Slam Dunk Reads

Concerns over COVID-19 have led to the suspension of the 2020 NBA season. It’s a decision that keeps players and fans safe, but nevertheless is sure to leave a basketball-shaped hole in hearts. To help pass time until the games start again, here are five books that celebrate a love of the sport.

Canyon Dreams: A Basketball Season on the Navajo Nation by Michael Powell

Journalist Michael Powell takes readers to the Navajo reservation in Chinle, Arizona to follow a high school team as they try to qualify for the championships. Powell profiles members of the team, as well as the coach, exploring the ways that their culture, families, and dreams impact them on and off the court.

The Avant-Guards by Carly Usdin, illustrated by Noah Hayes

This comic series follows Charlie, a transfer student at Georgia O’Keeffe College of Arts. One of the first people she meets is Liv, a bubbly, confident, and very persuasive student who is attempting to start the school’s very first basketball team and wants Charlie to join. As feelings start to develop between the two, Charlie also meets the rest of the players and starts to confront the anxiety that caused her to leave the last team she was on. In this newly released second volume, the team is given the chance to show what they’re made of.

Guarding His Heart by Synithia Williams

Life’s got Kevin Koucky down, but he’s ready to rebound in this sports romance. Kevin’s marriage to his high school sweetheart suffered from the spotlight he endures as a professional basketball player, and he’s struggled to date since it fell apart. After years on the court, his injuries are getting worse and he thinks he might be ready to retire and focus on the things that matter most, like his kids. Maybe then he’d also have more time to spend with Jasmin Hook, a celebrity photographer he can’t stop thinking about.

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang’s latest graphic novel chronicles a year he spent following the basketball team at the high school where he teaches. Never a fan of the sport himself, Yang decides to approach it by thinking of the road to the championship like a superhero story—packed with highs, lows, and a hero ultimately winning. But as he grows closer to the team, he recognizes that life rarely mirrors fiction, and there’s a chance the young all-stars he’s grown to admire could face defeat.

The Falconer by Dana Czapnik

Dana Czapnik transports readers to 1993 in this adult novel about a 17-year-old New York basketball player. Upper West Side high school student Lucy Adler lives and breathes basketball, playing on her school’s team and as many pickup games in Riverside Park as she can. This slice-of-life story follows Lucy as she considers her path after school.

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

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