The ghosts of summers past have haunted Bill Simmons ever since he criticized LeBron James in 2010, according to Rich Paul.
Its been 11 years since James took the most contentious free agency decision in NBA history. James left many league executives waiting on his decision to conclude their own runs at other free agents.
He was roundly criticized for the poor optics of creating a whole hoopla around turning down his other suitors. James immediately polarized all popular sportswriters against his self with this action, but some of the reactions that came out were quite suspect.
Bill Simmons was among those who took the cudgels to LeBron and cast him in the villains’ role for the NBA. But in doing so, he crossed the line when you look at exactly what he wrote:
“I blame the people around him, I blame the lack of a father figure in his life. I blame us for feeding his narcissism to the point that he referred to himself in the third person five times in forty-five minutes.”
It later emerged that the idea of James announcing his free agency destination on TV was Simmons’ own idea.
All of this has been brought back into the spotlight by Rich Paul, who recently did an interview with the New Yorker. Paul spoke for all parties involved in this while referring to the idea of player empowerment.
“Bill Simmons wouldn’t have said that about Larry Bird or JJ Redick”: Rich Paul
Rich Paul has been LeBron’s agent since 2012 after taking that role from Leon Rose. But he has a long memory, and one that serves him to treat Simmons with extreme distrust. As far as Klutch Sports, Uninterrupted and his future plans for LeBron are concerned, amnesty with the Celtics homer is not an option:
“That’s why I don’t speak to Bill Simmons. A lot of that has to do with race, too. He wouldn’t have said that about Larry Bird. He wouldn’t have said that about J. J. Redick. You get what I am saying?”
“‘The Decision’ ten years ago is the norm today. It’s what everyone wants to do. Kids won’t even decide where they go to college without it being a big production, and Bill Simmons says some shit like that.”
Paul is also stretching the truth to breaking point while trying to build the counter-narrative in retrospect. Many players have attracted attention to their free agency decisions.
None of them created a prop on national television to turn down several cities in the process of committing to one. That’s the difference in principle. This doesn’t condone what Simmons says. But it’s also important to hold Paul to standards of intellectual honesty.