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Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2010: Each year, millions of grammar school athletes swarm fields and courts armed with little more than an infectious love for their games. These endeavors represent the purity of sport, as kids are allowed to be kids and compete outside the demands of lucrative contracts and extensive media coverage. Yet sadly, as George Dohrmann's Play Their Hearts Out demonstrates, such a paradise is fading fast in today's corporate sports world. Dohrmann provides a first-hand account of the rise of a nine-year-old basketball phenom and the grassroots programs that both helped and hindered his dreams of superstardom. To call this story a cautionary tale is to sell it short, as Play Their Hearts Out is an unflinching look at the increasing need for hype in youth athletics. Fans of the brilliant Hoop Dreams documentary are advised to add this book to their cart immediately, as Dohrmann's masterful ability to remove himself from the plotline achieves an honesty that leaves any and all judgments to the reader. --Dave Callanan
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Starred Review. Dohrmann, a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter for Sports Illustrated, spent eight years chronicling the struggles and triumphs of a select group of California youths who chased their dream in his wonderful and immaculately reported first book. Dohrmann largely focuses his work on Demetrius Walker, the hoops phenom who seems destined for stardom at a young age, his travel team from California, and the club's complex and bombastic coach, Joe Keller. Dohrmann began reporting on the book back in 2000, when Walker and many of his teammates were only 10 years old, and followed them through to their high school graduation. Along the way, he shows the brutal nature of "grassroots" basketball, in which coaches can view their players as "investments," the power of sneaker companies in youth basketball, and the cutthroat antics of collegiate recruiting. But this is equally a story about relationships and the sad deterioration of many of them, whether it be among teammates, parents and son, or coach and player. It's a brilliant and heart-wrenching journey, and a cautionary tale to any basketball player who thinks the path to the NBA is a slam dunk.
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is how I would describe the grassroots basketball system in America after reading Play Their Hearts Out. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Doug B.
Great book !!!!! A must read for any parent or player who plays to play travel ball. I really felt bad for kids and was happy to see that thsee kids ended up playing college ball... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dewayne Walker
4 of 5 stars (very good)
The world of youth basketball, also known as grass roots basketball, has produced some great players who had success... Read more
George Dohrmann's book takes the occult truths of the grassroots system and reveals them to the audience. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Aryn Barer
I loved it. The book was a real. An accurate look of how athletes, even at a young age, are used and eventually discarded. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Scott Garrett
A terrific story of how outsized expectations can lead to problems for young athletes.Published 8 months ago by Greg Witt
Outstanding! A great story. Well written and a must for every parent of a youth basketball player. I think the author for writing this in-depth story.Published 12 months ago by ksykes14
A tremendous basketball story. Given the incredible access that Dohrmann had to the subjects in this book he tells a heartbreaking tale of all the things that are wrong with youth... Read morePublished 13 months ago by James Anthony
My favorite read in the last few years. I think about this book, and its players often.Published 13 months ago by Imhotep Coleman