There is an old adage that says that for a happy and healthy career, you should get involved in a subject that you will love. Associate Professor of Sociology Scott Brooks took that advice to heart, combining his love of sports, particularly basketball, with his interest in sociology. His specialties include urban sociology, race, class, and gender, social interaction, qualitative research, and sociology of sport.
Brooks sees sports as a way to investigate issues and myths of race, particularly popular myths involving race and athletic ability, as well as a way to be active in lives of others.
Dr. Scott Brooks is a native of Oakland, CA and earned his bachelor’s degree at Cal Berkeley. He received his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania while coaching basketball in South Philadelphia. Grounded in his research as a coach and observing participant, he has published in academic journals, edited volumes, and textbooks, as well as been quoted and reviewed by the Wall Street Journal and SLAM magazine and been invited to speak on the topic of sport internationally. Additionally, Dr. Brooks has consulted the NFL and MLB and is a senior fellow at the Wharton Sports Business Initiative and Yale Urban Ethnography Project.
His first book, Black Men Can’t Shoot (University of Chicago, 2009), tells the importance of exposure, networks, and opportunities towards earning an athletic scholarship. Dr. Brooks closely followed two young Black men in South Philadelphia through their high schools and documents their rise – getting known – and social navigation of Philadelphia’s basketball world, complicating the myth of natural athleticism and the recruiting game. He is currently working on three other manuscripts: one regarding coaching, a second on how/why certain people are selected, and a third project that investigates basketball recruiting.