An Open Letter To Bill Simmons
Dear Bill Simmons,
I've been a fan of yours ever since that February day in 2002 when I was in Ms. Culmo's Computer Class and finished up my Microsoft Word assignment and had time to kill and read you for the first time. The pop culture references, the unabashed Boston homerism, and the fact that despite your many flaws, you were still funny, well informed, and a great read.
My favorites of yours are your mail-bag, ramblings, NBA Draft Diary with your dad, and of course your annual NBA top 50 trade value column.
I purchased your Red Sox book despite not being a Red Sox fan. And after reading and even enjoying it, passed it on to one of my good friends, who was a Red Sox fan. I even pre-ordered your "Book of Basketball" on Amazon, then when I received it in the mail, read it in three weeks. And I'm about to use your book, a great read, against you.
Fact is, since moving to Los Angeles, you've lost your fastball. I don't remember the last time you rambled, and you've had one...ONE mailbag since the beginning of the year. Now I know it must be hard for you to answer questions in a witty way considering that you are a father of two, and are busy promoting the 30 for 30 stuff (which is great btw) BUT, its usually one of your most popular columns and showed us fans that you're one of us too.
However part of being a fan is that sometimes you let the fandom get in the way of fairly and analytically analyzing the game and league you love the most, NBA basketball.
Of all the media hullabaloo over Dwyane Wade potentially leaving Miami, you seem to be the one actively cheering for it. You started last year in your NBA preview column, continued in your podcast with Dan LeBatard last December, and now in your most recent article you said this:
Here's the point: I know that Wade, depending on the situation, can hit nearly every one of those aforementioned levels. But the last one? I don't know. He might be on the Virtuoso Evisceration level, he might not. We won't know until he plays for a very good team in a city that gives a crap about basketball. He should sign with Chicago. He should force a sign-and-trade to Dallas. He should do something. We know Dwyane Wade is great. We just don't know how great. He owes it to himself to find out.
What makes you think he won't find out here in Miami? Because "We don't give a crap about basketball?" And this is based off of empty seats in the arena? Let's see, Heat fans knew that this season was more about setting the table for next season, that summer of 2010 was the important part. Plus, Miami is one of the most affected cities from this recent recession, which just happens to coincide with our terrible 15 win season. People gave up season tickets because we had no idea what direction our team was going to go, and since we were in a recession in one of the cities most affected, people had to save money. You've even said yourself that it has affected the NBA more than the other sports leagues, so I'd figure that you'd understand.
Instead you attacked us for it. We're still recovering from this recession, and we need a reason to go to games, not just because Wade is there but its a one and done team in the playoffs.
Its a shame that you couldn't truly go to a game in the Old Miami Arena during the days of Zo and Hardaway, or even our 2006 "White Hot" title season that you maligned us fans for. (By the way, how come you're not attacking Oklahoma City for doing the same thing this year? At least our basketball team was an organic expansion team given to us by the league because we were able to sell 10,000 season tickets and not stolen from another city. Yet you attacked us the whole time for it yet say nothing about OK City.)
If you saw those crowds in person you would see the type of environment it is and how great of a basketball market we are. We're no different from San Antonio, Atlanta, or even your beloved Boston.
Speaking of Boston, how can you attack us for not showing up for games when its clear that Celtics fans are just as apathetic when you guys are down? I've noticed a double standard here, hmm Bill, with all of this I've read from you, I'm starting to think that you're anti-Miami when it comes to sports. Oh wait, you are!
I could see the reasons why you're so anti-Miami, in fact I'll list them.
1. Dolphins-Patriots rivalry.
When I was growing up in New England, the Patriots played the Dolphins every December ... and every December, the Patriots lost. Most kids remember Santa Claus around the holidays. I remember Uwe von Schamann belting game-winners. That's just the way it was.
That's enough ammo for hatred towards a city, by the way, that was taken from a column that you wrote about the Dolphins vs. Patriots Monday Night game from 2004 aka the 3rd greatest Dolphins game of the last decade. (It was the one night we believed Jim Bates could be a head coach and AJ Feely was our franchise QB, dolphins came from behind to beat the defending and eventual Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots 30-28.) Its clear that you still have some bad Miami memories, despite the fact that the Patriots have dominated the 'Phins in the last few years and the fact that your Pats actually guaranteed the 85 Bears would win the Super Bowl that year by beating the Dolphins, the one team that year that actually beat the Bears and had the talent to beat them. Yet you still hold that grudge, but that's not the only piece of evidence.
2. A-Rod spent his high school years in Miami
(Note, its not a point of pride for me that A-Rod not only spent his high school years in Miami, but also went to MY high school for a year, but I'm putting that out there.)
I know you hate A-Rod. I do too. But if you did know that A-Rod was from Miami, and have seen him courtside at Heat games, that could cloud your judgement. If you didn't, then I just gave you more anti-Miami venom.
3. Your friendship with Mark Cuban
You have continually praised Mark Cuban for being a great owner. Ok that's cool. You're buddies with him. Ok that's cool. I only mentioned it in passing here because the fact that the Heat defeated the Mavs in 06 and you listening to Cuban's rants about how that series was probably rigged probably got to you. That and this next fact.
4. You wagered on the Mavericks in 06.
If I lose money gambling, I'm pissed. Here's the thing: players can't bet on games, nor can coaches. If you plan on covering a series, you shouldn't wager on it. And if you are going to wager on it, at least cover it from the perspective like you covered the Red Sox World Series runs, Patriots Super Bowl runs, and Celtics NBA Playoffs runs as a fan and not journalist.
You attempted to cover this series as a journalist, not fan but journalist, but until you published your book three years later, neglected to mention that you had wagered on Dallas. Hell, you flat out denied it the first time it was published on the web site ! But in your book, in a footnote, you say this:
That was a complete lie: I had money on Dallas in the series. Hence the vitriol.
I give you props for admitting to it three years later in a footnote that people may or may not read, but it would've been nice to have that info up front instead of you pretending to "not particularly like one team over the other" (a lie based off of your friendship with Cuban) and "not wagering on the game" (already covered.) You lost money, and you're upset. It happens, that's why its called gambling, and I figured if anyone would know about it, it would be you. (By the way, what really upsets me about anyone arguing how the refs threw the 06 series to the heat, I present for you all the heat-knicks series, plus the pistons-heat series in 05. During the 06 Finals I was lamenting how weird it felt that my team was getting calls for the first time in the team's history.)
5. Your un-mitigated hatred of Pat Riley.
Is Riley hateable? Absolutely. Why? He's that good. Riley is a snake, he did screw over Stan Van Gundy (but it ended up being a GREAT decision as he continues to prove when he messes up the final 2 minutes of a playoff game in Orlando like he did with us in 05) and yes, he did screw over the Knicks. BUT, he's successful, and you can't argue with that. You trust him with the car keys to your team, and is not just basketball smart (with the exception of everything in the Michael Beasley era) but seems to fall upward and has great luck. (Anthony Carter's agent not accepting the contract that freed up the cap space for Lamar Odom, doing terrible in 01-02 and picking up Caron Butler and in 02-03 and picking up Wade then being able to pick up Shaq and a title in exchange for Odom and Butler and mainly because Shaq liked Wade.) Yet in your book you do just about everything to sully Riley's name because of a simple stat:
Riley's NBA titles as head coach of the Lakers: 4
Celtics NBA titles while Riley coached the Lakers: 3
Riley's record in the NBA Finals against the Celtics: 2-1
That seems like a reason for hatred, and I think is your main reason for wanting Wade to leave. Fact is, the Heat have the cap space for Bosh and another player, plus there are still teams that want to take on Beasley, which could add another young player. Riley can get Wade the help, the Heat will be relevant again. You just don't want Pat Riley to be successful, nor do you want the NBA to be reborn in Miami thus giving the league another successful franchise (wait, the heat are already a successful franchise and as a brand thanks to Wade has become worldwide) because of your hatred for Pat Riley and Miami Sports. I find it ridiculous and I can't wait until Wade resigns with the Heat and we get the pieces to make the Heat a beast in the east again.
I'm not attacking Bill Simmons the writer, and I have no beef with your writing at all. Nor am I attacking Bill Simmons the person, you seem pretty cool and very funny. You're still one of my favorite writers but at the same time are also biased and mis-informed and have an agenda against Miami and the Heat organization and I was pointing out why you might. I know I'm not the only one of your readers in Miami who feels that way, at least I hope I'm not, and I'm sure other readers feel you're biased against their teams as well. Just please, if you're going to cover basketball as an unbiased historian and analyst, do so, but if you're going to cover it as a fan, admit to it. Don't go half and half on it. Thank you.
When he's not writing caustic open letters to writers that will never read it, Tommy Galicia reads his e-mail, email@example.com. He also checks and updates his twitter @305sportsdude as well as his myspace and facebook, which you can find him by searching using his e-mail address. If you have something to say to him and would like to compliment him or call him a jealous douchebag for slamming a real sportswriter, leave a comment.
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