Homecourt Advantage

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Perhaps because it is their first novel, Rita Ewing and Crystal McCrary’s Homecourt Advantage features too many characters to treat more than at surface value of any one of them, which makes the problems they have, if not hard to believe, impossible to be moved by.

The many conflicts in the book threaten the attempt of the Flyers, a professional basketball team based in New York, to win the NBA championship. The pressure to reach this goal is intensified by the likelihood that the franchise will be bought out by Leonard Hightower, the racist head of Hightower Enterprises, and moved to Albany, New York, if the team loses.

The players’ women are angry with them for one reason or another: Casey with her husband Brent Rogers for cheating on her; Kelley with Steve Tucker for replacing her; Dawn Simpson with Michael Brown for putting off their marriage; Trina with her husband Rick Belleville for gambling away their money; Remy with her boyfriend Collin DuMott for being gay. Lorraine isn’t angry with her husband Paul Thomas, but drives him crazy by not telling him her nightmares.

Though it weakens its seriousness by highlighting the glamour of its characters (for example, “her Jean Paul Gaultier sunglasses” and “his midnight blue 600 SEL Mercedes”), and by sinning against style (“the brown leather sphere” for a basketball, for example, and “plump protrusions” for breasts), and by choosing adjectives over thought (“Remy’s music was uplifting, inspirational, and soulful”), Homecourt Advantage provides an insider’s view of the antics of the NBA.