All Things “Ball Don’t Lie!” (Book)
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How to Hack the Hoops Story-Generator
In Ball Don’t Lie! I tell the story of basketball by way of the stories basketball tells about itself.
Basketball, after all, is not only a sport, but also a story-generator.
In Ball Don’t Lie! I get under the hood to see how this machine works and try to make it work better.
The hoops story-generator draws raw materials —like players, events, and teams—from the court, of course.
But it also draws on American society, pulling in bits of language, images, beliefs, attitudes, social movements, desires, and fears—especially those that have to with race.
Processing all this raw material through narrative forms like fairy tales or creation myths, the machine delivers its finished tales back out into our society, where we consume them, use them, and share them so that they take on a life of their own.
So I do more than just describe the stories generated by basketball. I also take apart the story-generating machine, using historical research to examine its parts, explain where they came from and how they are working, and take stock of what is going into it and what is coming out of it.
Lastly, I hack the story-generator so as to get its parts and and raw materials to spit out a different product that puts players at the center and that lets their creative artistry on the court—their play—drive the story.
Todd Boyd, author of Young, Black, Rich and Famous: The Rise of the NBA, the Hip Hop Invasion and the Transformation of American Culture wrote:
In this compelling critical dissection of a truly fascinating sport, Yago Colás effectively breaks down the game of basketball in ways social, cultural, and political. As Rasheed Wallace said, ‘Ball don’t lie!’ Neither does this book.
And Aram Goudsouzian, author of King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution, says:
In an accessible and engaging writing style, Colás tackles basketball from the perspective of a literary critic. He cleverly sets up each chapter with a myth and then he goes about deconstructing it from a variety of angles. This book can help change how we teach and write about sport.
Go Get It!
Or, if you don’t believe me, you can read an excerpt here.
Let Bad Prof Help!
If you’d like me to come to your town or campus to read from or talk about Ball Don’t Lie! and to sign copies, or you’d like to interview me, just let me know.