cover image The Education of Kendrick Perkins

The Education of Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins with Seth Rogoff. St. Martin’s, $29.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-28034-3

Former NBA center Perkins takes readers behind the scenes of pro hoops and shares his views on racism in this affecting memoir. Perkins was raised by his grandparents from age five, when his mother was murdered. He recounts the loving environment in his grandparents’ home, noting “there were headwinds, forces blowing back at me the whole time, but there was enough pressure in the opposite direction to keep me moving forward on the right path,” and counts basketball, which he began playing at age seven, as one of those positive forces. Drafted just out of high school in 2003, Perkins details his professional arc through the NBA, including his time on the Boston Celtics’ 2008 championship team, but spends ample time discussing off-court matters, stating that Barack Obama missed the truth that “American society seeks the incarceration of Black men” in his famous “Father’s Day Speech”; reflecting on famous Black athletes like Jackie Robinson, who harnessed their status to advance civil rights; and contending that LeBron James has had some of the greatest impact on racial equality by leveraging his own social media influence to protest discrimination and violence. Perkins’s inside view of how Black NBA athletes have fought for equality over the course of history is eye-opening. This will resonate with basketball fans and champions of social justice. (Feb.)