Bill Simmons

There’s only one man alive who could have written a tolerable 700-page book about the NBA that includes a vignette about which current superstar most resembles the titular protagonist of Teen Wolf, so be thankful that he’s the guy who wrote it. Your Teen Wolf is Kobe Bryant; your author is Bill Simmons, a/k/a ESPN.com’s Sports Guy, indefatigable Internet sportswriting superstar. Wildly prolific, ceaselessly witty, harmlessly crass, and generally wise, Simmons has built an everydude empire by triangulating the trashy pop-culture futon talk of Chuck Klosterman and the stats-heavy philosophizing of Malcolm Gladwell. The Book of Basketball (Ballentne/ESPN, $30) is part memoir, part revisionist history lesson, part nerded-out stat-head orgy, and part league-cheerleading manifesto, the book is a hilariously daunting labor of love wherein the love usually manages to overpower the labor. Nobody cares about the NBA—nobody cares about anything—more than this guy. ROB HARVILLA

Tue., Nov. 17, 7 p.m., 2009

 
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