- U.S. Society and Politics/Policy Perspectives
Johnny Smith is the Julius C. "Bud" Shaw Professor of Sports History and Associate Professor of History. His research focuses on the history of sports and American culture.
Smith's most recent book, A Season in the Sun: The Rise of Mickey Mantle (written with Randy Roberts), traces Mantle's ascendance as an icon of the 1950s and baseball's place in American culture.
In 2016 he published Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X (written with Randy Roberts). Blood Brothers reveals how Malcolm X awakened Cassius Clay's political consciousness and transformed the new heavyweight champion--Muhammad Ali--into an international symbol of Black Power. Blood Brothers won the North American Society for Sport History (NASSH) Book Award.
His first book, The Sons of Westwood: John Wooden, UCLA, and the Dynasty That Changed College Basketball, explores the emergence of college basketball as a national pastime and the political conflicts in college athletics during the 1960s and 1970s. In 2014, Choice named The Sons of Westwood an "Outstanding Academic Title."
His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Slate, Reviews in American History, and The American Historian, among others.
In 2017, Professor Smith was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians. He is also a two-time recipient of the Journal of Sport History's Best Article Award (2009; 2018).