University of Missouri

“I have always been intrigued by American culture and society generally, and we are a country of displaced natives, slaves, and immigrants. What could be more American than studying race and ethnicity?"—Scott Brooks

Scott Brooks

Scott Brooks

Black Men Can't Shoot

Associate Professor

328 Middlebush Hall
(573) 882-2600
Ph.D., Pennsylvania

Research Interests

Associate Professor of Sociology Scott Brooks was trained in urban sociology, race and class inequality, and qualitative research methods, while earning his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He also completed degrees at California State University – Hayward (M.A.) and the University of California – Berkeley (B.A.). Though some find race and ethnicity to be delicate topics, Brooks finds them “as American as apple pie.” He says, “I have always been intrigued by American culture and society generally, and we are a country of displaced natives, slaves, and immigrants. What could be more American than studying race and ethnicity?"

There is an old adage that says that for a happy and healthy career, you should get involved in a subject that you will love. Brooks took that advice to heart, combining his love of sports, particularly basketball, with his interest in sociology. Brooks sees sports as a way to investigate issues and myths of race, particularly popular myths involving race and athletic ability. His book, Black Men Can’t Shoot (University of Chicago Press, 2009), examines the careers of basketball players, beginning as youths, and traces how they evolve from good players to great players, and in some cases to college prospects. What he learned goes beyond the basketball floor and into people’s daily lives, emphasizing planning and hard work. The findings offer a theoretical perspective on how to understand career trajectories and mobility.

Brooks’ work offers insights into social dynamics across various settings and he has been interviewed and referenced by prominent news sources, including NPR and the Wall Street Journal, and published numerous scholarly articles and a book. Dr. Brooks is also engaged in mentoring college and high school students and has been recognized for his teaching and mentoring.

Check out a recent book interview:

Brooks referenced in the Wall Street Journal:


Recent Publications

Brooks, Scott N. 2009. Black Men Can’t Shoot. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. * Honorable Mention—Association of American Publishers: PROSE Book Award

Brooks, Scott N. 2012. “Scrub: Using Multi-Site Analysis Towards a More Intentional Relationship Ethnography,” The ANNALS July. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Brooks, Scott N. 2011. “City of Basketball Love: Philadelphia and the Nurturing of Black Males’ Hoop Dreams,” The Journal of African American History, Special Issue on Sports, 96(4): 522-536.

Brooks, Scott N. 2011. “Just a Dream?: Structure, Power, and Agency in Basketball.“ In Jonathan Long and Karl Spracklen (eds) Sport and Challenges to Racism. Pps. 135-149. England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Brooks, Scott N. 2010. “Scott Brooks.” In Sara Fensternmaker and Nikki Jones (eds) Sociologists Backstage. Pps. 147-164. New York: Routledge.

Tryce, Stephanie A. and Brooks, Scott N. 2010. “Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Title IX,” Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education 4(3): 243-256.

Brooks, Scott. 2009. “Making Basketball Work: Ensuring Success in Youth Development Programs,” Policy Matters 3(1): 1-11.

Brooks, Scott N. 2008. “Fighting Like a Basketball Player: Basketball as a Strategy Against Social Disorganization.” In Elijah Anderson (ed) Against the Wall: Poor, Young, Black, and Male. Pps. 147-164. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Brooks, Scott N. and McKail, Michael A. 2008. “A Theory of The Preferred Worker: A Structural Explanation for Black Male Dominance in Basketball,” Critical Sociology 34(3): 369-387.

Brooks, Scott N. and Linda J. Kim. 2007. “The Dilemmas and Contradictions of Gettin’ Paid.” In Dana Brooks and Ronald Althouse (eds.) Racism in College Athletics: The African American Athletes’ Experience 2nd edition. Pps. 295-309, Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology Inc.

Brooks, Scott N. 2004. “’Putting the Blessings on Him’: Vouching and Basketball Status Work.” In Elijah Anderson, Scott N. Brooks, Nikki Jones, and Raymond Gunn (eds.) Being Here and Being There: Ethnographic Encounters and Fieldwork Discoveries. The ANNALS 595: 80-89. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.