BOOKS: The Cyclone

On Coney Island, the lives of basketballers soar and fall

BASKETBALL IS CALLED THE CITY game, but that's not quite right. The really slick city game is played by college and high school coaches, sports agents, shoe manufacturers, sportswriters and TV producers. It involves conning kids -- mostly poor black kids -- into believing that they can grow up to play professional basketball. The fine documentary film Hoop Dreams shows how the game is played with high school basketballers in Chicago, and now Darcy Frey's thoughtful, sharply observed book, The Last Shot (Houghton Mifflin; 230 pages; $19.95), spells out its consequences for students at Abraham Lincoln High School in the bleak...

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