Anfernee Penny Hardaway was the next big thing in basketball in the nineties. Shaquille O´Neal and him paired in Orlando was going to be the great dynasty of that decade. But it was one of the things that never came to full fruition. They lost the NBA Finals to the Rockets and the dynasty to be self imploded, with Shaquille going to the Lakers and Penny Hardaway´s career derailed by injuries. The star that was supposed to win multiple championships, ended up being a champion as a coach of teens in Memphis. And that is the story told by this book by Wayne Drash.
Pitched as “A story of hope and inspiration, struggle, and triumph, On These Courts reveals the importance and power of taking a stand in a community and learning what it truly means to give back” the book is much more. The power of overcoming adversity.
And there is, I have to say it clearly: NO WAY ON HELL THAT THIS BOOK DOES NOT TURN INTO A MOVIE. Seriously, movie studios need to pick up this book and make a movie out of it; and they better make a good one. This book has it all: The star that gets out of the hood to conquer the world by being the best in sports, with everything going for him, except for an unfriendly rebound of a ball on four consecutive free throws by the franchise player Nick Anderson later dabbed “Brick” Anderson because of those damn shots. Only to be followed by consecutive injuries. If you think the career of Tracy McGrady was derailed by injuries and could´ve won at least one or two rings if he was healthy with Yao; you would´ve thought Penny should´ve won at least three with Shaq. But fate had different plans. Plans that did not include the NBA Ring for him.
So far, you have the makings of a great story… but when you have him also coming back to the hood as a huge megastar to take on duties as head coach of a middle school basketball team of outcasts led by an inspiring coach battling with cancer (and winning); you know you are in for a treat, probably the 2013 equivalent of Rudy, the epitome of the feel good sport movie. Want more? Everybody started calling Penny Coach Carter. Coincidence? Not so much.
You need to know that this book is not only based on a true story, but is also told by Wayne Drash in a very personal way, as he spent a lot of time interacting with every character that´s in the book.
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