Doc Rivers vs Bill Simmons is turning into the Media Feud of 2013! After an eventful night at the NBA Draft, the new Clippers coach went on The Dan Patrick Show to talk about his move from Boston to Los Angeles and offered some more additional thoughts on the ESPN NBA analyst who he called an idiot on nationwide television last night...
I'm surprised to hear Doc Rivers use the tired cliche of trying to marginalize Bill Simmons as merely a fan as if sports fans are incapable of forming intelligent or coherent thoughts and opinions. We're not all mouthbreathers that paint our chests in freezing weather, think our tweets to high school recruits will influence their college of choice, and believe a great sports debate is Paulina Gretzky vs Kate Upton. Simmons is a sports fan, yes, but he's also the leader of one of the most successful sports websites in the world (Grantland), played an integral role in ESPN's best documentary series (30 for 30), and written a bestselling book on, you guessed it, basketball. I'd say he's qualified... as long as he stays away from the reincarnation of Hawk Harrelson, of course.
Now, did his fandom jade his opinion on Doc Rivers? Only he can say, but the honesty both ways is refreshing. Lord knows there's enough people in the "basketball media" protecting Rivers and many others. I'd much rather have someone like Simmons, whose biases and fandom is well known and out front than someone trying to protect "his guy" and playing it off as being impartial. And I'd rather have Rivers feel free to fire back and say he was annoyed at Simmons taking over ESPN's draft coverage with his opinion on Rivers and the Celtics than robotic coaching cliches.
That's not to take away from Simmons' qualifications though because hopefully his performance on last night's draft (and the interest generated therein) shows networks need to think outside the box more and rely less on the formulaic formula of coaches and players. A little truth and honesty can go a long way in serving and entertaining viewers.
UPDATE: On WEEI, Rivers again was asked about Simmons and made the explosive allegation that the ESPN writer meddled in team affairs like he was Craig James. Simmons RT'd the Rivers quote and then took the gloves well and truly off...
He called Doc Rivers "Glenn."
The quote I just retweeted is an outright, 100 percent lie. I'd be careful, Glenn. Seriously. Stop talking. You are making sh*t up.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 28, 2013
Audio courtesy The Dan Patrick Show
While not dispositive, here is evidence Simmons wanted Rivers fired:
Fair use quote:
"See, it's not that hard to coach an NBA team. You need nice suits. You need a voice. And you need to keep it simple. Doc Rivers only does two of the three. And that's why he needs to go."
Whether the rest of Doc's tweet (wanted a sit-down with management) is true, we can't say, but overall, the tweet is probably not an "outright" lie
im tired of this guy. ive never bought al the hype surrounding him. the way he acts would lead one to believe he is a basketball authority when he is just another talking head. the Celtics sucked for years until kevin McHale sent garnett to boston. every team goes through its cycles. quit crying and trying to prove your the smartest guy in the room. your just a whiney spoiled fan that lucked into a sweetheart job.
Have to side with Doc. Players and coaches are free to leave earn a living wherever they choose - period. Doc isn't "obligated" to stay with the Celtics during a rebuilding project and Simmons, instead of sounding like a paid ESPN professional, sounded like a bitter, whiny Boston fan. I whine about my teams but I am not paid to analyze on national television. Simmons needs to grow up.
Isn't this the same kind of garbage that Simmons busted Skip Bayless for? A media person inserting himself into a sports "controversy." Congratulations, Bill. You're now just another ESPN egomaniacal douchebag.
Isn't this the biggest thing that's wrong with ESPN. The people that offer excuses for ESPN often point to Simmons as the contrasting voice to everything shitty ESPN represents today. What's one of the biggest complaint--East coast bias. Utter fascination with everything Boston and New York sports at the expense of every other city, team and subject. Simmons embodies that, he doesn't contrast that since he openly roots for Boston sports.
I guess I can be considered "old school" because I liked ESPN when you never knew what teams the people on the network rooted for. Alas that's called journalism and the lights went out on journalism in Bristol circa 1995.
As long as Jalen Rose wants to insinuate that Amare S is healthy.. then thankfully bill will be their to poke holes in that.. Thought Bill did a great job yesterday..
I'm on Doc's side. First off, Simmons is terrible on tv. Second off, he's terribly brainwashed on NBA, third off, he's a fan and is a mouth breathing fanboy. Look at what he said about meeting lebron! Pathetic. Act like you've been there before.
@Alex Ramati I'm afraid you don't understand, nor do you care to, apparently. If you had any semblance of comprehension skills, you would have understood the situation. Simmons wasnt complaining that Doc left. He actually totally supported it. His point was that Doc was twisting the narrative so he didn't look as though he wanted to leave. Which Doc did. Make no mistake. Everyone understands this point. The Celtics window had closed. They were interested in rebuilding. Neither Danny Ainge nor the Celtics owners wanted to pay Doc 7 mil a year to coach a team with no shot of a title. Doc wanted no part of a rebuilding effort. But as soon as Doc made his interest in the Clippers known, it was a foregone conclusion that he would not be coaching. Throughout, Doc made sure to position himself as being OK with whatever. His entire goal was to appear as though an opportunity arose and everyone wanted it to happen. He never wanted it viewed that he was leaving the C's for a better team because he'd have a better shot to win. That's it. That's the entire crux of the argument. Doc didnt want people to view him as a front-runner. So every public comment was geared around making him look like a guy who happened to be a part of a situation, not a guy who orchestrated said situation. And THAT is why Simmons called him out. And Simmons was right. He doesnt care if Doc leaves. He just wants Doc to say "You know, in all honesty, it wasnt the right fit for either side. They could use a coach at a lower salary who would be more flexible and open to grooming and developing a young roster. I'm at a point in my career where I want to pursue another title. This was the best situation for everyone."
That's all there is to it. And if you cant understand that, maybe don't comment on it like you do understand. Lastly, Simmons isnt paid to whine on TV. He's paid because he knows what he's talking about. You are not paid to whine on TV because you very clearly don't understand what you're talking about.
Good chat, though. See you out there.
@martind1 But that's the point, Martin: Simmons, despite getting more and more inside the professional sports machine, still manages to bring us the perspective of the fan on the couch, more so than almost any other sports media professional out there. That's incredibly hard to do; look at politicians getting subsumed by lobbyists. Like the author of this article, I like how both are at least being real with their opinions and biases and not letting it get bogged down in milquetoast, viewpoint-free, pseudo-professionalism.
@SwagPoker @martind1 But really there is no side to take. Look if Dwight Howard can get roasted for basically looking to back out of his commitment, why not Doc? Simmons "being a fan" is not relevant and honestly it would be nice if someone like Wilbon would be as vocal. If a player did what Doc did he would get destroyed and be the poster boy for all that is wrong with sports. Doc has contradicted himself for two weeks and its all out there.
@martind1 Try HARDER lol #unfollowed
@martind1 You just proved my point. Bill Simmons' ENTIRE BRAND is based off the fact that he's biased and purports a point of view. He's kinda like the Matt Taibbi of sports. And, fwiw, whether we acknowledge it or not, all journalism has a point of view (or should at least fess up to having a point of view): http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/hey-msm-all-journalism-is-advocacy-journalism-20130627