Cover image for The gospel according to ESPN : saints, saviors & sinners
The gospel according to ESPN : saints, saviors & sinners
Lovinger, Jay.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion, [2002]

Physical Description:
244 pages : illustrations (some color), portraits (some color) ; 26 cm
Introduction / Hunter S. Thompson -- Prophets : Avery Brundage, Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King / Robert Lipsyte -- Fallen angels : Ty Cobb, Pete Rose, Bobby Knight, Billy Martin, Hurricane Carter, O.J. Simpson, Hollywood Henderson / Peter Carlson -- Saints : Nile Kinnick, Mark Fidrych, Ruffian / Le Anne Schreiber -- Saviors : Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Pete Rozelle, Tiger Woods / Ralph Wiley -- Gods : Jack Dempsey, Vince Lombardi, Bill Russell, Jackie Stewart, Jim Brown, Ted Williams, Secretariat, Steve Dalkowski, Battling Siki, Walter Johnson / George Plimpton.
Corporate Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV583 .G675 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
GV583 .G675 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



With an introduction by Hunter S. Thompson.

Following the success of the New York Times bestseller ESPN SportsCentury comes a new collection of essays, illustrations, and photographs that explores a completely original concept: sports as the American secular religion.

Weve all seen the images: a stadium of fans performing the "we are not worthy" genuflection, a St. Vincent Lombardi medal, Michael Jordan being followed by a worshipful crowd of media members. And what room doesnt grow silent to absorb the words of the prophet-like Muhammad Ali, or to revel in footage of the miracle victory of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team Indeed, the parallels are unmistakable: Sports is Americas secular religion, and its famous figures occupy a hallowed place in our culture.

No one has ever captured this topic as cogently as the writers included in Saints, Saviors and Sinners. Each section of the book is accompanied by numerous photographs, which viscerally support the theme of each grouping. Le Anne Schreiber writes about "Saints," Ralph Wiley discusses "Saviors," Peter Carlson examines "Sinners," Robert Lipsyte explores the "Prophets," and George Plimpton delves into "God." Superbly designed by the prize-winning team behind ESPN SportsCentury, Saints, Saviors and Sinners is far more than a compendium of photos, illustrations, and essays -- it is a cohesive, insightful, and instructive examination of Americas top sports figures and their position in our society.

Author Notes

Jay Lovinger is a former managing editor of Life magazine and the founding editor of The Washington Post Magazine.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This illustrated collection of essays offers profiles of leading sports figures from players to coaches, representing the eponymous saints, saviors and sinners. With an introduction by Thompson, the book features essays by Robert Lipsyte, George Plimpton, Ralph Wiley, Le Anne Schreiber and Peter Carlson along with many photographs. While some of those profiled-Billie Jean King, Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods and Babe Ruth-have already been extensively written about, here is a fresh perspective. Each piece profiles the person not only in terms of his or her individual achievements but in light of their respective sport, as well as world events at the time. The photographs are also not simply standard glamour shots; they're more unusual, including several police mug shots. The entertaining trivia sidebars will appeal to sports fans: for instance, the section on Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, the one-time Detroit Tiger pitcher, is accompanied by a list of others who were also "one season" wonders, such as boxer Buster Douglas, who defeated Mike Tyson. (Nov.) Forecast: With a planned $500,000 marketing campaign, this book-ideal for more serious sports fans-should be very visible during the holiday season. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This book is not about ESPN, though it was put together under its auspices. Nor is it a staid, scholarly interpretation of sports as a secular religion but a lively pop take (gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson contributed the introduction) on that subject. Heavyweights such as George Plimpton and the New York Times's Robert Lipsyte offer essays showing us athletes who have personified various aspects of the sport-as-religion school. Some of the book's choices are no-brainers: Larry Bird/Magic Johnson (presented, fittingly, as a duo) and Jackie Robinson as saviors; Vince Lombardi as a god; Pete Rose, O.J. Simpson, and virtually all of the notable sinners. But we are also introduced to some figures about whom we know very little or who surprise us by their presence here: Heisman winner Nile Kinnick of the University of Iowa, pitcher Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, and the horse Ruffian as saints (as in religion, martyrdom oils the way to sainthood) and Avery Brundage as a prophet. The sports-as-religion angle isn't new, but this is an entertaining, informative, often funny collection of essays, spiced with many interesting sidebars, that is a pleasure to read. For the public library with a few extra bucks in the budget, a word of advice: try it, your readers will like it.-Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Hunter S. ThompsonRobert LipsytePeter CarlsonLe Anne SchreiberRalph WileyGeorge Plimpton
Introductionp. 1
Prophetsp. 9
Avery Brundage
Muhammad Ali
Billie Jean King
Fallen Angelsp. 59
Ty Cobb
Pete Rose
Bobby Knight
Billy Martin
Hurricane Carter
O.J. Simpson
Hollywood Henderson
Saintsp. 113
Nile Kinnick
Mark Fidrych
Saviorsp. 159
Babe Ruth
Jackie Robinson
Larry Bird
Magic Johnson
Pete Rozelle
Tiger Woods
Godsp. 209
Jack Dempsey
Vince Lombardi
Bill Russell
Jackie Stewart
Jim Brown
Ted Williams
Steve Dalkowski
Battling Siki
Walter Johnson