Black Men Can't ShooteBook - 2009
The myth of the natural black athlete is widespread, though itOCOs usually only talked about when a sports commentator or celebrity embarrasses himself by bringing it up in public. Those gaffes are swiftly decried as racist, but apart from their link to the long history of ugly racial stereotypes about black peopleOCoespecially menOCothey are also harmful because they obscure very real, hard-fought accomplishments. As "Black Men CanOCOt Shoot" demonstrates, such successes on the basketball court donOCOt just happen because of natural giftsOCoinstead, they grow out of the long, tough, and unpredictable process of becoming a known player.
Scott N. Brooks spent four years coaching summer league basketball in Philadelphia. And what he saw, heard, and felt working with the young black men on his team tells us much about how some kids are able to make the extraordinary journey from the ghetto to the NCAA. To show how good players make the transition to greatness, Brooks tells the story of two young men, Jermaine and Ray, following them through their high school years and chronicling their breakthroughs and frustrations on the court as well as their troubles at home. We witness them negotiating the pitfalls of forging a career and a path out of poverty, we see their triumphs and setbacks, and we hear from the network of peopleOCotheir families, the neighborhood elders, and Coach Brooks himselfOCoinvested in their fates."
Black Men CanOCOt Shoot" has all the hallmarks of a classic sports book, with a climactic championship game and a suspenseful ending as we wait to find out if Jermaine and Ray will be recruited. BrooksOCOs moving coming-of-age story counters the belief that basketball only exploits kids and lures them into following empty dreamsOCoand shows us that by playing ball, some of these young black men have already begun their education even before they get to college."