Bison Books, Paperback, 9780803293175, 335pp.
Publication Date: March 1, 2004
"This is as good a novel—as well written a novel—centering on Dr. Naismith’s game as any I’ve read."—Ira Berkow, from the foreword. Albert Biederman, pushing forty, is a sportswriter in River City, Iowa, where college basketball carries the town through the cold winter months. The River State University team has been newly energized by a junior-college transfer who is from Chicago's South Side. Belvyn Menkus is a blond-Afroed point guard who takes the game to a higher level—"the first player," Al says, "to stir my imagination in eighteen years of covering River State basketball." Researching Menkus's background, Al discovers forged transcriptions and recruiting violations. Breaking the story could land him a job on a big-city paper, but what would that cost the player, the town, and Al's own sense of the justice of the game?
"[Heroes is] that rare thing, a really good sports novel that did with basketball what Mark Harris or Bernard Malamud did with baseball: make the passion, pull and mythological grace of the game integral to the characters."—Chicago Tribune
"A generous novel about those two great American preoccupations, Lost Innocence and Sports.”—Philadelphia Inquirer
"Like a good point guard, Mr. Shields knows how to control the flow of a game."—New York Times Book Review