Saturday: Yago Colás, "Ball Don't Lie!"

Sept. 24

Recently, basketball legend Allen Iverson got into the Basketball Hall of Fame. That in and of itself is not surprise—Iverson was great—but it also seemed to mean something more about shifting attitudes in the sport and represent a win for the post-Jordan era of basketball. "Iverson brought hip-hop culture to the forefront with his cornrows, tattoos, and pregame outfits," Reginald Thomas II wrote in City Paper a few weeks ago. "He ushered in a new era of unapologetic self-expression." I bring this up because it's a good starting place to understand Yago Colás' "Ball Don’t Lie: Myth, Genealogy, and Invention in the Cultures of Basketball," a brilliant book about basketball that tears up staid readings of the sport. In particular, Colás sees Iverson as one of the game's "insurgent" players and it's just one of many ways he offers up a reading of basketball that pokes and prods the core of the game and affronts white readings of the black sport: Why are there referees at all? Is the point of the game to win? How do we define teamwork? It's a worldview-changing book. 1 p.m., Baltimore Book Festival, Radical Bookfair Pavilion, Inner Harbor, baltimorebookfestival.com, free. (Brandon Soderberg)

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