Pro basketball player Rasheed Wallace often exclaimed the pragmatic truth Ball don't lie! during a game. It is 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 Colas traces the various forms of power at work in the intersections between basketball and language 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 invations. Colas emphasizes the creative prerogative of players and the ways in which their invations shape-and are shaped by-broader cultural and social phemena. Ball Don't Lie! shows that basketball cant 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 Colas teaches in the Department of Comparative Literature and in the Residential College at the University of Michigan and is the author of Postmodernity in Latin America: The Argentine Paradigm.