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The Real Slam Dunk

The Real Slam Dunk

5.0 1
by Charisse K. Richardson, Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)

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Marcus Robinson is psyched! Tomorrow, his class is going on a field trip to a professional basketball arena to meet the one and only Jason Carter, Marcus's hero. Marcus usually ignores everything except for basketball, but this time he studies for hours to win the math contest-for the prize of being the official Jason Carter greeter! But when Jason tells Marcus


Marcus Robinson is psyched! Tomorrow, his class is going on a field trip to a professional basketball arena to meet the one and only Jason Carter, Marcus's hero. Marcus usually ignores everything except for basketball, but this time he studies for hours to win the math contest-for the prize of being the official Jason Carter greeter! But when Jason tells Marcus some things he didn't expect to hear about professional basketball, Marcus is confused. He thought that all he'd ever need in life was basketball. Thanks to Jason, Marcus is about to learn the meaning of a real slam dunk.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Marcus loves basketball and his class is going on a field trip where they will meet his hero, Jason Carter, a professional basketball player, and Marcus is to be the spokesman for the class. Marcus has the usual growing-up problems—a twin sister who is taller than he is, a mom and dad who make him get his hair cut before the big day (he thought it made him look taller), and having his Carter jersey shrink when he washes so he can wear it the on the field trip. More seriously, he has a problem with going to school because he does not think he will ever use what he is learning there. The purpose of the story seems to be a reminder for children that there is more in the world than sports and that even those lucky enough to make it in professional sports should have another career to fall back on. Carter talks about his job as a basketball player: the long practices, early morning runs, weight training, studying plays and opponents' games, and consequences of being late for practice. He also talks about his college degree in chemistry and how important it is for his future when he can no longer play pro ball. Children will enjoy reading this book because they all relate to heroes although they may not relate to the underlying theme of planning for their futures. It is a quick read that will probably cause more enjoyment than reflection. 2005, Dial Books for Young Readers, Ages 8 to 12.
—Naomi Williamson
Kirkus Reviews
Marcus and Mia Robinson, genial elementary-school-aged twins, are excited about meeting fictional NBA star Jason Carter. Mia is writing an article for her newspaper and Marcus, the budding basketball star, has won the honor of asking the class's questions during a field trip to Giants Practice Day. Sometimes sounding more like motivational speaking than fiction, Richardson encourages her young audience to dream more than one dream. After Carter points out the obvious facts-that most athletes do not become professional athletes, athletes often get injured and athletes need to have other interests-young Marcus thinks more about his mathematical talents. Though it seems unlikely that a top NBA athlete would choose NCAA Division II Morehouse University (where, conveniently, Martin Luther King Jr. matriculated) over the NBA, cynicism should be put on hold for this feel-good lesson for the youngest reader. Engaging cover and black-and-white interior art will draw many fans, especially those elusive boy readers. Not quite a slam-dunk, but the straightforward, accessible story will invite them to stay for the end of the game. (Fiction. 7-10)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.32(d)
590L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Marcus took a closer look at the basketball court. His gaze locked on the orange circle in the center. It looked like a giant basketball squished flat and tattooed on the wood. He imagined Jason standing there at tip-off with his hands reaching into the air, as if he were grasping for heaven. Then Marcus looked at the basketball goals. Each one looked so tiny. He imagined Jason swirling around like a ballerina and smashing the ball through the little rim all in the blink of an eye.

Rusty walked past the railing onto the court.

“Can we go out there?” Marcus asked.

“Of course,” Rusty said, nodding.

“This is the best field trip ever,” Marcus whispered to Juan. He hurried to the sidelines with the rest of his class. But he stopped just short of the court. With one more step, he would be standing on Jason Carter’s turf. That was special territory.

Marcus took a deep breath and carefully placed his right foot down. Screech! The bottom of his Fly Carters let out a loud noise. The sound startled him. He quickly brought his left foot down before he lost his balance. Screech! The floor cried out again. Then the noise became louder and louder as pairs of his classmates’ sneakers skidded onto the court.

The noise reminded Marcus of the squeaky-clean sound of glass cleaner being wiped off windows.

Finally the noise stopped, and everyone grew quiet. Marcus tiptoed to the center of the court. He could see his reflection in the floor.

It must have taken hours to polish these floors, he thought to himself. He wanted to dash to the free-throw line. But Marcus was scared to mess up the floor’s sparkle. After all, his mother didn’t let him slide around on their shiny dining room floor at home.

Bright lights suddenly beamed down on the court. Marcus knew that was his moment to shine. He quickly lifted his hands high in the air. His hands were grasping the ball he was saving for Jason Carter. Then Marcus imagined the crowd screaming his name. He raised up on the balls of his feet and stretched his body toward the basket. Just as Marcus was about to shoot the ball, he heard thundering footsteps.

“Who is that on my playground, ground, ground...?” a hollow voice cried out and echoed into the bleachers.

The deep voice startled the kids. Marcus wobbled on his tiptoes as he stood in perfect position to release his shot.

Meet the Author

Charisse K. Richardson, an avid sports fan since she was a child, uses sports to capture the reading interests of children. She is a member of the NBA Read to Achieve All-Star Reading Team. Charisse, a former Corporate Communications Manager, graduated from Howard University and received her MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to writing, she conducts motivational workshops designed to encourage youth to strive for success in the game of life. She lives with her family in Atlanta, Georgia.

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The Real Slam Dunk 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Twins Marcus and Mia as well as other students at their school look forward to meeting superstar basketball player Jason Carter just before a pro game. Both enjoy playing the game and Marcus, who is a math whiz, hopes to be as good as his hero Jason. His sister wants to be a reporter and is writing an article on the visit with Jason. The kids have good time while Jason encourages them to understand that there is more to life than sports as he was a chemistry major in college................... THE REAL SLAM DUNK is a well written tale aimed at elementary school children. Young readers will appreciate Marcus as he worries that Mia is taller than him and how to behave when he meets his hero. The story line makes no apologies in that it emphasizes education is more important of a dream although it is okay to want to be a famous wealthy basketball player. This reviewer kept thinking of Mrs. Reagan¿s unrealistic ¿Just say no¿ campaign as Jason preached having dreams outside the hardwood floor............................... Harriet Klausner