Bill Simmons is the best sportswriter working today. Period. To use his own terminology, he's a Pantheon guy, and I'm not even sure who else to include there. Like Jay-Z, he's leading the league in at least six statistical categories: funniest, most prolific, highest quality of content, strongest passion for his subject matter, most acute fan POV, and boldest stance on the issues that matter. Not rallying against a cause just for column fodder, but because __________ is important to his sports fan constitution and viewing enjoyment.
The latest example is today's extended hypothetical where Bill maps his imaginary career away from ESPN.com, running his own highly lucrative yet increasingly unethical sports blog. The column skewers NFL owners in metaphor, slamming Personal Seat Licenses and the proposed 18-game schedule in the light of player health problems, deaths, and suicides.
What does this have to do with Chicago sports week at Lists That Actually Matter? Well, Simmons alludes to two members of our beloved '85 Bears defense -- Wilber Marshall indirectly, and Dave Duerson, whose recent suicide is "described" by Simmons. Add to that Mike Ditka's fight for player benefits and even recent Bear Jerry Azumah's decision to retire after multiple neck injuries in seven seasons, and I am given pause when considering whether or not to watch the Bears next season. More on that another day...
For now, let's celebrate great writing! I reviewed Bill's Book of Basketball in November 2009, so if you enjoy this list, there's lots of great material there too. In the meantime, here are six of my favorite stories from one of my favorite writers. (See the photo gallery above for links and descriptions.)