Above the Rim
How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball
- Additional formats:
- Publication Date: October 6, 2020
- Imprint: Abrams Books for Young Readers
- ISBN: 9781647001612
- Page Count: 40
- Illustrations: full-color illustrations throughout
- Rights: World/All
Winner of 2021 Orbis Pictus Award!
The story of Elgin Baylor, basketball icon and civil rights advocate, from an all-star team
Hall-of-famer Elgin Baylor was one of basketball’s all-time-greatest players—an innovative athlete, team player, and quiet force for change. One of the first professional African-American players, he inspired others on and off the court. But when traveling for away games, many hotels and restaurants turned Elgin away because he was black. One night, Elgin had enough and staged a one-man protest that captured the attention of the press, the public, and the NBA.
Above the Rim is a poetic, exquisitely illustrated telling of the life of an underrecognized athlete and a celebration of standing up for what is right.
**STARRED REVIEW**Booklist —
"Morrison’s captivating oil paintings feature dramatic compositions, rich colors, and the artist’s distinctive, elongated figures. Equally impressive is his ability to portray the emotional depths of individuals, from small-minded segregationists to heroes of the civil rights movement. Strong storytelling and riveting artwork make this a memorable picture book."
"With Baylor’s story, Bryant and Morrison demonstrate that NBA players have a long history of speaking (or, in Baylor’s case, sitting) out against injustices in society. Bryant’s spare, emphatic text relates how Baylor’s Minneapolis Lakers were affected by Jim Crow and how his protest led to a change in NBA policy. Morrison’s vibrant paintings emphasize Baylor’s lithe athleticism, elongated arms and legs extending balletically."Kirkus Reviews —
**STARRED REVIEW**The Horn Book —
"With lively verse and elegant oil paintings, Bryant and Morrison masterfully place Baylor’s midair “slashing, crashing, gliding” basketball heroics in the context of his times."
**STARRED REVIEW**School Library Journal —
"Morrison’s vibrant oil paintings fill the pages with personality, energy, and movement. His signature elongated figures are perfectly suited to depict the 6’5” baller... Inspirational and timely."
"Morrison’s captivating oil on board scenes sear Baylor’s tale into eyes and memories. The artist’s signature long-and-lanky character styling is the perfect match, with the flying tangle of airborne legs a glorious theme for his disciplined composition, and the elegant stature of Baylor himself underscoring his dignified, principled protest."Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books —
"Morrison’s lengthened lines in his stylized oil-on-board illustrations sinuously depict Baylor’s gravity-defying grace."Publishers Weekly —
"Frank Morrison's oil illustrations work perfectly to display the beauty of Baylor's fluid, "above the rim" style of play. Through his palette and extraordinary depiction of light, Morrison, highlights the beauty of Black skin--and the importance of figures like Elgin Baylor."Shelf Awareness —
Beyond the Book with Frank Morrison
About the author
Jen Bryant writes picture books, novels, and poems for readers of all ages. Her numerous awards include two Caldecott Honors, two ALA Schneider Family Book Awards, an NCTE Orbis Pictus Award and Honor, and a Sibert Medal and Honor. Frank Morrison is the award-winning illustrator of many books for young readers, including two Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor books, a John Steptoe New Talent Award winner, an NAACP Image Award winner, and a Society of Illustrators Silver Medal winner.