Yes, the Sports Guy is now everywhere. Bill Simmons is making his debut this Friday as an in-game analyst for ESPN’s NBA coverage. He will broadcast Heat/Warriors during the second half of ESPN’s Friday night doubleheader joining Dan Shulman and Mark Jackson. Simmons is perhaps best known for his prolific online writing and his best selling The Book of Basketball. However, Simmons’ influence across ESPN is becoming more and more visible with his guest spots on PTI, podcasts, and his influential role as an executive producer for the 30 for 30 documentary series.
Simmons has gotten much better during his on-air TV spots… at first he was as awkward as Emmitt Smith. As fellow PTI mate Tony Kornheiser showed though, the transition between witty writer and sometimes TV personality to game analyst is not an easy one. This move cries publicity because his book is currently coming out in paperback, but I’m willing to give ESPN and Simmons a chance with this one. At least it will make Rick Reilly more jealous and bitter. Simmons’ popularity amongst the masses is unquestioned and it might give a lot of folks a reason to tune in to the game that normally wouldn’t. Let’s face it, Simmons and Mark Jackson won’t be too different than Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson as an analyst pair. Above all, the game broadcasters are there to relate the action and make the viewing experience more enjoyable, and Simmons might have the ability to do so. At least he can’t be worse than Torry Holt.
[Sports Media Watch]