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

Dec 4, 2014

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.

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

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

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.