David Shields’ Black Planet: Facing Race During an NBA Season was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN USA Award, and named one of the best nonfiction books of 1999 by Esquire, Newsday, LA Weekly, and Amazon. It’s now available in audiobook format on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.
Black Planet loosely inspired Shields’ acclaimed new documentary film, Marshawn Lynch: A History, which Hua Hsu, in the New Yorker, said, “Lynch’s touchdown runs and interviews are intercut with horrific clips of American violence: a white police officer shooting Walter Scott, an unarmed black motorist, as Scott runs away from him; lynching parties, where whites would picnic next to black bodies hanging from trees. The juxtapositions can feel heavy-handed, relieving you of doing any imaginative work to connect one clip to another. Yet the film’s relentless rhythm overwhelms and overpowers you, as random acts of terror, across time and space, reveal themselves as a pattern. It’s a gradient of American carnage.”
Bryan Curtis, at The Ringer, recently wrote “In a way, Shields was predicting the blog boys and girls who would come next. Your friendly neighborhood NBA writer may have never taken you into the bedroom. But they allowed you to watch basketball from a deeper spot inside their heads than was previously imaginable. Their own peculiar psyche became a stand-in for a whole bunch of NBA fans’.”