From award-winning young adult author Paul Volponi comes the true story of his unforgettable summer spent proving himself as a legitimate New York City streetballer, only later discovering that he had gained a set of skills that would enhance his life off the court, as well. During the sweltering summer of seventeen-year-old Paul Volponi's life, he had only one goal-he wanted, no, needed to become a legitimate and respected New York City street basketball player. It was a passion that consumed him night and day, and at times even isolated him from his friends and family. So he entered through the gates of the Proving Ground, the roughest streetball yard in the city. It was a place where the fouls resembled felonies, and the atmosphere mirrored that of the Roman Coliseum more than Madison Square Garden. It was where teens and adults contested pickup games with a ferocity seemingly greater than that of the NBA Finals. The Proving Ground was a difficult place to cultivate friendships and an easy environment to make enemies. This is the story of Paul's summer-long initiation at the Proving Ground. It is truly a streetball testament of a teenager who wanted more than anything else to earn his stripes in streetball society. Only what he didn't understand at the time was that this experience would deliver to him, as it does today for so many young adults, a set of skills that would enhance his life far beyond the boundaries of a basketball court.
About the Author
Paul Volponi is an author, journalist and educator. His twelve novels for young adults have been the recipient of a dozen American Library Association honors. His novel Black and White, winner of the International Reading Association Children's Book Award, is a staple in many middle school and high school English classes. The Final Four is on the New York City Chancellor's Ninth-Grade Reading List. Volponi's most recent book is That's My Team: The History, Science, and Fun Behind Sports Teams' Names (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), a nonfiction sports book for young adults. You can learn more about his books at paulvolponibooks.com.