I am so beyond irate.
If it hasn’t been already, the following section is going to be removed/retooled for this article:
“Washington quickly snaps up Florida scorer Bradley Beal at no. 3. Bilas calls him a “high-character guy” and a “complete basketball player,” and the chairman of the Committee for Cross-Racial Comparisons rules that, yes, you’re allowed to compare Beal’s jumper to Mike Miller’s jumper. What a relief. That’s followed by a strong Beal interview — it was just like the MKG interview, only with complete sentences and it didn’t seem like a porn movie.”
1) What the hell is this “chairman of the Committee for Cross-Racial Comparisons”? At no time did race have to show up in that discussion, and it’s a cheap joke to boot. By not simply comparing basketball-player-to-basketball-player, you sir, continue to perpetuate the problem. In addition, you’re outing yourself as a veiled bigot. Good job.
2) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. I’m tearing up even thinking about this. MKG, who Simmons claims just a paragraph before that he “could not be a bigger fan of,” has spent his life trying to overcome A SPEECH IMPEDIMENT. To mock him for his lack of complete sentences and sounding “like a porn movie” is beyond despicable. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! wrote a fantastic article about Michael, and discussed his stuttering:
After years of letting his stuttering silence him, Kidd-Gilchrist no longer fears talking about his condition – or anything else.
“I don’t care about what people think about me anymore,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “This is my life, not their life. I have to live it. They don’t.
“It’s been a big battle for me just mentally. I’m just fighting through it. … I don’t mind it no more.”
Kidd-Gilchrist’s father, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Sr. – who played alongside former NBA player Milt Wagner on the 1981 Camden High basketball team that won a New Jersey state championship – was fatally shot Aug. 11, 1996, before Kidd-Gilchrist turned 3. Kidd-Gilchrist’s mother, Cindy Richardson, raised him, and his stuttering contributed to him being shy as a child.
He had to face his stuttering problem after becoming one of the nation’s top high school basketball players at St. Patrick’s High School in Elizabeth, N.J. His growing fame led to interview requests, which Kidd-Gilchrist was “terrified” to accept.
“I spoke a lot around my friends and family, stuff like that,” he said. “But other than that, I wouldn’t talk to nobody really.”
How is Simmons so out of touch that he don’t know such a HUGE detail about a player he “could not be a bigger fan of”? And that’s great - he’s removing it from his post, but not before everyone already read it and ripped into him for it. The odds of this not getting back to MKG are slim to none, so I’m sure he’s thankful for the reminder that people are going to judge him because he isn’t a Toastmaster.
Stop being such a middle-aged try-hard.
As a regular Grantland reader I have to be a little embarrassed by Simmons’ ignorance on this article. Sometimes he pushes too hard for a punchline in his writing by using race and controversy. Whether he is a bigot or not is subject to debate and only Bill Simmons can answer that. For someone who owes a successful career to the black and white athletes he covers and jokes about, it would be in his best interest to think about these fictional ” Committee for Cross-Racial Comparisons ” jokes.
However, I understand what Simmons was trying to address with the Committee for Cross-Racial Comparison “joke”. In the NBA and NFL, sports writers and analysts commonly compare black athletes to other black athletes and white athletes to other white athletes respectively. This is a reality that happens every year during draft season. Even if JJ Redick, Adam Morison, and Mike Dunleavy Jr were more comparable to a Michael Redd, Glen Robinson, and Steve Smith; analysts ignore this in favor of comparisons to Steve Kerr, Tom Chambers, and Larry Bird. This year during the NFL draft, analysts couldn’t resist comparing Robert Griffin III to Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb, even though his game is vastly different. These racial comparisons on both ends of the spectrum are unfair to these players. While Bill Simmons maybe attempting to parody this sports media problem, he needs to learn that by acknowledging something like this, you give it existence and credibility.
I think this is right. Simmons has argued for years that it’s dumb that analysts never compare players of different races. This is essentially just a callback to that idea.