True Legend

( 40 )

Overview

#1 New York Times bestseller Mike Lupica makes his return to the basketball court!

There's a reason teammates call him "True." Because for basketball phenom Drew Robinson, there is nothing more true than his talent on the court. It's the kind that comes along once in a generation and is loaded with perks—and with problems. Before long, True buys in to his own hype, much to the chagrin of his mother, who wants to keep her boy's head grounded—and suddenly trouble has a way of ...

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True Legend

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Overview

#1 New York Times bestseller Mike Lupica makes his return to the basketball court!

There's a reason teammates call him "True." Because for basketball phenom Drew Robinson, there is nothing more true than his talent on the court. It's the kind that comes along once in a generation and is loaded with perks—and with problems. Before long, True buys in to his own hype, much to the chagrin of his mother, who wants to keep her boy's head grounded—and suddenly trouble has a way of finding him. That is, until a washed-up former playground legend steps back onto the court and takes True under his wing.

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Editorial Reviews

Awards
Praise for True Legend:

***"The perfect trifecta of deep knowledge and portrayal of the history and culture of basketball, keen insight into the obstacle course of motivations and temptations facing a talented young man, and perfect-pitch sports writing. . . Lupica is the greatest sportswriter for middle-grade readers, and this book, True Legend, is a reminder of his dominance."*** —VOYA, starred review 

“Lupica scores another winner with this cautionary tale. . . . Loaded with action-packed, suspenseful basketball sequences, crisp dialogue, sharply drawn characters, and keen insight into contemporary basketball culture in America, Drew’s story illuminates the realities and choices facing gifted young athletes.” —School Library Journal

"Written in a fluid mix of slightly distant exposition and terse dialogue, the tale features plenty of suspenseful, expertly depicted hoops action along with choices both wrong and, ultimately, right made in the face of glittering temptations." —Booklist

 

VOYA - Lorne Carter
Lupica is the greatest sports writer for middle school readers, and this book, True Legend, is a reminder of his dominance. There is a reason teammates call him "True." It is because, for basketball phenom Drew Robinson, there is nothing more true than his talent on the court. From Drew's basketball games to the problems he experiences, the story is absorbing. This reader appreciated how Drew was not depicted as "perfect," as he surprisingly loses a couple of games for his team and even gets in trouble with the police. It makes the book feel real. All in all, if you like sports, this book is for you. Reviewer: Lorne Carter, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Kim Carter
Only fifteen, Drew "True" Robinson is a basketball legend in the making, and people want to get close to him—"get him stuff"—including Mr. Gilbert, whose money funded the Oakley Academy gymnasium. After scouting Drew in New York City and hiring Drew's mother so Drew can attend and play for Oakley Academy, Mr. Gilbert's friendship develops its own strings attached, sometimes at odds with what Drew knows he owes his teammates. Meanwhile, Drew thinks of school "as being like playing with four fouls. He just [has] to make sure not to foul out." With an important research paper looming alongside some crucial games that will determine Oakley's opportunity to advance toward the league championship, Drew finds his inspiration when he crosses paths with a shadowy figure on the late-night playground court Drew frequents. Determined and persistent, Drew tracks the figure down, and develops a relationship with "Legend," an almost-great basketball player most people think is dead. Legend has more than a few moves to teach Drew, including a lesson that, "You can spend your whole life hiding from the truth about yourself, but it will find you sooner or later." The perfect trifecta of deep knowledge and portrayal of the history and culture of basketball, keen insight into the obstacle course of motivations and temptations facing a talented young man, and perfect-pitch sports writing, True Legend could serve well in a middle school classroom study in character development, and will enthrall reluctant and eager readers alike. Reviewer: Kim Carter
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Lupica scores another winner with this cautionary tale of Drew "True" Robinson, a high school junior basketball phenom who almost gets lost in the perks and fame that come his way. When Oakley Academy owner Seth Gilbert witnesses Drew's passing and shooting talents, he moves the teen and his mother from New York to California, enrolls him at Oakley, gives Drew's mother a job, and takes charge of Drew's life. The teen readily accepts the computer, chauffeur, and comforts that Gilbert provides. But his starstruck self-perception is shaken when he befriends a mysterious "playground legend," who ultimately explains his own fall from grace. Drew begins to see the consequences of his self-absorbed life: opting for unsuccessful, show-stopping shots instead of passing to an open teammate, flaunting his skills and alienating a girl he likes, letting others help with his schoolwork, and allowing a devoted friend and teammate take the blame when he wrecks the owner's Maserati. In an emotional confrontation with Mr. Gilbert, Drew announces that he will start thinking for himself, making decisions based on his own values of honesty, compassion, and fairness. Loaded with action-packed, suspenseful basketball sequences, crisp dialogue, sharply drawn characters, and keen insight into contemporary basketball culture in America, Drew's story illuminates the realities and choices facing gifted young athletes. Although Drew's talent is basketball, teens will discover in him a universal adolescent need for acceptance, friendship, independence, and self-respect.—Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NC
Kirkus Reviews
In a didactic but well-crafted sports story, a teen basketball phenomenon learns not to take his own superstar future for granted. Not yet 16, Drew "True" Robinson has been treated like a star since some of his first forays onto the basketball court. When he spots a talented, solitary older player on his neighborhood court late one night, Drew thinks he's seen a ghost. What he's met is a cautionary tale: The man, who tells Drew to call him Donald, is a former basketball legend who lost everything when he became too invested in the hype surrounding him. When Drew too begins to make mistakes on the court, he seeks out Donald, haunted by the man's story. Like Donald, most characters function equally well as symbols and as people: Mr. Gilbert, the rich benefactor who treats Drew like a luxury commodity; Drew's teammate and best friend, Lee, content to pick up Drew's off-the-court slack for the good of the game. The clear message here is that young athletes should not let fame go to their heads, a case made so well by the story that Drew's continued arrogance and poor decision-making is sometimes difficult to believe. A solid mix of character-driven realism and basketball action. (Fiction. 12-18)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101577677
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/13/2012
  • Format: MP3
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Ships to U.S.and APO/FPO addresses only.

Meet the Author

Mike Lupica

Mike Lupica lives in New Canaan, Connecticut, and is the host of The Mike Lupica Show on ESPN Radio.

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Read an Excerpt

One
 
It started with him thinking he’d seen a ghost.
 
A basketball ghost.
 
A ghost in a gray hooded sweatshirt, no writing on the front or back, one that seemed way too warm even for a Southern California night, and almost two sizes too big for his long, skinny
body. The guy was six three or six four, easy.
 
He was wearing baggy blue jeans, the carpenter kind with pockets, faded nearly to white. They seemed to hang on him, too, like they were about to fall down around his ankles.
 
He had old Air Jordans on him, old-school classics, high-top red-and-blacks.
 
Drew Robinson recognized the shoes right away because he always did. Nobody knew old-time basketball kicks better than he did. He knew these shoes because he’d just bought a pair for himself off Classickicks.com, where he went for sneaks out of the past you couldn’t find anywhere else.
 
The ghost also had a beat-up Lakers cap pulled down low over his eyes, so Drew couldn’t get a good look at his face. But he could see just enough to tell he was a light-skinned brother—not as light as me, Drew thought—out here on the half-court that nobody ever used at Morrison Park, not during the day, certainly not at night, not when there was a lighted full court for you to use at Morrison. This one here was lit only by the moon, up high in the sky tonight.
 
Usually Drew Robinson—known as True Robinson by now to everybody who followed basketball—didn’t see anybody using either of Morrison’s courts when he arrived after midnight. Whether the courts were lighted up or not.
 
There was nothing fancy about this park. If you were a good player looking for a game, you went to Shoup Park over in Woodland Hills. Drew just liked the full court at Morrison, liked being able to walk the couple of blocks here from home, knowing he could work out in peace, work on his game, without everybody watching every move he made.
 
Watching him the way they had been for a while now, even before he and his mom moved out to Southern California, from the time back in New York, when they’d first started calling him
the best point-guard prospect since—pick a name—Chris Paul or Derrick Rose or John Wall. All the new ones that had come along since they used to say Jason Kidd was the best pure point to ever come along.
 
Even Stephen Curry, one of Drew’s favorites, who came out of Davidson as a shooter and then showed the NBA the way he could pass the ball.

LeBron Junior, some people even called Drew that, not because of the way he played or looked—he was half a foot shorter than the real LeBron—but because he’d made that kind of name for himself before he was even a junior in high school.
 
Truth was, he played more like Steph Curry, and looked like him even more.
 
Drew (True) Robinson and his mom lived here in Agoura Hills, just over the line from Westlake Village, where his school—Oakley Academy—was. Quiet town, at least as far as he was concerned, with this quiet playground in it. He could come here when Morrison had emptied out and remember, every single time, why he’d loved playing ball so much in the first place.
 
Before it became a ticket to dreams he didn’t even know he had.
 
A basketball friend of his from New York, from 182nd and Crotona in the Bronx, Shamel Williams, a boy with no parents and no money, barely getting by on his grandma’s welfare check, had told Drew once that the best thing about basketball, the thing he loved about it the most, was that it could even make him forget he was hungry sometimes.
 
“Playing ball just fills me up in another way,” Shamel said. “You know what I mean?”
 
Drew had never gone hungry. His mom had always been a professional woman; her last job in New York was working as a secretary at a real-estate company in Forest Hills. There’d always been food on the table.
 
Still, Drew knew what Shamel was saying to him.
 
Basketball had always filled him up, too.
 
Morrison gave him that feeling when he had the place to himself. Only tonight he was sharing the place with this ghost player, the ghost doing things on this bad court that made Drew think he
was in some kind of dream.
 
Dribbling the ball like a Harlem Globetrotter, like Curly Neal, who Drew had met at Madison Square Garden one time, like the ball was on some kind of string. High dribbles to low, both hands—Drew wasn’t even sure at first whether he was righty or lefty—behind his back, through his legs. He was making it look easy, like he wasn’t even paying attention, like he could’ve been doing something else at the same time, checking his phone or texting on it.
 
Then off the dribble came the spin moves and shots, the guy working the outside, draining shots that would have been three-pointers easy if there had been a three-point line on this old used-up
court instead of just potholes and weeds.
 
And the guy—ghost—hardly ever missed, even though there were these moves he made, ones that started with his back to the basket, moves like a blur that should have made it impossible for
him to pick up where the rim was when he came out of them.
 
Here under the light of the moon.
 
Unreal, Drew thought.
 
Because how could it be anything else?
 
Drew saw all this without being seen himself. He was hidden by a palm tree, his own ball resting on his hip.
 
He watched the guy walk to the far edge of the concrete, as far away from the basket as he could get, take a deep breath, let it out, then glide toward the hoop, long legs eating up the distance.
 
Then he was in the air, somehow exploding in slow motion, like it wasn’t just the kicks he was wearing, like he was Air Jordan himself, the ball high in his right hand until he threw it down from so far above the rim it was as if he had fallen out of the sky.
 
Catching the ball with his left on his way down before it even hit the ground.
 
He wasn’t done.
 
He bounced the ball to himself, high as he could, elevated, caught the ball as he started to come down. Only he didn’t throw it down right away. Instead he tucked it into his belly like he was a running back in football, somehow stayed in the air as he went underneath the iron, then reverse-slammed it home.
 
Ten, Drew thought.
 
Perfect dag-gone ten.
 
Who was he?
 
This ghost who seemed as happy to have Morrison to himself as Drew always did.
 
Only tonight neither one of them was alone.
 
And even though Drew knew he should be moving on, getting on with his own business, he couldn’t stop watching the show.
 
Drew thought, I’m watching him do things with a ball that only I’m supposed to do around here.
 
Not so much the dunking things, even though Drew could definitely throw down with fl air when he wanted to. No. It was the shooting, the ballhandling, like the ball was one more part of this guy, same as his arms and legs.
 
Drew watched now as the guy dribbled away from the basket, like he was on his way into the trees himself. Then he gave one quick look over his shoulder before casually tossing the ball up
over his head, a crazy no-look shot that floated through the night and hit nothing but net. Even the forgotten courts at Morrison had nets.
 
Drew couldn’t help himself, couldn’t restrain himself any longer.
 
He started clapping, like he was at some kind of outdoor concert.
 
“Man,” Drew said, laughing, “I got to get some of this.”
 
Then he said, “You want some company?”
 
Half thinking to himself that if the guy turned around as Drew stepped out from behind the tree, an old hooper like this, he might recognize Drew, might see that the voice calling out to him belonged to True Robinson.
 
Himself.
 
The guy didn’t turn around.
 
He just ran.
 
Didn’t want to know who was talking to him, didn’t care, just ran and picked up his ball like it was the most valuable possession he had in the world and disappeared into the night.
 
“Wait!” Drew yelled after him. His voice sounded as loud as thunder.
 
But just like that, the guy was gone.
 
As if he’d never been there at all.
 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

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(35)

4 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2012

    Great Book!

    This is probably the best book I've read!! It's very inspiring and an amazing read. I'm 11 and I love basketball and this book just makes me wanna go out and play ball. I recommend this book to anybody, especially people who can relate to Drew (Like Me).

    14 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2012

    Best ever

    Cant say no to this book and i cant put the book dwn

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2012

    Cant wait

    I love all of his books im currently reading hero its my favorite book hes made so far

    8 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2012

    ?my fav book

    I love dis book

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2012

    Gooooooooood

    Mad good dude

    6 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Lupica Strikes Again

    Another great relatable story for sports fans from mike lupica

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2013

    Best book

    I can relate to drew and all the pressure it was very good

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Hi

    Hey I just met you! *Dun dun* And this is crraazzyy *Dun dun* But here's my number! So call me maybe!

    2 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    Great

    This book look good because i read all his other books, and it makes me judge this one by the cover

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2013

    True Legend by Mike Lupica

    I highly recommend this book to any reader who wants a book they will love and be intreged in from the koment you crack the book open! If you nt like the starting to abonded the book keep READING!!! I hope this helps and makes you want to read this book! :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    Boss

    I really love all mike lupica books but this is clearly one of his best stories

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    Good

    Good book

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Great!

    This book is fantastic! It's even better if you love sports!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    this book is.. look below

    Amazing i love the suspense and trouble great read hope you read


    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2013

    Reed

    Great book. If i say its great it is extremely good bc im picky

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2013

    True Legend Swoosh! ¿True¿ Drew Robinson is making baskets like

    True Legend
    Swoosh! “True” Drew Robinson is making baskets like always. This is a story in present time placed in California. Drew Robinson is expected to get to the big leagues. He meets an interesting friend who is also very talented at basketball. His “manager”, Mr. Gilbert, and his best friend, Lee, support him all the way. Drew had to find who is mystery friend was, keep his grades up so he would not be ineligible, and needed to win his regional championship game against their arch rival team. Mike Lupica’s books hold my interest because they are interesting and are about sports. If you like basketball I recommend this book.
    Eric T

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2013

    was good

    it had a lot of weird scenes
    butits basketball

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2013

    Sarah

    Cool book. Nice ending.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    True ledgen

    This the best book ever.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    Really good

    This book is really good if you like sports and what i really like about it is its not just basketball its about real life too and teaches good life lessons si i recomend it for any age

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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