Greg "Slam" Harris is an outstanding basketball player, but he has a chip on his shoulder. His grades are poor, and when he is challenged to overcome his shortcomings, he reacts with anger. Slam, who is black, attends Latimer High School, which is more integrated than the school in his neighborhood, Carver. The coach at Latimer recognizes Slam's talent, but thinks he is not a team player, so he keeps him on the bench much of the time. Slam's friends at Latimer are supportive of Slam, but he continues with his bad attitude, both on the court and in the classroom.
Despite Slam's problems with his coach, Latimer's team does well during the season. The deciding game for the championship is against Carver, and for once Slam is given the start, and is assigned to guard his neighborhood friend Ice, the best player at Carver. The game is fast and furious, but Slam, who has begun to learn a little about teamwork, finally realizes he can't "beat Carver by (him)self, (he) need(s) the whole team coming out strong" (Chapter 19). Inexplicably, Ice lets up near the end, and Latimer wins the game.
Afterwards, Ice invites Slam to a party at his house. Slam attends with his girl Mtisha. Ice is called away during the party, and Slam finds him on the roof, selling drugs. Slam had long suspected that Ice might be dealing, but he hadn't wanted to believe it. Slam and Ice get in a fight, and all of a sudden, in the greater scheme of things, basketball doesn't seem so important anymore.
Slam continues to play basketball, getting along better with his coach and team and "pushing it...as hard as (he can)". In his mind, he remembers Ice, seeing him as different; "he had laid down when it was time to get up". Basketball has become a metaphor for life for Slam. He "wishe(s)...that things would stop for a while and maybe (they) could all catch a breath...(but) that (is)n't happening...the clock (is) still running...and (they have) to keep on keeping on the best way (they can)". The reader gets the feeling that Slam will continue to work to change his game and his life, and will perhaps emerge victorious in the end (Chapter 21).
i had to read the book for a group reading loved the book the ending maybe a little confusing but i understand it sounds like a second book will come out but there isnt in the end slam is playing the final game and his teamate ran into him but after all the crap he had been through he knew that his teamate knew he was more than the team star he was a better player and stronger than the others(in a way of mentally)