There’s Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension

Random. Mar. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9780593448793. $32. SOC SCI
While growing up in Columbus, OH, in the 1990s, Abdurraqib (A Little Devil in America) witnessed the rise and (sometimes) fall of high school basketball players. There was Kenny Gregory, who won MVP at the 1997 McDonald’s All-American game, and Estaban Weaver, a local legend by age 12 who dropped out of school his junior year after basketball season. And then there was LeBron James, whom the author first saw as a player on an opposing high school team. Written like a basketball game with quarters instead of chapters, his book offers reflections on his own adulthood and community while following James’s career. He melodically combines topics—becoming unhoused, protesting police shootings of Black boys and men, and more—with James’s first and winning appearances in the NBA finals as a Cleveland Cavalier. Meanwhile, time outs and intermissions are dedicated to known Ohioans and movies about basketball. It’s important to note that parts of the book break format and are presented as poetry. These verses demonstrate the earnest admiration Abdurraqib has for the subject.
VERDICT Beautifully written. Fans of Abdurraqib and basketball will enjoy the book.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing