Can he pull his act together?
"It doesn't matter if you win or lose -- it's how you play the game."
High school student Greg Harris, also known as Slam, struggles with family, culture, and talent. Slam is a great basketball player, and basketball is his top priority; however, he has difficulty being a team player and is searching for his place in school and in his family. He has transferred from Carver, a primarily black, low socio-economic, and neighborhood school, to Latimer, a white, upper socio-economic, and magnet high school. As basketball season approaches, Slam thinks his life will improve. However, between failing math and fighting with his coach, Slam can't seem to keep his game together on or off the court. On the court, he grapples with the coach, a superstar attitude, teammate issues, and more. Off the court, he is trying to cope with a dying grandmother, his best friend possibly dealing drugs, a love interest, and an alcoholic father. With the help of family, friends, and an assistant coach, Slam begins to get the big picture.
About the Author
"I was born on a Thursday, the 12th of August, 1937, in Martinsburg, West Virginia. My name at birth was Walter Milton Myers. For some strange reason I was given to a man named Herbert Dean who lived in Harlem. I consider it strange because I don't know why I was given away.
I was raised in Harlem by Herbert and his wife, Florence. Herbert was African American. Florence was German and Native American and wonderful and loved me very much.
As a child my life centered around the neighborhood and the church. The neighborhood protected me and the church guided me. I resisted as much as I could.
I was smart (all kids are smart) but didn't do that well in school.
I dropped out of high school (although now Stuyvesant High claims me as a graduate) and joined the army on my 17th birthday.
Basketball has always been a passion of mine. Sometimes at night I lie in bed thinking about games I've played. Sometimes I think about what would have happened if I had gone into the NBA (I was never good enough) or college ball.
Anyway.... I wrote well in high school and a teacher (bless her!) recognized this and also knew I was going to drop out. She advised me to keep on writing no matter what happened to me.
"It's what you do," she said.
I didn't know exactly what that meant but, years later, working on a construction job in New York, I remembered her words. I began writing at night and eventually began writing about the most difficult period of my own life, the teen years. That's what I do."
-Walter Dean Myers