Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

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.