- Paperback: 268 pages
- Publisher: Michael Kesend Pub Ltd; 1st edition (December 1, 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0935576398
- ISBN-13: 978-0935576399
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,752,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Swee'Pea and Other Playground Legends: Tales of Drugs, Violence and Basketball 1st Edition
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From Kirkus Reviews
SWEE'PEA AND OTHER PLAYGROUND LEGENDS by John Valenti
Pub Date: Dec. 22nd, 1990
(Review Posted Online: May 20th, 2010)
A close accounting of the decline and--with his near-fatal, May 1989 drug-related shooting--perhaps permanent fail of Lloyd "Swee'pea" Daniels, a basketball phenomenon who's been called "Magic Johnson with a jumpshot." In telling the 22-year-old's story, sportswriter Valenti (Newsday), with the aid of Naclerio, the young man's former coach and mentor, illuminates some of the root causes--including drugs, violence, and benign neglect--that contributed to the self-destruction of a world-class talent. Growing up orphaned in Brooklyn's East New York and Brownsville sections, involved with drugs since age 10, Daniels's "mystical grasp of the game" was all that mattered to his teachers, coaches, family, and himself. Though a few tried to help him in school, most looked the other way as he skipped classes, failed tests, but then was passed on to the next grade. At 16, Daniels was in the eighth grade, reading on a third-grade level. He could "do everything with a basketball except one thing: Autograph it." He attended four different high schools in three states--mostly arranged so that he could play basketball--until he dropped out his junior year. Recruited and signed by the Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas (he couldn't read his acceptance letter), Daniels was involved in a drug bust and expelled before ever playing a game. On the comeback trail following the shooting in front of his grandmother's home (he was shot three times in the chest and shoulder over an $8 vial of crack), Daniels enrolled in a drug rehabilitation program and later played briefly with Quad City in the Continental Basketball Association before being cut. To further amplify Daniels's story, Valenti looks at other "playground legends" as well, such as James "Fly" Williams, Joe Hammond, and Pee Wee Kirkland, providing insight into why they all wound up in prison and, like Swee'Pea, "never made it to the big time. . .despite their vast abilities." A perceptive, gloves-off look at an inner-city tragedy.
From NY Times Book Review
Too Good for His Own Good
By Nelson George; Nelson George is the author of a forthcoming history of black men in basketball.
Published: December 23, 1990
BOOKS about the failure of gifted black basketball players from the inner city to fulfill their potential constitute a substantial subgenre of sports literature. In fact, three of the best basketball books -- Pete Axthelm's "City Game," David Wolf's "Foul!" and Rick Telander's "Heaven Is a Playground" -- are detailed accounts of New York schoolyard players whose exploits, in the years before millionaire slam-dunkers and signature shoes, made them legends. Connie (The Hawk) Hawkins, Earl (The Goat) Manigault and Jackie Jackson were skying, double-pumping products of New York City in the 60's and 70's, a time when public funding was available for youth programs, heroin was the drug devastating America and professional basketball lost money. ……Mr. Valenti and Mr. Naclerio do an excellent job of tracing Lloyd Daniels's downward spiral….. Still, as a chronicle of how far many white people will go to help a black man who is good with a basketball, "Swee'Pea and Other Playground Legends" scores points.
Top customer reviews
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This book is well-written, but in a nicely understated way. It makes you feel like you were there and part of the story. I read it years ago and was reminded about it recently, but I had loaned my copy to someone who never returned it. So, I sought it out again and enjoyed it just as much the second time around.