Giant Steps, although originally intended for adults, is also of interest to young adult readers because of its sensitive look at the private, inner world of a well-known athlete. The world of Giant Steps is one of courage and perseverance, where failures and weaknesses are acknowledged and overcome. Giant Steps is an experience that will prove involving to young readers of diverse backgrounds and interests.
Abdul-Jabbar portrays himself in such a realistic, moving way that the reader almost becomes a participant in this unusual individual’s life. Those who have known the nonfighter’s initial incomprehension and ineffectualness in the face of a bully’s aggression will empathize with the young Alcindor. The burgeoning young athlete who is undeveloped and at odds with a clumsy body will agonize with the fumbling, awkward young man. Abdul-Jabbar faced the trials of growing up heads taller than his peers, which will interest young readers who identify with the pain of being different and set apart. The phenomenal success that this individual attained can be appreciated more fully because of the background knowledge provided by Giant Steps.
Giant Steps succeeds as an autobiography because of its ability to immerse the reader immediately and continually into an intimately compassionate involvement in the highs and lows of its subject’s life. Sports fans know of the legendary Alcin-for from...
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Abdul-Jabbar—known as a generous team player on the court, a prized attribute that benefits not only the team but the individual as well—teamed up off the court with Knobler to write his autobiography. The authors have created a highly readable book that communicates firsthand knowledge of the life of a worthy subject. Giant Steps provides enjoyment and educational value to the young adult reader who is engaged in intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth.
Giant Steps is not a life story written by a superstar to boast of myriad accomplishments and to titillate with behind-the-scenes sensationalism. The book is not a ghostwritten, manipulative, image-boosting effort by an egotistic star. Giant Steps, although centered on basketball, is also not strictly a sports story. Instead, Abdul-Jabbar’s autobiography is a work of literature created by a talented athlete.
Giant Steps is a gift to the world from a private man and a public performer who long endured the unrelenting yet inevitable rigor of public scrutiny. In this gift of himself, of the truth, Abdul-Jabbar not only has chronicled the life of a basketball player but also has written a compelling account of the complex relationship between individuals and their societies. Giant Steps serves to broaden the horizons of the young reader who is engaged in the never-ending search for the truth and to provide inspiration to those who have not yet started this quest.