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Simmons has waged a sometimes tense and public battle with his company about creative freedom and censorship. ESPN has since cracked down on its employees’ use of Twitter, but the site remains a place for him to launch one-liners and tell fans about what he has written - or read - of late.

“I didn’t understand it. I don’t know if I was really late, but I think I jumped in just as everyone was starting to figure out what it really was,” Simmons said. “Initially, it was just this place that Ashton Kutcher went on to tell everyone he just had a Mexican dinner. I thought that was absolutely stupid. Who cares? I don’t care that Ashton Kutcher just had three chicken tacos.

“It is good as a writer to try and figure out what is the most efficient joke I can make in 140 characters. I’ve had fun with it. It is a great way to keep in touch with people.”

His two most recent projects have resulted from his ascent to power in sports journalism - and also have shown off the true zenith of his abilities. Simmons, with the help of his friend Connor Schell, hatched the idea that eventually became “30 for 30,” an ESPN weekly documentary series about 30 people or events to commemorate the network’s 30-year anniversary.

Each film is done by a different filmmaker, and the talent ESPN collected is staggering. Already there have been documentaries by Peter Berg on the Wayne Gretzky trade and by Barry Levinson on the Baltimore Colts band that kept playing even after the team left town.

For years people have criticized ESPN (and Simmons hasn’t been afraid to lead those charges) for some of its “original entertainment” disasters (the movies “3” and “A Season on the Brink” come to mind), but this project has been lauded by critics.

“It is the greatest thing I’ve ever been involved with because it was so collaborative and so many people played a hand and so many people can be proud of it,” Simmons said. “The best part about it is hearing the directors talk about it and how it was such an awesome experience for them and how ESPN really let them pursue their creative vision and didn’t mettle.”

When Simmons wasn’t writing columns for ESPN.com or ESPN the Magazine, producing podcasts or working on “30 for 30” during the past four years, he was working on his new book, which is a 700-page tome about the sport he loves the most.

“The Book of Basketball” is his quest to find out who really are the best players and teams of all time and the answers to some of the greatest “What ifs?” in NBA history. More than that, it is a book that could redefine the way people view individual basketball players and teams.

The right book to compare it to might be “Moneyball,” which is Michael Lewis’ defining take of this generation on baseball. “Moneyball” changed the way people viewed baseball players and updated the language of the sport with new statistics and new methods of evaluating them.

“The Book of Basketball” could become equally as important for how future fans of the sport view and evaluate basketball players.

“I think it is brilliant,” King said. “My favorite part of the book is I think it ultimately explains what Bill is about, which is a real, deep-seeded disgust toward anything that doesn’t represent excellence. He loves the NBA, and the things he really digs into with this book are about excellence, and the things he really dogs out in this book are about coming up short of excellence.

“It is the kind of book that will get people to nod their heads in agreement, and it is also the sort of book that will start 1,000 different arguments, and from that respect I think it is a very important book. It is funny. It is profane, but it is also really heartfelt.”