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Only a Game


An award-winning weekly sports magazine hosted by veteran NPR commentator Bill Littlefield.

An award-winning weekly sports magazine hosted by veteran NPR commentator Bill Littlefield.
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Boston, MA





An award-winning weekly sports magazine hosted by veteran NPR commentator Bill Littlefield.




Boston, MA 02215 617-353-1860


Exonerated Golf Course Artist, UNC Stadium, Accidental Veteran

Valentino Dixon spent 27 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. While incarcerated, he started drawing golf courses. This week on Only A Game, how Dixon's artwork led to his recent exoneration. Also the connection between UNC's football stadium and the 1898 Wilmington Massacre. And Bill Brannon's accidental journey from the baseball field to the battlefield. Join us!


College Athlete Gets Out The Vote, Soccer Remembrance, Adam Greenberg

With less than a week to go before the midterms, Madison Roberts is getting out the vote ... among fellow athletes at UC Berkeley. Also this week on Only A Game, the heartbreaking story of a lost soccer lover. And MLB-outfielder-turned-politician Adam Greenberg reflects on the pitch that changed his life. Join us!


50 Years After John Carlos And Tommie Smith, Stories Of Protest

On Oct. 16, 1968, Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on the medal podium at the Olympic Games and protested for human rights by raising black-gloved fists. Fifty years later, Only A Game shares stories of protest, from fellow '68 Olympic champion Wyomia Tyus to Polish pole vaulter Władysław Kozakiewicz. Plus, a more complicated protest myth out of 1930s Austria. Join us!


Women's Basketball Sneakers, Powerlifter, Land Speed Record

In 1996, Nike released the Air Swoopes, the first women's signature basketball shoe. Today, there are no WNBA players with their own shoe lines. This week on Only A Game, the history of women's basketball sneakers. Also, how powerlifting changed Colleen Tighe's life. And tales from Craig Breedlove's quest for the land speed record. Join us!


Nike's HIV-Positive Runner Ad, Baltimore Colts Mania, Charm School

Nike drew headlines last month for making Colin Kaepernick the face of its "Just Do It" campaign. But before Kaepernick, Nike had Ric Muñoz. This week on Only A Game, the story behind Nike's 1995 HIV-positive runner ad. Plus, the father-son story behind a Baltimore Colts fan website. And the Women's Basketball League team that sent its players to charm school. Join us!


Briana Scurry, Sports Talk Radio, Ashe And Connors

The lasting image from the 1999 Women's World Cup belongs to Brandi Chastain. This week on Only A Game, Team USA goalkeeper Briana Scurry speculates on what would have happened if it was her image — making the save — that got the attention. Plus, why sports talk radio doesn't want female listeners. And the story of Arthur Ashe's momentous upset over Jimmy Connors at the 1975 Wimbledon final. Join us!


#OutrunCancer, Jim Sterkel Court And Other Sports Assists

In sports, it's usually the one who scores who gets the most glory. Assists are often less flashy, but they're just as important. This week on Only A Game, we're sharing stories of sports assists that transcend sports — from a duo who #outruncancer to the organ donation that connects an MLB Hall of Famer to the family of a former NFL player. Join us!


Baseball Rule Proposal, Poet/Basketball Fan, Chicago Sting's Cuba Visit

The average Major League Baseball game this season has taken three hours and four minutes. This week on Only A Game, NYU game theorists propose a radical rule change to shorten games. Plus, the story of a poet who is obsessed with NBA guard D'Angelo Russell. And the Chicago Sting's trailblazing 1978 trip to Cuba. Join us!


Battle Of The Sexes, Native Hockey Trailblazer, Atlanta Braves' Organist

This week on Only A Game, how Billie Jean King's 1973 win over Bobby Riggs sparked a scary confrontation on the Alaskan tundra. Plus, the story of Fred Sasakamoose's journey from an Indian residential school to the NHL. And the Atlanta Braves' organist who loves playing walk-up songs ... for the visiting team. Join us!


Rowing The Atlantic, Kamau Murray, Med Student/Linebacker

This week on Only A Game, the story of a biology teacher who set out to row from Newfoundland to England. Also, Kamau Murray is famous for coaching 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens. But that's not his only job — Murray also runs a tennis center on the south side of Chicago. Plus, the story of an NFL linebacker who moonlighted as a med student. Join us!


Ora Washington, Baseball Card Collector, 'Star-Spangled Banner'

Next week the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will induct one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. Her name is Ora Washington, and her story was almost lost to history. Plus, a baseball card collector helps honor a former Major Leaguer. And the "Star-Spangled Banner" is played before sporting events at every level. But that might never have come to be if not for the 1918 World Series. Join us!


College Football's Future, Judo At A Japanese Internment Camp, Urban Meyer

Despite growing evidence about the dangers of football, the number of colleges offering the sport isn't shrinking. In fact, it's growing. This week on Only A Game, we look at the morality of college football and the future of the sport. Plus, the story of an LAPD sergeant who brought LA kids to a Japanese internment camp during World War II for judo tournaments. Join us!


The Story Of Women's Baseball, Uptown YWCA, Fight Doctor

If you live in the U.S., you might think that boys play baseball and girls play softball. But that wasn't always the case. This week on Only A Game, a look at the height of women's baseball — and the story of its decline. Plus, a Minnesota author writes a love letter to her gym. And the story of Linda Dahl, the daughter of Syrian immigrants who grew up to become a fight doctor. Join us!


Savannah Bananas, Sportswriting Dreams, Ken 'Hawk' Harrelson

Baseball wasn't big in Savannah, Georgia. Until the Bananas came to town. This week on Only A Game, the Savannah Bananas owners share the tumultuous origin story of baseball's wackiest team. Plus, Wanda Fischer wanted to be a sportswriter. Until a Big Leaguer suggested otherwise. And Ken "The Hawk" Harrelson looks back on seven decades of baseball. Join us!


Tiger Woods, Allegations At UW, NBA Vs. St. Lawrence

Tiger Woods is back among golf's elite. This week on Only A Game, Mike Pesca wonders about the broader implications of a possible Woods' comeback. Also, when it comes to coaching, where's the line between motivation and harassment? Runners at the University of Washington have been grappling that question. Plus, the story of a college basketball team that took on the NBA's Syracuse Nationals. Join us!


Only A Game Celebrates 25 Years With Bill Littlefield

After 25 years, Bill Littlefield is retiring as host of Only A Game. On this week's episode, Bill shares some of his favorite memories and stories from hosting the show. There's the legend of candlepin bowling, a dog named Moses and some retirement advice from Willie Mays. Join us!


Sports And The Military, Links Golf Quest, Paintball Origin

Giant flags, flyovers and camo jerseys are now common at sporting events. But that wasn't always the case. This week on Only A Game, the story of two veterans who are questioning the growing militarization of sports. Also, an avid golfer plays 111 rounds throughout Britain in just 57 days. And an ages-old argument leads to the first paintball match. Join us!


Smash Mouth's 'All Star,' Swimming + Eating Myth, 'The Super Fight'

The song "All Star" by Smash Mouth became a sports anthem, but it wasn't written for sports fans — and it almost didn't exist. This week on Only A Game, the origin of the 1999 hit. Also, we take a dive into the classic myth of fatal swimming cramps. And The Super Fight: a fantasy heavyweight bout featuring two all-time greats ... and an old computer. Join us!


LeBron's Legacy In Akron, Gaddafi's Hockey Sponsorship, Marathon Swimmer

On July 1, LeBron James announced he would leave the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Los Angeles Lakers. This week on Only A Game, the Akron, Ohio native's lasting impact on his hometown. Also, after racking up dept, a German hockey team turns to a dictator for help. And, the story of a world-record-holding marathon swimmer who started her career at age 46. Join us!


England's Imaginary '94 World Cup Bid, Egyptian Soccer, Iowa Girls' Hoops

England failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. This week on Only A Game, we revisit the fictional BBC radio drama that imagined a different fate for the English side. Also, the journey to break a curse over Egyptian soccer. And, how six-on-six girls' high school basketball became the pride of Iowa. Join us!