“The best stories and the best research are autobiographic,” – Dr. Scott Brooks Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Missouri.
[D]r. Brooks was educated in urban sociology, race and class inequality, and qualitative research techniques. He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.
He also holds degrees from California State University – Hayward and the University of California – Berkeley and has always been fascinated by American culture.
|Dr. Scott Brooks of the University of Pennsylvania is teaching kids how to make more than the average NBA player.|
“I have always been intrigued by American culture and society generally, and we are a country of displaced natives, slaves, and immigrants,” stated Dr. Scott Brooks. “What could be more American than studying race and ethnicity?”
Dr. Brooks found a way to mix his love for sports with his love for America and doing research, after his experiences as a basketball player. As a young athlete, he became dissatisfied with his coach and team experience and finally quit.
“I grew up with this passion for basketball, but I struggled with my coach and I eventually quit,” Dr. Scott said. Years later, he reconnected with his old coach since they had something in common, coaching.
Dr. Brooks first investigated an athlete’s “becoming story.” The paper detailed the history of an athlete and why the choice was made to attempt a career as a professional, as compared to being a doctor or lawyer.
“Like anybody else, you’re on this path to becoming something and it starts with awareness,” explained Dr. Brooks. “Awareness is everything from society, what’s on television, media, what you wear, all these different ideas about athletes.”
Dr. Brooks later research uncovered how sports culture affects the expectations of young black kids. For many teenagers, entertainment or basketball is seen as a type of savior to get out of the “hood.” In a way, it overpowers the education aspect, according to Dr. Brooks.
“We continue as a country to play this game that sports are extracurricular, but they have become curricular,” Dr. Brooks reasoned. “This is a part of kids’ social and personal identity.”
In order to turn unmet cultural and personal hopes into something positive, Dr. Brooks is working on a very needed project. Dr. Brooks shows students interested in basketball, how they can make as much, or more money than the average NBA player. He wants to teach them about managing, and running businesses, and give pupils the skills needed to excel outside of sports.
“How can we give kids more options? I never want to steer them away from basketball, but I want to try to find another way to use the sport,” Dr. Brooks said.
Dr. Brooks’ findings can be found in the book “Black Men Can’t Shoot,” which follows two players, Jermaine, and Ray.
The book chronicles the pair’s journey as they learn the game, develop their skills, and work to “get known” in the world of Philadelphia basketball.