Bill Simmons has been staffing up his sports and pop culture site for a while now, and ESPN just made it official. The site will be named Grantland, in honor of sportswriter Grantland Rice, for some reason, and it will launch in June. The Sports Dude will be the editor-of-chief of the site, posting his columns and podcasts and working with Dan Fierman, Lane Brown, Jay Caspian King, Malcolm Gladwell, Chuck Klosterman, Dave Eggers (!), Katie Baker and Patrice Evans.
That staff of writers and editors would be good enough to get attention for any site. The fact that it’s Simmons’s site, under the ESPN banner, ensures it’ll get a lot of eyeballs. I’m expecting the place to be interesting and worth visiting, even if Simmons’s supposedly “vaunted” pop cultural knowledge often seems like he’s actually only seen 12 movies in his life. His shtick, as I have written before on this site, can be extremely tiring. But there was a time when his voice was fresh and his material untouchable. I’m hoping that this chance to spearhead his own thing and oversee his own playpen will inspire him to regain some of his originality and display the voice that made so many of us become addicted to his writing.