Posts Tagged ‘Bill Simmons’


At long last, the NBA season is (almost) upon us.

TV and Fury take an early look at potential contenders, as well as breaking down another NBA preview podcast.

It’s all very meta.

Here’s the link.


This week’s links, presented in alphabetical order by chronological importance.

* Great SI cover story from Lee Jenkins on Kobe Bryant as he returns from his Achilles injury.

* What if all 32 NFL team mascots were fat?

* S.L. Price on the still-mysterious Yasiel Puig.

* From SB Nation, a streetballer’s cross country journey to play at Rucker Park.

* Manhattan finally has a third water tunnel, as workers just completed a 40-year project. 

* Does Harvey Weinstein help or hurt movies, from Grantland. 

* Gay Talese annotates his classic story Frank Sinatra Has a Cold.

* Dwight Howard’s mad that the Magic gave someone his No. 12. 

* Former Georgetown Hoyas – and Sioux Falls Skyforce star – Vic Page has been charged with 33 crimes in less than 4 years. He also lost an eye at some point. The Washington Post has the story. Sort of.

* The Kansas City Star reported on a really ugly tale involving an alleged sexual abuse being allegedly swept under the rug.

* When Sports Illustrated and ESPN cooperate, good things happen. Like this piece from Richard Deitsch with Bill Simmons.


If it’s Friday it’s time for some links.

* As a fan of fake oral histories about fake sports teams, I enjoyed this one on the 1989 Cleveland Indians.

* Bill Simmons on how to fix the Lakers, with the required shots at Kobe (but no 6-for-24 jokes?).

* From the great website Letters of Note, a dying man’s letter to his 3-week-old grandson.

* It was E.B. White’s birthday yesterday (well, he’s dead but still). Here’s an interview with him from the Paris Review on the art of the essay (he was alive when he gave the interview).

* Patrick Reusse: Twins should show mercy, fire Gardenhire.

* New book coming out on the JFK assassination that won’t be about conspiracy theorists but could be controversial. 

* NHL ’94 is back. 

* For the new Body Issue in ESPN the Magazine, Wright Thompson wrote about Bushwacker the bull. 

* The BBC has created a documentary about Muslim soccer players in the English Premier League.

* Esquire believes that new releases from Kanye West and Jay-Z are ushering in a big-sound era in rap. However, a couple of Grantland podcasters see one album as being superior to the other.

* Apparently, it’s time to put down that craft beer and pick up a slushy drink. So says The New York Times.

* Evidence links the Boston Strangler to a 1964 murder.

* The man behind the Dickens-Dostoevsky hoax speaks.


Welcome to this week’s sizzling links, each hotter than the last.

* Here’s Eli Saslow’s ESPN The Magazine story on former Minnesota State Mankato football coach Todd Hoffner.

* I sent this story to family members who are out in the sun all summer and scoff at sunscreen. It’s Sports Illustrated writer Tim Layden — one of the best in the business — writing about his battle with skin cancer and his new nose. 

* Great news for Twins fans. Carlos Gomez is now one of the best players in baseball. It’s going to kill my dad in a few years when the same article’s written about Trevor Plouffe, who will be tearing it up in Arizona.

* The New York Post with its five favorite moments from New York Rangers coach John Tortorella’s time on the bench. Commence meltdowns.

* Grantland’s latest 30 for 30 short is on Clint Malarchuk, who was nearly killed on the ice 20 years ago. 

* Movie theater owners think the studios give away too much of the plot in long trailers so want them shortened to two minutes. 

* A few days old but needs to be seen again, the epic double flop by LeBron James and David West.

* Charles Ramsey — the Good Samaritan in the horrific Cleveland kidnapping case — does not want free hamburgers. 

* From The Onion: Netflix CEO: We Made a Big Gamble on Americans wanting to sit around and mindlessly watch TV for hours but it paid off.

* Will Leitch in the Bay with Stephen Curry. Leitch is also doing a series of podcasts from the Bay as part of a tour of America. Some good listens in in the bunch.

* Drew Magary is not impressed with Bill Simmons’ theory that Memphis sports fans get nervous because Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated there.

* I did like Simmons’ piece on Dwight Howard.

* In the mood to be scared out of your mind? Then read about coronavirus, a SARS-like disease that some see as a threat to the entire world. So we’ve got that going for us.

* This week marked the 28th anniversary of a soccer disaster that killed 39 people in Belgium – the Heysel Stadium disaster. Here’s one fan’s take.

* The podcast of the week award goes to … Radiolab for its show about a pair of married journalists in Tampa and their experience having a micropremie. Sound familiar? Modern medicine is incredible.


Assuming people still watch late-night talk shows, and I have no idea if they do, pretty big news this week as ABC moved Jimmy Kimmel Live to the coveted 10:30 p.m. CT time slot, a one-hour difference that’s a major promotion.

I caught part of the re-debut Tuesday night. The highlights: An ageless Jennifer Aniston cutting Kimmel’s hair and an ageless Gwen Stefani leading No Doubt in a three-song set. (Sidebar: I saw No Doubt some 17 years ago when they were still an opening act. Stefani has the same energy and physique. It’s astounding. Somebody test her for HGH.) It was harmless if off-beat fun – vintage Kimmel.

Except I’m not qualified to make that statement because I haven’t watched his show on a regular basis in almost 10 years back when it first debuted with weekly guest hosts (like Mike Tyson) and an open bar for participants. I liked it because, well, that’s what Kimmel is – likeable. Not too handsome or too smart or too proud. He is the guy that I wish I could be in the presence of other guys – willing to have fun, to engage in stupid pranks with the fellas and not get too bent out of shape about any of it. (more…)


When Linsanity has taken over there’s no time to dawdle. To The Tapes:

* Here are several stories on Jeremy Lin, a point guard currently playing for the New York Knicks. Adrian Wojnarowski writes about how Lin made it to NYC, tracing his stops in Golden State and Houston. Pablo S. Torre wrote the Sports Illustrated cover story on the guard. Jinx! Canadians like basketball too. The National Post’s Bruce Arthur writes about a little magic. Bill Simmons weighs in with a mailbag. Also from Grantland, Jay Caspian King watches Lin destroy the Lakers. Sigh.

* The news website Minnpost.com got a makeover. It looks nice. Freshened up well.

* Sports Illustrated continues its run of amazing features – which includes last week’s article by future Fury Files interviewee Chris Ballard, on high school wrestling coach Mike Powell – with this piece by Thomas Lake. It’s about Wes Leonard, the Michigan high school star who died last year after hitting the winning shot.

* Patrick Reusse thinks the Twins will battle the White Sox – for last place.

* A New York apartment sold for $88 million. We thought about getting it; didn’t like the bathroom.

* Some upstart paper in New York took a road trip with the Butler basketball team, chronicling the struggles of a squad that’s been to consecutive national title games. The most amazing stat in the story: The school got an estimated $1 billion in exposure from its two tournament runs.

* No need to finish that World Beer Tour at your local Old Chicago: CNBC has saved you some time (and calories) by picking the 15 best brews in the world. It’s … a pretty good list? Let’s be honest: There’s no way for most of us to double check this. Well, unless we have access to Tyler Perry’s private jet in order to track down some of the global varieties. It reminds me of a running joke my friends had in college. We’d proclaim ourselves “No. 1-ranked” at something completely inane and/or impossible to measure. For example, this bullet item probably makes me No. 1-ranked at connecting fermented drinks to fresh corpses.
You’re right: Pretty stupid.


A quickie Tapes for this week, as I’m about to pass out from chugging Nyquil to battle a cold I came down with. My wife’s half-a-world away, otherwise she’d make me soup or something. I’d feel bad making her fly all day back from Africa just to heat up some chicken noodle.

Onward:

* I’m linking to two pieces I haven’t read, which is violating an unwritten TVFury rule. Both deal with the case in Ohio when a troubled man let loose his exotic animals before killing himself. Police were forced to shoot tigers and bears and other creatures that had been released. Esquire’s Chris Jones wrote about it, as did GQ’s Chris Heath. I’ve heard both stories are good but quite different. There is also some inside baseball going on as it’s odd for two writers at rivals to be working on a story like this at the same time in the magazine world. This New York Observer article explains some of it. I haven’t read either story because I’m waiting for each magazine in the mail. Old school.

* Bill Simmons did a podcast with his sports hero, Larry Bird. Even as a Lakers fan I enjoyed the piece, primarily because it’s fun listening to a basketball genius like Larry talk hoops, even if you have to wade through way too much talk about the 1986 Celtics and how if Kevin McHale had been healthy in 1987, he would have blocked Magic’s skyhook in Game 4 of the Finals.

* TVFury readers will remember Kevin Van Valkenburg, who did a Fury Files in December. He just started working for ESPN the Magazine but penned a goodbye to his old paper, The Baltimore sun. A good read.

* Up next, not poetry, but candid words from a situation that’s a total cluster: The University of North Dakota nickname debate. Without getting into too much detail, the NCAA deemed the Fighting Sioux bit “hostile and abusive.” Boosters bristled. Laws were changed. And now the issue is threatening to cost the school future conference affiliation.
This story by Tom Miller from the Grand Forks Herald includes the most candid in-house comments maybe ever on the subject. That’s one of the things I miss least about living and working in North Dakota – the potential to be assigned to update that fiasco. It sort of makes me want to jam a pen into my eyeball the way this dude in Fargo once did after his arson-for-insurance scam was uncovered.

* Are you ready for the latest breakthrough in energy-drink can technology? Meet West Coast Chill. It comes equipped with a button that causes the temp of the swill to drop 30 degrees. I think about how much the world needs this every time I work in the office, my soda turning room temp before I can finish it. Yuck. And pouring it into, say, some sort of insulated thermos will make it go flat.
This entry will fit perfectly in my upcoming book, “I would have been totally screwed if I live in the 1800s.”


By Dan Frasier
Guest blogger

In your last post, Mr. TV, you posed some interesting and pointed questions. The article used Bill Simmons’ tendency to discuss betting lines as a jumping-off point for wondering about gambling as a whole. As a person who has spent a good deal of time thinking about lines and odds, I wanted to offer you some insight. So here goes:

In 2010, the NFL reported revenue for the league of $9 billion. That’s a nice little pile of dough, and it is clearly a significant industry. Games spawn talk-radio shows, non-NFL merchandise sports-related sales (think buying your kid a football) and economic benefits to communities that surround sports venues. In all, the $9 billion, when coupled with these other economic effects, is clearly a substantial part of our culture. But, when measured in relation to gambling … this is a pittance. Over $335 billion was legally gambled (in all forms, not just sports betting) in the world in 2010. More to the point, Vegas casino’s alone took in over $1 billion in betting revenue on only the NFL. When you start adding non-Vegas casinos, off-site betting, online sites and illegal bookies, the revenue wagered on the NFL is almost certainly greater than the total revenue the NFL produces. Millions of people bet on games last year. This is a HUGE industry. (more…)


If you put stock in anything that Bill Simmons a.k.a. The Sports Guy writes, and millions must because the dude is maybe the most-read writer in the world at the moment, you’d think that all of the sports-loving males in America are gamblers. Not full-on steal and sell your grandma’s silver candlestick holders to a pawn-shop degenerates, but calculated weekly wagerererers. (I just made up a word.)

Simmons cultivates this impression by writing and talking about the subject constantly. There are times when his work focuses more on the game within the game – the lines – than the actual games. (more…)


I don’t fear much in New York City. I feel safer walking around here than I did one night a few years ago in downtown Minneapolis, when there were about three lights working and two people around. There’s safety in numbers here. Terrorism? Nah. Earthquakes? Well, when’s that going to happen again?

But rats? God, the rats. I once had a rat run over my foot, while I was wearing sandals. That probably has something to do with the fear. As do the horrifying videos of rats crawling on people’s faces or legs on the subway.

This week in New York Magazine, writer Mark Jacobson wrote an entertaining – yet disturbing – story that carried the headline “Big Scary Ugly Dirty Rats: They’re everywhere-but they always were.” It attempts to figure out if there is a renaissance among the rats, or if we’re just more aware of them now. The last scene – where Jacobson confronts a rat in Central Park – will leave me with nightmares. As will the first scene, when a rat returns to life thanks to beer.

* Kris Humphries has apparently been in the news this week. He must be involved in negotiations in the NBA lockout or something. He used to make news for being a dominant high school basketball player at Hopkins. This thread – the original link for the newspaper story is old and dead – has a story from 2003, when Humphries was still planning on going to Duke, if he didn’t enter the NBA draft. It mentions fellow high school star LeBron James. Did you ever think you’d see the day when Kris Humphries – at least for a few months, or at least for a week – is more famous than LeBron?

* I, unfortunately, haven’t seen the new documentary on Chris Herren, which chronicles the former basketball star’ stunning fall and equally shocking resurrection. Here’s a podcast Herren did after the documentary aired, with Bill Simmons.

* And this week’s obligatory St. John’s football story, courtesy of Rachel Blount in the Star Tribune: Johnnies on the Spot.

* In other tabloid news, teen heartthrob Justin Bieber allegedly fathered a child with a fan. At least, that’s what one young woman is claiming.
Yes, this is the kind of junk that I read in the little free time I have. Weak.

* Actually, there was a time when I read books. One of them, The Rum Diary, is now a movie. If only that had happened in reverse order …
Anyway, the story was written by the notorious Hunter S. Thompson. He’s one of those people that is fascinating because he is sort of like me (a writer) yet nothing like me (a drug-addled lunatic).
Turns out Thompson was an old friend of current ESPN boss John Walsh. He tells some good stories in another recent episode of the B.S. Report.
As an aside, podcasts are great because you can ingest them while multitasking. Books? Not so much.

Postscript from Fury: Terry, I think you need the Book It program or something to get you back on the book bandwagon. Would a free pizza get you reading some more? And two words, my friend: audio books.