Reviewed by Amber Elias, age 17

Inaugural Ballers by Andrew Maraniss

Quickly after the invention of basketball by James Naismith, it was women who popularized the sport in late 19th century America. From then on, the battle for women’s representation in sports began, especially team sports played in schools and universities. For decades, women have endured unjust treatment in the realm of sports, whether it was rule changes due to the “fragility” of women, slander in local newspapers on how un-ladylike competition was, or significantly lower or non-existent funding for women’s sports teams. The fight for equality in sports went hand in hand with the feminist movement in America, and in 1972 the passing of Title IX prohibited sexual discrimination in educational programs or activities that received financial aid, opening doors for women to excel competitively in their preferred sport. Inaugural Ballers by Andrew Maraniss follows the strenuous journey of the first U.S Women’s Olympic basketball team, providing a look into the histories of coach Billie Moor and players such as Pat Head and Luisa Harris as well as the commitment, passion, and hard work it took for 12 incredibly talented women to reach the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
Inaugural Ballers is an insightful read recounting the events that led up to the 1976 Olympics and everything that came before it. The novel includes direct quotes from many of the players and coaches on the women’s team, as well as stories from women and men involved in the sports industry from the 1920s to 1980s. The inclusion of photographs of the players on the court and in life is a bonus, creating a more personal connection for the reader. Overall, this book offers great commentary on the discrimination women face in American society and how they are able to overcome harmful and misogynist stereotypes that attempt to keep them from pursuing competitive sport on a local, national, and global scale.

4. 5 stars of 5 stars

Find this book in our catalog: Inaugural Ballers

Catalog Number: YA 796.3238 MAR

328 pages