Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bill Simmons versus Roger Brown

Who angers me more...
Speaking of Bron, Kevin from Cleveland passed this along: "Here's a link from the News-Herald, a local paper just east of Cleveland, in which sportswriter Roger Brown puts you at No. 3 on the list of the six people who have done the most damage to their reputations since the Cavs-Pistons series. Here's what he wrote:

"Simmons spent months ripping and mocking James as an overhyped fraud -- and gained lots of national attention in the process. But after James' historic Game 5 performance, Simmons scrambled to save face in embarrassing fashion. He wrote a column on LeBron that was more slobbering and fawning than a 13-year-old girl writing a fan letter to Justin Timberlake."

Sorry, I have to respond to this one. First of all, if Roger can produce anything I've ever written that called him LeBron an "overhyped fraud," I will send him a $200 check to double the salary that the News-Herald is paying him every week. I think he has me confused with Charley Rosen.

Second, I love the idea that me "ripping" LeBron gained me national attention ... really? From who? Did I happen to be in a coma at the time? I criticized him in my Anna K. column from Miami (and rightfully so, Bron mailed in a game on national TV); my All-Star column from Vegas (where Bron's lack of enthusiasm for the season was a major topic, and if you don't believe me, check out the ESPN.com column by Brian Windhorst from March once LeBron started playing hard again, and this from a writer who's covered LeBron for his entire career); when LeBron made the absurd "global icon" comment; and a couple of times during the playoffs when Bron-Bron didn't seem properly enthused by the proceedings (and he wasn't). I don't regret a single thing I wrote about LeBron in the past year. Everything still stands.

And third, before Game 5 of the Detroit series, I picked the Cavs to win in 6 and wrote an extended section about LeBron showing signs of turning the corner and getting it in Games 3 and 4, to the point that I had my hopes up for Game 5 because there was a chance something truly special might happen. Here's the exact quote:

"The fact remains, No. 23 happens to be the only interesting thing about this painfully disjointed Pistons-Cavs series. ... Like many others, I'm looking forward to Game 5 solely because of LeBron. Like many others, I want him to shift into fifth gear, hush the crowd, rip Detroit's heart out and make the Vivid Video face after everything's said and done. Like many others, I will be disappointed if this doesn't happen."

Bottom line: If you're going to rip another writer, make sure you've actually read the guy first.

This whole scenario cracks me up. First of all, is Roger Brown allowed to tear into a guy for ripping a Cleveland player? That's all Brown does. He finds a guy that the fans likes and rips him. That's it (well, not true, he also informs us which Browns lineman bought a house in Lakewood).

As for Simmons... Well done on the Charley Rosen crack, I hate that guy. But you can't deny that the tone of his LeBron writing changed after that 48 point game. Before that he's handing out back handed compliments and saying shit like: "If LeBron James is the future of the NBA, sign me up for a different professional basketball league, please." Sure, was he justified in his criticism? To a certain extent. But he is also completely reactionary; LeBron has a bad first half of the season (after dominating last season) and we're going to witness the next superstar to never reach his potential. Then when he drops 48 points, he's made LeLeap.



Hornless Rhino said...

What I really love about this is that it shows you how thin-skinned Simmons is. How can he possibly let Roger Brown, who is essentially a troll, get his goat like this?

My favorite part of Simmons' response is that before he addressed the substance of what that idiot had to say, he first big timed Brown about how little money he's making. Nice!

I think Simmons has some issues.

Ben said...

Seriously, its Roger freaking Brown. I'm pretty sure he can let it slide.

Though, he's probably gotten a lot of other Cleveland-LeBron related emails as well.

graham said...

Simmons is a prick.

He guaranteed the biggest story of the second half of the season would be LeBron mailing it in (not to mention he claimed he could seriously be an NBA GM). I love how Simmons and others knew that LeBron was mailing it in. How the hell can a blogger and other pundits know what LeBron is doing. If he hits more FTs or averages a couple more shots per game, he would have averaged almost identical numbers as last year.

What's funny is both Brown and Simmons are the exact same guy, on different stages. No credit, no inside info, no investigative reporting, just speculation.

Simmons wants to be treated like a journalist, except he's a blogger (no offense Ben, but the rules are obviously different). He made outrageous comments on the biggest sports website in the world, and he deserved to be called out on it.

Erik said...

Simmons also guaranteed that LeBron James wouldn't sign his extension. But, you know what? I think I've made my peace with Simmons. For now, anyway.

He is what he is. Just like Skip Bayless is what he is and Roger Brown is what he is. They write what they write to get the reactions they get. The worst thing for any of those guys is if no one paid attention to them.

I have more of a problem with someone like Charley Rosen, who is passed off as a purported "expert" by Fox Sports. When he misleads readers, I think a bigger crime is being committed than when Simmons overstates something to try and be funny.

Simmons is indeed thin-skinned. He's gotten a lot of hate mail from Clevelanders the past couple of years, which is why he basically has nothing good to say about Cleveland sports. But his thin-skinedness (is that a word?) makes his a more entertaining read if you're not the target of his ire, because some of his putdowns are rather exquisite.

But what I can't stand is why ESPN had to give a Boston fan carte blanche to say whatever he wants to. All we get is incessant bitching about every little thing that goes wrong in Boston sports (The Celtics got the fifth pick? Holy crap! When does the meteor hit and wipe Boston off the map?)

In a perfect world, there would be a Bill Simmons from every city on ESPN, whining about the sports in their town and ripping on other cities.

I don't have a problem with Simmons per se. I have a problem with the fact that when he rips into Cleveland, we can't really fight back.