• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Why are sport stars central to celebrity culture? What are the implications of their fame? Proceeding from a broadly based discussion of heroism, fame and celebrity, Smart addresses a number of prominent modern sports and sport stars, including Michael Jordan (basketball), David Beckham (football), Tiger Woods (golf), Anna Kournikova and the Williams sisters (tennis). He analyses the development of modern sport in the UK and USA, demonstrating the key economic and cultural factors that have contributed to the popularity of sport stars, while examining issues such as race and gender, the impact of professionalization, growing media coverage, the role of agents and the increasing presence of commercial corporations providing sponsorship and endorsement contracts. This book situates the sport star as the embodiment of the various tensions of age, class, race, gender and culture. It argues that sporting figures possess an increasingly rare quality of authenticity that gives them the capacity to lift and inspire people. The book is a major contribution to the sociology and culture of sport and celebrity.

Concluding Remarks: Sport Stars, Authenticity and Charisma
Concluding remarks: Sport stars, authenticity and charisma
On the Consequences of the Transformation of Sport

The development of modern sport from the late nineteenth century has been shaped by increasing professionalism, steadily rising media coverage, and growing commercial sponsorship. The impact of these inter-related processes of transformation has provoked debate and led to concern being expressed about a possible degeneration of sport (Lasch 1991). Critics have lamented the loss of what has been described as a ‘play spirit’ (Huizinga 1949), have identified ‘over-seriousness’ and the prominence of a ‘spectator-orientation’ as detrimental to sport (Hoch 1972; Rader 1984) and have argued that as sporting figures have been accorded increasing media publicity and have become celebrity figures there is a growing risk ...

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