From Ty Cobb and Hank Greenberg to the Bad Boys, from Joe Louis and Gordie Howe to the Malice at the Palace, City of Champions explores the history of Detroit through the stories of its most gifted athletes and most celebrated teams, linking iconic events in the history of Motown sports to the city's shifting fortunes.
In an era when many teams have left rustbelt cities to relocate elsewhere, Detroit has held on to its franchises, and there is currently great hope in the revival of the city focused on its downtown sports complexes—but to whose benefit? Szymanski and Weineck show how the fate of the teams in Detroit's stadiums, gyms, and fields is echoed in the rise and fall of the car industry, political upheavals ushered in by the depression, World War II, the 1967 uprising, and its recent bankruptcy and renewal.
Driven by the conviction that sports not only mirror society but also have a special power to create both community and enduring narratives that help define a city's sense of self, City of Champions is a unique history of the most American of cities.
Leon Nixon is a professional actor, playwright, and filmmaker. A Los Angeles native, he has performed in short films, web series, and on stage in dramatic and comedic roles. He is an improvisor, trained in Los Angeles and Chicago, and is part of the group that appears in the Guinness Book of World Records for Longest Continuous Improv Show at 150 hours.