Celebrities expect to be treated differently than non-celebrities. That's part of why they're famous. But it's one thing to expect favorable treatment. Bitching publicly about not getting it is quite another.
The Sports Guy is beloved by Sonics fans, less so by state troopers.
Bill Simmons is a celebrity. The ESPN.com writer known more commonly as "The Sports Guy" has parlayed his fan's-perspective style into a role as the most popular columnist in America. For proof, look no further than Amazon.com where "The Book of Basketball," Simmons' 700-page opus to the NBA, is currently the number-one bestselling sports book and 12th overall.
Simmons' stardom spans the country, as witnessed by the Disneyland-long lines during his recent book tour. But in Seattle, Simmons is more folk-hero than quip-maker. Which may explain why, while he's within the city limits, Simmons doesn't think the rules apply to him.Thanks to his very public criticism of NBA Commissioner David Stern, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett for their roles in the move of the Sonics franchise, Simmons is to Seattle what Orwell was to Burma: the foreign chronicler of a chronically wronged people.
The mutual love was evident on Tuesday night when Simmons' came to Sport Bar to hawk his book. The line stretched out the door and down the block. And afterwards, Simmons bestowed his highest honor on the Sonics faithful who showed up, Tweeting that it was his "favorite" signing of the tour and that Seattle was "STILL AN NBA CITY."
It wasn't until the next morning that the red-hot ardor between Simmons and Seattle seemed to cool.
As he wrote in his weekly column this morning, Simmons and two buddies were driving to Beaverton, Ore for a tour of the Nike campus when he was pulled over by police. The writer acknowledges he has a lead foot. In fact, he practically brags about his inability to drive the speed limit. (A fact which, if you've ever driven in Massachusetts, probably won't surprise you about the Boston native.)
At the time he was pulled over, Simmons writes, he was hyped up on Tully's and driving "like a bat out of hell...weaving between lanes and going about 90." Yet, because of his fierce defense of Seattle's right to keep their basketball team, Simmons still thought he'd be able to "weasel" his way out of the ticket when Smoky arrived.
Simmons is now $299 poorer. And Washington is now one miniscule step further to closing a $2.6 billion budget deficit. Which may be the closest thing to a silver lining we'll get when it comes to a celebrity who thinks he and his Big Book are above the law.