The Sports Guy
Bill Simmons is The Sports Guy, known for his pop-culture-reference-laden columns about current events in sports. He started out writing columns as the "Boston Sports Guy" in 1997, which were successful enough to attract the attention of ESPN; they hired him to write for their "Page 2" section in 2001, where he's been ever since. Since 2007, he's also hosted a regular Podcast called The B.S. Report. In the summer of 2011, Simmons became the editor-in-chief of Grantland, an ESPN-owned off-shoot blog staffed by a number of noted sports and pop culture writers, including several you wouldn't expect to write about sports (Dave Eggers?).
Simmons is a native of Boston, and as such is a massive fan of Boston's sports teams (especially the Red Sox and Celtics), but moved to Los Angeles in 2002; he has since started rooting for the Clippers in basketball and (during the 2011 lockout) the Kings in hockey.
Simmons has also written two books, Now I Can Die In Peace (about the Boston Red Sox' 2004 World Series championship) and The Book of Basketball (which is a book of Simmons' opinions on basketball). He was also a writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live for a time, and served as executive producer for E Ss 30 for 30 documentaries.
- Catch Phrase: "Yup, these are my readers." at the end of his mailbag columns, always in response to a series of letters that reveals how obsessive or bizzare his fans are.
- "I will now light myself on fire" when having to admit an unpleasant truth he doesn't like (e.g., admitting Kobe Bryant, star player for the Los Angeles Lakers and someone Simmons actively dislikes, was the 2006 NBA MVP). Exchange "light myself on fire" for any number of physically painful actions.
- "(Nodding)", which he uses mostly in mailbags when he agrees with an e-mail but has nothing to add to it.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Readers sometimes get extremely angry when he "jinxes" their team somehow. One Boston fan threatened him to kill him in his sleep, bury him in a Kobe jersey with "This is our country" on an infinite loop in his coffin, raise his daughter to play in the WNBA and his son to root for the Lakers, etc. The guy even wrote in a second time because he forgot some things!
- Despair Event Horizon: His "Levels of Losing" column, in which he broke down how bad a loss feels to the team's fans afterwards.
- Fan Boy: Simmons doesn't hide his biases. The misconception that he's a journalist (he's not - he's a columnist whose job is to express his opinion, not report the news) leads many readers to be annoyed by this.
- He often lampshades how much of a homer he is for Boston sports. He's recently taken to calling himself a "homersexual".
- Fanon Discontinuity: Bill thinks this of The Next Karate Kid and Rocky V.
- Footnote Fever: There are 50 to 100 footnotes in each chapter of The Book of Basketball.
- Full-Name Basis: Bernard Karmell Pollard. Bill uses his fill name because it makes him sound like an assassin
- Game of Nerds: Kind of. He wrote about being introduced to new statistical analysis methods in baseball and basketball, but he doesn't fully accept the new concepts that challenge conventional wisdom. For example, he still thinks stats like RBI's and pitcher W-L record are meaningful.
- And back when she wrote her opinion, his wife the Sports Gal would call his husband and his buddies' fantasy league The League of Dorks for this and other reasons.
- Guest Host: Simmons has served as a replacement for Michael Wilbon on Pardon the Interruption for a handful of episodes
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Or rather, "Daddy needs another drink" (scroll down to 8:45 PM), in reaction to the final game of the 2011 Red Sox collapse.
- Never Live It Down: Apparently, he hasn't totally recovered from The Catch by David Tyree or Tom Brady's crippling knee injury in the NFL 2008 season and reminds himself of these events by ocassion either by a footnote or with a passing mention.
- Old Shame: The Sports Guy cartoon that ran on ESPN.com during 2004-05 is generally treated like this by Simmons in his columns and podcasts
- One of Us: This is a guy who computed the stat lines of Michael J. Fox and his teammates' basketball games in Teen Wolf. One of us? He might be worse than us!
- Promoted Fanboy: He was formerly a bartender before ascending to ESPN's premier comedy writer.
- Rubber Band AI: Simmons coined the phrase "No F***ing Way Game" to describe a common manifestation of this trope in Madden NFL.
- Running Gag: Every week during the NFL season, he and Jimmy Kimmel Live writer "Cousin Sal" Sal Iacono guess the initial gambling lines for the upcoming games that week. Early in the 2010 season, Simmons began to laud praise on Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback Josh Freeman, claiming that he was a quarterback you could build a franchise around. Ever since Week 6 of that season, Sal has taken time during the recording of these podcasts to 'play a voicemail' left by Simmons on Sal's phone praising Josh Freeman, which is in fact Sal doing an over-the-top imitation of Simmons's voice and writing style. In 2011, these segments became more intricate, often including sound effects and involving other subjects. The Week 10 2011 edition of this 'voicemail' was so over-the-top it was even edited out of the released podcast, revealed days later on twitter to have involved 'Simmons' being raped in the YMCA sauna by Jerry Sandusky before hanging up.
- Freeman's sophomore slump in 2011 led to his eventually being replaced as the subject of the phone calls by Tim Tebow.
- Shout-Out: Is a massive fan of 80's films like The Karate Kid, Teen Wolf, and the Rocky series as well as The Wire. He makes constant reference to them and even sometimes organizes his columns around scenes or quotes from them.
- Southies: His old Boston buddies come across like this sometimes.
- The Trope Without a Title: The Oklahoma City Thunder, aka "The Team That Shall Not Be Named", as a service to the people of Seattle, who are still bitter about the Seattle Sonics being sold and moved out from under them.
- He eventually renamed them "The Zombie Sonics"
- Twitter: He attempted to use Twitter to organize up-to-the-minute taunting chants at Celtics games.
- What The Hell NBA?: The Sports Guy has been less than thrilled at how the NBA lockout is taken care of. In particular, he has given shots to the owners for paying their players too much and granting massive contracts that eventually brought the NBA to its crippling problem, the agents for making the players go for more money than they could possibly handle and finally, the players themselves for trying to be tough guys and not wanting to accept more flexible solutions while bringing less or nothing at all to the table. It's gotten so bad that the Sports Guy himself stated that Gary Bettman, the current commisioner of the NHL, actually stands to gain A LOT from the lockout by taking lessons on how NOT TO handle said lockout while the league is starting to enjoy one of its best seasons yet. You can see all of his opinions on his archives in Grantland as well as his Twitter account.
- Wolverine Publicity: His "Ewing Theory" is that Wolverine Publicity as applied to sports teams sometimes holds them back, and that losing a star player who gets all the attention forces the rest of the team to step up. He claimed the best application of this was Tiki Barber, who retired abruptly and complained about his former team, only to watch them win the Super Bowl with one of the greatest upsets in history in his absence. Over Simmons' Patriots. With Simmons in the crowd. And he will now light himself on fire.
- Pollard is a journeyman defensive player who has, by chance, injured three separate Patriot offensive superstars.