What I Did in 2015
This felt like a productive, and pivotal, year for me. So I thought I’d gather together the links to some of my professional activities during 2015…because, well, I feel proud.
In my teaching, I continued to refine Cultures of Basketball, developed an entirely new course called “Writing the Sporting Body,” and completely revamped my large lecture course “Global Sports Cultures.”
Over the summer, I had a few successful blog posts, two of which seemed especially to strike a chord: my thoughts on the deeper cultural forces that might drive the collective love affair with Steph Curry and my commentary on LeBron James and coaching.
These led to some fun media appearances: one at Over and Back on the meanings of the late Darryl Dawkins, one discussing NBA narratives with Seth Partnow, another on coaching with Nick Hauselman, and what can only be described as a cameo in Tom Goldman’s NPR story on Steph Curry.
I published a couple of academic articles, one, related to my book, on the meaning of the phrase “Ball Don’t Lie” and another, long-coming, on the cultural and political significance of Manu Ginobili’s style of play. Another article, on the myths surrounding the invention of basketball, will be published in the Journal of Sport History in Spring, 2016. I also was honored to accept a position, alongside some scholars I’ve long admired, on the editorial board of the Journal of Sports and Social Issues.
Most exciting to me was finishing up my end of the production process for my forthcoming book Ball Don’t Lie! Myth, Genealogy, and Invention in the Cultures of Basketball, which will hit bookstores in the spring and is already available for pre-order on Amazon.
I also began new administrative appointments at Michigan related to college athletics, which brought me new perspectives on some controversial issues such as athlete compensation and faculty involvement, both matters that I plan to get more involved in, both as a researcher and administrator.
Now, as for the pivotal part, I’m excited to announce that, with the support of Deans Andrew Martin and Angela Dillard of the Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Jimmy King and I began to plan a public symposium dedicated to examining the legacy of the Fab Five to mark the 25th anniversary of their 1991 arrival on campus. We’re still figuring out the dates and details, but it will happen sometime in 2016 and I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted.
Lastly, I’ve kicked off two new essay-length research projects. The first, in response to a call for papers on the topic of doing sport history in the digital era, is a history, contextualization, and cultural review of the rise of basketball analytics and its impact on various issues pertaining to basketball history. The second will be something like a map of the hoops historical imagination of ESPN’s 30 for 30 basketball documentaries.
It’s been a lot of work, but the most rewarding work of my life, and I’m grateful to everyone who has played a part in this. Thank you.
I hope you all have a prosperous, peaceful, and joyful 2016.