Johnny Smith is an assistant professor of history at Georgia Tech, where he has won numerous teaching awards. His research investigates the history of American sports, and he is especially interested in sports icons who have left imprints on American culture. His first book, The Sons of Westwood: John Wooden, UCLA, and the Dynasty that Changed College Basketball (2013), explores the emergence of college basketball as a national pastime and the political conflicts in college athletics during the 1960s and 1970s. Most recently, he is a coauthor, with Randy Roberts, of Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X—named by Amazon as one of the best history books of the year—which reveals how Malcolm X awakened Cassius Clay's political consciousness and transformed the boxer into Muhammad Ali, an international symbol of black power. Smith is currently writing "The Year of the Slugger: When Mickey Mantle Became an American Hero," with Roberts.
- Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X
- Dynasty and Dissent: John Wooden, UCLA, and the Politics of College Basketball
- The Year of the Slugger: When Mickey Mantle Became an American Hero