Cover image for A season on the reservation : my soujourn with the White Mountain Apache
A season on the reservation : my soujourn with the White Mountain Apache
Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem, 1947-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W. Morrow and Co., [2000]

Physical Description:
209 pages, 4 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV884.A24 A33 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



For the 1998-98 season, the NBA legend accepted an invitation from the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Arizona to coach the high school basketball team. Here he recounts his experiences. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

In 1998, in response to Colin Powell's call for volunteerism, basketball Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became an assistant coach for the Alchesay Falcons on the Whiteriver Reservation in Arizona. Abdul-Jabbar's challenge was three-fold: to relate a lifetime of basketball experience to the skill level of the players he was coaching; to assert himself yet remain respectful of the permanent coaching staff; and to remember why being a teenager is so difficult. His challenges were compounded by Native American culture, which makes personal criticism difficult to mete out or accept, and by the social ills on the reservation. Abdul-Jabbar is a thoughtful, empathetic, and intelligent man who understands that social change comes about one individual at a time. His diary-style account of his year on the reservation chronicles a valuable learning experience for both coach and players. No mere sports autobiography, this is a fascinating and genuinely revealing look at Native American culture --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

More contemplative than action-packed, this is the account of a season Kareem spent working with the Alchesay Falcons, a high school basketball team on the White Mountain Apache reservation in Whiteriver, Ariz. Guiding the young men to the state tournament, Kareem reflects upon his own life and on the state of the game, as well as upon present-day professional players and aspiring youth ("Athletes need to stay in school until they have graduated from college"). Throughout the account, he explains basketball moves, but his focus is on more abstract matters, like his philosophy of teaching. The games themselves are straightforwardly recounted but lack dramatic punch, mainly because the season ends with a loss. But drama for Kareem lies elsewhere--in his learning about the social, cultural and economic hardships faced by the boys, who live in one of the poorest counties in the nation, and in the boys learning to push beyond the comfort zone of their community. As he has demonstrated in his previous books (Giant Steps; Black Profiles in Courage), Kareem has a passion for history, which he shares when, as part of his effort to motivate the team, he relates elements of the Native American past and attempts to link it to African-American history. At the end of the season, Kareem leaves with a feeling of having found a second home. TV and radio satellite tours. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Former superstar basketball player Abdul-Jabbar (Black Profiles in Courage) spent a season coaching and mentoring high school kids on the Alchesay Falcons basketball team, a Native American group. He relates his experiences with them, and what they learned from each other, not just about basketball but about life. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA-The death of his mother, interest in a Buffalo Soldier named Glass, and a growing friendship with Apache Indian Edgar Perry all lead the former NBA star to White River, AZ, and the reservation of the White Mountain Apaches. He came full circle as he volunteered to help coach the Alchesay Falcons during their 1998-99 basketball season. After eight years of retirement, coaching was both frustrating and meaningful for the athlete. He saw the same desire in these players to run and gun in lieu of the fundamentals that he had seen in young professional players who want only the huge bonuses. Just as the former superstar has learned to step out of his own "comfort zone," so too did he want to teach that skill to these young men. This is Abdul-Jabbar's story and readers not only learn his feelings about cultural differences but also about his own need to find his center and have thinking time. Exciting replays of basketball games juxtaposed against a look at one facet of Native American culture from a minority's perspective add up to a solid book.-Pam Spencer, Young Adult Literature Specialist, Virginia Beach, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.