Deadspin reported yesterday that Magic Johnson was leaving the NBA Countdown team because he disliked Bill Simmons. Apparenlty, Magic was upset about Simmons’ power over ESPN executives and was unhappy how his BFF, Michael Wilbon, was pushed to the wayside in favor of the longform scribbler.
Here are some things we know, regardless of which side of the Simmons/Wilbon/Magic NBA Countdown team debate you are on:
The Show Sucks
That is not a scientific fact, but the pregame, halftime, studio show was nothing special nor was it on its way to be. Maybe it isn’t fair to compare it to the awesomeness that is TNT’s NBA studio show, but I don’t care. My sole purpose as a viewer is to be entertained — NBA Countdown was as entertaining as watching your grandfather urinate into the sink. Like, you only watched because you were there and for sicko reasons.
What I don’t understand, however, is the rash of Bill Simmons related hatred that spewed from the mean streets of Twitter. I get it. Simmons is a sometimes pretentious, self-centered, biased, teetering on a character of himself, know it all….but everyone loved that dude a few years ago.
I mean, when did folks turn on him? Did his style of writing run its course, is the fact that he became “mainstream” make him anti-anti-establishment, is it jealousy, or does he just suck donkey balls on the ole picture-box?
It is probably a combination of all of those things, but mostly him stinking it up on the TV. It should be noted, though, Magic was not exactly setting the world on fire — nor was Wilbon.
Still, because the Internet needs to hate someone, Simmons has taken the bulk of the blame for Magic leaving, for the show sucking and for poor old Wilbon’s importance on the show getting decreased.
I am not sure what everyone wants ESPN to do with NBA Countdown. Supposedly, Doris Burke is going to give it a go in studio and I actually think it is a wise move. She is wise, intelligent, knows the game, has been around the game and might add a level of real NBA insight on the show — because, you know, that kind of thing is important when watching NBA related programs.
You should look at the rest of the ESPN roster to see, however, the lack of NBA guys they have. The lack of guys who can cover the NBA on TV, at least. Sure, you can say put “writer x” on there, but you’re the same asshole who is complaining about Simmons — so there is no way to know how well or poorly that guy will work out.
You certainly need a main-mother-lover-in-charge. The guy or gal who controls the action. While the panelist are important, it is the moderator (if you will) who steers the ship. Who exactly would you like ESPN to put in that spot, googly-eyed Stu Scott?
Because this is my post, I am going to tell you my dream NBA Countdown team. They have to be CURRENT ESPN EMPLOYEES. I urge you to do the same in the comments section because your opinions are important to me (full disclosure: I can give two shits about your thoughts).
Scott Van Pelt
Ryen Russillo (I am obviously a huge fan of the radio show, but the two do bring different things to the table. Russillo is also a workhorse. Someone who will actually be prepped with NBA knowledge)
Jalen Rose (I am not a fan of his work, but know many of you are. He is constantly improving. By this time six years from now he might be tolerable)
Bill Simmons: (In a lesser role. Don’t ask him to break anything down, but be your funny-man/rumor guy…that is it)
Fourth person in the panel should be a rotation of talent. Forget chemistry, because this group will never have any regardless who you put in — ESPN won’t allow enough time to pass to let it build. Instead they will continuously move these guys around their entire network to capitalize the best they can off them. Here are a few guys they should rotate in regularly, however: Tim Legler, Chris Mullin, Hubie Brown and Jeff Van Gundy (when not doing games), Jackie MacMullan, Mike Wilbon and that is that.
So, Internet, please stop pooping all over Simmons. The show has/is/will be a mess for awhile. It isn’t really his fault. Plus, you bastards turned on him at some point, but not me — he paved the way for douches like me to earn twelve dollars a month by rambling on about nothing.
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