Lizzy Legend

Lizzy Legend

by Matthew Ross Smith


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781534420243
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication date: 01/08/2019
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 399,143
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Matthew Ross Smith is an author, musician, and writing professor from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For more, including animated writing tutorials you can share with your students, visit him at

Read an Excerpt

Lizzy Legend

They said it’d never happen, that I was crazy to even dream it. But there I was under the bright lights at the Mack Center, surrounded by twenty thousand screaming fans, millions more watching at home. And hunched beside me, so close I could see the vein flickering in his temple, the hole where his diamond earring would go, the individual sweat droplets forming on his shiny forehead: the most famous athlete in the world, the guy on my freaking cereal box—Sidney Rayne.

“You okay?” I asked him. “How you holdin’ up?”

He chomped his gum, smirking.

“I’m worried about you, man. You look nervous. You always this sweaty?”

He peeked up at the scoreboard.

They were up one.

5.7 seconds left.

“I let you have that last one,” I said.

“Oh yeah?”

“More fun when the pressure’s on.” I diagrammed the final play on my palm, like we did at the playground. “So here’s me,” I said. “Right here. That’s you. What’s gonna happen is I’m gonna catch the ball, right over here, I’m gonna start—”

“Surprise me,” he said.

“You sure?”

He winked. “More fun that way.”

It was actually hard to hear him. The crowd was chanting my name.

LIZ-ZY LE-GEND (clap clap clap-clap-clap).

LIZ-ZY LE-GEND (clap clap clap-clap-clap).

“Listen,” I said, leaning closer now, shoulder to shoulder, “in case I don’t get another chance, I just wanna say—”

“Save it, rook.”

“Nah, man, please, just let me say this.” I was surprised to find myself getting choked up. “I had your poster on my wall growing up—you know, the one with your legs pulled way up high, looks like you’re flying? I used to look up every night before bed and I’d think: Man, Rayne’s a punk. If I could just get one shot at him . . .”

He laughed.

“Took me a while,” I said, reknotting my braid, “longer than I expected. But here I am, and here you are. And I just wanna say—”

“Don’t say nothin’, rook. Just show me what you got.”

He was right. There was nothin’ left to say. What happened next, we both knew, would outlive us both. It was a defining moment. The kind every baller lives for.

I caught the ball just outside the arc. I started right, got him leaning . . . then “drew the curtain.” I pulled the ball hard across my body, the famous Trudeaux crossover.

Later, Sid.

Three. I pulled up at the foul line.

Two. I lifted the rock.

One. A picture-perfect release, wrist tipped down like the head of a swan.

The ball hit the front of the rim, skipped forward, kissed the backboard, hit the front of the rim again, toilet-bowled around twice, sank 99 percent of the way in, then, somehow, at the last instant . . . spun out.

I stood there, palming my knees, stunned.

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