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The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams (Anglais) Broché – 3 mars 2004

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It ought to be just a game, but basketball on the playgrounds of Coney Island is much more than that — for many young men it represents their only hope of escape from a life of crime, poverty, and despair. In The Last Shot, Darcy Frey chronicles the aspirations of four of the neighborhood’s most promising players. What they have going for them is athletic talent, grace, and years of dedication. But working against them are woefully inadequate schooling, family circumstances that are often desperate, and the slick, brutal world of college athletic recruitment. Incisively and compassionately written, The Last Shot introduces us to unforgettable characters and takes us into their world with an intimacy seldom seen in contemporary journalism. The result is a startling and poignant expose of inner-city life and the big business of college basketball.

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Première phrase
ABRAHAM LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL is a massive yellow brick building of ornate stonework and steel-gated windows at the end of Ocean Parkway, a stately, tree-lined boulevard about a mile from the Coney Island projects. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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18 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A true American tragedy, a post script 14 août 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Broché
The book is non-fiction, Corey, Stephon, Shipp are real life names, but the "Russel Simmons" (the book's central character) name was used by the author instead of Darryl Flicking (the real life Lincoln shooting guard). Flicking's mother refused to give the author permission to use her son's name (this was a money - NCAA rules issue just like Marbury's father's blackmail request of the author). Flicking was truly a great high school ball player, not just skill wise, but athletically he was a rockhard 200lb 6'3" man-child. Last year, after great success as a college player in California, Flicking was run over and killed by a train. Flicking's shot at immortality was ruined, only people who watched him play for Lincoln and in that small California college will ever know how great he was.
RIP Darryl Flicking
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A sobering and maddening look at college sports 6 mai 1998
Par - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This book made me mad! Not at Darcy Frey, who writes a great book, but at the combined effects of wretched public schools, which pass along students able neither to read, write nor do sums; and at the NCAA's patronizing and exploitative treatment of "student" atheletes. "Last Shot" tells of four star black basketball players on the Lincoln High School (Coney Island) team. Despite horrible poverty, housing projects overrun by drugs and violence, ans a school system which cannot keep them safe (let alone educate), these young men are good kids. They are kept alive, and their hopes fed, by a combination of (1) amazing basketball skills; (2) a coach and mentors who believe in them; and (3) the dream of a NCAA Division I scholarship leading into the big time. Unfortunately, only one makes it, and he just barely. The other three cannot meet the Proposition 48 requirement of 700 SAT scores (even though their high school grades are good), and lose their shot at a Division I scholarship.
Juxtaposed against these hopeful young men, who do everything that is asked of them but are finally betrayed by abysmal schooling, are the Division I recruiters, many of them well-known coaches. They give new meaning to the word "smarmy." They are corrupted by the system. Darcy's title "Last Shot" has a (quite intentional) double meaning. He refers first to the excitement of a well-played game, when victor and vanquished hang in the balance. More troubling, he acknowledges that, for each of these boys, the chance to escape the ghetto through a basketball scholarship has become his "last shot" at a successful (or safe) life. To mix metaphors, what angers me about the situation Frey describes -- in fact makes me so mad I will have trouble watching the NCAA Tournament this year -- is that these young men have received a raw deal. It's not right!
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Just a Great book 27 décembre 2002
Par "brendan16" - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This is one of the best books I've ever read. It's not just another stupid basketball book -- it's really an in-depth look into the lives of 4 inner city kids trying to reach success by way of a basketball scholarship. The author follows their high school team around for about 9 months, and chronicles his experiences and conversations with each kid (one of whom is future NBA star Stephon Marbury). This book will fascinate you with true stories and inside looks at the often-crooked nature of amateur sports, but what I found most compelling was the way their own education system and support structure often failed them.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Beauty and Sadness, Basketball and Life 15 juillet 2011
Par William - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Not a lot of books had made me cry and in my extensive non-fiction book reading, I've read some horrific things. But sometimes the event of something horrible like rejection, failure and even death, is not enough to stir an emotional response. Sometimes the character that experiences one or many of those things is, even with full textual explanation, too far removed from the reader to be appreciated on a human level. In a biography of, say, George Clooney, can you really, actually, feel connected to a man so far removed from you?

The Last Shot manages to not only provide a deep connection with its `characters' but makes me realize how, frankly, easy my life is. I'm not one to flaunt the luxuries of my life but I realize how lucky I am. . .and I suppose that is half of Mr. Darcy's point in writing The Last Shot. The book takes place in Coney Island and centers around four talented but troubled basketball players that attend Lincoln high school. Three of them, Tchaka, Russell, and Corey, are entering their senior year and are beginning the stressful process of college recruitment. The fourth, a young, wiley freshman named Stephon Marbury, is making a name for himself. . .and awaits four long years of trials and tribulations and the ability to finally make it to the next level (something his three brothers almost did, but couldn't).

Frey manages to stay as neutral as possible during his eight months with the players but, as he discovers first hand and brilliantly displays with his writing, we start to get connected to the characters (though the book takes place in the early 90s and some of the fates, like Marbury's, are obviously well known by now) and start to feel both trapped by their environment and equally seduced/repulsed by the NCAA and the college system. Much like the film Hoop Dreams, which I will be reviewing later on the site, the point of the project was initially basketball. . .but turned into the soul and essence of humanity. In the end, basketball becomes as trivial as it should be: a sport that is a joy to play and watch but not the end all be all of existence. However, in Coney Island, and for many families, changing that distinction isn't an option.

Frey is an invested observer and isn't approaching the work as if it is a objective report. He is there in the harsh, dangerous settings and is playing narrator/overlord to the men and, for the most part, letting them play their part without his input. But what is so unique about the book is that, at some point, Frey begins to realize he is, just by being around second-hand, starting to play a part in the boy's lives and effecting them in ways that wouldn't be if he wasn't around. And by book's end, he starts to put aside journalistic integrity and actually reach out to lead the player's down a path that will be beneficial to them. This isn't so his book can create drama. . .but so he can save the people he (and the readers) have learned to love.

The most fascinating case is Russell. The most talented of the senior players (Marbury is the best overall player of any of the boys), Russell is a few brain cells away from crazy. He is immensely intelligent and has a work ethic matched by hardly anyone in his zip code. Yet he dips into periods of odd social behavior that has, in its most trivial moments, led him to act odd in public and, at its most serious, caused him to threaten suicide. He is fragile and one suspects in any other neighborhood, the kinks could be worked out. But Russell is a ticking time bomb and as his college recruitment days go up and down, so do his moods. We, as invested observers, and the author can't help but try to reach out. . .and by the time you reach the `12 Years Later' afterward, though I won't tell you what happens, you're heart will be literally ripped out of your chest and stomped on with abandon. Like I said, few books have made me cry. . .I literally had to put the book down in mid-sentence and had to look up at the sky and ask `why'. It was that moving. . .and sad.

Tchaka, whose height, and not his inferior skills in comparison to Russell, seemingly grant him the dream the other players work so hard for (with little results) and this adds to both Russell's depression and the oppressive claustrophobia that starts to infect the book. Coney Island always feels dangerous due to the drugs and gangbangers but as the stakes get higher, even for the author, the surroundings begin to get grim. At one point, you feel like the author and the player's lives are in danger and the corners of every block get more dangerous. And as the author starts to get excluded from access due to jealousies and fear, the author, and therefore the reader, start to get placed in the dark. . .and it is uncomfortable. I started getting a sick feeling in my stomach towards the end. . .like something bad was going to happen.

The book is captivating from beginning to end but for different reasons. The author's (and player's) innocence is beautiful to watch in the beginning. It's all about the game and how great it is. But then things turn darker and darker as basketball becomes a twisted cousin of the joy it is perceived as in the beginning and as we watch the boys become men and experience hardships beyond anything I can imagine, we also see an author go through immense changes as well. Frey probably represents the common white middle-class man like myself so his initial joy at doing this project leads to shocking revelations and a darkness often unseen when placed behind the televised games and `glory'. If you want a book that will shake you a bit. . .read this. I highly recommend it but prepared to be sad.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great Book, very interesting read! 14 février 2001
Par Julie A. - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This book, depicting the lives of four aspiring young basketball players, is both intersting and educational. If you are an all star, or don't play basketball at all, you'll really like this book. This book is so incredible because, although it describes basketball playing thoroughly, it also describes a city life few people know of. Darcey pulls you into an interesting ride as Tchaka goes through the college recruiting process, Russell struggles with his SATS and jump shot (off the dribble), Corey aimlessly wastes his obvious intelligence, natural basketball skill and talent in rapping, and as Stephon wows everyone with his superiour skill in basketball. Where Tchaka is serious about basketball, Russell is serious about college and education, Corey is hardly serious about anything and Stephon is still finding out what he's serious about. Tchaka has charm, he's tall, thin, plays power forward, and does well enough on his SATS to get into college. Russell is dedicated, he studies nightly, practices daily, and even shoots from a lawn chair in the local park. Corey is without purpose, he's an awesome basketball player, he could easily get good grades, should he apply himself, and he rights poetry fantasticly. Stephon has an attitude, he's seen his talented brothers not go to college, and waste their talent, so he practices and studies, but he knows he's great. This is a fantastic book, and an educational read on many levels.
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