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True Legend
Cover of True Legend
True Legend
#1 New York Times bestseller Mike Lupica makes his return to the basketball court!

There's a reason teammates call him "True." Because for basketball phenom Drew Robinson, there is nothing more true than his talent on the court. It's the kind that comes along once in a generation and is loaded with perks—and with problems.

Before long, True buys in to his own hype, much to the chagrin of his mother, who wants to keep her boy's head grounded—and suddenly trouble has a way of finding him. That is, until a washed-up former playground legend steps back onto the court and takes True under his wing.

In this age of street agents promising riches to kids barely out of elementary school and college programs being taken down because of recruiting violations, True Legend is a resonant and inspiring novel in the Lupica tradition.

***"The perfect trifecta of deep knowledge and portrayal of the history and culture of basketball, keen insight into the obstacle course of motivations and temptations facing a talented young man, and perfect-pitch sports writing. . . Lupica is the greatest sportswriter for middle-grade readers, and this book, True Legend, is a reminder of his dominance."*** —VOYA, starred review 

“Lupica scores another winner with this cautionary tale. . . . Loaded with action-packed, suspenseful basketball sequences, crisp dialogue, sharply drawn characters, and keen insight into contemporary basketball culture in America, Drew’s story illuminates the realities and choices facing gifted young athletes.” —School Library Journal

"Written in a fluid mix of slightly distant exposition and terse dialogue, the tale features plenty of suspenseful, expertly depicted hoops action along with choices both wrong and, ultimately, right made in the face of glittering temptations." —Booklist
#1 New York Times bestseller Mike Lupica makes his return to the basketball court!

There's a reason teammates call him "True." Because for basketball phenom Drew Robinson, there is nothing more true than his talent on the court. It's the kind that comes along once in a generation and is loaded with perks—and with problems.

Before long, True buys in to his own hype, much to the chagrin of his mother, who wants to keep her boy's head grounded—and suddenly trouble has a way of finding him. That is, until a washed-up former playground legend steps back onto the court and takes True under his wing.

In this age of street agents promising riches to kids barely out of elementary school and college programs being taken down because of recruiting violations, True Legend is a resonant and inspiring novel in the Lupica tradition.

***"The perfect trifecta of deep knowledge and portrayal of the history and culture of basketball, keen insight into the obstacle course of motivations and temptations facing a talented young man, and perfect-pitch sports writing. . . Lupica is the greatest sportswriter for middle-grade readers, and this book, True Legend, is a reminder of his dominance."*** —VOYA, starred review 

“Lupica scores another winner with this cautionary tale. . . . Loaded with action-packed, suspenseful basketball sequences, crisp dialogue, sharply drawn characters, and keen insight into contemporary basketball culture in America, Drew’s story illuminates the realities and choices facing gifted young athletes.” —School Library Journal

"Written in a fluid mix of slightly distant exposition and terse dialogue, the tale features plenty of suspenseful, expertly depicted hoops action along with choices both wrong and, ultimately, right made in the face of glittering temptations." —Booklist
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.2
  • Lexile:
    850
  • Interest Level:
    MG+
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 5

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book One
     
    It started with him thinking he’d seen a ghost.
     
    A basketball ghost.
     
    A ghost in a gray hooded sweatshirt, no writing on the front or back, one that seemed way too warm even for a Southern California night, and almost two sizes too big for his long, skinny
    body. The guy was six three or six four, easy.
     
    He was wearing baggy blue jeans, the carpenter kind with pockets, faded nearly to white. They seemed to hang on him, too, like they were about to fall down around his ankles.
     
    He had old Air Jordans on him, old-school classics, high-top red-and-blacks.
     
    Drew Robinson recognized the shoes right away because he always did. Nobody knew old-time basketball kicks better than he did. He knew these shoes because he’d just bought a pair for himself off Classickicks.com, where he went for sneaks out of the past you couldn’t find anywhere else.
     
    The ghost also had a beat-up Lakers cap pulled down low over his eyes, so Drew couldn’t get a good look at his face. But he could see just enough to tell he was a light-skinned brother—not as light as me, Drew thought—out here on the half-court that nobody ever used at Morrison Park, not during the day, certainly not at night, not when there was a lighted full court for you to use at Morrison. This one here was lit only by the moon, up high in the sky tonight.
     
    Usually Drew Robinson—known as True Robinson by now to everybody who followed basketball—didn’t see anybody using either of Morrison’s courts when he arrived after midnight. Whether the courts were lighted up or not.
     
    There was nothing fancy about this park. If you were a good player looking for a game, you went to Shoup Park over in Woodland Hills. Drew just liked the full court at Morrison, liked being able to walk the couple of blocks here from home, knowing he could work out in peace, work on his game, without everybody watching every move he made.
     
    Watching him the way they had been for a while now, even before he and his mom moved out to Southern California, from the time back in New York, when they’d first started calling him
    the best point-guard prospect since—pick a name—Chris Paul or Derrick Rose or John Wall. All the new ones that had come along since they used to say Jason Kidd was the best pure point to ever come along.
     
    Even Stephen Curry, one of Drew’s favorites, who came out of Davidson as a shooter and then showed the NBA the way he could pass the ball.

    LeBron Junior, some people even called Drew that, not because of the way he played or looked—he was half a foot shorter than the real LeBron—but because he’d made that kind of name for himself before he was even a junior in high school.
     
    Truth was, he played more like Steph Curry, and looked like him even more.
     
    Drew (True) Robinson and his mom lived here in Agoura Hills, just over the line from Westlake Village, where his school—Oakley Academy—was. Quiet town, at least as far as he was concerned, with this quiet playground in it. He could come here when Morrison had emptied out and remember, every single time, why he’d loved playing ball so much in the first place.
     
    Before it became a ticket to dreams he didn’t even know he had.
     
    A basketball friend of his from New York, from 182nd and Crotona in the Bronx, Shamel Williams, a boy with no parents and no money, barely getting by on his grandma’s welfare check, had told Drew once that the best thing about basketball, the thing he loved about it...
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2012
    In a didactic but well-crafted sports story, a teen basketball phenomenon learns not to take his own superstar future for granted. Not yet 16, Drew "True" Robinson has been treated like a star since some of his first forays onto the basketball court. When he spots a talented, solitary older player on his neighborhood court late one night, Drew thinks he's seen a ghost. What he's met is a cautionary tale: The man, who tells Drew to call him Donald, is a former basketball legend who lost everything when he became too invested in the hype surrounding him. When Drew too begins to make mistakes on the court, he seeks out Donald, haunted by the man's story. Like Donald, most characters function equally well as symbols and as people: Mr. Gilbert, the rich benefactor who treats Drew like a luxury commodity; Drew's teammate and best friend, Lee, content to pick up Drew's off-the-court slack for the good of the game. The clear message here is that young athletes should not let fame go to their heads, a case made so well by the story that Drew's continued arrogance and poor decision-making is sometimes difficult to believe. A solid mix of character-driven realism and basketball action. (Fiction. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2013

    Gr 8 Up-Lupica scores another winner with this cautionary tale of Drew "True" Robinson, a high school junior basketball phenom who almost gets lost in the perks and fame that come his way. When Oakley Academy owner Seth Gilbert witnesses Drew's passing and shooting talents, he moves the teen and his mother from New York to California, enrolls him at Oakley, gives Drew's mother a job, and takes charge of Drew's life. The teen readily accepts the computer, chauffeur, and comforts that Gilbert provides. But his starstruck self-perception is shaken when he befriends a mysterious "playground legend," who ultimately explains his own fall from grace. Drew begins to see the consequences of his self-absorbed life: opting for unsuccessful, show-stopping shots instead of passing to an open teammate, flaunting his skills and alienating a girl he likes, letting others help with his schoolwork, and allowing a devoted friend and teammate take the blame when he wrecks the owner's Maserati. In an emotional confrontation with Mr. Gilbert, Drew announces that he will start thinking for himself, making decisions based on his own values of honesty, compassion, and fairness. Loaded with action-packed, suspenseful basketball sequences, crisp dialogue, sharply drawn characters, and keen insight into contemporary basketball culture in America, Drew's story illuminates the realities and choices facing gifted young athletes. Although Drew's talent is basketball, teens will discover in him a universal adolescent need for acceptance, friendship, independence, and self-respect.-Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NC

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • DOGO Books 007813130 - This book is really life challenging drew goes through tough life decisions he has to choose wisely or it will affect his life and family.
  • Booklist

    September 1, 2012
    Grades 6-9 Lupica's latest plants a 15-year-old basketball phenom at a personal crossroads where he is offered the customary devil's bargain. Already drawing national notice as a rising talent, point guard Drew True Robinson has been taken under the golden wing of a plutocrat patron and enticed to transfer to an exclusive private academy where the lionization even extends to having much of his schoolwork taken care of so that he can focus on his game. No sooner does Drew start to accept such privileges as his due, though, than he is brought up shortpartly by a pair of hard-nosed coaches, partly by his own dismay after self-serving behavior on the court results in two devastating losses, and partly by the sobering example of Urban Legend Sellers, a bitter older dude with mad playground-ball skills. Before an arrogance-fueled fall, Sellers had a future as bright as his own. Written in a fluid mix of slightly distant exposition and terse dialogue, the tale features plenty of suspenseful, expertly depicted hoops action along with choices both wrong and, ultimately, right made in the face of glittering temptations. Drew earns his sobriquet several times over by the end. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Sports columnist and ESPN host Lupica has leveraged his sportswriting chops into a series of best-selling novels for young athletes.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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