Sammy Wong, All-American tells the tale of an Asian basketball player’s rise and stumble. American basketball may be among the most international of team sports, yet until recently Asians were unwelcome. On his high school, college, and professional teams, Sammy isn’t given much of a chance. Then when he does get into games, he turns out to be the kind of player who can turn a losing team into a winning one. Wong’s career turns on chance opportunities and unexpected twists as much as on talent, persistence, and hard work. There are great scenes that describe pivotal plays on the hardwood floor as only Charley Rosen can. Like all Rosen’s novels, this is about basketball as experienced from the inside.
About Charley Rosen
Basketball player, coach, and critically acclaimed novelist CHARLEY ROSEN played for Hunter College from 1959–62, where he set school records for scoring and rebounding, and was voted team MVP all three years. He went on to play for the US Maccabiah team in 1961, for Camden and Scranton in the Eastern League (a forerunner of the Continental Basketball Association) in 1962, and was a member of the bronze-medal-winning team in the World Senior Games in 1994. Rosen coached in the minor-league Continental Basketball Association for nine years and was the head coach of the women's team at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He lives in Woodstock, NY.
Sammy Wong was born in New York City’s Chinatown to a bitter father and a fearful mother. When he isn’t working in the same restaurant that employs his father, Sammy studies and grows, attracting the attention of a local basketball coach who teaches Sammy the fine points of the game. A scholarship to a small upstate college ensues. Despite outstanding grades, Sammy pursues a basketball career, bouncing around Europe and eventually signing to play on the team opposing a Globetrotter-like touring comedy team. Rosen has spent a lifetime in basketball as a college and semipro player, coach, and then as a writer of fiction and nonfiction about the sport. As well as he knows basketball, he knows the human heart equally well. Sammy is a young man born into one culture, with its beliefs, prejudices, and customs, trying to make his way in an entirely different world. That’s a significant burden, borne by many American immigrants. Sammy is just one fictional example who happens to play basketball, and he is a memorable character in a memorable novel.— Wes Lukowsky, Booklist