Poetic and informative, Above the Rim tells the story of Elgin Baylor, a basketball icon and civil rights advocate. Its illustrations are rendered in exquisite oil by artist Frank Morrison. A particularly striking moment of a one-man courtside protest that demonstrated his dignity and courage had me awestruck. There is so much to love in this wonderful book—an inspiring sports tale, political history made personal, and a moving lesson in standing up for what is right.
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.
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.
**STARRED REVIEW** "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." — Booklist
**STARRED REVIEW** "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." — The Horn Book
**STARRED REVIEW** "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." — School Library Journal
"Morrison’s lengthened lines in his stylized oil-on-board illustrations sinuously depict Baylor’s gravity-defying grace." — Publishers Weekly
"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
"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
"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