Don’t blame the Sports Guy for this one. Instead, blame whatever Simmons junkie at Basketball-Reference covertly slid his favorite basketball writer into the “NBA & ABA Miscellaneous Honors” section.
Others in the section include “50 Greatest Players in NBA History,” “Top 10 Coaches in NBA History,” “NBA 35th Anniversary All-Time Team,” “NBA Silver Anniversary Team,” “SLAM 500 Greatest NBA Players of All Time” and “ABA All-Time Team.” All of these lists at the very least represent some sort of collaborative agreement of various basketball minds…until now.
Simmons’ pyramid from his best-selling book, The Book Of Basketball, actually isn’t so egregious. Of course there’s always room for argument, but in general I can’t find too many gripes (except for the ranking of certain Celtics, but that’s to be expected). But is this deserving of being regarded as some sort of time-tested, generally-agreed-upon metric? Not at a chance.
Is Bill Simmons a wildly successful writer, arguably the most popular basketball writer alive today? Quite possibly. Is he a great writer? Most definitely. Does that validate his arbitrary conjectures? Most certainly not. We’re playing fast and loose with knowledge association these days, especially when it comes to pen-bearers. The tenuous barrier between great writer and greater opiner has been trampled and stomped and virtually eradicated, and we’re left with the sanctimonious musings of one basketball writer presented as an award. Is this some grand injustice? No, but Basketball-Reference is supposed to be a beacon of relative neutrality and the unquestioned settler of random basketball arguments among friends. And while it’s still all that, it’s been polluted just a little.