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."
— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) June 28, 2013
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