Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sim Bit Double Play!

I'm starting to warm to the idea of doing these two at a time, especially when they're short. There's so goddamn many of them that I can easily afford to; and I've given up on numbering them, because it's a stupid gag.

1) Footnote, p494 - "[Kevin Garnett] keeps in shape by running on the beaches of Malibu every summer. The sheer comedy of a seven-foot black guy sprinting along the sands of the whitest, most uptight place on the planet can't be calculated. Some of his neighbors probably hadn't seen a black person in twenty years."

Is Malibu really more white and uptight than, say, any dry county in Utah? Moreso than Amish Country? How about, I don't know, Boston?

Leaving aside the white part, how about all of North Korea? I also doubt that people in Malibu haven't seen a black person in twenty years. I would happily take that bet.

2) From page 225 – “Given the racial climate of the fifties and the general resistance to the influx of black players, how could anyone have expected a fair vote when 85-90 percent of the players were white?”

which leads to...

Page 240 – In an MVP vote Simmons called “Fishy and Ultimately Not Okay”, Bill characterizes the selection of Bob Pettit this way: “…help me figure a coherent explanation for Pettit nearly tripling Russell in the ’59 voting that doesn’t involve a white hood.”

Wow. I guess the players put away their white hoods in 1958 when Russell won MVP and again in 1960 when Chamberlain won. And consider the implication: whites will never be fair to non-white players. So in another “Fishy and Ultimately Not Okay” vote (Bob McAdoo, 1975), when the players were presumably majority African-American, is it Bill’s opinion that black players were being racially biased against Rick Barry?

The more you look at Bill Simmons and the things he writes, the more you get the idea that you should just turn off your brain in order to read him. Malcolm Gladwell's books are supposed to be really good and thought-provoking; because he is friends with Bill Simmons, I declare Gladwell's work stupid by association and will not read any of his books. Take THAT, Gladwell!

Oh, I was supposed to do blurbs in this post. Sorry. That post is still coming.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

How To Undermine Your Own Point (part two), by Bill Simmons

   In my previous post, I was demonstrating that Bill Simmons has a truly remarkable ability to contradict himself or to undermine the very point he's trying to make. Let me just quick-hit the main points of part one.
  • Bill claims that his What-If scenario about the 1984 draft isn't only about Portland passing on Michael Jordan, but Jordan is a significant figure in every one of his first four supporting paragraphs. Four supporting paragraphs out of a total of five. VERDICT: CONTRADICTION
  • Bill says that MJ's potential was unclear going into the draft in the opening sentence of paragraph four, but in the last sentence of that paragraph Bill says that no one at that time could honestly make that claim. VERDICT: CONTRADICTION
  • In paragraph three (I failed to point this out previously), Bill claims to have tried to imagine what would have happened if Ewing had declared for the 1984 draft. In short, Bill gave up because it was too much of an undertaking. This admission of defeat, and the argument leading to it, is basically a smokescreen. Read pages 209-217 and try to argue that this What-If isn't solely about the Bowie-over-MJ thing. Bill wanted to come off as some sort of counterfactual genius, but the slivers about a Ralph Sampson trade and Patrick Ewing entering the draft are just padding. Your mileage may vary here, but for me...VERDICT: UNDERMINING
  • ***Bonus Fallacies!*** In paragraph two, Bill recounted how several franchises were making Chicago huge offers for the #3 pick, which in his view is evidence that Portland (picking #2) screwed up.
    • Question #1: Was Portland drafting Bowie a foregone conclusion?
    • Question #2: Was Michael Jordan definitely the player Dallas, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Golden State were looking for?
    • Question #3: Isn't it possible that no one really knew what Michael Jordan's ceiling was and that all of these teams were just trying to get someone in an especially deep draft?

So much wrong in just a page and a half. And now we're getting into the best of it.

PAGE 211: "It's a myth that Portland 'desperately' needed a center."
PAGE 209: (Bill quoting Dr. Jack Ramsay, HEAD COACH OF THE PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS) "We had to have a center. We would have done that [trade of their #2 pick for Ralph Sampson]."

Portland would have traded their #2 pick in a famously deep draft for a guy who was 7'4". They ended up using that pick on a seven-footer with an "injury track record" (courtesy Bill Simmons). Portland was certainly behaving like a desperate franchise. But let me give Bill the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he's arguing that Dr. Jack's evaluation of the 1983-84 Trail Blazers was faulty. What say you, Bill? What did Portland need in 1984?

"What they really needed was a rebounder."

If Bill is allowed to evaluate Portland twenty-five or so years after the fact, then so am I. In 1984, Portland was 3rd in Offensive Rebound Percentage (OR%) and 10th in Defensive Rebound Percentage (DR%). Tenth out of twenty-three doesn't sound so great, but they were second in the Western Conference among playoff teams. That ain't bad. They were #2 in OR% among playoff teams, the best of the Western Conference playoff teams. This team did NOT have a rebounding problem.

Portland was #6 in the NBA in SRS, #2 in the West. They had the second-best Offensive Rating in the West, (#3 overall). Their Defensive Rating was a mediocre #11 overall, #9 among playoff teams, #2 among Western playoff teams. Not great, but competitive. Most of Portland's major markers were mediocre to positive: SRS, Offensive Rating, Defensive Rating, Effective FG% (#4), Turnover Percentage (#11), OR%, Free Throws per Field Goals Attempted (#4). But Portland's fatal flaw in 1983-84 was Opponents' Effective Field Goal Percentage: they were #21 in a twenty-three team league. For what it's worth, with Sam Bowie and his #12 Defensive Rating, Portland improved from #21 in eFG% in 1984 to #12 in 1985.

Did Portland know this back in 1984/85? Certainly not as it is, but I'm sure that whatever metrics they used back in the day probably told them something similar to what our modern metrics say now. (Hell, regular old "Opponents' Field Goal Percentage" for Portland was the same as their Opponents' eFG%. eFG% is pretty straightforward when teams don't take many threes, as it was in 1984) And yes, Portland did get worse in other areas and won fewer games in 1985. But who was more likely to fix what was wrong with Portland in 1984 - a defensive center or an offensive guard? I'm guessing that Portland made their pick based on this issue.

Bill undermined his point on two fronts: In declaring that Portland did not "desperately" need a center, he overlooked or omitted the fact that Portland behaved as though they did. If that doesn't count as undermining his point, then his failure to properly evaluate Portland's shortcomings in 1984 certainly does. I expect someone with his reputation to be able to see these things.And I can't figure out what prompted Bill Simmons to say that Portland needed a rebounder. They had a positive rebound margin in 1984 and were #2 in rebounds allowed.


The rest of this What-If is just more stupid hindsight bias by Bill Simmons, in which it's obvious as hell that Portland should have drafted the greatest player in the history of the world.

Coming up: Blurbs!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

How To Undermine Your Own Point (part one), by Bill Simmons

     Page 157 of The Book of Basketball is the first page of a chapter called "The What-If Game." This book is 701 pages long; couldn't it have survived without sixty pages of pure conjecture? It's not like TBOB was so weighed down with dispassionate analysis to necessitate a chapter like this.
     Bill's number one choice for the greatest What-If in NBA history is: What if the 1984 draft turned out differently? That question is so broad as to render it almost meaningless. Differently for who? Which player? Which franchise?
   But Bill Simmons is far too smart to box himself in. "Oh, and you thought #1 would simply be 'What if Portland had taken MJ over Bowie?'" Bill must have anticipated that question because it's the most natural one to ask. But he explains his reasoning behind his lack of specificity:

     This draft was so complicated (emphasis mine) that it inspired Houston and Chicago to create the concept of "tanking" during the regular season.

     What exactly was complicated about the 1984 draft? Is he referring to the strategy of tanking, which is only as complicated as "You got a game tonight? Good, go lose it."? Is the famous depth of that draft the complicating factor? Because I would think a low-talent draft would be more complicated than a high talent draft. No larger point; I just thought it was a very poor choice of word.
     As usual, Bill Simmons is confused. He says from the outset that he's not focusing on Portland's failure to draft MJ; but that's almost entirely what he does with this question. In laying out the back story, Bill makes the following enumerated points:

The highlighted numbered points in dark blue bold are my paraphrasing of Simmons. Some of what he wrote was just imprecise enough to allow for some confusion. I'm still putting Simmons' verbatim quotes in bold and quotation marks.

1. Portland and Chicago were each willing to swap their pick for Ralph Sampson. Not about Jordan, but Bill can't resist devoting part of this paragraph to Jordan. And there's something else I need to point out here.

Remember that our theme is that Bill Simmons undermines his points or outright contradicts himself frequently. And in this #1, Bill sets the stage for one of many self-contradictions in just this What-If alone. After quoting Dr. Jack Ramsay of Portland saying that they had to have a center and would have made the Sampson trade, Simmons' comment is "I sure hope so." This tells me that Simmons' agrees with the idea that Portland needed a center. Keep this in mind, and refer back to it as you need to.

2. Many teams offered deals for Chicago's #3 pick, which lends weight to the idea that Portland screwed up by taking Bowie. "Eventually, the Bulls started feeling like they were sitting on a winning lottery ticket. And they were."

Uh, Bill? You know that it was no lock that Jordan would fall to #3, right? Teams were offering deals because it was a very deep draft. If Olajuwon or Jordan were off the board by #3, they could take Barkley or Stockton. Or even Kevin Willis, Otis Thorpe, or Alvin Robertson. My point is that teams were not out there saying, "If we get that number three pick, we'll get to draft the best player in NBA history!"

3. Patrick Ewing almost declared for the draft. "...Bulls GM Rod Thorn told Filip Bondy that Chicago had rated Jordan higher than Bowie because they were afraid of his injury track record." (Boy, what a horrible sentence) What's not clear is whether Thorn told Bondy this before or after the draft. I'm guessing after based on how teams typically operate, but who knows?


Just another reminder: We're discussing Bill's truly impressive ability to contradict himself, and boy does he.
(The next highlight is a verbatim quote)

"4. Jordan's potential was unclear because he played for Dean Smith in the pre-shot-clock era."
Okay, thesis established. First supporting sentence: "Everyone knew he was good, but how good?" We're all with you so far.

Then Bill starts the contradiction process.

"...Bobby Knight [Jordan's coach in the 1984 Olympics] called his buddy Stu Inman (Portland's GM) and implored (emphasis Bill's) him to take Michael. When Inman demurred and said that Portland needed a center, Knight reportedly screamed, 'Well, play him at center, then!'"

We're not there yet, but in passing this anecdote along Bill seems to think that Bobby Knight was a supreme judge of NBA talent. This is funny for two reasons: 1) In a footnote, Bill lists some of the players that were cut and some that were kept on the 1984 US men's team. The cut players? Karl Malone, John Stockton, Charles Barkley, Joe Dumars, and Terry Porter. The kept players? Jeff Turner, Joe Kleine, Steve Alford, and Jon Koncak. Bill makes a joke about David Duke being involved in the selection process, but I'm certain that most/all of the power rested with Bobby Knight. (Would a maniac like Knight even bother with coaching the Olympic team without that power?) 2) Bobby Knight coached Isiah Thomas, Calbert Chaney, a few guys who played a season or two in the NBA, and a zillion guys who were lucky if they made it to the CBA. Bobby Knight won national championships, but he wasn't doing it with future All-Stars the way Dean Smith did. So to appeal to Bobby Knight's authority on this matter just isn't true.

(Did that last sentence end poorly? It was on purpose and you'll soon see why)

"We also know that Nike (based in Portland) built an entire sneaker line around Jordan before he played an NBA game."

And you know, no one ever gave out a bad shoe deal before.

"So for anyone to play the 'We didn't know how good Jordan would be' card just isn't true." (emphasis mine)

See what I did there?

Oh, how badly I wished that was the biggest problem with this whole paragraph. The biggest problem was...well, I'll put the first sentence of the paragraph and the last sentence of the paragraph together and you tell me what's wrong:

"Jordan's potential was unclear because he played for Dean Smith in the pre-shot-clock era."
"So for anyone to play the 'We didn't know how good Jordan would be' card just isn't true."

Part two comes later.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sim Bit #19: Bill Simmons, Condescending Prick, vol. 1

This Sim Bit may be even more insignificant than usual, but it just pissed me off enough that I couldn't let it pass without comment. From page 51, referring to the 2007-08 Celtics:

"Bench guys pulled for starters like they were the whitest, dorkiest tenth-graders..."

Ha ha ha, we white people are so dorky and stupid!

"...[Kevin Garnett] placed third in the MVP balloting because of subpar-for-him numbers;"

Or maybe Kobe finished ahead of KG because he didn't have Paul Pierce and Ray Allen playing alongside him. Yes, he did have Pau Gasol for half a season, but even if he's better than either Pierce or Allen, he's not better than both of them. Who ran the point for the Lakers? It wasn't a passing/defensive ace/future All-Star, that's for sure. And maybe Chris Paul finished ahead because he was the best player in basketball in 2008. The award is for the most valuable player, not "A" valuable player who plays for the best team. Of course, team success does (and should) play a role in the award, but Kobe and CP3 played for pretty good teams themselves.

"...meanwhile, the Celtics jumped from the worst record in 2007 to the best record in 2008."

Because Kevin Garnett, and only Kevin Garnett, joined the Celtics.

Here are your top eight in minutes played for the 2008 Celtics:

Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, James Posey, Eddie House, Tony Allen

And the top eight for the 2007 Celtics:

Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Delonte West, Rajon Rondo, Gerald Green, Paul Pierce, Sebastian Telfair, Kendrick Perkins

The names in red bold appeared on both Celtics teams.

"Where's the statistic for that? (Shit, I forgot: it's called wins)"

Take that, stat nerds! But Bill isn't done with you yet:

"But that's what makes basketball so great: You have to watch the games. You have to pay attention. You cannot get seduced by numbers and stats." (emphasis his)

What a colossal prick. I am Bill Simmons. I see things others do not see. I understand basketball as the legends do. I am...The Hoops Whisperer.

"...I couldn't help noticing LeBron's '09 Cavaliers developing Ubuntu-like chemistry..."

Players enjoying playing for a winning team apparently only began in 2007.

I don't know for a fact that there will be more instances of Condescending Prick-behavior elsewhere in the book, but it seems like a safe bet.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Debunking the Debunking: Finishing Up Myth #3

     I’m still not done with Myth #3. Let’s go back to the quote about playoff production:

“Hmmmmmmm. Russell’s numbers jumped and Wilt’s numbers dipped dramatically when there was money on the line, even though Wilt was routinely his team’s number one scoring option and Russ was number four or five.”

     I already knocked over the first part of that quote, but the second part deserves discussion as well. You see, I’ve watched a lot of playoff basketball, and the number one option actually has a hard job. Yes, he’s going to see the ball more, but the defenses are tougher than they are in the regular season, and those defenses are all game-planning to stop that guy. True, sometimes the game plan is to let the primary scorer get his while clamping down on everyone else, but Wilt Chamberlain was double and triple-teamed practically his whole life. I’m only guessing here, but I don’t think playoff teams were letting Wilt get his. (I’m also guessing here that “don’t let the other guys beat you” is a relatively recent strategy) If my conjecture is accurate, then options two, three, and four should have an easier time of things, and I have witnessed this happen in playoff games. One example from my favorite team: Avery Johnson. A left-hander from Louisiana, undersized for his position (sound familiar?), Johnson was basically dared to shoot open jumpers in playoff games.
     Simmons seems to think Russell had a tougher job getting his numbers in the playoffs than Chamberlain did because of their respective roles. I think it’s a push because secondary offensive options often end up with open looks that primary scorers don’t usually get.
     Let us recall that this Myth #3 is: “Statistically, Wilt crushed Russell”. But just a page and a half into it, Simmons says, “So yeah, by any statistical calculation, Wilt Chamberlain is the greatest season player in NBA history. I concede this fact. For the playoffs? Not so great.”
     So why did we do this? Why did Simmons shoehorn this myth into chapter two?
     Then, as if out of nowhere, Simmons' breakdown of Myth #3 drifts into strange waters. It was one thing when Russell and Chamberlain were getting all the credit/blame for their teams wins and losses, but at least Simmons was assigning hard data to each man. But starting on paragraph two of page 69 through page 74, Simmons genuflects at the Altar of Anecdotes. Which is baffling, since, wasn't Bill trying to debunk the myth that Wilt crushed Russell statistically?
     Here now, your Anecdote Typhoon:
  • "…Wilt famously swatted shots like volleyball spikes for dramatic effect, Russell deflected blocks to teammates for instant fast breaks…"
How the hell did Boston ever lose a game if Russell could do this at will? The implication here: Wilt always blocked the ball out of bounds, and Russell and the Celtics always recovered Russell's blocks. The second implication: Wilt's blocks were meaningless. Let's pretend Wilt always did spike the ball out of bounds. Okay, but he probably blocked at least a few shots with the shot clock run down under three seconds. It's often hard to get a score in that situation.
  • "Opponents eventually gave up challenging Russell and settled for outside shots…"
Then how did Russell block so very many shots? You'd think that if they really did give up, Russell would have been blocking a lot fewer after a couple of years in the league.
  • "Boston's scorers…found themselves in the dream situation of worrying about scoring and that's it."
I'm sure that's it. Whenever Boston played Cincinnati, Cousy or Sam Jones just said, "Hell with this. I don't have to do shit to this Oscar guy, Bill will just block the shot." Johnny Havlicek just let Elgin Baylor go wherever he wanted because, fuck it, Bill's got him. Because pro basketball players are just that stupid and, apparently, eager to piss off their head coach by not making an effort.
  • "[Wilt] wasn't a natural jumper like Russell (emphasis mine)…[and] many opponents learned to time those jumps and float shots over his considerable reach."
Are you getting the idea that Simmons wants us to believe that Russell blocked many more shots than Chamberlain? I am. Never mind that in Tall Tales - a book cited by Simmons in TBOB - Earl Strom, who officiated during that era, says that Russell and Chamberlain were averaging "8 to 10 blocks a night for most of their careers." In the same book, legendary statistician Harvey Pollack estimated that Russell and Chamberlain averaged over five blocks per night in their peak seasons, and over four per game for their careers. If Russell did block more shots than Chamberlain, he didn't do it by much. If some players did learn to beat Chamberlain's shot blocking, they didn't do it too often if Strom and Pollack are to be believed.
  • "[Wilt would] stop challenging shots with four or five fouls even if he was hurting his team in the process. I'm not making this up. (Seriously, I'm not making this up.)"
We're going to discuss this in greater detail coming up, but you know how Bill Simmons proves that he's not making it up? He offers a quote by John Havlicek. Simmons then footnotes this quote with another Havlicek quote, this one gushing about Russell's awesomeness on defense. Bill seems to believe that the old Celtics can be counted on to provide honest, sober, unbiased evaluations on the Russell/Chamberlain debate. It's really sad, honestly.
  • "In the end, Russell's teams won championships and Wilt's teams lost them."
I give Simmons credit for finally noting that Russell and Chamberlain actually have teammates, but Wilt won championships, too. His 1967 76ers and 1972 Lakers went 68-13 and 69-13, respectively. Chamberlain was on one team that won during the Russell era; Bob Pettit was on the other one, and Pettit's Hawks beat an injured Russell.

Here is a list of awesome basketball players who won fewer championships than Wilt Chamberlain:

Neil Johnston, Dolph Schayes, Paul Arizin, Bob Pettit, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Earl Monroe, Elvin Hayes, Bob Lanier, Pete Maravich, Artis Gilmore, Julius Erving, George Gervin, Alex English, Adrian Dantley, Bernard King, Moses Malone, Dominique Wilkins, Clyde Drexler, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller, Allen Iverson

Here is a second list of awesome basketball players who won as many championships as Wilt Chamberlain:

Walt Frazier, Willis Reed, Dave Cowens, Bill Walton, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson

These lists, while not comprehensive, illustrate that while Wilt certainly could have won more championships, achieved a hell of a lot on an individual AND team level.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sim Bit #3 and #3.1

A Sim-Bits double header!

p. 331 - "I'd rather have the [Dennis] Rodman from '87 to '91…and '96 to '98."

Ummm, by that logic, I'd rather have the 68-74 Ford Mustang and the 94-98. I mean, if your argument is that you'd rather have "A" Dennis Rodman, shouldn't you narrow it down more than this? Shit, my favorite team was when Tim Duncan played for the Spurs.

Plus, in the parenthetical to the "96-98 Rodman", Simmons claims: "…[Rodman] played Karl Malone so effectively in back-to-back Finals." Okay, let's check:

Malone, 1997 regular season: 37 MPG, 27 PPG, 10 RPG, FG 55%/FT 76%, 28.9 PER, .268 WS/48
Malone, 1997 playoffs:           41 MPG, 26 PPG, 11 RPG, FG 44%/FT 72%, 22.2 PER, .127 WS/48
Malone, 1997 Finals:              41 MPG, 24 PPG, 10 RPG, FG 44%/FT 60%

I guess it was Rodman's effective free throw defense that kept Malone's points down, because Malone's shooting percentage was the same in the Finals as it was during the rest of the playoffs. Maybe 1998 is what Simmons was thinking of:

Malone, 1998 regular season: 37 MPG, 27 PPG, 10 RPG, FG 53%/FT 76%, 27.9 PER, .259 WS/48
 Malone, 1998 playoffs:           40 MPG, 26 PPG, 11 RPG, FG 47%/FT 79%, 24.2 PER, .184 WS/48
 Malone, 1998 Finals:              41 MPG, 25 PPG, 11 RPG, FG 50%/FT 79%

There is no evidence here to suggest that Dennis Rodman defended Karl Malone any more effectively than anyone else.

and now...

How long did Reggie Miller play basketball? Well, Miller was drafted in 1987 and didn't sit out or retire at any point during his career, which ended after the 2004-05 season. So…let's work this out on paper:

01. 1987-88
02. 1988-89
03. 1989-90
04. 1990-91
05. 1991-92
06. 1992-93
07. 1993-94
08. 1994-95
09. 1995-96
10. 1996-97
11. 1997-98
12. 1998-99
13. 1999-2000
14. 2000-01
15. 2001-02
16. 2002-03
17. 2003-04
18. 2004-05

By my count, Reggie Miller played eighteen seasons. (If you disagree, I refer you to the list above and invite you to point out where I went wrong) How many seasons did Reggie Miller play, according to Bill Simmons?

Sadly, it depends on which page of the book you read.

p. 343 - "[Pyramid number] 63. Reggie Miller…Resume: 15 years" 
p. 344 - "Reggie [Miller] played for sixteen seasons (1988-2005)…" (emphasis mine in both cases)

One figure is a typo, unless the other one is. Neither one are right.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Summary - The Story So Far

I'm a long-winded bastard who will never say in five words what I can say in twenty. But I have good news for you: I'm going to use this post to summarize everything that's happened on Bill Simmons' Bogus Book so far.

The Book of Basketball
     Obviously, these are posts dealing with Bill's bestseller.

Bill Simmons' Basketball Hall of Fame
  • It's a pyramid with all the best players on the top floor. Which is great, because people love to crowd into the top floor of a building that only gets smaller as it rises. Not to worry, though: There are more players at the top level than at the next level down. You know, pyramids.
  • There are ninety-six players in the BSHOF. And that number will never change, says Bill. And we'll have to throw players out when new players make a greater impact than the previous honorees.
Russell versus Chamberlain
  • Simmons says he can prove - yes, prove - that Bill Russell was better than Wilt Chamberlain.
  • Despite having such an ironclad argument, Bill Simmons engages in what I call "Simmons' Steps to Subterfuge". They are:
    1. Frame Issue With Negative Emotion - comparing the pro-Wilt argument to the OJ Simpson defense team
    2. Gloss Over Relevant Facts - his claim that everyone had a good supporting cast in the old days because the NBA was so small. Never mind that the sport wasn't fully integrated when Bill Russell entered the league. Never mind that the shot clock had only been around for two years at that time. Never mind that NBA basketball was only in its eleventh season, that the jump shot was still a pretty new concept, that the lane was narrow, that dunking was frowned upon. The league was small, so every team was good.
    3. Muddy The Waters - despite claiming to compare Russell and Chamberlain, Simmons examines Russell's first three seasons and throws out a bunch of names and resumes. The aim here is to build his credibility by mentioning a bunch of players his audience knows nothing about.
    4. Never Define, Never Explain - Bill's modus operandi, and really the foundation of the entire book. His arguments basically rest upon the phrase "Because I said so". There are more Simmons's Steps to Subterfuge, but I don't want to spoil anything.
  • According to Bill, there are six common myths about the Russell-Chamberlain debate. The ones we've looked at so far are:
Sim Bits
  • These are small portions of The Book of Basketball that didn't merit a long post, but needed to be addressed anyway:
Shaq and Shaq Alone
Gloss over relevant facts, indeed.

Shower Rape is a Gold Mine For Comedy
Commentary is superfluous.

No One Is Better Qualified To Comment on Racial Matters Than A Privileged White Kid From Boston

  • If all I did was write about The Book of Basketball, I'd go freaking mad.

The 2011 NBA Finals
Nailed it.

Still Alive!
I went eighteen months without posting. What the hell, I'm poor. When the computer crashes, it can take some time to get a new one when you're not made of money. And if you've forgotten your old password...well, the point is, BSBB is back.

Catching Up
All the comments I missed in those eighteen months.

Bill Simmons on the Baseball Hall of Fame*
*From 2007. George W. Bush was still president when Bill Simmons had something to say about the Baseball Hall of Fame, but: since the BBHOF was in the news, Bill couldn't let it go without saying something. For those of you who think, "Bill Simmons used to be good", this column proves: no. No he did not.

...and that's where we're at now. I swear I'll finish this Wilt v. Russell business very soon, and we'll move on to other parts of this stupid book. And I'll go off-topic more often because it is a very stupid book. Although, for the sake of balance, I'll write a post about the stuff in the book that I liked. It wasn't all bad. Only mostly.