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Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City

Phillip Hoose

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Attucks! Download image

ISBN10: 0374306125
ISBN13: 9780374306120


224 Pages



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An ALA Notable Book
NYPL Best Book for Teens
A Booklist Youth Editors' Choice
A Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature Best Book
A Kirkus Reviews Best YA Nonfiction Book
An ALSC Notable Children's Book
A YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Nominee

By winning the state high school basketball championship in 1955, ten teens from an Indianapolis school meant to be the centerpiece of racially segregated education in the state shattered the myth of their inferiority. Their brilliant coach had fashioned an unbeatable team from a group of boys born in the South and raised in poverty. Anchored by the astonishing Oscar Robertson, a future college and NBA star, the Crispus Attucks Tigers went down in history as the first state champions from Indianapolis and the first all-black team in U.S. history to win a racially open championship tournament—an integration they had forced with their on-court prowess.

From native Hoosier and award-winning author Phillip Hoose comes this true story of a team up against impossible odds, making a difference when it mattered most. This title has Common Core connections.


Praise for Attucks!

“A fresh, revelatory look at a familiar story that is central to understanding Indianapolis.”The Indianapolis Star

“The evolving fast-break style of play, the local rivalries, and the sheer prowess of individual players guarantee a compelling read, but the story of how a mini dynasty of high school players turned the tables on segregationists extends interest beyond sports fans . . . When kids think they’ve reached the end of their civil rights era education, hand them this.”The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

“Hoose demonstrates how young people can affect history . . . [A] thought-provoking volume.”The Horn Book

“I’d always been a fan of Oscar Robertson, arguably the best basketball player of the twentieth century, but until I read Attucks!—the thrilling, moving, enlightening story of his roots in deeply segregated Indianapolis—I had no idea of how important a life he had led.”—Robert Lipsyte, author of SportsWorld: An American Dreamland

“Hoose does a brilliant job of portraying the surrounding historical context, exploring the migration of black families from the South to Indiana, showing how Jim Crow practices were just as present in the North as in the South, and describing the deep groundswell of support for basketball in Indiana . . . Attucks! doesn't pretend that we've outlived the racism of the American past, all the while showing readers how being grounded in one's self-worth and committed to the pursuit of excellence can have a lasting impact on a community. A powerful, awe-inspiring basketball-driven history.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Excessively readable, this should appeal to sports fans and those looking for a good book about the civil rights era. Exemplary notes and sources will push readers—adults included—to learn even more.”Booklist (starred review)

“With sharp insight and an engaging writing style, the author relates how high school basketball engulfed the way of life in different Indiana communities and was instrumental in dismantling parts of segregation. Numerous black-and-white photos and newspaper articles supplement this exceedingly engaging work . . . A great purchase for YA nonfiction collections.”School Library Journal

“Hoose balances this exposé of basketball’s racist history with thrilling game accounts, character insight, and great sympathy.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt


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About the author

Phillip Hoose

Phillip Hoose is the author of Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, a National Book Award winner and a Newbery Honor Book. His other books include Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95, also a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book; The Boys Who Challenged Hitler, a Sibert Honor and Boston Globe–Horn BookNonfiction Honor Winner; and We Were There, Too!, a National Book Award finalist. Mr. Hoose lives in Portland, Maine.

Gordon Chibroski

Phillip Hoose

Official Links

Read an interview with Phillip Hoose