Bill Simmons: Valuing Trades More Than Friendships

allstonite

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Simmons said that? That's hilarious.
He says it a lot whenever he has a comedian on. It's weird because the Ringer is filled with younger "woke" writers and it's not like he's known for being insensitive outside of maybe some light homophobia and misogyny early in his career. Even for that time he was nowhere near as offensive as a lot of other people. He says because it's seems like something a privileged white sportswriter would say (the kind he made his career ripping on)

He never really gets challenged on it but the Wedding Crashers Rewatchables had an interesting back and forth between Chris Ryan and Fennessey about the jokes in that movie and how they wouldn't fly today but the movie is still funny in a lot of parts it's still alright to laugh at it. I can't remember the details but but was really thoughtful even if Bill tuned it out.

In other news, he was on Katie Nolan last night and poked fun at himself for once. This was good

 

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I wasn't commenting so much on whether he's insensitive in his writing--I don't read him too much any more, but from what I have seen, he's pretty much eliminated his frat boy style of writing from the early 00s. Which is really good because when I think back to some of the stuff that he'd write about, it doesn't hold up well. Like I remember he said that he's an advocate for women's sports to be highlighted in pink on the ESPN ticker and made a bit of a cottage industry on how much he hated the WNBA ("What would you rather do, find $5 on the ground or see the WNBA team in your city win a championship?"). And I'm not going to pretend that I didn't laugh at that stuff, but he doesn't do that any more.

What I was chuckling at is the insinuation that people have to quit being so sensitive. I mean SJH ran Simmons out of here based on one back and forth about Edgar Renteria and how he didn't "scare" the Sportsguy.
 

allstonite

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Yeah I forgot about that story but it is funny that we're posting about this while he also went and did that segment last night. It's the first time I can remember where he's poked fun of himself in such a public manner. He also embraced his conspiracy theories as ridiculous instead of actually believing them when he was on with Jalen and Jacoby. It's like he finally gained a little self awareness in the past few weeks and it's refreshing.

To me his everyone should stop being so sensitive is something he hasn't really thought deeply about and is more of a reflex of getting old and realizing some of that shit isn't funny anymore. If someone asked "do you Bill Simmons in 2018 think it's alright to make fun of gay people or women or minorities or whatever" he would definitely say no.
 

chrisfont9

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To me his everyone should stop being so sensitive is something he hasn't really thought deeply about and is more of a reflex of getting old and realizing some of that shit isn't funny anymore. If someone asked "do you Bill Simmons in 2018 think it's alright to make fun of gay people or women or minorities or whatever" he would definitely say no.
Agree. It's like a cheap applause line. It's like "People are so PC!" Oh, you mean we aren't as cool with racism, misogyny, etc. anymore? And as you say, he understands this when he isn't tossing out that line. The Rewatchables podcasts confront this all the time.
 

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He says it a lot whenever he has a comedian on. It's weird because the Ringer is filled with younger "woke" writers and it's not like he's known for being insensitive outside of maybe some light homophobia and misogyny early in his career. Even for that time he was nowhere near as offensive as a lot of other people. He says because it's seems like something a privileged white sportswriter would say (the kind he made his career ripping on)

He never really gets challenged on it but the Wedding Crashers Rewatchables had an interesting back and forth between Chris Ryan and Fennessey about the jokes in that movie and how they wouldn't fly today but the movie is still funny in a lot of parts it's still alright to laugh at it. I can't remember the details but but was really thoughtful even if Bill tuned it out.

In other news, he was on Katie Nolan last night and poked fun at himself for once. This was good

I recently listened to this Rewatchable episode. He definitely does not get challenged on it by anyone because he is in agreement. He goes thru the litany of movies with homophobic jokes (Superbad, 40 Year Old Virgin, etc) and misogyny and says those were the last few movies that could get away with it. He says that's a good thing. You look back on it and cringe at the jokes... But there has been a huge shift over the years. In the Wedding Crashers Era, you couldn't do Porky's or Animal House humor. It does ruin some of the movie, especially the whole premise of Wedding Crashers, but it is what it is.

When he says they can't make that movie today, I don't think he was saying it was a shame, or anything.
 

nattysez

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Not part of the current convo, but it struck me when listening to the Against All Odds podcast last night that Simmons has done a really good job of letting people explore their niche without "dumbing down" the podcast. "Against All Odds" is just straight betting talk, and no one's going back to explain what a parlay is or anything -- you either get it or need to figure it out on your own. Binge Mode is similar -- if you haven't read/watched the source material recently, they are going to make references that you're not going to get, and they are unapologetic about it.

Not writing off things that millions of people are interested in as too "niche" is a great failing of ESPN and others, and I think Simmons wisely determined that there is gold to be mined by selling spots on "niche" podcasts to advertisers who want to appeal directly to that particular demographic.
 

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tbb345

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Not part of the current convo, but it struck me when listening to the Against All Odds podcast last night that Simmons has done a really good job of letting people explore their niche without "dumbing down" the podcast. "Against All Odds" is just straight betting talk, and no one's going back to explain what a parlay is or anything -- you either get it or need to figure it out on your own. Binge Mode is similar -- if you haven't read/watched the source material recently, they are going to make references that you're not going to get, and they are unapologetic about it.

Not writing off things that millions of people are interested in as too "niche" is a great failing of ESPN and others, and I think Simmons wisely determined that there is gold to be mined by selling spots on "niche" podcasts to advertisers who want to appeal directly to that particular demographic.
You’ve referenced podcasts that involve some of the most talented people in his universe getting to talk about things they love.
It’s a mixed bag to me. For every Binge Mode, theres shoehorning Tate into pods as a host. For every Agaisnt All Odds, there’s letting Chris Ryan (who I actually like a lot on The Watch) and Juliet Litman (who’s good at reality show stuff) host an NBA podcast.
I’d say that it’s fine when he limits it to one pod or specific things but when he lets his favorites host podcasts about things that they clearly don’t have much knowledge about, the results are a train wreck
 

scottyno

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Bill's friend is now valued in The League...

Adrian Wojnarowski‏Verified account @wojespn 25m25 minutes ago
ESPN reporting with @Zachlowe_NBA: In another example of the league's changing attitudes on gambling, the Dallas Mavericks are hiring former NBA bettor Bob Voulgaris (@Haralabob) as Director of Quantitative Research and Development.

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/24897221/bob-voulgaris-hired-dallas-mavericks-director-quantitative-research-development
This is the worst news of the year. Great for Bob who I know a little and is a good guy and knows more about the NBA than almost anyone, but terrible for fans since presumably he'll no longer be able to tweet about the NBA or do NBA related podcasts.
 

luckiestman

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This is the worst news of the year. Great for Bob who I know a little and is a good guy and knows more about the NBA than almost anyone, but terrible for fans since presumably he'll no longer be able to tweet about the NBA or do NBA related podcasts.
I will miss tweeting with Bob
 

The Needler

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This is the worst news of the year. Great for Bob who I know a little and is a good guy and knows more about the NBA than almost anyone, but terrible for fans since presumably he'll no longer be able to tweet about the NBA or do NBA related podcasts.
It’s hard to believe he would accept the job if it would seriously curtail his other activities. They’re certainly not going to be paying him a difference-making salary.
 

scottyno

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It’s hard to believe he would accept the job if it would seriously curtail his other activities. They’re certainly not going to be paying him a difference-making salary.
From what I understand he's not a full time bettor anymore (if even part time), he's moved on to other business ventures but still watches as much NBA as he can, so it's probably not hurting him much financially. He was also a very early crypto adopter, and at this point in his life I'm guessing the money doesn't matter much to him he just wants the challenge and influence.
 

The Needler

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From what I understand he's not a full time bettor anymore (if even part time), he's moved on to other business ventures but still watches as much NBA as he can, so it's probably not hurting him much financially. He was also a very early crypto adopter, and at this point in his life I'm guessing the money doesn't matter much to him he just wants the challenge and influence.
Yes, that’s my point. He doesn’t need the money they’re going to pay him, and he seems to enjoy the other things (being a semi-media celebrity, podcasting, tweeting, etc.), so I can’t imagine being behind a desk and sharing his analysis silently in Dallas for a couple hundred grand would make him want to give those things up.
 

nattysez

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Yes, that’s my point. He doesn’t need the money they’re going to pay him, and he seems to enjoy the other things (being a semi-media celebrity, podcasting, tweeting, etc.), so I can’t imagine being behind a desk and sharing his analysis silently in Dallas for a couple hundred grand would make him want to give those things up.
This was my thought, too. Then I realized that what may be happening is that he'll convert his current IT staff (I think he's said he has a few employees) over to focusing on Dallas and just continue what he's been doing, feeding the team info that they can either use or not as they see fit. Maybe he needs to roll into Dallas a few times a year to meet with folks, explain what he's doing, and sit courtside, but I doubt he signed up to be at a desk in Dallas for months at a time.
 

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You’ve referenced podcasts that involve some of the most talented people in his universe getting to talk about things they love.
It’s a mixed bag to me. For every Binge Mode, theres shoehorning Tate into pods as a host. For every Agaisnt All Odds, there’s letting Chris Ryan (who I actually like a lot on The Watch) and Juliet Litman (who’s good at reality show stuff) host an NBA podcast.
I’d say that it’s fine when he limits it to one pod or specific things but when he lets his favorites host podcasts about things that they clearly don’t have much knowledge about, the results are a train wreck
This is really just a lousy way to look at a media business and it's wrong. And haughty. In what way is Tate shoehorned into Pods? I listen to 11 different Ringer podcasts. Eleven. And I rarely hear Tate, it's almost never. And Chris Ryan could do every podcast in the world and every one would be popular. He's unbelievable behind the mic.

Finally, the Ringer is throwing about 20 different Podcasts out every week, each of them releasing 2-4 episodes. Are you suggesting every single one has to be a masterpiece like the first season of Serial? Calling the occasionally good Podcast a trainwreck is just a scalding hot take of nonsense.
 

tbb345

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This is really just a lousy way to look at a media business and it's wrong. And haughty. In what way is Tate shoehorned into Pods? I listen to 11 different Ringer podcasts. Eleven. And I rarely hear Tate, it's almost never. And Chris Ryan could do every podcast in the world and every one would be popular. He's unbelievable behind the mic.

Finally, the Ringer is throwing about 20 different Podcasts out every week, each of them releasing 2-4 episodes. Are you suggesting every single one has to be a masterpiece like the first season of Serial? Calling the occasionally good Podcast a trainwreck is just a scalding hot take of nonsense.
No, I’m suggesting that the podcast be “occasionally good”.
I like Chris Ryan and think he’s very good talking about pop culture and has amazing chemistry with Andy Greenwald (I like The Watch as mentioned).
If you legitimately think that Chris Ryan should be hosting a weekly NBA podcast, then our opinions on this topic are so incredibly different that it’s really not even worth discussing anymore. Chris isn’t particularly knowledgeable on the subject and seems to think that his responsibility is to be the ying to Bill Simmons yang, where he’s critical of Boston sports but a major Philly homer. The Ringer has too many talented NBA writers on their payroll to showcase Ryan and Litman as hosts of a weekly podcast.
Looking at Twitter response, I thought I could be considered one of the bigger Chris Ryan fans out there but suggesting that he is some otherworldly talent capable of doing anything is, to use your words, a “scalding hottake of nonsense”. (I think it’s a pretty safe bet that your Ryan take is hyperbole to drive your point home but since you didn’t afford me the same respect with using “train wreck” I will play by your rules here)
Point taken on the Tate shoe horning comment. I admit to having an irrational hatred of his presence and can admit his presence on OSP makes sense. I think that his college basketball knowledge is limited to UNC and the Carolinas and generally don’t like to listen to people who are that tribal and rose colored in al of their opinions but he does seem to love College Basketball. However, I maintain that the fact that he is the host of an NFL podcast is fucking mind boggling. He doesn’t seem to know that much about , or even like, the NFL and isn’t that talented of a host in the first place. Again, The Ringer has so many employees that I find it incredibly hard to believe that they don’t have anyone better to host GM Street.
 

luckiestman

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No, I’m suggesting that the podcast be “occasionally good”.
I like Chris Ryan and think he’s very good talking about pop culture and has amazing chemistry with Andy Greenwald (I like The Watch as mentioned).
If you legitimately think that Chris Ryan should be hosting a weekly NBA podcast, then our opinions on this topic are so incredibly different that it’s really not even worth discussing anymore. Chris isn’t particularly knowledgeable on the subject and seems to think that his responsibility is to be the ying to Bill Simmons yang, where he’s critical of Boston sports but a major Philly homer. The Ringer has too many talented NBA writers on their payroll to showcase Ryan and Litman as hosts of a weekly podcast.
Looking at Twitter response, I thought I could be considered one of the bigger Chris Ryan fans out there but suggesting that he is some otherworldly talent capable of doing anything is, to use your words, a “scalding hottake of nonsense”. (I think it’s a pretty safe bet that your Ryan take is hyperbole to drive your point home but since you didn’t afford me the same respect with using “train wreck” I will play by your rules here)
Point taken on the Tate shoe horning comment. I admit to having an irrational hatred of his presence and can admit his presence on OSP makes sense. I think that his college basketball knowledge is limited to UNC and the Carolinas and generally don’t like to listen to people who are that tribal and rose colored in al of their opinions but he does seem to love College Basketball. However, I maintain that the fact that he is the host of an NFL podcast is fucking mind boggling. He doesn’t seem to know that much about , or even like, the NFL and isn’t that talented of a host in the first place. Again, The Ringer has so many employees that I find it incredibly hard to believe that they don’t have anyone better to host GM Street.
To call Tate the host of GM Street is technically true but vastly overstates his importance. He is just a straight man for Lombardi. Once in a while Tate talks too much, but it’s rare. I find the animus towards Tate weird. He is a guy that is mostly around to make sure the audio levels are ok and they let him talk once in a while.
 

The Needler

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And Chris Ryan could do every podcast in the world and every one would be popular. He's unbelievable behind the mic.
Easy, Tiger. I find him smarmy, his voice irritating, and his NBA insight lacking. While he has a good amount of pop culture knowledge, his voice and pretentious manner annoy me there, as well. (And when he does things like spend ten minutes discussing the “same sweatshirt DeNiro wore during the entire movie” of Midnight Run, when in fact, he only wore it in one scene at the beginning of the movie, it bothers me more than it should.)

Which is all to say, just because you’re a fan, doesn’t mean he’s a universally beloved podcast star with undeniable talent. He’s plenty divisive. See here, for example.
 
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Chris Ryan gets annoying to me because he constantly focuses on “what’s the narrative here?” or “what’s going to be the narrative here?” I guess the point of that question is to anticipate how the press will cover something? I honestly don’t know and that kind of meta discussion just isn’t particularly interesting to me. In general, I feel like I probably go the other way than the general pop on ringer stuff. I find Simmons, Ryan, and Concepcion virtually unlistenable due to voice/content, but i like KoC and Tjarks a lot. I think it’s prob just a breakdown in interest though - I want to hear thoughtful, pointed analysis and less theorizing/broad analysis.
 

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I thought that was funny too, but had Bill and Sal really never heard of a running back who was a consensus All-American at his position for a power program?
 

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Sal’s lines about Garrett at the World Series were gold.

“No wonder the offense disappeared.”

“I was hoping the game would last through the Dallas bye.”
 

ifmanis5

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The Malcolm Gladwell pod was kind of a hot mess. Simmons with a The Williams Sisters are underrated take that made no sense. Then Gladwell proclaiming that Simmons' millennial employees had "spooked" him because that was making Bill lukewarm about Gladwell's weird racial basketball draft and eugenics opinions. What the hell was that?
 

ElUno20

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Just because someone is super smart doesnt make them a good guest to talk about sports. Even Bill, the host, struggled to care about the racial draft.
 

Marciano490

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Gladwell and Simmons seem like two people who like to draw dumb conclusions from cherrypicked data to make points only they care about. I’m surprised they didn’t get along better.
 

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Gladwell and Simmons seem like two people who like to draw dumb conclusions from cherrypicked data to make points only they care about. I’m surprised they didn’t get along better.
I haven't listened to this podcast but I always thought they got along well because they dabbled in the same field of guesswork. Gladwell is kind of like a PHD-level Simmons; like Gladwell will compare the strategy some Fourtune 500 company uses to how NBA teams evaluate talent; and Bill will do the same thing except that it would be the strategy Johnny Bananas' used on The Challenge.
 

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Gladwell and Simmons seem like two people who like to draw dumb conclusions from cherrypicked data to make points only they care about. I’m surprised they didn’t get along better.
They seem to get along great, it's just the rest of us who suffer.

Now the racial draft didn't work too well but that's because Gladwell's points were totally inane (e.g., the Nigerian basketball team is the best ever--our point guard is Steve Nash because he was born in South Africa and we'd have Duncan and Pat Ewing because they're from the islands and likely have nigerian heritage!) and because Bill saw sponsor dollars going up in smoke.
 

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Enjoyed that Gladwell's rationale for including Nash was that his initial premise, that Nigeria could put together the best team, didn't really work so he had to add anyone born on the continent.
 

cheech13

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Enjoyed that Gladwell's rationale for including Nash was that his initial premise, that Nigeria could put together the best team, didn't really work so he had to add anyone born on the continent.
Did he even say whole continent? I thought he tried to count "neighboring countries", ignoring the fact that Johannesburg is roughly 3,000+/- miles from Nigeria. I generally like Gladwell and Simmons despite their flaws, but this was one of the most asinine and illogical conversations I've ever tried to follow.
 

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good to hear. I started the pod but had to turn it off. Simmons just talking into a mic without a guest is just unbearable. I'm definitely interested in hearing Conan though.
 

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It’s usually in the description, at least in iTunes. Or you can keep skipping 30 seconds until the Stamps.com/Mugsy Jeans/Hiring Website ad comes up.

Would love to have him do more with Coco though, especially if he can dive deeper into the late night wars when Conan got screwed over. I just miss Conan in my life.
 

ElUno20

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I could listen to Conan all day. Great convo with him and Simmons. Really looking forward to Coco's podcast
 

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I could listen to Conan all day. Great convo with him and Simmons. Really looking forward to Coco's podcast
Yes. Conan is an incredible podcast guest and he's obviously hilarious. That was a great one, but I rarely listen to a Simmons' podcast and think it sucks. His podcast work is consistently solid.
 

Kliq

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A few days late; but Sal as the potential third man on with Tiger and Phil was hilarious.

"You make this putt or it's straight back to rehab, Eldrick!"
 

ElUno20

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Bill has to have one of the most popular sports podcasts out there. What is the point of continually having Durant on? He's not interesting or even interested in being on the podcast.

Such a waste of a podcast.
 

allstonite

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I still like most of Simmons' stuff but I agree. I just skipped this one completely and from what I've seen I think I made the right choice. His agent is awful.
 

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Bill has to have one of the most popular sports podcasts out there. What is the point of continually having Durant on? He's not interesting or even interested in being on the podcast.

Such a waste of a podcast.
Because he's a top 5 player in the NBA and you don't turn down access to that in the hope he says something interesting. The name recognition gets podcast downloads regardless. I'm more amazed that anyone would actually ponder the questions above.
 

cheech13

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Bill has to have one of the most popular sports podcasts out there. What is the point of continually having Durant on? He's not interesting or even interested in being on the podcast.

Such a waste of a podcast.
Kevin Durant is a high-profile get and I would bet that translates to increased downloads and/or advertising dollars. Now, like you, I have zero interest in listening to him on the show and in fact haven't listened to any of the Durant interviews despite regularly listening to the podcast since its inception. I assume I'm in the minority, or outside the target demo.
 

ElUno20

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Because he's a top 5 player in the NBA and you don't turn down access to that in the hope he says something interesting. The name recognition gets podcast downloads regardless. I'm more amazed that anyone would actually ponder the questions above.
i know it's for numbers but at this point can they be that fn substantial? Maybe the first few but the novelty has worn off after 5. disagree.

Also, how about some integrity in just realizing he's a horrible hang for an hour on podcast? It's bad content. Kd and his lackey were so disinterested they were eating
 
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