cover image A Season on the Reservation: My Soujourn with the White Mountain Apache

A Season on the Reservation: My Soujourn with the White Mountain Apache

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. William Morrow & Company, $24 (209pp) ISBN 978-0-688-17077-6

More contemplative than action-packed, this is the account of a season Kareem spent working with the Alchesay Falcons, a high school basketball team on the White Mountain Apache reservation in Whiteriver, Ariz. Guiding the young men to the state tournament, Kareem reflects upon his own life and on the state of the game, as well as upon present-day professional players and aspiring youth (""Athletes need to stay in school until they have graduated from college""). Throughout the account, he explains basketball moves, but his focus is on more abstract matters, like his philosophy of teaching. The games themselves are straightforwardly recounted but lack dramatic punch, mainly because the season ends with a loss. But drama for Kareem lies elsewhere--in his learning about the social, cultural and economic hardships faced by the boys, who live in one of the poorest counties in the nation, and in the boys learning to push beyond the comfort zone of their community. As he has demonstrated in his previous books (Giant Steps; Black Profiles in Courage), Kareem has a passion for history, which he shares when, as part of his effort to motivate the team, he relates elements of the Native American past and attempts to link it to African-American history. At the end of the season, Kareem leaves with a feeling of having found a second home. TV and radio satellite tours. (Feb.)