Yes, basketball and reading can, and do, go together!
Not only are there many teen books about basketball and basketball players, there are also some organizations that encourage both sports and literature together.
Chicago Bulls player Dwyane Wade worked to create this foundation to encourage literacy and to give back to his community. Through "Reading Takes You Far" 1,000 books were donated to public school libraries in Chicago for every point scored by Dywane, for a total of 18,000 books! He has also partnered with James Patterson to talk about their love of books.
Student Athletes and Literacy
A lot of students want to become professional athletes when they grow up, but unfortunately only about 1%-10% of college athletes go on to play professionally (See more here). At the same time, traditional education is left by the wayside. This makes it incredibly important to encourage education as well as support participation in sports. One way we can do this is to offer literature to encourage students' love of reading mixed with their love of sports.
Here are some great books that not only are well-written, but specifically tie into basketball and other sports!
Basketball on the brain? Check out these basketball stories picked by Chicago Public Library's teen services librarians.
Hank, Nathan, Jeremy, and Anabel deal with the realities of middle school basketball, including family pressure, a series of coaches with very different personalities and agendas, and what it means to be a team--and a friend.
Thirteen-year-old Savvy's dreams of starting for her elite basketball team are in danger when she is accused of taking steroids.
Finley, an unnaturally quiet boy who is the only white player on his high school's varsity basketball team, lives in a dismal Pennsylvania town that is ruled by the Irish mob, and when his coach asks him to mentor a troubled African American student who has transferred there from an elite private school in California, he finds that they have a lot in common in spite of their apparent differences.
Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.
Fifteen-year-old Alyx Atlas starts school in a new state with a new identity--as a girl--but a bully on the basketball court threatens to reveal that Alyx is an intersex person, which could disqualify Alyx and the team from playing in the state championship game.