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The SportsThink Weekly Review #13
September 4, 2020
Hello and welcome to the Weekly Review, lucky #13! I hope that the newsletter finds you in good spirits, wherever in the world you may be. US friends, hope you enjoy the holiday weekend. On to the reads!
Inside the Lines: The Best Writing on Sports I Read This Week
You Really Think NBA Billionaires Will Help End Racism? by Henry Abbott, via TrueHoop. The title only hints at the complexity of this story. On Russian oligarchs, the NYPD, and a glimpse at the seats of power in the modern NBA.
Two critical—but fair—takes on health concerns and the greater state of affairs in college football. College Football’s Great Unraveling by Amanda Mull, via the Atlantic, and College Football’s Messy, Bumpy, Worrisome Return by Louisa Thomas, via the New Yorker. Read Mull’s if you only read one.
Ball Don’t Lie by Jay Caspian Kang, via the NY Review of Books. Kang is one of my favorite contemporary critics and hopefully you’ll agree after reading this piece. Nominally a review of Scoop Jackson’s new book The Game Is Not a Game: The Power, Protest, and Politics of American Sports, there’s so much more to this piece. Some of the best recent work on sports and race, of which there has been no shortage.
Can ‘Athletic Intelligence’ Be Measured? by Devin Gordon, via the NYT Magazine. Possibly, maybe. A good, long dive into the topic for your holiday weekend.
The Endgame of the Olympics by Dvora Meyers, via Longreads. A critical, leftist takedown of the entire Olympic movement. The Olympics are pretty maddening: corrupt to the core, exploitative as all hell, but still infinitely pleasurable to consume every four years. I definitely don’t agree with everything here, but still feel this is an important piece. I’d like to think that there is a future where Olympic host cities don’t evict vulnerable populations and the Olympic movement takes better care of its athletes, so that we can continue to occasionally enjoy amazing things like elite table tennis. This is good fun:
The Week on SportsThink
Some quickies this week: memorials for John Thompson, Cliff Robinson, and Tom Seaver; guesstimating the market value of college athletes, and the US stirring the pot in global anti-doping.
Unlimited Information Is Transforming Society by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, via Scientific American. Great piece surveying scientific progress over the last two centuries.
Back to the Land by Alice Driver, via Oxford American. On family, death, and memory.
Diary of a Fire Lookout by Phillip Connors, via the Paris Review. Do you really need 8,400 words on fire spotting in New Mexico? I say yes, you do.
As always, thanks for reading and letting me into your inbox. Please consider sharing if you’re finding the newsletter entertaining, enlightening, or interesting.
See you next week,