LA Sports

$26.95 $20.21

Play, Games, and Community in the City of Angels
Edited by Wayne Wilson and David K. Wiggins
368 pages, 6 × 9, 15 images
978-1-68226-052-4 (paper)
February 2018


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LA Sports brings together sixteen essays covering various aspects of the development and changing nature of sport in one of America’s most fascinating and famous cities. The writers cover a range of topics, including the history of car racing and ice skating, the development of sport venues, the power of the Mexican fan base in American soccer leagues, the intersecting life stories of Jackie and Mack Robinson, the importance of the Showtime Lakers, the origins of Muscle Beach and surfing, sport in Hollywood films, and more.

Wayne Wilson is vice president for education services at the LA84 Foundation, where he is responsible for digital library development, research projects, conference planning, and the foundation’s coaching and education program. He is the coeditor of the Oxford Handbook of Sport History.

David K. Wiggins is professor of sport history in the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism at George Mason University. He is the former editor of Quest and the Journal of Sport History and was recently elected president of the North American Society for Sport History. He is the editor or coeditor of DC Sports, Out of the Shadows, Philly Sports, Rivals, and Separate Games.

LA Sports tells the story of a major phenomenon in one of modernity’s most spellbinding cities. Compiled by leading experts, with a refreshing blend of academic and personal approaches, this volume offers a range of insights. From soccer to figure skating, sports cars to surfing, not to mention the twin Olympics with which the city is identified worldwide, it is the perfect introduction/companion to the multifaceted reach of sport in Southern California.”
—Christopher Young, University of Cambridge

“This is an important and groundbreaking collection of essays on sport in Los Angeles. Scholars from a range of disciplines engage with diverse sports across the metropolis. Themes of race, ethnicity, gender, and class underpin this timely contribution to our understanding of sport in the City of Angels.”
—Chris Bolsmann, California State University, Northridge

“An impressive effort . . . highly original, deeply researched, and thoroughly engaged with the fields of urban and sporting history.”
—Robert Edelman, University of California, San Diego

Series Editor’s Preface

“I Love LA”: The Sporting Culture of Los Angeles
Mark Dyreson

1. The Life Cycles of Sports Venues in Los Angeles: Sports and Local Economic Development
Greg Andranovich and Matthew J. Burbank

2. On Los Chorizeros, the Classic, and El Tri: Sports and Community in Mexican Los Angeles
Luis Alvarez

3. Pitches Less Than Perfect: Notes on the Landscape of Soccer in Los Angeles
Jennifer Doyle

4. Figure Skating in Southern California: From Frontier to Epicenter
Susan Brownell

5. Sports Car Paradise: Racing in Los Angeles
Jeremy R. Kinney

6. Professional Football in the City of Angels: The Game Moves West
Raymond Schmidt

7. The 1932 Olympics: Spectacle and Growth in Interwar Los Angeles
Sean Dinces

8. “Never Go Back”: Pasadena Racial Politics and the Robinson Brothers
Gregory Kaliss

9. Reel Sports: Hollywood Stars at Play in LA
Daniel A. Nathan

10. Behind the Curtain: Leadership, Ingenuity, and Culture in the Making of Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Showtime, and the Laker Dynasty
Scott N. Brooks

11. The Golden Games: The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics
Matthew P. Llewellyn, Toby C. Rider, and John Gleaves

12. Shaping the Boom: Los Angeles Surfing from George Freeth to Gidget
Tolga Ozyurtcu

13. The Halcyon Days of Muscle Beach: An Origin Story
Jan Todd

14. I Was Standing There All the While: Jim Murray and the Birth of a Sports Mecca
Ted Geltner

15. Vin Scully: The Voice of Los Angeles
Elliott J. Gorn and Allison Lauterbach Dale


“The overall theme in LA Sports, is the city, which ties the sports, athletes, and fans together. The book is an informative and interesting examination of sports in Los Angeles.”
—Amy Essington, The Journal of American History, September 2019

LA Sports is a microcosm of the future of America woven into its various essays. It focuses heavily on multiculturalism, and how fair it can be on the playing field and yet so far removed in the community-at-large. It does an admirable job in deciphering the reality, while exposing the myths.”
—Rich Macales, Sport in American History, June 2018

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