Bill Simmons to Launch 'Book of Basketball 2.0' Podcast (Exclusive)

THR Bill Simmons_0319_FeatureSplash-Simmons - H 2016
Austin Hargrave

THR Bill Simmons_0319_FeatureSplash-Simmons - H 2016

The new show will see Simmons revisit his 2009 book and explore how the game has changed.

Ten years after publishing The Book of Basketball, Bill Simmons is returning to the text to offer an updated look on how the game is played. 

Simmons on Tuesday will launch a new podcast called Book of Basketball 2.0. The weekly series will use his 2009 New York Times best-selling book as source text for an exploration of the sport and its best-known players today. 

"I've been thinking a lot about how basketball has changed since I wrote my book," Simmons tells The Hollywood Reporter. "This has been the craziest decade ever for the league — there's the three-point boom, so much player movement, the league became more popular than ever and the way they played basketball changed." 

Instead of writing an update to the book, however, Simmons decided to bring the conversations he's been having with friends about the evolution of the game to the podcast medium. In particular, he wanted to create a show that would allow him to examine the current state of basketball but that could be more evergreen than many of the sports conversations he has on The Bill Simmons Podcast. "The big thing for me was [how to] create a podcast that has a longer shelf life, a podcast about players and games and things that happen in the NBA that you could listen to five years from now and seven years from now."

Book of Basketball 2.0 has been in the works for about six months, and Simmons has already taped several episodes. Some episodes will feature interviews like the one that Simmons recently conducted with Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr. Others will involve Simmons' reranking the Hall of Fame Pyramid that he published in the book. He also plans to watch old game tape with players (a Steve Nash installment has already been taped) and to release audio essays with his thoughts on the game. 

Simmons acknowledges that things have changed for him since he wrote The Book of Basketball. In 2009, he was still primarily blogging under the name Sports Guy. Two years later, Simmons launched the blog Grantland with ESPN and his profile grew. After his departure from the cable company in 2015, he started the sports and pop culture website The Ringer. When Simmons wrote the book he was "writing from the fan's perspective," he says. "Over the last 10 years, I've gotten to know a lot of different people in the NBA. ... I don't want to say that it changed the way that I've thought about basketball, but I think it added to it. That was another reason that I wanted to do the podcast — I feel like I know basketball better for that reason." 

Book of Basketball 2.0 joins a slate of more than 30 podcasts produced by The Ringer, including The Rewatchables, The NBA Show, Binge Mode and The Watch. The show will debut Tuesday with five episodes. Subsequent new episodes will be released weekly.