Bill Simmons — more commonly known as the ESPN’s “The Sports Guy” — recently released the paperback version of his 700-page tome “The Book of Basketball” and the new version shows how much this is a book truly borne of the internet.
Simmons made his career on the web and like a true web writer, he never stopped editing. The paperback contains dozens of revised passages, corrections, omissions, and even updates to the “Hall of Fame Pyramid” (his ranking of the top 96 basketball players of all-time) that makes up the heart of the work.
The book was substantially altered from it’s 2009 hardcover release, in part because the basketball world was substantially altered by LeBron James’ “decision” to leave Cleveland for Miami in July. (Not to mention LeBron’s postseason flame out, Kevin Durant’s ascension, and Kobe Bryant earning his fifth championship ring last season.)
While most old school writers would not be bothered to change their opinions after publication, a writer who makes his career on the web, knows he can’t afford to be so far out of date.
The book has its own website that isn’t designed for promotion — it’s designed to make the book longer. It provides detailed online footnotes, to supplement the already numerous ones on the page. Regular readers know that Simmons loves his YouTube videos, but since you can’t put hyperlinks in a book, they’ve all been indexed online, cited to the relevant chapters and page numbers.
Of course, like any good internet story, this one also contains a blog feud. Simmons pointedly removed from the book two references to Boston sportswriter Charles Pierce after Pierce savaged the author in the original review.
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