1. Michael Jordan and the Bildungsroman Index (BRI)

    Michael Jordan and the Bildungsroman Index (BRI)


    At last! A statistical measure of just how much of a bildungsroman a novel (or any story) is! And this indispensable and infallibly useful metric falls into my lap just when I most needed it: in the midst of pondering Michael Jordan and the stories we tell about him.

    As some of you know, I’m progressing toward the completion of my book Ball Don’t Lie! Myth, Genealogy and Invention in the…

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  2. Crowdsource Query: Writing the Athletic Body

    Crowdsource Query: Writing the Athletic Body

    This coming semester, it turns, out I’m going to be offering another new, sports related course. Under the auspices of Michigan’s Department of Comparative Literature, I’ll be teaching a course generically called “Literature and the Body.”  I’d like to use that rubric to explore the ways that writing meets the athletic body.

    I’m at a very early stage of thinking about what I might do in this…

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  3. My Interview on Race and Sports

    A couple of days ago I was interviewed for a short article examining the role of race in the media portrayal and public perception of the most recent incidents of domestic violence by NFL players.  That led Marc Daniels, who hosts a radio show in Orlando, “The Beat of Sports,”to contact me for an interview addressing these issues on his show this morning.  I’m posting it here for those couldn’t…

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  4. My Global Sports Cultures Syllabus is Up!

    My Global Sports Cultures Syllabus is Up!

    This fall, I’ll be inaugurating a new course at Michigan: Comparative Literature 100: Global Sports Cultures.  The aims of the course include introducing students to a necessarily narrow slice of global sports culture, familiarizing them with concepts useful in thinking critically about sports, and developing what you might call their “literary skills” as critical readers and clear, coherent,…

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  5. Bill Simmons is Wrong! (But also…) On Russell and Chamberlain’s Supporting Casts

    Bill Simmons is Wrong! (But also…) On Russell and Chamberlain’s Supporting Casts

    I just can’t let this go. My distaste for Bill Simmons’ smug pseudo-argumentation has led me on a four-day journey down a rabbit hole of advanced statistics and I feel compelled to share my report of the trip.

    bill-russell-chamberlainAt issue? The debate over whether Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain had the better supporting casts. For those who don’t follow basketball (those who do can skip this paragraph), Russell and…

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  6. BadProf’s Guide to the Argentina - Netherlands Game

    BadProf’s Guide to the Argentina – Netherlands Game

    I don’t often write about sports other than basketball, but when I do, I prefer to give full rein to the deep irrationalities of my idiot sport heart.  To wit: my handy, interactive rooting guide to the 2014 World Cup Semi-Final match between Argentina and the Netherlands.




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    Messi Máxima Robben Máxima Maradona Dictatorship(s) Spinoza Spinoza’s…

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  7. Sterling and the Foundations of the Modern Basketball State

    Sterling and the Foundations of the Modern Basketball State

    TrentonSomewhat under-examined in the Donald Sterling Shit Show of the past week has been Sterling’s rhetorical question asserting his creative importance as owner: “Do I make the game? Or do they make the game?”  Though Sterling has appropriately been chastised, lampooned, and punished for these and other remarks as well as for past behavior, I believe he has also to some degree been scapegoated by…

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  8. Radio Bad Prof on Race in the NBA and America

    Radio Bad Prof on Race in the NBA and America

    Radio_ZRK_Eroica_cropped_backgroundFollowing upon my brief but mighty appearance in POLITICO this week (which itself followed the viral thrill of my rant about Mitch McGary just last Friday), I continued my meteoric ascent to the dizzying heights of media stardom in an interview with Jonathan Zarov, host of the Friday morning Eight O’Clock Buzz on my hometown Madison, Wisconsin’s community-owned WORT FM.

    Here’s the interview:


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  9. Reason # 50 to Support @theallrounderco - Understanding the Donald Sterling Story

    Reason # 50 to Support @theallrounderco – Understanding the Donald Sterling Story

    Screenshot 2014-04-29 12.35.04

    The Donald Sterling story that has filled sports pages and overflowed into mainstream news coverage and water cooler conversations over the last week provides reason #50 why we need the Allrounder and why you should support us today.

    From the tactical to the cultural to the historical, from the political to the legal to the economic, Sterling’s case exemplifies perfectly the sort of complex…

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  10. What ‘Sheed Says When He Says “Ball Don’t Lie!”

    What ‘Sheed Says When He Says “Ball Don’t Lie!”

    "Pistons Sheed" (Nathan McKee, 2014, Giclee Print, 13 x 19)

    “Pistons Sheed”
    (Nathan McKee, 2014, Giclee Print, 13 x 19)

    In my post yesterday, I analyzed the structure of a foul call in an NBA game to show that a foul doesn’t cause the whistle to blow (as the rules prescribe); the whistle blowing causes a foul to come into being.  But neither the rules of the game nor basketball common sense acknowledge the real nature of the foul call or the quasi-divine…

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