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Dragon Hoops: 04/16/20
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang chronicles Yang's last year of teaching at Bishop O'Dowd high school in Oakland. During that year he shadowed the boy's basketball team as they tried to go to State after years of misses.
I knew from American Born Chinese (2006) that Yang was local to me, meaning broadly, San Francisco Bay Area. I hadn't appreciated just how local until I read Dragon Hoops. He covers familiar places and familiar towns. Our local high school is even mentioned.
Dragon Hoops is the longest book Yang has written, as far as I can tell. It's 440 pages. Despite it's length it's also one of the best and most compelling reads I've read by him.
The book has three nonfictional narrative threads. The first is the Dragon's 2015 championship bid. The second is the history of basketball and its spread around the world. The third is Yang's transition from full time teacher and part time graphic novelist to full time graphic novelist/comic book author.
Like Yang, I wasn't a sports person in school. I'm still not. Like Yang, I'm an artist. Through this book, through his asides about the sport's development, through his interviews with the players and coaches, and through his own memoir elements, I felt myself cheering for the Dragons (even though they are rivals of our high school).
Of course, with the book covering a five year old event, one can easily Google the outcome. I hope you don't. Let the momentum Yang builds carry you along. Let yourself get excited. Let your self cheer them.