Yogi Berra once said, “I don’t make predictions, especially about the future.” In this lecture, we will do the opposite and ask: “What might sports look like a few decades from now?” Will virtual reality and “smart stadiums” put you on the field of play? Will the gender divide be eliminated from our athletic competitions? Are you ready for no more nations at the Olympic Games? Should performance-enhancing drugs be readily available in sports? And if not, why not? Does a New York Knicks v. Xinjiang Flying Tigers matchup for the World Basketball Title pique your interest? As we survey the potential sports landscape, one thing will be made clear—in many ways, the future is already here.
Matthew Andrews teaches American History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His courses use the history of American sports to explore race relations, gender ideals, political protest, and American identity. Professor Andrews was asked by the UNC student body to give the honorific “Last Lecture” to the graduating class, and his students voted him their university’s “Best Professor” not long ago.