Bill Simmons in disbelief A screengrab of Spotify/The Ringer’s Bill Simmons in disbelief.

Ever have a sports take that you don’t actually believe in? Or perhaps you only believe in 50 percent of it, 30 percent of it, or even 100 percent of it? Well boy, does Bill Simmons have the game for you.

During the latest episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, the show’s host proposed a segment based on The Ringer’s The Hottest Take podcast, which hasn’t published a new episode since 2022.

“It’s basically you’re arguing a take. You don’t have to necessarily believe it,” Simmons said. “But as you’re making it, maybe you do believe it. Maybe you believe 50 percent of it. Maybe you believe 30 percent of it. Maybe you believe 100 percent of it. We thought it’d be fun to do this, say these takes, and then the next day or two days later it gets aggregated like they were a real take that didn’t have the setup.”

“That’s what it feels like,” Simmons’ guest, Ryen Russillo replied. “I don’t think you even want to do the segment as much you want to see somebody aggregate this.”

“The aggregation culture in 2024, I don’t know if it’s ever been stupider,” Simmons conceded.

As somebody who has aggregated Simmons on a number of occasions, I’m admittedly biased. But I’m also confused about the trap he was trying to set here.

While there are certainly issues when it comes to “aggregation culture,” I’m not sure people poaching Simmons’ fake basketball takes is one of them. I also don’t know how one differentiates whether he or she only believes 30 percent, 50 percent or 100 percent of a take, but that’s besides the point.

Is Simmons upset that people are sharing his basketball takes, which are also available readily available on his podcast? Are we supposed to assume that everything he says might be something that he doesn’t actually believe and therefor, it shouldn’t be aggregated?

Or is “The Sports Guy” upset about the role that aggregation has played in his sports media feud with Pat McAfee? Perhaps McAfee wouldn’t have ever seen Simmons’ impression of him had we not written about it in the first place.

Either way — and again, I’m biased — I have to call foul here. Simmons is a prominent figure in both the basketball and sports media worlds. If he says something noteworthy about either on his high-profile podcast, then more times than not, I think it’s probably fair game.

Would I be frustrated if there were a handful of bloggers ready to pounce every time I make a mistake while discussing Seinfeld or sarcastically say I will retire if the Cleveland Cavaliers land Zion Williamson? Probably! But to quote Don Draper, that’s what the money is for.

Although in retrospect, perhaps Don only believed 30 percent of that take.

[H/T The Big Lead]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.