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.
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: A Story of Love, Hope, and Basketball 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.
Alejandro Danois is editor-in-chief of The Shadow League and a freelance sports and entertainment writer. He lives in Baltimore.
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