How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Lebron

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My title promises the story of a reason.  Of reason.  But there will be no reasons here, and less Reason.  Consider it more a chronicle of an evening adrift on a roiling sea of inclinations, of aversions and attachments, of affections and affinities.

Sometimes, I think that the whole teeming, cacophonous universe of basketball culture lives all inside me as in a lane tightly packed with jostling big men –  arguing with itself, voicing feelings it finds reprehensible, formulating analyses it finds arcane and over thought, impressed with its own subtlety, appalled at its own ignorance. Read more

What is Hoops Culture Class For? Unleashing Humanity

In my research and teaching on the culture of sports, I’ve oriented the intellectual tools of my discipline toward helping my readers and students understand and reflect critically upon how the language and stories that prevail in the culture of sports have taken shape, how and why we consume and purvey them, and, above all, how we may empower ourselves to become, as Nietzsche put it, the poets of our lives; how, I mean, to take a more active and creative role in shaping the language and stories, including those pertaining to sport, that circulate around and through us.

“Cultures of Basketball,” which was my first effort in this regard, is an advanced undergraduate humanities course with a typical enrollment of around twenty five. Because demand for the course is high, and given the way registration operates at Michigan with athletes and more advanced students having priority in course selection, the course usually has a high percentage of seniors from a variety of disciplines and varsity athletes including members of the men’s varsity basketball team.

The Problem

Here’s what I see when I walk into Cultures of Basketball on the first day:   Read more

An Open Letter to Chris Webber: You Are Loved

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Dear Mr. Webber,

You don’t know me. And I don’t know you, though I know some of your close friends. So let me first introduce myself. In 1993, when your heart was broken in front of a national television audience, I was 27 years old and near the end of my first year as a professor at the University of Michigan. Read more