The Final Tango reveals the previously untold story of Brad Trimmer: NBA analyst, basketball savant, Twitter phenom, and Hemingway-like storyteller. In a series of interviews, Trimmer explains his dealings with The Ringer, specifically editorial director Chris Ryan. Below is Ryan’s response to the extremely real events in question.
They say that true love is the soul’s recognition of its counterpoint in another. I did not truly love Brad Trimmer. It’s my job to find interesting voices, and help those voices sing. The song is called “Basketball,” but there are many different versions. I still haven’t figured out Brad’s. I don’t think I ever will.
I can’t remember the first time I met Brad—I think he reached out over my preferred social network, LinkedIn, which is where I’ve met most of my closest friends and most treasured colleagues. His pitch was simple enough: play breakdowns, advanced analytics, the usual. But there was nothing usual about Brad Trimmer. To say that he simply broke down plays is to say Jim Morrison sang love songs over keyboard melodies. They both broke on through to the other side. One is just better known than the other. Until now.
We brought Brad in because we were looking to expand The Ringer’s suite of basketball video offerings. We figured he’d be useful at explaining the vagaries of Toronto’s offense, the Sixers’ defense, and the tactical minds of coaches like Erik Spoelstra and Ettore Messina (a big, big influence on Brad’s work). What we got was an often uncomfortable baring of the human soul. In 27 separate pilot videos, Brad—sometimes with me, sometimes on his own—toyed with ideas of existentialism, nihilism, self-destruction, pseudo-spiritual transformation, martyrdom, and SLOB actions. Every few months, we’d try a different format, and inevitably he would explode that format, then retreat to parts unknown (apparently a one-bedroom Hollywood apartment).
If I had to guess, Brad would say that we repressed his views—that he was too real for this world. There’s some truth to that; I don’t think anyone wants to think about John the Baptist when contemplating Pascal Siakam. But the truth is that he rarely, if ever, knew where to stand, how to sit, or where the camera was at any given time. Here’s another thing they say: There are no second acts in American life. I guess we’ll find out how true that one is.