’re more like two bartenders splitting up a massive jar of tips after an especially hectic night. It’s less of a negotiation and more of a collaboration. Nobody wants to screw this up.
Somehow, this ignores that twitter, blogs, HD, etc. all existed in 2011 when the last lockout consumed almost half the season.
And I’m looking at everything and going, After four decades of complaining, I can barely figure out how to pick nits anymore.
And as always, they will be the wrong nits, that essentially boil down to "I have a meaningless rule change that won't really make things any more fun for the fans! How dare they not listen to me!"
Sure, I wish the regular season were six games shorter.
I no rite
I wish Seattle could land an expansion team.
Outside of Seattle, who the fuck would be more interested in the NBA because of this?
I wish shitty teams weren’t rewarded for repeatedly being shitty with MORE top-three picks.
Yeah! Bad teams should have to stay bad forever! That will make things way better.
I wish Boogie Cousins would unblock me on Twitter.
ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME
I wish Gregg Popovich had retired from the Spurs and run for president.
This is a shitty joke/idea, but he would make a better president than you would a GM. So he's got that going for him.
And I wish I weren’t so worried about the league’s competitive balance being completely out of whack.
Funny, when the Celtics were one of the two teams that had a chance to win the title, you wrote that it was literally better for everyone when the league had fewer contenders
. Bill Simmons is a fucking dick.
if opponents keep undermining the frailer-than-you-think Curry by beating the crap out of him
Thanks for telling me what I think. Nobody in the world has ever pointed out that Curry was soft. Least of all me, or millions of other fans, or any former NBA player from the 90's or earlier who was asked about it.
Your other option: wager on EVERYONE ELSE to win the title at +120. You read that correctly. The Super-Warriors have turned the other 29 teams into “the field.”
It looks like Vegas is factoring in what literally everyone thinks. What a stunning turn of events.
(You know what else that means? LeBron James — the third-best basketball player ever, the leader of our defending champs, the captain of the NBA’s most expensive roster and the superhuman battering ram who toppled a seemingly invincible Warriors squad just four months ago — has now been relegated to “the field.” Hold this thought.)
Because he squeaked out a 7 game win, that might not have happened without a key player getting suspended, and then that team improved while his did not. Really not that complicated.
Stuff comparing NBA to NFL title odds
All this goes to show fuck-all.
San Antonio’s backcourt isn’t nearly talented enough to steal a title.
You mean the backcourt that includes 2 HOF'ers drafted in the late 20's that played their whole career with the team that drafted them? The league is broken, clearly.
The Always Flawed Clippers are always a little too flawed.
If only they were coached by somebody who didn't go public with the highly correct opinion that Bill is a moron, they might have a fighting chance.
It’s not happening for Boston, Toronto or OKC. Cross everyone else off. We’re out of teams. What now? It looks like a nine-month wait until the Cavs-Warriors Finals Trilogy peaks with one more superfight — the Cavs as Ali, the Warriors as Frazier, and eight months of Everyone Else as the undercard.
How dare Boston be on the undercard and not predestined to make the Finals like in the glory years of the NBA?
On the other hand … what an undercard! We get Kristaps Porzingis and Karl-Anthony Towns...
Etc. Etc. He goes on. So there are teams that probably can't win the title, but will be fun to watch. Just like every season, including 2004-2011 which were by and large no less entertaining than any others.
We wrote Bird’s Celtics and Magic’s Lakers into the ’86 Finals with a nonerasable Sharpie, expecting their version of the Manila fight for the championship. And then something wacky happened. As the Lakers pulled their team bus into the Finals driveway, the Rockets came roaring out of nowhere, cut them off and forced them into a tree.
What? I could have sworn the Lakers lost that series on purpose because they were afraid of the Celtics!
Trust me, the Lakers got their asses kicked.
Due to their own subconscious insecurity?
They couldn’t keep Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson off the boards.
OR MAYBE THEY DIDN'T WANT TO STOP THEM...WHERE WAS NORAD [SPOOKY MUSIC]????
Those two made Kareem look like he was 200 years old.
Nonsense. He was a spry chicken of 39! He could have fought those scrubs off in his sleep, had he not been rendered impotent by terrifying visions of THE CHIEF.
The whole thing was astonishing.
I know. A team that won 5 titles being so afraid of losing in the finals, which they had done two and three years earlier, that they subconsciously tanked it. Astonishing. Difficult to believe, one might be tempted to stay.
Durant and Westbrook were supposed to own this decade.
I mean, I'm sure most fans considered them a good bet to win a title at some point. They were never nearly as good as this Warriors team.
The Shaqobe Lakers
Team America endless vomiting scene.gif
were supposed to win eight titles.
No, they fucking weren't. They did seem pretty invincible at times, but they barely escaped the WCF in '00 and '02. Nobody but a small child would have said that anything short of 8 championships together was a disappointment.
Miami was supposed to kill Dallas in 2011.
That is overstating it. Miami was definitely the favorite. But the lowest odds scenario was Heat in 7. I think most people expected a pretty close series given how well Dallas was playing.
Nobody saw the 1977 Blazers or 2004 Pistons or 2011 Mavericks coming.
Well the 2004 Pistons didn't have Sheed pre-season, so not really a great comp. Overall point is correct,I guess.
Nobody saw Hakeem winning two straight titles.
What, after he made the Finals in his 3rd year, upsetting the defending champion Lakers in the WCF, everybody said "Boy is this guy a loser. I bet he never wins shit"?
Nobody saw LeBron sneaking into the 2007 Finals, or Iverson sneaking in there in 2001.
And nobody saw them having a chance in hell at winning the title, which they did not.
And...there's more. Maybe I'll tackle it later.