Super agent Rich Paul still won’t speak to Bill Simmons over a piece he wrote on LeBron James following his decision to join the Miami Heat in 2010. James, now attempting to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a second successive NBA Championship, helped fire Miami to a pair of titles after leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers on the first occasion.
James announced his intent during a television special and likely has a few regrets over how he revealed his desire to move on from the Cavs. Looking back, though, it’s hardly as bad as many made it out to be, especially given the way free agency works now. Simmons, meanwhile, was very critical over the move, writing a column in which he claimed James’ decision was down to his lack of a father figure.
“I blame the people around him. I blame the lack of a father figure in his life,” he wrote in a column for ESPN back then. “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. I blame local and national writers (including myself) for apparently not doing a good enough job explaining to athletes like LeBron what sports mean to us, and how it IS a marriage, for better and worse, and that we’re much more attached to these players and teams than they realize.”
Paul, who spoke to The New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner in a recent interview, revealed he still doesn’t speak to the former ESPN columnist.
“That’s why I don’t speak to Bill Simmons,” he said. “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.”
While Simmons hasn’t taken much heat for The Decision, he was heavily involved in the special taking place as he was the one who actually pitched the idea to ESPN and LeBron’s camp, then pushed for it to happen.