“The Boys of Dunbar” by Alejandro Danois
Basketball, high school, crime
September 13, 2016
4 of 5 stars (very good)
It is often said that sports teams can provide hope to those who are talented enough to play. Usually this refers to a high school football team, but in the winter of 1981-82, the Dunbar Poets in Baltimore’s roughest section put together an amazing team and amazing season that not only united the team but also showcased the talent of their coach Bob Wade.
How this coach and his players made this team one of the greatest in the history of high school basketball is captured in this well researched book by Alejandro Danois. The book explores the lives and tribulations of not only Coach Wade, but also has significant passages on the four Dunbar players whose careers took them all the way to the NBA: Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues, David Wingate, Reggie Williams and Reggie Lewis. The reader will get to know these players almost like they are long-lost friends. Coach Wade is portrayed as a tough-as-nails father and coach who values his players’ accomplishments in the classroom as well as on the court. The reader will have the same feelings for the coach as he or she does for the players by the end of the book.
The story is made more special because of the situation in Baltimore at the time this team won the hearts of the city. Crime was rampant as the crack epidemic took hold of Baltimore and other cities. There wasn’t much hope for escaping that life, but through hard work, smarts and tough love from an excellent basketball coach, that happened to many of the young men on that Poets team – and not just the NBA stars. An uplifting book that even non-basketball fans will enjoy.
I wish to thank Simon and Schuster for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Book Format Read: