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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Simmons’

Bill Simmons Denies Rumor That he Pushed Magic Johnson Out of NBA Countdown

When word spread that Magic Johnson was leaving ESPN’s NBA Countdown, many were shocked. Magic is slightly better at basketball than your FishbowlNY editors, so his presence would seem to be a good thing. But nevertheless, he issued a statement that he was departing. Almost immediately, a report surfaced that Bill Simmons forced Johnson out in order to gain more power over the show. Simmons told Sports Illustrated that the rumor was completely false:

Those unnamed ‘sources’ are liars. Someone planted a fake story to try to make me look bad, and there’s a 99.3 percent chance it came from someone in Bristol (which presents its own set of concerns). I was upset; I can’t lie. Maybe this happens to people more often than I realize, and maybe it comes with the territory, but man … I can’t properly explain how fantastic it was to watch basketball with Magic for nine months.

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SI’s Peter King Launches MMQB Site

Sports Illustrated’s best NFL mind has launched his own site, The MMQB (named after his wildly popular MMQB column on SI.com). Joining King are a few other big names, like Greg Bedard, Jenny Vrentas and Robert Klemko. SI regulars such as Don Banks and Jim Trotter will also contribute to the site.

MMQB is likely to draw a lot of comparisons to Grantland — the site ESPN bestowed upon Bill Simmons — but it’s not exactly a perfect match. While Grantland is filled with pop culture, you won’t find any of that on MMQB; the latter is all NFL, all the time. The main similarity is that Grantland and MMQB were both smart business decisions by SI and ESPN.

When King’s contract was being negotiated this summer, he said he considered jumping ship to ESPN, which would’ve been a huge loss for SI. Instead, SI armed him with the resources to launch MMQB, and all is well. SI made a similar move by giving Simmons Grantland, which is popular and already profitable.

As far as the NFL goes, it’s tough to beat King’s reporting, so MMQB is going to be on every fan’s radar starting today. King got what he wanted, readers get more King and King-approved content, and ESPN keeps its best journalist happy. MMQB is a win-win-win.

Bill Walton Goes Bill Walton During Broadcast

What happens when you give a loose cannon like Bill Walton a live mic in Las Vegas?

A couple of cringe-worthy moments for the suits at ESPN.

Walton was calling Oregon vs. Washington at the Pac-12 tournament Thursday night and dropped a couple of broadcasting bombs that had Twitter buzzing.

First up, Walton on Ray Lewis:

Walton is making a reference to Lewis’ 2000 arrest following a Super Bowl party in Atlanta. The retired linebacker officially joined ESPN as an analyst on Wednesday. Maybe the murder joke was just hazing on Walton’s part? Welcome to ESPN, Ray.

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No Women Among The ‘Most Powerful’ in Sports Media

According to Sports Illustrated’Richard Deitsch, women carry zero clout in the sports media world. Deitsch published a list of the “The 10 Most Powerful People in Sports Media” and there’s not a singe woman made the cut. There are even 10 additional honorable mentions, but still it’s all dudes, all the time.

Bill Simmons got the top spot, no argument there. But how can Deitsch ignore people like the insanely talented Jemele Hill? Or Shelley Smith? And surely Christine Brennan should’ve at least cracked the top 15.

Deitsch is much more connected than us and maybe he just couldn’t see leaving any of the 20 men off his list, but to us, this is a little ridiculous. It also appears to be indicative of sports media’s culture, which still (It’s 2013! We checked!) downplays and discounts the contributions of women.

New Addition | Wrong Place | It’s Happening

TVNewser: Peter Boyer is joining Fox News. We hear Roger Ailes is pleased, but that guy is always jolly.

PRNewser: If you want to know if Senator Gillibrand has read 50 Shades of Grey you probably shouldn’t be allowed to moderate debates.

FishbowlLA: Bill Simmons is joining the NBA Countdown team. Start preparing your complaints now.

Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose Join NBA Countdown

After a false start, ESPN has finalized their ESPN/ABC KIA NBA Countdown show by adding Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose, the network formally announced on Thursday.

Originally, Simmons was reportedly going to join Stan Van Gundy on the show, but when FishbowlLA contacted ESPN last month, they were unable to confirm the news. The former Orlando Magic head coach explained last week the reason why he didn’t get the job had to do with NBA commissioner David Stern, who reportedly nixed the idea. Read more

Grantland Film Looks at Schwarzenegger’s Teen Years

Arnold Schwarzenegger has pretty much turned into a punch line at this point in his life.

But before he nearly destroyed the state of California and acting as we know it, Schwarzenegger was part of the Austrian Army as a teen.

Arnold’s Blueprint, as part of Grantland’s 30 for 30 Shorts, touches on this topic in a 12-minute film that was released on Wednesday. If you ever wondered how Schwarzenegger got involved in bodybuilding, then this is the film for you.

Michael and Jeff Zimbalist, the two men responsible for the incredible 30 for 30 film The Two Escobars,  directed the short.

The 30 for 30 Shorts will air monthly on Grantland and Schwarzenegger will join Bill Simmons on The B.S. Report podcast on Tuesday.

Grantland Essay About Father-Daughter Fandom Among 2012 ONA Winners

On June 8, Bill Simmons published a piece at grantland.com titled “The Consequences of Caring.” It’s all about the juxtaposed emotional layers of his daughter’s newfound love for the LA Kings and dad’s die hard support of the Boston Celtics.

Over the weekend, that essay garnered Simmons a well-deserved prize for Online Commentary, Large at the 2012 Online News Association (ONA) convention in San Francisco. Here’s how Simmons frames his decision to fly cross-country and back within a 24-hour span. All so he can watch his Celtics take on the Heat in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, right after nursing his daughter through a Kings Game 4 Stanley Cup Final loss at Staples:

Because it’s my favorite Celtics team in 25 years. Because there was real history at stake — the LeBron/Wade era hanging in the balance, the Big Three possibly playing their final home game, the distinct possibility of either LeBron’s greatest game or LeBrondown III (with no in-between). Because I wanted to be there with my dad. Because I wanted to stroll down Causeway Street, see that familiar sea of green, feel like I never left. Because I wanted to savor those “Let’s Go Celtics” chants, hear the accents, enjoy that only-works-in-person moment before tip-off when a wired Garnett bumps fists with every opposing player, stomps over to the foul line near Boston’s bench and yells at his fans. Because we spent five years watching Rondo, Pierce, Allen, Garnett and Doc fighting to maintain something that mattered to them — and to us — even as teammates kept changing, bad breaks kept happening, trade rumors kept swirling and there were multiple reasons for any one of them to pack it in.

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Grantland’s Sebastian Pruiti Heads to the NBA

Wow. This doesn’t happen every day. A sports journalist who actually knows what he’s talking about and isn’t just opining out his butt. Grantland’s NBA blogger Sebastian Pruiti has been hired by the NBA’s Oklahoma Thunder as the team’s newest video analyst, according to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Apparently, Pruiti is the former head coach of the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants basketball team, hence the middle of nowhere scoop. Grantland editor Bill Simmons confirmed Pruiti’s exit via Twitter.

Pretty great time to jump to the NBA, as several huge trades this offseason have basketball fans clamoring for the season to begin.

ESPN Doesn’t Confirm Report That Bill Simmons Will Join NBA Studio Show

In the latest sign that Bill Simmons is the most powerful man at ESPN, the columnist and man behind Grantland will reportedly join ESPN’s NBA studio show this season.

Simmons and former Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy would replace Chris Broussard and Jon Barry, according to Sports By Brooks.

However, ESPN couldn’t confirm the report when contacted on Tuesday by FishbowlLA.

“We are in the process of considering all assignments for both returning and potential new commentator roles. As we’ve said before, Stan is someone we’d be interested in exploring,” said ESPN spokesman Ben Cafardo. “For Bill,  same applies, we’re exploring the best ways to utilize all of our talent, including Bill, this NBA season.”

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