Sociology of Sport

Insecure Boy Up! On the culture of machismo, conformity, violence and narrow visions of masculinity.

I Was a Teenage Athlete, a short reflection on the impact of playing team sports as an adolescent on identity.

Film: Experiencing Brutal Truths in 12 Years a Slave

Bill Russell, a statue,Tom Yawkey, the Celtics and Red Sox, and a short history of race in Boston

Documentary, League of Denial: How You Watch the NFL and What it Means

Q & A with Jack Hamilton on the NBA, dominant narratives, marketing and image, NCAA, the AAU and Age-restrictions

Celebrate: A winter evening in Boston, 2011

Stephen Jackson, Port Arthur, Texas, Real Stories and the Sports Media Landscape

The Disappointing Fall of Allen Iverson

Jason Collins Comes Out, Players and Coaches Respond, and Commentary on the Comments


A Hoops Reading List

FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball. 

The history of basketball has always belonged to champions like the Celtics, the Lakers, and the Bulls. Yet the game’s history cuts much deeper than that. The bottom line, the record books and retired jerseys, can never fully do justice to this wild, chaotic, and energetic game.

King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution, by Aram Goudsouzian 

Bill Russell was not the first African American to play professional basketball, but he was its first black superstar. From the moment he stepped onto the court of the Boston Garden in 1956, Russell began to transform the sport in a fundamental way, making him, more than any of his contemporaries, the Jackie Robinson of basketball.

Forty Million Dollar Slaves, by William C. Rhoden 

From Jackie Robinson to Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe, African American athletes have been at the center of modern culture, their on-the-field heroics admired and stratospheric earnings envied. But for all their money, fame, and achievement, says New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden, black athletes still find themselves on the periphery of true power in the multibillion-dollar industry their talent built.

Every advance made by black athletes, Rhoden explains, has been met with a knee-jerk backlash—one example being Major League Baseball’s integration of the sport, which stripped the black-controlled Negro League of its talent and left it to founder. He details the “conveyor belt” that brings kids from inner cities and small towns to big-time programs, where they’re cut off from their roots and exploited by team owners, sports agents, and the media. He also sets his sights on athletes like Michael Jordan, who he says have abdicated their responsibility to the community with an apathy that borders on treason.

Play Their Hearts Out, by George Dohrmann

Eight years of unfettered access, a keen sense of a story’s deepest truths, and a genuine compassion for his subject allow Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist George Dohrmann to take readers inside the machine that produces America’s basketball stars. Hoop dreams aren’t just for players. The fever that grips college basketball prospects hoping to strike big-time NBA gold afflicts coaches, parents, and sneaker executives as well. Every one of them has a stake in keeping America’s wildly dysfunctional, incredibly lucrative youth basketball machine up and running—no matter the consequences.

Pacific Rims: Beerman Ballin’ in Flip-Flops and the Philippines’ Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball by Rafe Bartholomew

Welcome to the Philippines, where the men are five foot five, the everyman’s Air Jordans are a pair of flip-flops, and the rhythm of life is punctuated by the bouncing of a basketball.


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