Published in L.A. Weekly
Bill Simmons has lost 15 pounds. He's sleeping less. His hair has gone gray. All for a website. "It's more work than I thought it was going to be," he says.
Last June, Simmons raised eyebrows by starting Grantland, an ambitious sports and pop culture site, named for legendary sports reporter Grantland Rice. It's a literary, experimental subdivision of ESPN.com, with a quarterly print journal and contributions from such nonfiction-writing hiperati as Chuck Klosterman and Malcolm Gladwell.
The 42-year-old Simmons is in jeans and a dark blue polo, sitting in his new office in the L.A. Live complex, which looks like a dorm room on move-in day -- a phone on the ground here, a Boston Celtics hat there. The place is meant as a staff hangout -- Simmons writes his column from coffee shops. That column, often topping 6,000 words, made him the definitive sportswriter of the Internet age. It's written not as a fly on the wall but with the subjective passion of a fan, often answering reader questions and drawing meaning from a single free throw in a Celtics-Lakers Game 5 with a kind of Talmudic fervor.