The Bill Simmons Thread

nattysez

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I listened to most of the pod this morning -- it was really good. Simmons did a remarkably good job keeping his mouth shut and not trying to pal around with them too much. There was at least one time where I felt like the question he asked after a long Affleck answer indicated that he'd stopped listening, but it may also have been that he wanted to ask Damon a question and didn't want to continue down whatever path Affleck had started going down.

I wonder whether Bill started getting nervous when both Affleck and Damon started talking about how mean people can be when you're down and how many people were making jokes at Affleck's expense when he was going through his career downswing. I suspect Bill made more than a few jokes about Affleck in the Gigli days.
 

jmcc5400

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I listened to most of the pod this morning -- it was really good. Simmons did a remarkably good job keeping his mouth shut and not trying to pal around with them too much. There was at least one time where I felt like the question he asked after a long Affleck answer indicated that he'd stopped listening, but it may also have been that he wanted to ask Damon a question and didn't want to continue down whatever path Affleck had started going down.

I wonder whether Bill started getting nervous when both Affleck and Damon started talking about how mean people can be when you're down and how many people were making jokes at Affleck's expense when he was going through his career downswing. I suspect Bill made more than a few jokes about Affleck in the Gigli days.
Whether or not Bill made fun of Affleck, certainly running bits like "worst NBA contract draft" or "horrible GM summit" are akin to that sort of piling-on.
 

ifmanis5

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While it's not great to have creepy US Weekly staff go through your trash on a daily basis, it was completely inbounds to make fun of Ben after the Gigli and Jersey Girl bombs. Career criticism is part of the gig and so is being in the public eye. Faults and all.
 

nattysez

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While it's not great to have creepy US Weekly staff go through your trash on a daily basis, it was completely inbounds to make fun of Ben after the Gigli and Jersey Girl bombs. Career criticism is part of the gig and so is being in the public eye. Faults and all.
I think that's a totally reasonable opinion, but it is not Ben Affleck's opinion. Simmons -- a former comedy writer, I should add -- pushing back along the lines you just did would've been interesting. I suspect they would've netted out at poking fun being OK but being "mean-spirited" not being OK.
 

Spelunker

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While it's not great to have creepy US Weekly staff go through your trash on a daily basis, it was completely inbounds to make fun of Ben after the Gigli and Jersey Girl bombs. Career criticism is part of the gig and so is being in the public eye. Faults and all.
Career criticism and meanness are different things. We celebrate being an asshole way too much.

The older I get, the main thing I realize (and regret about my past) more and more is that honesty and kindness are not mutually exclusive (and, really, fit very neatly together), and if everyone were just a bit kinder the world would be a much better place.
 

ifmanis5

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I think that's a totally reasonable opinion, but it is not Ben Affleck's opinion. Simmons -- a former comedy writer, I should add -- pushing back along the lines you just did would've been interesting. I suspect they would've netted out at poking fun being OK but being "mean-spirited" not being OK.
Yup, agreed.
 

JCizzle

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Bill’s been in LA for far too long when he’s confusing the famous Affleck coffee pictures for Starbucks instead of Dunks.
 

chrisfont9

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I think that's a totally reasonable opinion, but it is not Ben Affleck's opinion. Simmons -- a former comedy writer, I should add -- pushing back along the lines you just did would've been interesting. I suspect they would've netted out at poking fun being OK but being "mean-spirited" not being OK.
I sort of got the vibe that maybe Affleck kinda agrees now?

Anyway, my favorite part of the pod was that we didn't have to suffer through his increasingly superficial baseball opinions.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Did anyone see Gigli? How bad is it really?
It was mediocre. Not the worst thing and far from the best thing. Turn down the star power on it and it might have been better received. I mean it was not only Affleck and Lopez at the peak of Bennifer 1.0, but it's got Pacino and Walken too. Replace them all with up and comers and veteran "that guy" character actors and it might have been something.
 

Bunt4aTriple

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I don't get as annoyed with Simmons and generally don't think he's as thin-skinned as some here. I don't put him up on a pedestal or anything; I just don't take him too seriously. I don't think he silently fumes at RR, CR or Wesley Morris for challenging him or busting his balls. He can overreact and be petulant at times, but I don't think it's constant.

I did enjoy his episode on HIBT. He's discussed a lot of this previously, but it's a nice summation of his career (as a potential unreliable narrator of course, but he does own up to some misteps/overreactions). https://wondery.com/shows/how-i-built-this/episode/10386-the-ringer-bill-simmons/
 

JCizzle

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Might be better for the other thread, but the Town re-re-watchables with Affleck and Russillo would be incredible if Simmons could pull it off. Add the Departed with Damon on a similar note. T&R mentioned they have a movie shooting in Boston so it would be the perfect chance to push that as well in a few months.
 

nattysez

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Russillo's prediction of what Simmons's kid will sound like as a post-collegiate lax bro was hilarious on their pod yesterday.
 

Auger34

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I’m glad that Bills recent pod had a KD trade segment, I’ve been dying to hear his thoughts on Kevin Durant for years now
 

ifmanis5

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Bill truly loves Jrue Holiday. Kyle, turn the TikTok camera on... Jrue just knows how to put his balls on the table, show his chest hair and really gives a shit in games that matter. He passes the eye test and I would not want to mess with that dude.

I did love when Bill went on a furious rant about the Mavs tanking as one of the most despicable things he's ever seen in the history of basketball and Ryen was like, yeah I don't care. Then Bill was like, yeah fair. I was with Ryen on that one.
 

Auger34

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Bill truly loves Jrue Holiday. Kyle, turn the TikTok camera on... Jrue just knows how to put his balls on the table, show his chest hair and really gives a shit in games that matter. He passes the eye test and I would not want to mess with that dude.

I did love when Bill went on a furious rant about the Mavs tanking as one of the most despicable things he's ever seen in the history of basketball and Ryen was like, yeah I don't care. Then Bill was like, yeah fair. I was with Ryen on that one.
Lol, that was fantastic.

This is one of the worst things to happen to the NBA ever!!!! Russillo how much do you care?

…..Zero
 

ManicCompression

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My favorite part of that same ep was (paraphrasing):

BS: And then there's Suns-Clippers, which has some major legacy things going on. KD versus Kawhi, which, when you think about it, is really a battle for who was the best player of the last 10 or so years.

RR: Well, Steph?

BS: I mean best forward

RR: Okay, best forward? Lebron?

BS: I mean besides Lebron.

RR: (sarcastic) Okay, so this is a battle for the best forward of the last ten years, outside of Lebron.

No one is better at making Simmons immediately walk back whatever dumb theory he's pushing than Russillo. It's so much fun to hear Bill completely wilt when challenged on this stuff.
 

Remagellan

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My favorite part of that same ep was (paraphrasing):

BS: And then there's Suns-Clippers, which has some major legacy things going on. KD versus Kawhi, which, when you think about it, is really a battle for who was the best player of the last 10 or so years.

RR: Well, Steph?

BS: I mean best forward

RR: Okay, best forward? Lebron?

BS: I mean besides Lebron.

RR: (sarcastic) Okay, so this is a battle for the best forward of the last ten years, outside of Lebron.

No one is better at making Simmons immediately walk back whatever dumb theory he's pushing than Russillo. It's so much fun to hear Bill completely wilt when challenged on this stuff.
I stopped listening to Bill's BS pods a while ago, but that is awesome work by Russillo checking his boss.
 

Auger34

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I stopped listening to Bill's BS pods a while ago, but that is awesome work by Russillo checking his boss.
What’s truly fascinating is that Russillo checks BS a decent amount but theres at least 5 times an episode where he would absolutely dismiss the point if it wasn’t made by his boss so he halfway checks him.
 

Rook05

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We need a seasonal drinking game for whenever Bill discovers a new cool phrase, and then proceeds to beat it into the ground. “Draw dead” is his newest obsession.
 

jose melendez

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My favorite part of that same ep was (paraphrasing):

BS: And then there's Suns-Clippers, which has some major legacy things going on. KD versus Kawhi, which, when you think about it, is really a battle for who was the best player of the last 10 or so years.

RR: Well, Steph?

BS: I mean best forward

RR: Okay, best forward? Lebron?

BS: I mean besides Lebron.

RR: (sarcastic) Okay, so this is a battle for the best forward of the last ten years, outside of Lebron.

No one is better at making Simmons immediately walk back whatever dumb theory he's pushing than Russillo. It's so much fun to hear Bill completely wilt when challenged on this stuff.
Klosterman's got to be up there.
 

luckiestman

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We need a seasonal drinking game for whenever Bill discovers a new cool phrase, and then proceeds to beat it into the ground. “Draw dead” is his newest obsession.
When Bill was doing “I fuck with that” was peak Bill.
 

jmcc5400

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We need a seasonal drinking game for whenever Bill discovers a new cool phrase, and then proceeds to beat it into the ground. “Draw dead” is his newest obsession.
Yes, it appears that the arrow for "arrow going up" is going down.
 

m0ckduck

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We need a seasonal drinking game for whenever Bill discovers a new cool phrase, and then proceeds to beat it into the ground. “Draw dead” is his newest obsession.
Relatedly, there was a sequence in one of the recent pods where a guest used the term "concern trolling" and Bill reacted with rapt fascination, believing the guest had coined the phrase.

That was one of the few moments where I've felt about 25 years younger than Simmons. That, and every time he gushes about U2.
 

Shelterdog

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We need a seasonal drinking game for whenever Bill discovers a new cool phrase, and then proceeds to beat it into the ground. “Draw dead” is his newest obsession.
He’s really taken to the Russiloism of dismissing an argument by saying some sarcastic version of “ uh .. okayyy”
 

m0ckduck

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Simmons has unfortunately entered no-listen zone for me following Celtics losses. His commentary has become so repetitive and formulaic ... blah blah all season Derrick White has been their third best guy... blah blah they should always go small and spread 'em out.... blah blah Coach Mazz is learning on the fly... I can feel my brain cells fizzle while listening. He had a whinging segment with Chris Mannix after the G1 loss that was sports radio bad. A shame.
 

m0ckduck

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Simmons has unfortunately entered no-listen zone for me following Celtics losses. His commentary has become so repetitive and formulaic ... blah blah all season Derrick White has been their third best guy... blah blah they should always go small and spread 'em out.... blah blah Coach Mazz is learning on the fly... I can feel my brain cells fizzle while listening. He had a whinging segment with Chris Mannix after the G1 loss that was sports radio bad. A shame.
Not planning on listening to today’s lament, for example. I assume it’s the same old litany of talking points.
 

Auger34

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Not planning on listening to today’s lament, for example. I assume it’s the same old litany of talking points.
I listened to the Celtics portions and there were a few interesting pearls in there but for the most part you have it nailed (his big ones on this pod were Smart and CJM…which he almost always complains about)

Some things that I found interesting:
-Bill’s dad has been complaining about Mazzulla being overwhelmed since the beginning of the year.
-Both KOC and Bill claim that sources inside the Celtics and around the league credited Will Hardy for all of the in-game adjustments last year. They also made it seem like Ime was more of a figure head as opposed to doing any actual X’s & O’s (both were complimentary of his toughness and ability to reach the team)
-According to Bill, Mazzula was the #4 assistant last year? (That can’t be right, I thought he was #2 but maybe he was 3 behind Stoudamire?)
-If they lose tonight, Bill thinks that Smart (shocking!) and Rob would be the ones that are traded to shake the team up.
 

m0ckduck

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I listened to the Celtics portions and there were a few interesting pearls in there but for the most part you have it nailed (his big ones on this pod were Smart and CJM…which he almost always complains about)
I actually wrote that comment after the G4 loss. I DEFINITELY won't be listening to his lament about the G5 loss.
-If they lose tonight, Bill thinks that Smart (shocking!) and Rob would be the ones that are traded to shake the team up.
I know you're just forwarding his arguments, and I should probably listen to them before responding. But I'm definitely not doing that. So, here goes...
- Isn't firing the coach and running back the team that led the league in point differential the logical shake-up move?
- Smart I can kinda see. But Rob seems like an obvious "has more value for us than you" player. Also, if they offer JB the supermax, then finding affordable bigs becomes the obvious roster construction conundrum, so I don't see why they'd trade one away.
 

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I fell asleep watching Cool Hand Luke on TCM while waiting for the Sox game start, and woke up in the middle of Hoosiers, which I guess is an opportunity to revisit the author of The Book of Basketball's continued befuddlement about Norman Dale's insistence that his players pass the ball at least four times before shooting. He's a coach who insists on playing man-to-man defense all game, every game with a team of 5-7 (really 6.5) players (it becomes 7.5/8 when Jimmy shows up)---of course he wants his team to milk the clock on offense to minimize the disadvantage due to their lack of depth. For some reason this eludes a guy who knows much more about the game of basketball and its history than I do.
 
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chrisfont9

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I actually wrote that comment after the G4 loss. I DEFINITELY won't be listening to his lament about the G5 loss.

I know you're just forwarding his arguments, and I should probably listen to them before responding. But I'm definitely not doing that. So, here goes...
- Isn't firing the coach and running back the team that led the league in point differential the logical shake-up move?
- Smart I can kinda see. But Rob seems like an obvious "has more value for us than you" player. Also, if they offer JB the supermax, then finding affordable bigs becomes the obvious roster construction conundrum, so I don't see why they'd trade one away.
Rob's contract is reverse-untradeable. No way are you finding that kind of value again at that position if you send him out. I guess you could argue the injury-roulette piece but in the short term he's too good and too cheap.
 

Matthew McKinley

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Late in the last episode, Bill Simmons and Ryan Russillo had a short discussion about the fame level of four celebrities who were at the game. Lebron James was included for purpose. Eddie, Denzel, and Jack were the names shorthanded for the discussion. Bill and Ryan have this quirk where they don't think under-50 people watch Chinatown but somehow Beverly Hills Cop would be on the top of lips for ninth graders. This is BS bias coming in where he thinks what his most cherish pop culture icons would be the same for the rest of the world, while speaking affiliation for teenagers despite being a father of two teens.

If there was a poll done to survey people how does it come looking out? Would Lebron James be the most famous of the four men in 2023, or do we underestimate the limitation of athletes name recognition compared to movie stars?
 

JCizzle

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Late in the last episode, Bill Simmons and Ryan Russillo had a short discussion about the fame level of four celebrities who were at the game. Lebron James was included for purpose. Eddie, Denzel, and Jack were the names shorthanded for the discussion. Bill and Ryan have this quirk where they don't think under-50 people watch Chinatown but somehow Beverly Hills Cop would be on the top of lips for ninth graders. This is BS bias coming in where he thinks what his most cherish pop culture icons would be the same for the rest of the world, while speaking affiliation for teenagers despite being a father of two teens.

If there was a poll done to survey people how does it come looking out? Would Lebron James be the most famous of the four men in 2023, or do we underestimate the limitation of athletes name recognition compared to movie stars?
I think LeBron would definitely be the most famous of those four people. Beyond just the 20-year career of being one of the best players in one of the most easily recognizable major sports (i.e. no helmet or hat), he's been in countless ads both domestically and I imagine internationally.
 

Hoya81

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LeBron. The rest wouldn't be as well known to anyone under 30. Jack has been retired since 2010 and in semi-seclusion the last few years. Denzel and Eddie mostly avoid big franchise work.
 

8slim

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Late in the last episode, Bill Simmons and Ryan Russillo had a short discussion about the fame level of four celebrities who were at the game. Lebron James was included for purpose. Eddie, Denzel, and Jack were the names shorthanded for the discussion. Bill and Ryan have this quirk where they don't think under-50 people watch Chinatown but somehow Beverly Hills Cop would be on the top of lips for ninth graders. This is BS bias coming in where he thinks what his most cherish pop culture icons would be the same for the rest of the world, while speaking affiliation for teenagers despite being a father of two teens.

If there was a poll done to survey people how does it come looking out? Would Lebron James be the most famous of the four men in 2023, or do we underestimate the limitation of athletes name recognition compared to movie stars?
In fairness to Bill, he said kids know Eddie Murphy from all of his kids movies that are seen incessantly on Netflix (Shrek, Norbit, etc).
 

Matthew McKinley

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LeBron. The rest wouldn't be as well known to anyone under 30. Jack has been retired since 2010 and in semi-seclusion the last few years. Denzel and Eddie mostly avoid big franchise work.
Why cut off at 30? Somebody that is 29 would know Eddie Murphy from Doctor Dolittle and Shrek. Maybe that's more true with under-20 but not so with people in their upper 20s. Denzel is still a bankable star who works in action movies and prestige pictures simultaneously. Hard to escape his presence. Nicholson has been retired but he was still a big star until 2010. Many people around 26-29 should know who Jack Nicholson is.
 

Shelterdog

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Late in the last episode, Bill Simmons and Ryan Russillo had a short discussion about the fame level of four celebrities who were at the game. Lebron James was included for purpose. Eddie, Denzel, and Jack were the names shorthanded for the discussion. Bill and Ryan have this quirk where they don't think under-50 people watch Chinatown but somehow Beverly Hills Cop would be on the top of lips for ninth graders. This is BS bias coming in where he thinks what his most cherish pop culture icons would be the same for the rest of the world, while speaking affiliation for teenagers despite being a father of two teens.

If there was a poll done to survey people how does it come looking out? Would Lebron James be the most famous of the four men in 2023, or do we underestimate the limitation of athletes name recognition compared to movie stars?
Purely anecdotal but I think people under 40 watch a lot fewer movies from before they were born than people over 40-probably because you can watch a million things from the last twenty years in a million places instead of watching creature double feature on a Saturday afternoon, wiazard of oz/gone with the wind/ten commdanmenta when they were the abc movie of the week, etc
 

Matthew McKinley

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In fairness to Bill, he said kids know Eddie Murphy from all of his kids movies that are seen incessantly on Netflix (Shrek, Norbit, etc).
Simmons then sights 48 Hrs and Beverly Hills Cop as being more culturally relevant than Chinatown for younger people alongside the kids stuff he started to make in the late 90s/aughts.
 

Kliq

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I think Bill's rankings were probably how I'd rank him.

Him and Russilo agreed that there are large sections of the population who just know nothing about sports, and while it seems crazy that someone couldn't recognize LeBron, movies and movie stars have maybe slightly more pan-cultural appeal, which gives Denzel an edge.

In Eddie vs Jack, I think people underestimate how big Shrek is/was to younger people--it's a huge movie for anyone under 30 and probably helps Eddie Murphy's popularity despite an otherwise forgettable part of his career. He also did a lot of kids movies in the 2000s (Haunted Mansion, Meet Dave, etc.).

Outside of The Departed, what has Nicholson done in the last 20 years to gain recognition from any young person outside of film buffs? Under 25s probably know him best as dril's avatar on Twitter.
 

Hoya81

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Why cut off at 30? Somebody that is 29 would know Eddie Murphy from Doctor Dolittle and Shrek. Maybe that's more true with under-20 but not so with people in their upper 20s. Denzel is still a bankable star who works in action movies and prestige pictures simultaneously. Hard to escape his presence. Nicholson has been retired but he was still a big star until 2010. Many people around 26-29 should know who Jack Nicholson is.
IMO, if you asked someone otherwise completely clueless about sports to name 1 current NBA player, LeBron is the likeliest answer.

I’d put Denzel next, because as you said he still works fairly regularly and is still relevant in terms of awards recognition etc. But prestige dramas and stuff like the Equalizer skew way older in terms of audience.

As for Eddie, Shrek was certainly very big, but it was a voice role and the last one was in 2010. His live-action career stalled out again after Norbit, with only 1 minor hit (Tower Heist), before largely disappearing until 2019 when he had an excellent turn on SNL and a Golden Globe nom for Dolemite Is My Name.
 

Marciano490

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Murphy has a recognizable voice, and Shrek is iconic, but are kids really asking who voiced every animated role or are we watching these movies knowing Eddie and having it add to his cred.

It’s certainly closer now than it was 40 years ago when the worlds biggest movie star dwarfed it’s biggest basketball player, but everyone around the world with access and interest in sports also can access our movies and culture, but not everyone watching our movies follows our sports. So Denzel for sure.
 

luckiestman

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More evidence for Denzel, last year in Venezia I saw some awesome bro wearing this and had to capture the moment

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