Basketball Jones: America Above the Rim

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Todd Boyd, Kenneth L. Shropshire
NYU Press, Sep 1, 2000 - Social Science - 245 pages
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It began with Magic, Bird, and Dr. J. Then came Michael. The Dream Team. The WNBA. And, most recently, "Spree" Latrell Sprewell—American Dream or American Nightmare?—the embodiment of everything many believe is wrong—and others believe is exciting—about the game.

Today, despite the NBA strike, despite home run derbies, despite football's headlock on network television ratings, despite the much-heralded return of baseball, basketball has assumed a role in American culture and consciousness impossible to imagine 20 years ago, when arenas were empty and the NBA finals were broadcast via tape delay in the wee hours.

So what happened? How did a "black sport," plagued by drug scandal and decimated by white flight, come to achieve such prominence? What are the subtle and not-so-subtle racial codes that define how the game is played and perceived, and the reception of its high-profile stars? What does the shift in popularity from the predominantly white, working-class ethos of baseball to the black, urban ethos of basketball suggest about contemporary life in America? What linkages exist between basketball and hip-hop culture and how did these develop? How has the arrival of women on the scene changed the equation?

Bringing together journalists, cultural critics, and academics, this wide-ranging anthology has something for everyone, from hard-core fan to casual observer.

Contributors: Todd Boyd, Kenneth L. Shropshire, Gerald Early, James Peterson, Susan J. Rayl, Davis W. Houck, Mark Conrad, Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Earl Smith, Sohail Daulatzi, Larry Platt, Tina Sloan Green, Alpha Alexander, Tara McPherson, Aaron Baker.

 

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Garbage. A reminder that bias cannot be escaped as demonstrated by the well meaning but incredibly naive and biased writer.

Contents

1 privileges and immunities for basketball stars and other sports heroes?
12
2 why baseball was the black national pastime
27
3 gladiators gazelles and groupies
51
4 mo money mo problems
59
5 the white shadow
68
6 deconstructing the nba
75
7 bluecollar law and basketball
90
8 african american ownership
104
10 attacking the rim
151
11 retelevising a revolution
170
12 sheroes over the rim
176
13 whos got next?
184
14 view the world from american eyes
198
15 hoop dreams in black and white
215
contributors
241
about the editors
245

9 incivility and basketball
123

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About the author (2000)

Todd Boyd is Professor of Critical Studies in the USC School of Cinema-Television. His books include Am I Black Enough for You? Popular Culture from the 'Hood and Beyond and, as co-editor, Basketball Jones: America above the Rim, available from NYU Press. He produced and co-wrote the Paramount Pictures film The Wood.

Kenneth L. Shropshire, the author of several books, is Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has written for USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Daily News, Emerge Magazine, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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