Simmons, “Grantland” Dominate on Day One


On Wednesday, ESPN’s Bill Simmons launched his new sports and pop culture website, Grantland.

Grantland consists of Simmons, writer Chuck Klosterman, and a variety of others throughout the field of journalism and entertainment that contribute to the Grantland site.

On day one, Simmons and others blasted past standards and compiled a collection of blogs and columns that consisted of some of the best sports prose I’ve ever read.

I for one had the bar set very high for Grantland. The crew didn’t disappoint.

That is saying something.

As many of my friends know, I am a huge Bill Simmons fan. I consider him far and away the best sports writer out there.

With that came an expectation that led me to feel uneasy about the prospects of Simmons and company being able to reach this bar.

I became familiar with Simmons’ material four years ago during my freshman year of college in Minneapolis. At the time, many people that I came across were unfamiliar with this Bill Simmons character that I spoke so highly of.

Simmons’ popularity continued growing rapidly throughout the course of my four years in college. His columns, tweets, and podcasts served as an easy distraction from my coursework. Yet also embedding an interest inside of me to try my hat at the whole sports writing game. (I became a contributor to The Sports Bank in October of 2010.)

Needless to say, upon hearing of the premise of Grantland I became David Kahn signing Ricky Rubio giddy for its potential.

Grantland’s SEO title suggests, “Sports and Pop Culture from Bill Simmons and His Lineup of Writers.”

On day one they met that billing.

The first day alone consisted of reality TV gold by the Reality TV czar himself, Dave Jacoby. An interesting look at the AL East (The Beast), and the current state of baseball by writer Chris Jones. Simmons’ own telling of the creation of Grantland. (A column my buddy Eren– a Simmons fan as much as myself– considered one of the best works of his career.)  Klosterman’s story of a North Dakota Junior College playoff game from 23 years ago, that is a commentary on the current state of perception towards Native Americans in our country today. A blog about the resignation of Donnie Walsh, and a look at the state of HBO actors/actresses in, “The HBO Recycling Program.”

But the nightcap of day one turned me into a realistic believer of the impact this site could have on the current state of sports media.

Simmons—in typical Simmons form—absolutely crushed it in his analysis of what took place in Game four of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night.

LeBron’s eight-point performance earned Simmons’ title as “The LeBrondown.” James’ nervous, disinterested, and puzzling performance has become an annual event. As Simmons writes:

“Now it’s threatening to become a late-spring tradition along the lines of Father’s Day, the U.S. Open, and MTV cutting a “Real World/Road Rules Challenge” trailer that ends with someone about to be punched in the face.”

That sentence alone encompassed everything that Grantland set out to be. It connects current events, sports, and pop culture all in one quick hitting sentence. It is this that gives me hope, and has to strike fear in the heats of those that run that—while Simmons is still employed by ESPN, and Grantland is seen on the home site — Grantland may eventually becoome an outlet for him to leave ESPN and spend his full effort towards his duties as editor in chief of the new site.

While I’m doing a keg stand with the Grantland kool-aid, Simmons himself is realistic with the site. On the future of Grantland, Simmons states:

“I would love to tell you that this website will work, that we’ll entertain you five days a week and blend sports and pop culture successfully. The truth is, I don’t know for sure.”

It is that mentality, that levelheaded mentality that will allow for Grantland to take off.

Grantland is real, it has top-notch material, and it is here to stay and conquer the sports media world. Being a member of a smaller portion of this world, it is my obligation to tip my hat to the men and women at Grantland.

I’m sitting comfortably in business class on board the Grantland bandwagon. I hope everyone else doesn’t hurt himself or herself jumping on board over the next few days, weeks, and months.

-Brett Cloutier

Brett is a contributor to The Sports Bank as beat writer for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He also dabbles in covering college hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @brettcloutier




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  1. paulmbanks says

    it’s hard for me to find the time to read extensively when I’m online. I’m at my cpu all the time and it;s work work work, but I NEED to make time for this.

    I’ve heard similar reviews from others. this is really good stuff that I need to book makr

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