Hoop Roots

Hoop Roots

Book - 2001
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Hoop Roots is John Edgar Wideman’s memoir of discovering the game that has been his singular passion for nearly fifty years. It is equally, inevitably, the story of the roots of black basketball in America ? a story inextricable from race, culture, love, and home.
As a boy, Wideman lived in his grandparents’ worn but welcoming home in the ghettoized Homewood section of Pittsburgh. It was a world presided over by women, forever coddling, scolding, protective. One day John slipped away from their watchful gaze and escaped to a place where white factory workers shot hoops on their breaks. Then someone handed him a ball. That thrilling first shot was a turning point. Later he sneaked from his dying grandmother’s bedside to the courts where other black boys gathered. Here he really learned the game ? the African-American game, whose style and power would change him and our culture.
With Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk as his model, Wideman combines memoir with history, folklore, and commentary to create a magical evocation of his unique slice of American experience. He imagines the Harlem Globetrotters in 1927, on their way to the Illinois town where the only black resident will be lynched. A playground game in Greenwich Village conjures Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and the sources of black minstrelsy. African-American language, culture, music, and sport brilliantly interweave in a lyrical narrative that glides from nostalgic to outraged, from scholarly to streetwise, from defiant to celebratory.
Like his previous memoirs, Wideman’s Hoop Roots is both deeply personal and fiercely resonant.

Baker & Taylor
In a stunning new memoir, the author of Brothers and Keepers reflects on the meaning of basketball in his life, describes growing up in his grandparents' home in Pittsburgh, and discusses the cultural implications of basketball for African Americans in general. 20,000 first printing.

Book News
While presenting a memoir of discovering basketball, novelist Wideman (U. of Massachusetts-Amherst) reveals much about the origins of black basketball in the US. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

& Taylor

The author recalls his experiences playing basketball with whites and African Americans in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh, describing how African Americans slowly but surely changed the nature of the sport.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, c2001
ISBN: 9780395857311
Branch Call Number: B WID
Characteristics: 242 p. ; 22 cm


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