Swee' Pea and Other Playground Legends: Tales of Drugs, Violence, and Basketball

John Valenti, Author Michael Kesend Publishing, Limited $13.95 (268p) ISBN 978-0-935576-38-2
Despite impressive raw talent as a basketball player, Lloyd (Swee'pea) Daniels hasn't made it to the NBA. Likewise, despite its melodramatic hype, this volume fails in its attempt to turn Daniels's story into a modern, inner-city tragedy. Valenti, a sports writer for New York Newsday , and Naclerio, a high school basketball coach, serve up a disjointed sequence of episodes about athletes who, like onetime pro player Earl Manigault, learned basketball on the street and squandered their lives on drugs. But the focus is on Daniels, who did not finish high school and can barely read yet attended the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, where he was arrested in a drug raid. He also put in a stint with the Continental Basketball Association's Topeka Sizzlers and, most dramatically, nearly died after he was shot in a $10 drug deal. Coaches and colleagues tried to discipline him, yet Daniels emerges as a man whose skill is exceeded by his laziness and arrogance, a player who cuts practice, ``blaming poor performance on injuries or on teammates, but never on himself.'' This career could never end with a bang--only a self-centered whine. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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