Five Worthy Successors To Bill Simmons

I’m always on the lookout for writers/journalists who can change our perception of what journalism is.

Bill Simmons certainly did this. The editor-in-chief of, started as a stringer for Boston Globe until he received a column on the Boston page that blew up. He started at ESPN in 2001, where he was really able to hone his craft. His column regularly receives over 500,000 unique visitors a month, he has his own spot on ESPN’s NBA Countdown show and was pretty much given carte blanc in creating

As a pioneer of Internet journalism, Simmons was able to craft extremely readable columns for the masses that combined both entertainment and sports. His BS Report podcast has got some great guests like Malcolm Gladwell, President Obama and Lena Dunham and he’s always been somewhat critical of his own employer ESPN.

“Personal brands” are a hot commodity these days in the journalism world. It is too expensive for a media company like The New York Times or ESPN to train a journalist right out of college. Instead of investing money in a writer, they invest money in a writer’s audience. By starting your own blog and cultivating a knowledge audience through smart storytelling and an interesting perspective, a media company will invest you in based on what you can give them,

The following writers in my opinion have the chance to be what Bill Simmons has become; a brand name in the Internet world. They are all smart, funny, readable and most important, they know what their talking about.

1. Will Leitch

Will Fleitch has some experience starting his own website as founder of As a foil to the traditional sports media, has almost become part of the mainstream, breaking stories like Manti T’eo’s fake girlfriend and other off-color stories. Leitch has moved on though. He is one of the head columnists for the USA Today/MLB backed and following in Simmons’ footsteps has his own podcast.

I like Fleitch because similar to Simmons he has an affinity for what sports are for America. He writes about sports in a traditional way, albeit with a critical view. He also writes about movies and culture.

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2. Zach Lowe

When you listen or read anything Zach Lowe does, it almost feels like he eat mini plastic basketballs for breakfast. I did say that Bill Simmons infuses a lot of his writing with pop culture references, but Zach Lowe might care more about the Xs and Os of basketball more than anyone else right now. His articles are always a must read on the Web and random people are constantly coming out of the woodwork talking about how much they enjoy and respect this guys writing. It’s even possible one day for Zach Lowe to have a website like Simmon’s but specifically about basketball. He’s certainly carving out a niche for himself, as the most intellectual basketball writer online right now.

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3. Nate Silver

Nate Silver might be more “well known” than Bill Simmons to the average person on the street, but I don’t think he was as valuable to The New York Times as Bill Simmons is to ESPN. I say “was valuable” here because ESPN/ABC has hired Nate Silver away from The New York Times, to take his own blog 538 to the “worldwide leader.” Similar to Bill Simmons, Silver will be getting his own website that will fuse together sports and entertainment. He is mostly known for his work on the 2012 presidential campaign where he correctly predicted that President Barack Obama would win. Silver has the potential to become ABC/ESPN’s most valuable asset as his intelligence lies in work outside the sports world.

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4. Tim Rohan

Tim Rohan’s journalistic life was forever changed on April 15, 2013. As freelance reporter for the The New York Times’ sports section, Rohan was given the often forgotten assignment of covering the Boston Marathon. However, after the events of that day transpired, Rohan ended up have an eyewitness account to the most important American event to happen this year. Rohan’s article was on the front page of the The New York Times and has subsequently been able to file so truly heartbreaking follow ups about other victims on that. Today (August 8, 2013) Rohan was hired as a full-time writer of the paper and even though he might be in the infancy stages of his reporting life, he has tremendous potential.

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5. Rembert Browne

Rembert Browne is to pop culture as Zach Lowe is to basketball. He doesn’t write specifically about sports, music, movies or television, but he write about everything. He’s currently on a summer road trip through the United States writing about every city he visits. He was a real find for Grantland. Similar to Tim Rohan, Browne is super young, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t irrelevant people. People are constantly sharing his stories. He’s also a MUST FOLLOW on Twitter.

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