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Ball Don't LieBall Don't Lie

Myth, Genealogy, and Invention in the Cultures of Basketball

Yago Colás

Narrated by James Robert Killavey

Approximately 9 hours

Unabridged


Downloadable edition:

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Book published by Temple University Press


Pro basketball player Rasheed Wallace often exclaimed the pragmatic truth "Ball don't lie!" during a game, as a protest against a referee's bad calls. But the slogan, which originated in pickup games, brings the reality of a racialized urban playground into mainstream American popular culture. In Ball Don't Lie!, Yago Colás traces the various forms of power at work in the intersections between basketball, culture, and society from the game's invention to the present day. He critiques existing popular myths concerning the history of basketball, contextualizes them, and presents an alternative history of the sport inspired by innovations. Colás emphasizes the creative prerogative of players and the ways in which their innovations shape—and are shaped by—broader cultural and social phenomena.

Ball Don't Lie! shows that basketball cannot be reduced to a single, fixed or timeless essence but instead is a continually evolving exhibition of physical culture that flexibly adapts to and sparks changes in American society.

Yago Colás teaches in the Department of Comparative Literature and in the Residential College at the University of Michigan.

REVIEWS:

Ball Don't Lie! is an original, unique, well-conceived, and well-executed work on the history and culture of basketball. 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.”

—Aram Goudsouzian, Chair of the Department of History at the University of Memphis and author of King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution

“Yago Colás' book Ball Don't Lie! appreciates basketball's visceral appeal but it also takes the sport seriously and wades through the many assumptions and 'myths' of the sport with some assists from thinkers such as William James, Deleuze, and Nietzsche. Here, praise of teamwork over an individual's virtuosity is questioned (along with the very idea that the point of the game is to win) and controversial figures such as Allen Iverson are recast as 'insurgent[s],' and the recent Hall of Famer's infamous crossover move is described as 'beautifully ephemeral and deceptively magical.' It's a readable and endlessly quotable academic book—a rarity, really.”

Baltimore City Paper

“Colás's book provides a rich model for making connections between conversations about basketball, racial ideologies, and the broader socioeconomic environment. Through an accessible and entertaining work, he powerfully captures how sport communicates ideas about race that have broad implications and, in turn, how sport provides a productive lens for scholars to explore them.”

Sport in American History

“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.”

—Todd Boyd, the Katherine and Frank Price Endowed Chair for the Study of Race and Popular Culture at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and author of Young, Black, Rich a

“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.”

—Todd Boyd, the Katherine and Frank Price Endowed Chair for the Study of Race and Popular Culture at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and author of Young, Black, Rich a





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