On These Courts: A Miracle Season that Changed a City, a Once-Future Star, and a Team Forever

On These Courts: A Miracle Season that Changed a City, a Once-Future Star, and a Team Forever

by Wayne B. Drash
     
 

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NBA All-Star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway had fame, fortune, and a Nike shoe line. Yet for all his basketball accomplishments, the one thing he lacked was a championship season.

Penny Hardaway, like so many pro athletes, struggled with the question of “What now?” when his whirlwind career came to an end in 2007. The answer came fromSee more details below

Overview

NBA All-Star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway had fame, fortune, and a Nike shoe line. Yet for all his basketball accomplishments, the one thing he lacked was a championship season.

Penny Hardaway, like so many pro athletes, struggled with the question of “What now?” when his whirlwind career came to an end in 2007. The answer came from one of his oldest friends, Desmond Merriweather, who was sick with colon cancer and could no longer commit to full-time coaching the Lester Middle School boys basketball team.

On These Courts is the moving story of a superstar who takes over coaching duties in the crime-ridden streets of Memphis he once called home. Coach Penny selflessly helped his young players navigate their way through impossible circumstances: failing grades, incarcerated fathers, gang pressures.

But this is not just a story about Penny; the true stars are the kids on the Lester Lions team who rewarded Penny with his first championship season, winning the state title by one point. A penny.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, the former pro-basketball star (who first played for the Orlando Magic), recently returned to his hometown of Memphis in a most unusual capacity: as middle school basketball coach. Hardaway initially volunteered to help head coach Desmond Merriweather, a longtime friend battling cancer. As Lester Middle School’s head coach for the 2012 season, Hardaway provided a positive male role model for players who desperately needed one and was a source of pride for a community long plagued by drugs and violence. What could have been a stirring account of a city looking for redemption, however, is turned mawkish and maudlin by Drash’s clumsy prose: “Penny let fly a three-pointer from so deep it seemed like he was standing across town at Elvis’s home, Graceland.” Drash attended a youth basketball camp with Hardaway—and his description of the experience is one of the few instances in which he portrays Hardaway as a human being rather than as a saint shepherding wayward youths. (May)
Earvin “Magic” Johnson
“Penny is a superstar on the court and an even bigger superstar for giving back and helping the youth of Memphis."
“Penny is a superstar on the court and an even bigger superstar for giving back and helping the youth of Memphis."

“I've known Penny Hardaway since he was 16, and even at that age you could see there was something different about this skinny, lanky kid with game out if this world. You could sense there was more to him than what he was currently being called for..... 'On these courts' gives insight to the man through the spirit of his Grandmother, friends, his hometown Memphis, and the kids (just like us) he didn't forget about!”

"The story of former NBA star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway’s return to the mean streets of his youth to lead a team of disadvantaged middle schoolers to basketball glory.…genuinely touching moments, and it’s always uplifting to see a wealthy superstar give more than just money to help his community."

“Recommended not just to NBA fans but to fans of uplifting sports stories and those who cling to the belief that social change really can be effected, even if only a little at a time.”

“A made-for-Hollywood story."

Booklist
“A made-for-Hollywood story."
Earvin "Magic" Johnson
“Penny is a superstar on the court and an even bigger superstar for giving back and helping the youth of Memphis."
Earvin “Magic” Johnson
“Penny is a superstar on the court and an even bigger superstar for giving back and helping the youth of Memphis."
Chirs Webber
“I've known Penny Hardaway since he was 16, and even at that age you could see there was something different about this skinny, lanky kid with game out if this world. You could sense there was more to him than what he was currently being called for..... 'On these courts' gives insight to the man through the spirit of his Grandmother, friends, his hometown Memphis, and the kids (just like us) he didn't forget about!”
Earvin Magic Johnson
Penny is a superstar on the court and an even bigger superstar for giving back and helping the youth of Memphis."
NBA.com
"Fantastic."
Library Journal
Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway was a Parade Magazine National High School Player of the Year in 1990 and Memphis State University All American who in just his second NBA season helped lead the Orlando Magic as far as the finals. After three more seasons as an All Star, injuries struck, and a few years later a diminished Hardaway retired in 2008. He had risen from the meanest streets of Memphis to stardom and wealth, but he left basketball without a championship. Drash (senior producer & staff writer, CNN.com) tells of Hardaway’s return to those Memphis streets to help coach a middle school team in its own quest for a state title. Along the way, Hardaway did far more, giving much-needed fatherly love and helping instill discipline among his players, as incidents at school involving them dropped and grades rose. As a bonus, owing to the team’s unifying effect on the neighborhood, rival gangs even declared a rare truce. Particularly impressive is that Hardaway did all this without an accompanying PR blitz.

Verdict Recommended not just to NBA fans but to fans of uplifting sports stories and those who cling to the belief that social change really can be effected, even if only a little at a time.—Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781476710259
Publisher:
Touchstone
Publication date:
05/07/2013
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,310,709
File size:
4 MB

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