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Word of Mouth

12.4.14: Bill Littlefield Talks Sports Writing & The Intense London Cabbie Test "The Knowledge"


We can all remember our favorite sports movies – but what about our favorite sports-based books? On today’s show, Bill Littlefield of NPR’s Only A Game talks about his favorite sportswriters, and reads from his new collection of athletics inspired poetry. 

Then, we tackle another competition of sorts: passing the knowledge, the notoriously difficult test that every London cabbie has to take before he or she can get behind the wheel of a black taxi.

Plus a look at how and why the basketball shot clock came to be from Roman Mars’ podcast, 99% Invisible.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Bill Littlefield

  • You probably know Bill Littlefield as the host of NPR’s Only A Game, heard every Saturday morning right here on NHPR, but he has also tackled sports from nearly every angle, including essays, fiction and now poetry.
  • We've got a short list of Bill's favorite sports books at this link.
  • Bill will be speaking and signing copies of his new book of sports poetry, Take Me Out, this Saturday at the Toadstool Bookshops in Milford and Peterborough.

Bill Littlefield

Late Start

  • While most sports journalism focuses on professional athletes, sometimes it’s the stories about amateurs that inspire the not-so-athletically-gifted among us. Reporter Allison Quantz brings us one such story: about a man who didn’t start running until age 43.
  • You can listen to this story at PRX.org.

The Art of the Sports Hoax

The Art of the Sports Hoax

99% Invisible - Game Changer

  • Roman Mars of 99% Invisible and producer Eric Mennell bring us this story about two seemingly minor tweaks that forever impacted the world of basketball.
  • You'll find photos and the full audio from this story at 99percentinvisible.org.

The Knowledge

The Knowledge

Day Job

  • While London cabbies spend years studying for a chance to get behind the wheel of a black taxi, Steve Smith has spent years behind the wheel of a Seattle bus working on a very different kind of trade. Joshua McNichols, producer and creator of the series Day Job: How Seattle Musicians Pay the Rent, brings us this story.
  • You can listen to this story at PRX.org.

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