Today is the official publication date of LA Sports: Play, Games, and Community in the City of Angels, a collection of essays that takes deep dive into the sports history and culture of Los Angeles.
The book features a wide and eclectic mix of topics, from the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s to Muscle Beach to the 1932 Olympics to the intersection of sports and Hollywood, all examined by terrific writers who are authorities on their subjects. The editors who put the project together are Wayne Wilson, vice president of the LA84 Foundation, and David Wiggins, an expert on sports history who has several other volumes to his credit. The book is being published by the University Press of Arkansas, as part of its Sports, Culture & Society series.
I’m the author of a biography on Jim Murray, the legendary sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times, so Wayne and Dave asked me to contribute a chapter on Murray and his role in the development of sports in LA. I was honored to be asked to contribute this collection. This chapter, titled “I Was Standing There All the While: Jim Murray and the Birth of a Sports Mecca,” includes several new interviews and a focus on Murray’s symbiotic relationship with the city he loved.
The book concludes with chapters on Murray and the great Vin Scully, the voice of the LA Dodgers for half a century until he retired last year. Murray and Scully were close friends and two figures who watched the city grow into what it is today from the press box.
There will be a launch party for LA Sports on March 14 at the LA84 Foundation headquarters in Los Angeles. More details are forthcoming and I encourage anybody who is interested to attend and meet some of the editors and writers.