A poignant, personal reflection on basketball, life, and home—from the author of the National Book Award finalist A Little Devil in America
Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1990s, Hanif Abdurraqib witnessed a golden era of basketball, one in which legends like LeBron James were forged and countless others weren’t. His lifelong love of the game leads Abdurraqib into a lyrical, historical, and emotionally rich exploration of what it means to make it, who we think deserves success, the tension between excellence and expectation, and the very notion of role models, all of which he expertly weaves together with intimate, personal storytelling. “Here is where I would like to tell you about the form on my father’s jump shot,” Abdurraqib writes. “The truth, though, is that I saw my father shoot a basketball only one time.”
There’s Always This Year is a triumph, brimming with joy, pain, solidarity, comfort, outrage, and hope. No matter the subject of his keen focus—whether it’s basketball, or music, or performance—Hanif Abdurraqib’s exquisite writing is always poetry, always profound, and always a clarion call to radically reimagine how we think about our culture, our country, and ourselves.
About the Author
Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio, and the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant. His most recent book, A Little Devil in America, was the winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Gordon Burns Prize and a finalist for the National Book Award. His first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was named one of the books of the year by NPR, Esquire, BuzzFeed, O: The Oprah Magazine, Pitchfork, and Chicago Tribune, among others. Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest was a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Critics Circle Award and Kirkus Prize finalist and was longlisted for the National Book Award. He is a graduate of Beechcroft High School.
“Hanif Abdurraqib writes: You are, in part, who loves you. I’ve never read a book more full of love—heartbreaking, poetic, rapturous—than There’s Always This Year. He loves basketball, his court, his block, his city, but most of all, his people, and he beautifully shares it in this indelible and mesmerizing book. Abdurraqib has written not only the most original sports book I’ve ever read but one of the most moving books I’ve ever read, period. . . . Utterly transcendent.”—Steve James, director of Hoop Dreams