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4.3 69
by Walter Dean Myers

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An ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults

New Bonus Content:
-Q&A with Walter Dean Myers
-Q&A with screenwriter John Ballard
-Teaser chapter from On a Clear Day
-Excerpt from 145th Street

All eyes are on seventeen-year-old Lonnie Jackson while he practices with his team for a city-wide basketball Tournament of


An ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults

New Bonus Content:
-Q&A with Walter Dean Myers
-Q&A with screenwriter John Ballard
-Teaser chapter from On a Clear Day
-Excerpt from 145th Street

All eyes are on seventeen-year-old Lonnie Jackson while he practices with his team for a city-wide basketball Tournament of Champions. His coach, Cal, knows Lonnie has what it takes to be a pro basketball player, but warns him about giving in to the pressure. Cal knows because he, too, once had the chance—but sold out.

As the tournament nears, Lonnie learns that some heavy bettors want Cal to keep him on the bench so that the team will lose the championship. As the last seconds of the game tick away, Lonnie and Cal must make a decision. Are they willing to blow the chance of a lifetime?

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.50(d)
740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

One of the things my father used to say was how his days were piling up on him. When I told him I didn’t know what that meant, he said one day I would.

“Right now,” he said, “you got your days filled up with playing and going to school. Then after a while you gonna start dreaming about this and that, and you gonna lay your days out in front of yourself like an imaginary road. That’s what I did.”

“Then what happened?” I asked.

“Then they started piling up on me,” he said. He looked away and didn’t say anything else, and I knew the conversation was over. When he looked away like that, there wasn’t any use to keep on talking.

After he split, I stayed around the house a lot. I did most of the things I was supposed to do, like making the school scene and helping out around the house. I got a little job at the Grant, a little run-down hotel, when I got to be sixteen. That was really okay. I could earn a few bucks, and I could crash there when my moms got on my back too much. By my senior year she was on my back just about all the time, too. Something had come up between us that put an edge on everything we did. It wasn’t anything I could really lay out and say, “Hey, there it is,” as much as it was a feeling. I’d be sitting in the kitchen eating and she’d come in and make some remark about how late I was staying out or something, and I just wouldn’t want to hear it. So I’d finish eating as soon as I could and then bust over to the Grant to spend the night there and cool out.

When I thought about it, I knew it wasn’t so much that I had changed, or even that she had changed, but the situation was different than it had been, and we couldn’t talk about it. When I was younger, I used to tell myself I was going to do this or do that and I believed it. Now I didn’t know. For a long time Moms hung on to that old stuff, about me going to college and making something of myself. When I would lay in bed at the Grant, waiting for the next day to roll around, I was also waiting for something to happen, something to change my life. It was like I was running in a marathon and suddenly forgot where the finish line was. But I knew I still had a place to get to, even if I couldn’t see it, and I knew I was scared to stop running.
All along, though, I had my game. My game was my fame, and I knew it was together. From the first time I played basketball in grade school I was good. I was good, but I was short then. Some of the older guys used to call me runt. “You got a sweet game for a kid, runt,” they’d say.

I was always on the court practicing, trying to get my game more together. I used to imagine being the shortest guy in the NBA and scoring the winning basket in the championship.

Then, when I got to be fifteen, I started to grow. When my seventeenth birthday came around, I was six three. Now, my game was sweet when I was short, but when I got taller, it was really nice. I played ball just about every day for about three years straight until near the end of my senior year. Then, all of a sudden, I began to go through a whole lot of changes. I was feeling okay, but I just didn’t want to do anything. I’d sit around and try to decide what I wanted to do, and that would take an hour or so, and then, when I decided what I wanted to do, I still might not do it because I just didn’t seem to have the energy. Then, to top things off, sometimes if I did really break out into a hustle and do something, it would get messed up. I wasn’t sure it was me or if things just weren’t going my way. The Scotch is a good example of what I mean.
I had had some words with my moms after I had left a tea bag in the sink.

“What’s the matter?” she said with her hands on her hips. “Your arm so bad off you can’t reach over there and put the tea bag in the garbage?”

I didn’t say nothing.

“You know that tea bag is going to leave a stain and you’re not going to clean it.”

“I'll put it in the garbage,” I said.

“Oh, no, Mr. Jackson,” she said in this high voice. “Please let your servant do it.”

Then she snatched up the tea bag and put it in the garbage.

“So why didn't you just do that in the first place?” I asked.

“Why didn't I do that in the first place?” She bent over from the waist and looked up at me. “Who do you think I am, boy? I'm your mother, not your servant!”

I listened to that until she got tired of running it; then I split on over to the Grant. I couldn't believe all that flap over a tea bag. I was pretty mad by the time 1 got to the hotel. I got the keys and went up into one of the empty rooms on the third floor and just sat in the window. I looked over towards the liquor store to see if I could see the clock. I couldn't, and I started to turn away. But something wasn't right. “When I looked again, I could see the guy that ran the store standing close up against the shelves, and the clerk was standing right next to him. It looked like there were two other guys in there, too. One of them was a guy who delivered liquor to the store, and the other guy I didn’t recognize, but I saw he had his hand in his jacket pocket. That’s when I realized the store was being held up. Now the truck with the booze to be delivered is outside in the street and the driver is inside being stuck up, which gave me an idea. I busted down the stairs and into the street. I look into the liquor store, and I see that the guy with his hand in his pocket and a third guy I hadn’t seen from the window are making everybody go into the back. I go over to the truck, open the back, and there’s a case of Johnnie Walker close enough to grab. I look around to see if anybody is checking me out, but the only people on the block are some kids. I cop the case of Scotch and hightail it back into the Grant and up to my room.

I figure I can get at least five dollars a bottle for the Scotch, and there are twelve bottles to a case. I’m feeling pretty good about the whole thing by the time I get the case under the bed. I go back to the window. There’s this young brother up on the truck, and I figure he’s going to cop, too. But instead of copping a case of something like I did, he takes a padlock off the truck and throws it to another kid. This kid runs up to the liquor store and puts the padlock on the door.

One of the guys inside the store sees what is going on and runs over to the door, but it’s too late. The kid has locked them all inside. Then about four or five other kids start unloading the truck. Mean­ while, the guys inside the store are banging on the window and hopping up and down and stuff. By this time it seems that half of Harlem is in on the action. One wino opens a bottle and is in the middle of the street, directing traffic. It takes about ten minutes to unload the truck. The whole block turns into a big party. Finally the cats inside the store shoot out the window just as a police car comes around the corner. There are a few shots fired, but nobody gets hurt, and soon everything is back to normal except for the glass on the street.

It was funny to watch, but then I realized that everybody on the block had Scotch and everything else now, and I wouldn’t get nothing for mine. Still, I figured I could lay with it until everybody had drank theirs up. But that was the way my luck was running-even things that looked sweet weren’t working out right for me.

I got depressed about the whole thing. I sat in the window and watched the people down in the street having a good time, and I began to feel worse and worse.

I have a funny way of thinking-at least I think it’s funny because I don’t hear anybody else saying they think the way I do. What I do is to think things part of the way out, and then I put them aside and think them out some more later on. I had begun to think about what my father had said a long time ago about your days piling up on you, and as I sat in the window of the Grant, I began thinking about it again. It was beginning to make more sense to me.

School was going to be out in another five or six weeks, and then I was going to have to figure out something to do with myself. Before, I’d spend the summer playing ball and waiting around until school started again, so that would take care of itself. But now that school was just about over for me, the days seemed different, and I had to figure out what I was going to do with them. I knew I didn’t want to work at the Grant all the time. I hated Jimmy Harrison, the manager, and the job was a chump job anyway­ sweeping floors and changing beds and that kind of thing. The only thing that made it not so bad was me telling myself it was just until I finished school. I saw a lot of guys who had either finished school or had dropped out just hanging around the block, and I didn’t want to do that either. I wondered if my days were piling up on me, like my father said they might. They were changing, at least, or maybe I was changing. Or was supposed to be and wasn’t.

I sat in the window for a long time, and then I laid across the bed, just waiting for time to pass. I dozed off for a while, and when I woke, it was just about dark. I thought about going to a movie but decided to save my money so I could go the next day in case it rained. I got a basketball I kept at the Grant and wandered over to the playground. The lights were on, and I figured I’d shoot a few baskets. Playing ball, even shooting baskets by myself, always made me feel better. I figured to shoot until I got tired and then come back and get some sleep.

I had my head so wrapped up in myself I didn’t see this guy laying on the court until I got right up on him.

“Hey, man.” I nudged him with the toe of my sneaker. “Get off the court!”

When he didn’t move, I thought he might be dead.

I nudged him again.

“Your feet too big...” That’s what he said, only he kind of sung it instead of talking.

“Hey, man, get up!”

“I really hate you ’cause your feet too big...”

The cat is laying there singing some kind of weird song. I pushed him with my sneaker again, and he didn’t move. So I gave him a kick on the back of his leg and told him to move again. He rolled over and got up on his knees and hands like a boxer trying to beat the count. I thought he was getting right up, but he just stayed like that for a while. I reached down and grabbed him by the collar and started to drag him off the court, and then, all of a sudden, he’s up. Not only is he up, but he’s got this blade in my face!

I dropped the ball and backed off. This guy smells like somebody done peed in bad wine and washed his teeth in it, but he’s got this knife, and he’s bigger than me.

“Hey, why don’t you get off the court, man?” I said. “I really hates you ’cause your feets too big...” He starts in with this singing again, and I just watched him. I didn’t want to get too close to him ’cause I still didn’t know where he got the knife from and he was quick.

He stops just before he gets off the court and turns back to me and just looks at me, and then he puts his knife away. Right away I feel like busting his jaw. I take a step toward him, and he just grins at me.

“Get off the court, old man, before I hit you!”

“Why don’t you put me off the court, youngblood?” he says, still grinning.

I look at him for a minute, and he don’t look like much. But I’m six three and he’s maybe six four, and he’s heavier. I wasn’t scared of the cat, but I figured it wasn’t worth my while. I could hit him and he’d have a heart attack and die and I’d be up for man­ slaughter or something.

I picked up the ball and shot it. He turned and walked off, still singing that stupid song about feet. I shot a few times, and then the ball came down on something-a broken bottle of wine. I started to push it off the court with my foot, but then I picked it up and threw it off as far as I could. I got the ball again and shot and shot until I was too tired to shoot anymore. Then I took the ball over to the track and ran laps until I could see the sky start turning gray between the buildings.

What People are Saying About This

Earl Monroe
"Hoops, to me, captures growing up on the streets of Harlem. Basketball is presented not as a sure way out of the ghetto, but as one way for kids to get in touch with the confidence needed to deal with their everyday realities... It is rare to find a story that takes the time to honestly and sensitively explore black men, women, and kids." -- Earl "The Pearly" Monroe, former captain, The New York Knicks

Meet the Author

Walter Dean Myers’s fiction and nonfiction books have reached millions of young people. A prolific author of more than one hundred titles, he received every major award in the field of children’s literature. He wrote two Newbery Honor Books, eleven Coretta Scott King Award winners, three National Book Award finalists, and the winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. He also received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults and was the first recipient of the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. He was a 2010 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award and was nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Award numerous times. From 2012 to 2013, he served as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature with the platform “Reading is not optional.” In his most-beloved books, Walter explored the themes of taking responsibility for your life and that everyone always gets a second chance.

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Hoops 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 70 reviews.
Bradley33 More than 1 year ago
Hoops Walter Dean Myers Lonnie Jackson is a seventeen-year old boy from Harlem, New York with basketball on his mind. The major theme of this book is "If you really wanted it, Go out and get it". When you get more into the book Lonnie grows out of his kid age and is getting ready to turn into a grown man, making his own decisions. Lonnie is a strong character that is waiting on his opportunities to make it the NBA. The only thing holding him back is the pressure between basketball and life. Cal, Lonnie's basketball coach once had a chance to be in the NBA but he got tied up in betting on the games he was playing. Cal really wants Lonnie to make further than he did in the basketball game. So he is showing him the right and wrong things to do in life and in basketball. The major conflict of the book is how Lonnie will make it to the good life of the NBA. Will he make it or not? This book has a lot of good basketball talk and does a really good job of describing the surroundings in the city of Harlem. Understand what's going on in this book is fairly easy. Just pay attention to the book and understand what's going on and it'll keep you on the edge of your seat. Since the book was written in first person it doesn't really change the perspective of the book. Hoops could have been written in any other point of view and still wouldn't be able to change the excitement of the book. The way that Walter Dean Myers shows intensity of the basketball games in this book is just like all his other books, exciting and it'll keep you on the edge of you seat. Walter Dean Myers likes to show all the excitement at once then slows it down and bring the excitement back up to the highest point. The things that Walter Dean Myers did that I liked was how he keep me wondering what's going to happen in the next chapter and wondering if the book was a little different if the ending would've been the same. Lonnie doesn't really know what he is going to get himself into and since Cal was a basketball player and threw all his skills away then Cal can be there for Lonnie so he doesn't make that mistake like he did. That shows how much of a supporting character Cal is to Lonnie. Hoops by Walter Dean Myers was a really good book and I would recommend it to all teens boys that like sports and also girls but not to all girls. I give this book a thumbs up but I give Walter Dean Myers two thumbs up for doing his best at writing books.
Neel_Vachhani More than 1 year ago
Hoops, in my opinion is the best book I read this summer. Lonnie Jackson, The seventeen-year old basketball star, and his coach Cal, a professional NBA star entered a city wide tournament. Cal and his team were facing some strong games and some hard and tough moments, but eventually they all got through it, and now I will share the story with you. In the beginning, he was at the Grant, the place he worked at, and his friend Paul told him about a city-wide basketball tournament, and the thought ya I will join I love basketball. It was the tryouts and he went there ready to play ball. He entered the gym and saw about 15 people playing ball. After the tryouts, he was having a heat stroke, but all of it payed off when good news came in and he got on the team. So his found out his teammates are Paul, Jo Jo, Ox, and some other teens. So good news shared around town and the day came for his first practice and he was excited to play and meets some ball players. So practice was like any other practice 5 v 5, practicing plays, and other things. First game comes along, It's Harlem V.S Morningside Comanches. In the first half the cream though. Then in the second half the Guest team was catching up. Close to the end and the can see by the score that they are going to lose. So finally they walked out of the gym sad, and mad with the score at just 5 points below the Morningside Comanches. So the championships were off to a bad start. After the game they found out cal got arrested because he got in a fight, so Lonnie and Cal's wife Auggie had to bail him out of jail with $300. so they got him out of jail and continued with the tournament. It's the finals game, but the thing was that Lonnie was kick out of the tournament because he was back talking to much with the refs. It was a tough game, especially without Lonnie. Today's game was Harlem V.S Manhattan. The best one on opposing team, Tomkins was in, but the hard thing was that Lonnie couldn't play. The first half was tough. By half time they were down by 15 points, so Lonnie went and did his own thing, and went out in the second half because, first of all it was the finals game and it would be sad to just watch your own team play and lose, and second, why would he listen to O, Daniel (the one who is in charge of the tournament, and the one that kicked him out of it) if his team was losing bad. So suprising O, Daniel let it slide and they caught up and won by 1 point! The score was 93-92. But the thing is the story ended on a sad note, and Cal got murdered by his enemies, the one he got in a fight with. I think if I had to give this a rating, I would give it a 5 Star. So I think the main message, theme, and life lesson was: "If you really wanted it, Go out and get it" I think if I had to give this a rating, I would give it a 5 Star The End Of My Book Review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im here...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waseem More than 1 year ago
Walter Dean Myers has made tons of novels of inner city life. One of those books that became a novel was called "Hoops". I picked this book from the beginning is because I love the game of basketball and the biggest reason is because Walter Dean Myers made it. I recommend this book to a person who is interested in hoops, friends and family, and inner city drama. The narrator is Lonnie Jackson, who is very relaxed in a certain way. He plays basketball out on the streets all day and night with his friends. He meets a guy named Carl, Carl used to play in the NBA until he was kicked out for a terrible mistake he did when he was playing basketball a long time ago. Carl turns out to be Lonnie Jackson and Lonnie's friends coach for the tournament about to be held in the FedEx Forum. In the tournament the best team and players on that team will be recruited to have a free full basketball scholarship and that is what Lonnie Jackson is going for. This book is amazing; Walter Dean Myers can drag you into that book like you are in it. The best part is when Lonnie Jackson is playing basketball because that is all of the best action in the book is. I would encourage other people to read not only this book but many other that Walter Dean Myers has made. I really don't think the book made Walter Dean Myers great, I think Walter Dean Myers made the book great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ZeroG57 More than 1 year ago
This was my first book by Walter Dean Myers and I really liked it. This is a must read, especially for kids and the only difficulty I had was reading some slang phrases that didn't make sense to me. Don't let that discourage you though, TRUST ME IT'S WORTH IT!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book in my own words should be read by children and even adults everywhere. This book is about a young man named Lonnie who is African American, 17, and who lives in Harlem,Newyork. He has such a great passion for basketball; and one day as he is practicing his shooting, he realizes a man lying on the court as if that were his property. Lonnie kicked him and tried to drag him out the park...The man started singing, "Your Feets Too Big" by Ada Benson and Fred Fisher. Lonnie was already confused, so he grabbed the man by the collar and tried to push him out the court when the man suddenly pulled out a knife. Lonnie had to back off because he was nervous the man was going to hurt him. The book continues but if you want to find out more about this wonderful book read it because it will make you think, get excited, make you cry, but excited all over agian. Enjoy your day(s)
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Lonnie Jackson is a young man from Harlem. Basketball is a big part of his life and he always stands up for what he believes in. During this book the main character grows up and learns to act more like a man than a kid. Along with the subplots and characters, the dialect is authentic to the mid 70s. Young adults will enjoy this book because they can relate to some of the things Lonnie goes through. Walter Dean Myers showed his background when writing this book. The vocabulary at some times can be hard to understand because of the Ebonics he uses, but overall the vocabulary is fairly good. The story stays intense it doesn¿t get as dull and there are many surprises. The character s is mostly serious but they have their own personality and the blend together well. The setting is in Harlem and the people and places seem authentic. This book favors the teenage crowd but if adults need a recreation book this can certainly be that. Children that don¿t have over a 7th grade reading level should not read this book because of the dialect and mild violence. All-in-all, this is a book I hope many read and enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a nice book. I had to read it and it wasn't so bad. it was actually kind of interesting and funny at times.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I gave the book a four because i play basketball and it interested me but not enough for a five. Also the book is pretty good and i like it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoy reading and I am VERY athletic. I wan to go to UT and play in the WNBA, so i thought, oh gee look a basketball book. I didn¿t like this story because of many reasons. The author wrote it in first person, which grew to be very irritating and distracting. The beginning was really slow, but I thought it might get better. It didn¿t. Even though I play basketball half of the story didn¿t even make sense. You can try readin it, but I dind't like it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lonnie Jackson is a middle aged teenager living in Harlem, New York. His living conditions aren¿t all that great. His one thing he really loves is basketball. He stumbles upon Cal ¿spider¿ Jones at the park court one night. Cal gets involved with Lonnie¿s basketball and throughout the book Lonnie keeps learning new things about Cal¿s past. The two of them become pretty tight and Cal starts coaching a team with Lonnie on it. He gets them into a big tournament and the story really takes off from there. This book has a lot of good basketball talk and does a really good job of describing the surroundings in the city. As the book goes on you keep learning new interesting details and in the end I love how they all come together to form this story. The book is not part of a series and I think mainly boys would enjoy this book because there¿s a lot of basketball and a lot of things that boys are more interested in than girls.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great for people as young as 12 and also great for aduklts as well. It is a great written book and it keeps the reader interested in the entire book all the way through. This is a short and intermidiate skill level. But it has soome bad language in it . So it is to recomended for peopl eunder the age og 12.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The title of the book is HOOPS and the main character is Cal he is the basketball coach. They had a pretty decent season. They had a awesome team that had tons of potential. The best team member on the team played the coach and he almost won. But when they were playing each other they were running swiftly down the court and then the kid got ahead on the coach by about a foot a foot-and-a-half and then the coach went up for a jumper and the team member packed the coach. This book reminds me of my sixth grade year and I was point guard for the best team in the league and we were playing the second best team in the league and there was 5 secs. left in the 4th quarter and Hunter Daniel was at half court and I saw him about to shoot so I ran up to him and all of a sudden I jumped up and packed the ball and it came back and hit him in the face.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hoops by Walter Dean Myers is a fascinating book. It is about a seventeen year old boy named Lonnie Jackson. Lonnie lives in Harlem and plays for the Harlem Globetrotters. He faces many problems thought the book including drugs, gang violence, and most importantly racism. These three problems are the reasons that are preventing him from reaching his dream, which is to be a professional basketball player and hopefully play in the NBA 'National Basketball Association'. His coach Cal thinks he has what it takes to play professionally. ¿You got a nice game, but like he said, you got to be something with it.¿ His team is competing in a city-wide tournament of champions. As the championship nears Lonnie hears Cal talking about throwing the game and loosing over a $2,000 gamble. The question is, is Cal going to blow the game or not? Read the book to find out what happens. There are several characters in the book including, Lonnie Jackson the main character, Cal Jones who is the coach of the basketball team, Ox who is on the basketball team with Lonnie, Marry-Ann who is the girl Lonnie likes, Tyrone who owns the racquet shop and kills Cal with a knife, Paul which is Lonnie¿s best friend, Mr. Jackson who is the father of Lonnie, Jimmy Harrison who is the manager of the ¿Grant,¿ Freddie who is Pauls brother, Lenny and Joni who are the faggots in the neighborhood, Aggie Cals girlfriend, Juno who helps Tyrone fight Cal, and Lastly O¿Donnell who is the NBA scout for Lonnie. The themes of this book are growing up/maturing, coping with lose, and surviving when it gets tough. There is one symbol that I found in the book which is a basketball and it symbolizes Lonnies love for the game. The ideal audience for Hoops is 12 and up, because there is some profanity, slang, and a lot of violence which is not good for little kids to read. My personal reflection towards this book is that I think it is a book that once you start reading it then you will never put it down until you are done with it because of how much action it has in it. It is also a great learning experience. This book is also great because it is a fictional story which means it is full of real life events that you can relate to. I also think this book is suspenseful, thrilling, educational, and lastly age appropriate for the most part. I highly encourage anybody to read this book because it was one of the best books I have ever read in my entire 15 years of living on earth.