George Dohrmann glued his “grassroots” basketball tour de force, Play Their Hearts Out, to my fingertips and even flipped the pages for me this weekend. Hell, he cooked the beef-flavored ramen I ate while reading too. I’m not sure how he did it, but he did.
Play Their Hearts Out proved impossible to put down. I am a fan of sports non-fiction, in general. Dohrmann’s chronicle of AAU coach/glorified pimp Joe Keller, his star player Demetrius Walker, and their ups and downs over an eight-year period held my interest like few other books I have read in recent memory.
Reading Play Their Hearts Out provided me the same feelings of joy, heartache, and anger I felt the first time I watched Hoop Dreams or read Friday Night Lights. To label Dohrmann’s work a basketball book would be like labeling David Simon’s classic HBO drama The Wire a cop show.