This is part whatever in a periodic series of posts in which I say the same thing about Bill Simmons over and over. That is, it is about him. So, you know, fair warning.
At more than 7,000 words, his new column on ESPN is probably the longest piece published exclusively online since I last posted about Sports Guy here at CSTB. And it has pretty much everything you’d expect. There is a two-paragraph sequence that compares LeBron James to, deep breath, “a female porn star trying to break one of those ‘most male partners in one afternoon’ records”, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Martina Hingis, Eric Lindros and Ken Griffey, Jr, all wrapped around anonymous comments burying James. There is a blow-by-blow description of a stirring Sports Guy comeback at the blackjack tables. Suggestions on how to improve the NBA All-Star Game (which Sports Bro says “sucked big time”) that include the names “Steve Blake” and “T.J. Ford.” Some No Fat Chicks material. Some stuff about Red Bull and Vodka. Look, it’s excruciating and transcendently fratty, but you knew that. What’s important is that — if the article’s combination of sprawling length and lack of actual non-Sports Bro-related content (beyond things his “Boston buddies” said) didn’t already give this away — the article is seemingly unedited. Not gently edited, as his pieces usually are. No, unedited enough that this was the article’s lede:
Remember those parties in college when a drunk guy inadvertently kicked over the host’s bong and spilled bong water onto the rug, only he never cleaned up the resulting mess, so the skunky water festered while the host of the party was passed out? And then, the following morning, the host awakened to a room that smelled like a cross between a stale bong and the seventh circle of hell?
Well, guess what Vegas smelled like all weekend? Right, whatever, but that’s not the worst paragraph in the piece by a damn sight; my vote goes to the one that starts:
I’m telling you, this was a f***ing free-for-all. This was every man for himself. This was Hunter S. Thompson’s dream sports weekend. This was Vegas on steroids.
And ends with:
Say what you want about the Hip-Hop Woodstock, but it was definitely memorable. Then again, so is an appendectomy.
Here’s something else memorable about the piece: Sports Bro keeps talking about marijuana and how dangerous Las Vegas was. Implications that the city was saturated in Kyuss-band-practice levels of dope smoke and the constant threat of gun violence all weekend run throughout the article; he provides anecdotal evidence (by which I mean, anecdotes his friends told him) to support this; actual reporting may yet bear this out. I suppose that may be fearless truth-telling on Sports Bro’s part, but it remains to be seen whether the NBA’s very, very image-sensitive PR people — a group that includes at least one former Bush Administration member — let this stand on ESPN. It would be a shame to see such a landmark article get edited, but I for one will vouch for this: there’s the seed of a good blog post in there, I think.