B.S. Free at ESPN

This morning, New York Times media reporter, Richard Sandomir, broke the news that Bill Simmons is out at ESPN. While the news is shocking, I am not sure its all together surprising. I am optimistic and hopeful he will find an outlet for his unique voice somewhere else in media. I believe this will be a true test of the new medium and marketplace. I will be sad to see him go from Grantland, which I believe has been groundbreaking in many ways. I do wonder if he set himself up for this when he started Grantland in 2011. He went from a voice to a purveyor and as such I think his responsibilities to himself and what would become his staff changed. Only time will tell, but I can’t wait to see what’s next.

On the Way to Selma

From staying in his lane to sitting with the President, Rembert Browne writes about his rare opportunity to ask the President one question on a historic flight to Selma:

I felt proud — we were a team in this conference room, and they’d pulled their weight. As he finished answering Maxwell’s question, the president gave her a smile, rotated a bit, and looked directly at me.

It’s a great read and a fascinating peek into the mind of a bright young writer.

The Power and the Steer

After watching yesterday’s Packers-Seahawks game, I found this observation from Grantland’s Robert Mays to be quite apt:

Wilson may steer the Seahawks, but Lynch is their power source.

I know Wilson’s great tosses to Baldwin and Kearse ultimately delivered the overtime win, but Marshawn Lynch was the only thing Seattle had on offense going into the 4th quarter. And the threat of Lynch is probably what gave Wilson the opportunity to check to that winning play at the line of scrimmage.

Hey, Marshawn. Thanks for playing. You’re pretty good.Yeah.

The Last Stride

Noah Davis, writing for Grantland, on Landon Donovan’s final appearance as a player with the USMNT:

Donovan was not the star we wanted, but he was the star we deserved. He carried the game as far as he could. He was the best, most visible player the U.S. had, as the program moved from half-empty stadiums to soccer-specific venues, multimillion-dollar contracts for American stars, and a domestic league that averages higher attendance per game than the NBA and NHL. Donovan didn’t make that happen on his own, but his stardom helped facilitate it. A reluctant star can still be vital, as long as he keeps showing up.

I still can’t believe or fully understand why it ended the way it did, but I’m glad he got his final game. Such an incredible career.

Melody and Words

Over on Grantland, Steven Hyden explores the possibilities of the unexplored Ryan Adams and, in the process, exquisitely sums up the talent that is Ryan Adams:

On the one hand, it confirms his status as the most talented singer-songwriter of his generation. When it comes to putting melody and words together into appealing, melodic, and heart-rending packages, nobody does it with more apparent ease.

Adams’ career arc hasn’t been quite what it seems a lot of people expected, but I think the only people who are suffering from that are the ones with the outsized expectations.

Short Range Vision

Kirk Goldsberry, writing for Grantland, on former Wolfpack star T.J. Warren:

Despite his obvious scoring prowess, it’s how and where he scores that make him so intriguing. Warren is a true throwback, scoring in ways and in places that the league has largely forsaken.

That’s from Goldsberry’s seemingly optimistic introduction. Goldsberry takes a sharp turn toward reality in his conclusion:

As a small forward trying to find a place in today’s NBA, it doesn’t bode well for Warren that he made just 17 of 88 shots (19 percent) beyond 16 feet last season. For him to maximize his value, Warren will not only have to continue his success close to the hoop, he’ll also have to improve both his frequency and his efficiency out on the perimeter.

I don’t disagree with Goldsberry’s assessment; I just hope the “short” commentary surrounding Warren turns out a lot like the commentary surrounding another former Wolfpack athlete.