From the time he is old enough to hold a basketball and shoot hoops with older kids in his New York City neighborhood, Drew (True) Robinson has loved to play the game. No matter what else goes on in Drew’s life, basketball has always filled him up --- and eventually earned him fame as a rising star.
"TRUE LEGEND is a gritty, yet touching, story about friendship, loyalty, teamwork, sacrifice, second chances and the value of an education --- but most of all, it’s a moving story about the love of the game of basketball."
As a point guard during freshman year on his high school team in Queens, he garners a name for himself because of an amazing play during a game that appears on national TV. After that big-time exposure, his mom Darlene is approached by folks who hope to get a piece of Drew’s future, including Seth Gilbert, a rich benefactor who wants to become Drew’s manager and life coach.
Gilbert offers Darlene a good-paying job in California, makes arrangements for them to move into a modest home in a decent neighborhood, and gives Drew the opportunity to play for a private high school with a top-notch basketball program. Hoping to give her son a shot at his dream, Darlene and Drew move to California.
At his new school on the West Coast, Drew continues to gain recognition by excelling on the basketball court, where he gives his all. His performance in the classroom is another story. Because of his reputation as a star, along with his ability to manipulate people, Drew is able to do the minimum to get by and charm some teachers into giving him a pass on grades and assignments. But his coach and the dedicated teachers, the ones who genuinely care about Drew as a person and not just a scoring machine, take a tougher stance. Another person who cares about Drew is Lee Atkins, a senior and fellow player who teaches him the true meaning of friendship.
One night on a playground, where Drew goes to practice when he can’t sleep, he spies a “basketball ghost” limping across the court, but making amazing shots. The older player is dressed in a gray hooded sweatshirt and wears baggy jeans, old-school classic kicks and a “beat-up Lakers cap pulled down low over his eyes.” Seeing the man dribble and shoot, Drew is determined not to become another beat-up, broken down playground legend. But Drew eventually discovers there’s more he can learn from the “old hooper” than his moves on the court.
TRUE LEGEND by New York Times bestselling author Mike Lupica is an entertaining, enlightening and inspiring story about the pressures that gifted athletes encounter when pursuing pro careers. Lupica’s rich and vivid characters and convincing dialogue add texture to the story and bring to life the allure of fame and fortune faced by those with a talent and passion for the game. TRUE LEGEND is a gritty, yet touching, story about friendship, loyalty, teamwork, sacrifice, second chances and the value of an education --- but most of all, it’s a moving story about the love of the game of basketball.
Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on September 27, 2012