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Bill Simmons: TV basketball analyst? Oh boy...

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by RokSki, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. RokSki

    RokSki New Member

    I know someone recently mentioned on SJ that Simmons was going to do a stint or two on ESPNU this year for some NCAA basketball games, as an analyst.

    I don't have ESPNU, so I really hope this gets YouTubed.

    Despite his essentially being a glorified blogger, and despite his repetitive, Boston-homer style, I enjoy Simmons, primarily for his NBA writings. He does what he does pretty well, and he makes me laugh. He has regained much of the form he lost when he moved to Hollywood this past year, IMO.

    But Simmons on radio or TV is f'ing brutal. Basically, Simmons outside of writing is brutal.

    If anyone remember his appearance on Kimmel last year to promote "Now I Can Die in Peace," and his 'color my face black so I could be in the NBA' comments, the spoken word is not Simmons' forte. Ok, plenty of people trip on their way out to the interview chair, so I won't hold that against him. Of course, Kimmel replayed the trip (where he saved Bill from more humiliation by literally saving him from falling all the way down by lifting him up by the handshake he was still holding onto) about 100 times, so that didn't help Simmons any.

    So we have 'the trip' and 'the blackface' comment. If I remember correctly Bill has a bit of a lisp, or some similar speech quirk. He also has a Tysonesque voice, a rather high-pitched, soft voice. That's two more strikes against him.

    And in a move which struck many as a "Look at me, I take myself incredibly seriously," Simmons chose to wear a three-piece suit on Kimmel. Nothing wrong with looking good, but when you're basically a smart-alecky writer who's about to engage in some good-'ol blackface humor, some jeans and a button-down (think Rick Reilly) might work a bit better than looking like a consiglieri extra from the Sopranos. The whole appearance was very surreal.

    As poor as this appearance might have gone, it had nothing - absolutely nothing - on Simmons' stint on ESPN Radio's "The SportsBash" about two years ago. I believe Simmons hosted the show for about a week. And this appearance, and Simmons' general blase, overly-cocky attitude towards the 'easiness' of radio and television media in general, is the reason I'm writing this post.

    Simmons took the attitude - and said as much on the radio - that he thought doing a radio show was easy, not a big deal. I will say that near the end of his stint, he admitted it was harder than he thought. But he basically tried to 'chutzpah' his way through the stint, with embarrassingly little preparation, relying on recylced material from his columns. It was him and one of his frat-boy-nicknamed friends, I can't recall if it was Bug or House or Whoever. You kind of get the impression that they're all pretty fungible...

    Anyway, imagine a pre-pubescent, soprano-voiced boy talking to his friend in a room about 'Peyton Manning Face,' while constantly muttering such radio gems as 'yeah, yeah, yeah.' Simmons' friend was vastly superior to Billy himself, and the friend wasn't any good either. But at least he had more of a 'radio voice.'
  2. RokSki

    RokSki New Member

    Re: Bill Simmons to do tv college basketball analysis? Oh boy...

    One of Simmons' recent 'panties-in-a-bunch' issues is bloggers, etc. who take shots at writers (i.e., him) without ever having done any writing themselves. You know, 'how can you criticize me if you've never had to do it'-type BS. The same thing reporters have heard from athletes ever since sports journalism has been around.

    Yet, apparently, this is Simmons' attitude towards media he has very little personal experience with. A radio show 'is easy,' thought Billy never did one. Now, doing basketball analysis on TV is 'easy,' so I've heard Bill has said about his stint. Something about he's going to show how easy it is if he can do it, blah, blah, blah.


    As someone who has done radio and TV, it isn't easy. I'm not saying it's hard, but there are technical things you have to know, where to look, when to talk, what is interesting and what isn't. That type of thing. It's like a model or athlete who gets into acting. At first, they look brutal on film, because they don't know the medium. If they're any good, they slowly start to get it. But the best ones know how much work it is.

    What Simmons is saying is "I'm the king of Page 2 and sports internet journalism, and I'm going to will my way to being good on the radio and TV."

    Well, Bill, your will is 0 for 1 so far. If you can, find the audio tapes of the ESPN Radio stint. It will instantly give you 10x the respect you have for any real radio professional. Maybe someone at ESPN decided it was time to get more out of Simmons for what they were paying him, I don't know. But there are high school morning announcement readers who were better than Simmons that week. "Nadir" is the word that comes to mind.

    Now we have William ready for his next close-up, the TV version. Bill, here's some free advice: Don't go Kornheiser or Dennis Miller, and try to be a jokeman. If you want good role models, look at how Long and Bradshaw handled their BCS duties. They had clearly studied hard for the assignment, and knew their stuff. If you think that you're just going to waltz in and 'swagger' (if such a word can be applied to a high-tenored man) your way through the gig, you won't be appearing on again on TV anytime soon, save perhaps for one of your 'pals'' shows (Kimmel or Carrola's (sp?) new MMA thing, perhaps?).

    We all know you're angling for your next gig post-Page 2, and good luck to you. Seriously. And you're still trying to find your TV/radio 'voice,' as it were. It's not the snarky tone of your columns, and life isn't one long 'Entourage' show. What works in print doesn't often work in other media. It's too long, too convoluted for short sound bytes.

    I'm looking forward to this, though. I don't have ESPNU, but I'm praying this gets to YouTube. I want to see if Simmons 2.0 has been upgraded from the initial ESPN Radio rollout.
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Re: Bill Simmons to do tv college basketball analysis? Oh boy...

    I'm going to go ahead and opine that he's still going to be a train wreck this time around, too.

    You're right -- he is brutal when he has to open his mouth. I was embarassed for him the last time I heard him speak.
  4. DisembodiedOwlHead

    DisembodiedOwlHead Active Member

    Simmons: a voice for print and a face for radio.
  5. MC Sports Guy

    MC Sports Guy Member

    Re: Bill Simmons doing TV NCAA basketball analysis? Oh boy...

    Wow. So much anger.

    I'm not sure how Simmons will be doing analysis, but my wager is that there are worse guys out there. There are some pretty bad TV analysts that have no business doing what they're doing. You said yourself, it takes time to get it down.Give him a chance.

    I will agree, though, that radio/TV is much more difficult than people think. The first few broadcasts I did, I found that out the hard way. I was stammering and stumbling around like an idiot, adding nothing to the broadcast. But I settled in, and I think I eventually have gotten pretty good at it.
  6. RokSki

    RokSki New Member

    Buck, I couldn't have said it any better. And the worst thing is, he just things he can 'show up' and be good. It's absolutely unfathomable. It's like a 'gritty, gutty' player thinking he doesn't have to work his ass off to keep up with the natural athletes for a team spot.

    When you have his voice and looks, you better be busting your butt if you want a spot. But he doesn't see it, doesn't get it. I guess he thinks that all his internet hits will translate into viewers. Ask Lupica, or Stephen A Smith how that works. It's sad, his lack of insight into how he comes across on tv/radio.

    Bill, for the love of god, go see Stuart Smalley or someone and look in a mirror and/or listen to yourself on tape. And then start working your ass off to prepare. Please, you are about to break all known records for The Unintentional Comedy scale.

    If I didn't like Simmons, I wouldn't say any of this. But, like Buck, I was embarrased for him when I last saw and heard him. Hopefully someone will let him in on this and he can improve before these ESPNU appearances.

    It's like the fat person in spandex. Doesn't he/she know how he/she looks? Sportsgal, intervene as necessary. Bug? House? Sal? Someone, please.
  7. MC Sports Guy

    MC Sports Guy Member

    I do remember seeing him on one of those I Love the 70s/80s/90s rehashes. He was pretty rough on there.
  8. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    No anger here. I'll stick by my word choice: His voice is brutal for anyone on radio/broadcasting.

    And I agree that, given time, he'll improve as a commentator. But his voice is too squeaky for my tastes. I can't stand to listen to that tone of voice. Has nothing to do with what he says.
  9. MC Sports Guy

    MC Sports Guy Member

    I guess the anger thing was directed at the original post(s).
  10. RokSki

    RokSki New Member

    MC, that avatar and tag line immediately make you good in my book. :) I don't feel so angry as I feel like here's someone who is knowingly and purposefully going in totally unprepared, because 'it's so easy.'

    If I'm angry, I'm angry in the way that print journalists are angry at Kornheiser's MNF performance, because he's ruining it for those who would hope to follow him. Simmons' attitude could poision the waters for other writers who will be painted with the same 'blase attitude,' 'above-it-all' brush. If he's a train wreck, it provides me personal humor, even though I'll feel bad for him because I like him. I'm concerned in a similar way Whitlock was concerned readers would lump him in with Scoop.

    Disembodied - Yep, you got it. :)
  11. MC Sports Guy

    MC Sports Guy Member

    Man, I love this avatar. I just found this earlier today. It made me laugh really hard.

    I get what you mean about Simmons. I do happen to really enjoy his column. Almost always makes me laugh. Whenever he does 3,000 words on the Pats or Sawx, I tend to tune out, though.
  12. RokSki

    RokSki New Member

    This is the killer for him. This voice just doesn't go with a swaggering, porn-joke-making guy. You just don't buy him at all, unless you buy him as the geeky kid who had some money and that's how he got girls. Or something. For someone who writes so much like a frat boy who's picky about women, listening to and seeing him is like a punch of reality in the face.

    It's like meeting your internet crush and realizing she's 50 lbs. heavier than you thought. Much of what he's written has lost a lot of credibility with me since I've seen and heard him. I mean, there were guys like him in college who kind of attached themselves to a frat or had a nice car or some $$ and did ok, but they were kind of like the injured zebra at the back of the pack you just know the stalking lion was going to end up with in its jaws.

    What I'm saying is, Simmons is a smart guy, but he's going to have to change his schtick if he's going to make it in a different media. What he projects in his writing won't work for him based on his appearance and voice. I'm not saying that's fair, but it's true.

    And like I said, I'm not angry, I actually like the guy and would like to see him not fall on his face, like he just about literally did on Kimmel. This post falls under the 'free advice' heading. I know Simmons reads SJ, and a ton of ESPN people read it, so hopefully someone will let him know this before he does the stint.

    Because if he does it like he did the radio stint, he's one step closer to not getting any return TV spots, and that would actually make me angry. :)
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