Thursday, June 7, 2007

"Hey, Tom Friend, if you stop being a prick, I'll put you in my Fave Seven. I promise."

The best on the Web, Mr. Bill Simmons.

How are ya? Haven't posted all week because of college exams, but now I'm back with a list of my favorite sportswriters. What inspired me to do a post on my favorite columnists? I don't know, it just kind of popped into my head one day. Here's my Dream Team.

Bill Simmons, ESPN the Magazine and I first discovered Bill Simmons sometime around 2003, while flipping through the pages of ESPN The Magazine, and I fell in love with his worth. A good while later I realized that I had the internet and could read his online columns as well. Nowadays, that's the first place I go to when I hit the web each day. Simmons has a style all his own: he incorporates humor, pop culture, and family into his writings, so his colums are different than anything else I've ever read because of the multiple angles he can go with. Creative as hell, Simmons has penned columns ranging from his advising Kobe Bryant to follow the career path of Hulk Hogan to previewing the 2004 NFL season using quotes from Goodfellas. He's also extremely knowledgable (especially in the field of hoops), a sports junkie who writes from the perspective of a fan. Is Bill Simmons the best online writer ever? Yes, he is.

Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times: Nobody is better at the melodramatic article than Plaschke, and nobody captures a moment or event better. When the Lakers were dethroned by San Antonio in 2003, Plaschke's column the next day perfectly expressed the way any true Lakers fan felt. It was his seminal article, so good that I kept reading it over and over again until I memorized it. He's kind of annoying as a TV personality, but as far as newspaper writers go, no one touches Plaschke.

J.A. Adande, formerly of the Los Angeles Times: Most sportswriters have some kind of schtick, whether it's being overly pessimistic like Peter Vescey, comedic like Tony Kornheiser, or purposely controversial like Jay Mariotti. If you're gonna be straightforward and not have some kind of gimmick, you better good at being straightforward. And J.A. Adande is a trained professional. He may use a little humor here and there or make a pop culture reference every now and then, but for the most part, Adande is just focused on getting his point across. But he manages to make it entertaining because he makes such good observations. Sadly, as of last week, J.A. is no longer with the times, but I can guarantee you he won't be out of work for long.

Mark Heisler, Los Angeles Times: The best basketball writer alive. I don't read Bob Ryan's stuff, but he can't be better than this guy.

T.J. Simers, Los Angeles Times: The T.J. stands for Total Jerk. This guy is pretty unpopular among Times readers, but I think he's funny as hell. His riff on Barbaro was Hi-larious.

Scoop Jackson, Not the Scoop who's had to tone it down for You Know Who, the old Scoop, who wrote for SLAM. The Scoop who used profanity in his pieces and was undeniably the best "hip-hop" writer of all-time. Scoop's style and tone while with SLAM was decidedly "black", but anybody, of any race, who liked rap and basketball liked this guy. Everyone who wrote for that magazine during that time was excellent, but Scoop always stood out. His new, somewhat censored stuff runs regularly on now, and it's not as good, but I'll always remember the good ol' days. His brilliant "Iceman 2000" piece on Tim Duncan for SLAM seven years ago remains my all-time favorite sports article.

Anybody who writes for Sports Illustrated: Especially Chris Ballard and the great Jack McCallum (a devestating NBA 1-2 punch). And Rick Reilly is always good, too.

Next up, my favorite TV and radio people, either tomorrow or Saturday.


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