Bill Simmons: the best thing to happen to sports TV since…ever

Jordan Althaus/HBO

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Sports journalism: in today’s world, the phrase is almost a misnomer, as the vast majority of sports writing is embarrassingly inept. Sports journalism, true journalism, is virtually nonexistent.

The constant chest-thumping, male bravado perpetuated by ESPN and every other network is oftentimes nothing more than background noise in households. It’s a loud, loud world where seemingly the only way to be heard is to talk louder than your opponent.

But turning the channel over to HBO’s Any Given Wednesday With Bill Simmons is akin to dipping in a calm lake after being tossed around in rough seas. Gone are the $5,000 dollar suits, gone is the constant need to talk over one another, and gone is the chaos and noise and clutter.

Bill Simmons, a small, skinny, middle-aged white man dressed in what looks to be a $60 outfit, hosts the show. He is a direct antithesis to the mayhem of daytime SportsCenter. Soft-spoken and immensely intelligent, Simmons spends a good amount of time on his show talking about the higher concepts in sports. Not strictly game-by-game analysis (although there is some of that), but about what sports mean to people; what sports, at its best, represent.

In political terms, ESPN and Sportscenter are Donald Trump: loud, abrasive, proud of their inherent obnoxiousness. Bill Simmons is akin to Bernie Sanders: gentle, nonviolent.

Simmons currently has his show split into three segments. The first segment involves, a brief introduction to what his show will be covering this week. In the second segment, Simmons interviews either current or former professional players spanning any and all leagues and sports. The final segment features an interview with a celebrity who may or may not be an athlete, and they talk about how sports impacted their lives.

Unlike every other sports show in existence, Any Given Wednesday refuses to be background noise at your party. It demands to be seen with as much attention as any other television show. Bill Simmons proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that he’s the most intelligent man on sports television.

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