Monday, May 31, 2021

ABOVE THE RIM: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball by Jen Bryant. Illus. by Frank Morrison. New York: Abrams Books, 2020. 40p. ISBN 978-1419741081 hc. $18.99    Gr. 2-5    j921

Elgin Baylor was born in 1934 and grew up in Washington, D.C., where he was banned from "whites only" parks and attended segregated schools.  His love of basketball was evident, as he perfected a jump shot that looked like he flew up to the hoop.  Elgin played for colleges in the Northwest before joining the Minneapolis Lakers (later the Los Angeles Lakers) in 1958.  When he traveled with the team, he was not allowed to stay with them in hotels and restaurants.  At the same time, the Civil Rights movement was awakening throughout the country.  Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Alabama and there were sit-ins at a lunch counter in Kansas.  Famous for his amazing basketball skills, Elgin refused to play until he was treated equally during travel games, making the National Basketball Association take a stand on equal treatment of players on their teams.  As a basketball hall-of-famer, Elgin continued to play for the Lakers until 1972 and went on to coach the New Orleans Jazz until 1979.  Morrison adds great visuals to the story with dramatic expressions on his elongated characters in rich colors.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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