I began reading Bill Simmons simultaneously with when the Boston Celtics got the big three. In fact both passions fueled the other. I would log onto ESPN whenever they played a playoff game and gobble up the hilarity that flowed from Simmons pen. It was especially good when they played the Lakers. Owen Strachan pointed out that there is a long article on him in the NYT. Mahler is right to when saying the following that makes Bill Simmons distinct and interesting:
For Simmons, this distinction — between fan and columnist — doesn’t really exist. Unlike many sportswriters, for whom detachment is a point of professional pride, Simmons makes no pretense of neutrality. This is at least one explanation for his extraordinary popularity. According to ComScore, Simmons’s “Sports Guy” Web column, which he publishes every 10 days or so, attracted 740,000 unique visitors in April, making him probably the most widely read sportswriter in America today.
Owen’s reflection on Simmons is worth pondering:
Perhaps we evangelicals can learn something by the way Simmons connects with his audience. He’s a real guy, he wears his passions on his sleeve, and he interacts with his readers like they actually matter. He doesn’t write or lead (in his way) from an athletic Mount Olympus; he seems like a friend you might have as a sports fan, albeit the highly intelligent, uncouth, emotional fan who will burst a blood vessel arguing whether Mark Jackson or Travis Best was a better pass-first point guard.
There’s something about Simmons’s approach for us to consider, I think. Those who are in ministry, who are leaders in some way, are not unapproachable demi-gods. We’re very normal people. We should work hard to connect with the people we lead and seek to reach for the glory of Christ. We can work entrepreneurially for the advancement of the kingdom–a fun subject for another day–but we should always do so with people, real people, in mind, not our own glory.