A new book follows an American basketball veteran as he coaches a struggling Chinese pro basketball team. Pulitzer Prize winner Jim Yardley has a courtside seat from which to observe China's frantic capitalist expansion and its ambivalent fascination with all things American.
James Toback has created a new documentary about Mike Tyson, the ex-boxing world champ. Movie critic David Edelstein says that Toback's mix of old and new footage "flows seamlessly" and that the stream-of-consciousness movie is "revelatory."
Fans of NBC's Friday Night Lights might want to look into DirecTV; the show, about a small Texas town and its high-school football team, begins its third season exclusively on DirecTV's "The 101," and won't hit broadcast TV until 2009. David Bianculli has a review.
Fresh Air film critic David Edelstein reviews Redbelt, the new martial-arts film written and directed by David Mamet. The film tells the story of a principled martial-arts master who steps into the professional fighting ring to save his business.
Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews A Necessary Spectacle: Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs, and the Tennis Match that Leveled the Game. It's about the 1973 battle of the sexes match that inspired great bravado and even greater publicity.
Film critic David Edelstein reviews Million Dollar Baby, a boxing tale directed by Clint Eastwood, who also stars in the movie, alongside Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. The film has won critical acclaim and is now up for seven Oscars, including best picture.
Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Rammer Jammer Yellowhammer: A Journey into the Heart of Fan Mania, by Warren St. John, a reporter for The New York Times. The book is about sports mania and the fan mania surrounding the University of Alabama's football team, The Crimson Tide.