ESPN's Bill Simmons Discusses His Role on "NBA Countdown," Competition With TNT
ESPN’s Bill Simmons is joining the net's “NBA Countdown” this season and talked with the N.Y. TIMES' Jonah Bromwich and addressed how he will reconcile his “identity as superfan, someone who watches the games as a Celtics fan or a Clippers fan, with the pressure to remain unbiased.” Simmons said, “I’m not going to hide from it; I’m definitely going to have fun with it. ... If I’m coming out after a big Celtics game and they lose a heartbreaker, my demeanor the next 10 minutes after that game ... I don’t know how I’m going to respond.” Simmons said of developing chemistry with his co-hosts, “I don’t think it’s rocket science. On TV everybody is filling a role. And if TV works correctly, it’s because people are doing different roles correctly. I don’t think it’s very different from basketball. Everybody fills a role and brings something different to the table.” He said of co-host Magic Johnson, “I think they leaned on Magic too much last year. He was the first guy you heard from every time they came out of a game. They just put this enormous pressure on him to have be-all and end-all revelations constantly.” Simmons said of the show's competition with TNT's "NBA Tip-Off," which includes Basketball HOFer Charles Barkley, “If we’re going to try to beat TNT just purely on talking about the same things they talk about, well, they have Barkley and we don’t. We have to be smarter and more sophisticated and funnier and we have to outthink them. Because if it’s just a case of talent against talent, Barkley is the best studio guy who ever lived and we’re going to lose” (NYTIMES.com, 10/31).