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The Boys of Dunbar: A Story of Love, Hope, and Basketball (Hardcover)
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The inspiring true story of a high-school basketball team that overcame desperate circumstances in 1980s Baltimore to produce four NBA players and give hope to a neighborhood and a city, thanks to a remarkable coach who relentlessly pursued perfection.
As the crack epidemic swept across inner-city America in the early 1980s, the streets of Baltimore were crime ridden. For poor kids from the housing projects, the future looked bleak. But basketball could provide the quickest ticket out, an opportunity to earn a college scholarship and perhaps even play in the NBA.
Dunbar High School had one of the most successful basketball programs, not only in Baltimore but in the entire country, and in the early 1980s, the Dunbar Poets were arguably the best high school team of all time. Four starting players—Muggsy Bogues, Reggie Williams, David Wingate, and Reggie Lewis—would eventually play in the NBA, an unheard-of success rate. In The Boys of Dunbar, Alejandro Danois takes us through the 1981-1982 season with the Poets as the team conquered all its opponents. But more than that, he takes us into the lives of these kids, and especially of Coach Bob Wade, a former NFL player from the same neighborhood who knew that the basketball court, and the lessons his players would learn there, held the key to the future.
Drawing on interviews with Coach Wade, Muggsy Bogues, and others, The Boys of Dunbar is a remarkable testament to the power of dedication, inspiration, and teamwork. It is an ode to an extraordinary coach, a father figure who had lived the life of his players years before and who turned a dream into reality.
About the Author
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Alejandro Danois now lives in Baltimore, Maryland. He earned a scholarship for talented minority students to attend Milton Academy in Massachusetts and later attended the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Danois is editor-in-chief of The Shadow League and a freelance sports and entertainment writer whose work has been published by The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, Associated Press, Bleacher Report, Sporting News, Los Angeles Times, and Ebony magazine, among others. The Boys of Dunbar is his first book.
“Boys of Dunbar is more than a book about basketball. At a deeper level, it’s an inspiring tale about the magnificence of the human spirit played out in the lives of young people on and off the court. . . . A gem of a sports story.”
— Bill Hughes
“[Danois’s] tale of the basketball exploits of a handful of high school students in the 1980s shows young men motivated by their coach and other recreation leaders to dream beyond the hardship of their geography. . . . Expertly re-creates not only a season but the mood of a growing sport.”
— Bijan C. Bayne
“The numbers say everything about the magical run by the boys’ basketball team of Baltimore’s Dunbar High School in the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons. . . . Inspirational stories can be found everywhere in high-school sports, but Dunbar and its legendary coach, Bob Wade, stand out for the sheer talent to converge at Dunbar those two seasons.”
“Yes, The Boys of Dunbar is a book about high school basketball. But it is much more than that. . . . The Boys of Dunbar is a book about survival, a book about perseverance, a story about hard work and overcoming obstacles. . . . The courage, leadership, and drive are remarkable, and The Boys of Dunbar chronicles it from its beginning.”
— Frank Valish
"A feel good story that’s timely as well as true."
— Glenn C. Altschuler