Whitey meets blacktop in this extended reflection on America's favorite racial divide: basketball. Shields (Remote, 1996,...

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BLACK PLANET

FACING RACE DURING AN NBA SEASON

Whitey meets blacktop in this extended reflection on America's favorite racial divide: basketball. Shields (Remote, 1996, etc.) is courtside cultural critic for a season with his hometown Seattle Supersonics, a team of predominantly black, strongly opinionated players. He quickly loses his press privileges when management, or The Management, withdraws his credentials and access—keeping him at a distance they think is safe, but is actually the most dangerous for the kind of undermining he's made his project—and follows the team by going to games as a fan, listening to interviews and sports talk shows, and obsessing over point-guard Gary Payton. Shields is at his best when enumerating the biting ironies of basketball's web of racial and sexual relationships, making the reader wonder why anyone would tolerate the sport. Unfortunately, though, he's less interested in the intricate balance of white and black than the clumsy clash of wit and bleak, which makes for a real page turner, in the bad sense. Entertaining for rabid basketball enthusiasts; disappointing for those hungry for more.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 1999

ISBN: ---

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999