All American Boys

by

Jason Reynolds

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Basketball Symbol Icon

Many of the main characters in the novel are on the Springfield Central High basketball team, including Quinn, English, Guzzo, and Shannon. The characters take basketball very seriously, largely because it represents their chance to secure a full ride to college. Furthermore, basketball is also shown to be significant as a way of putting aside one’s personal issues in order to work together as a team. Coach Carney emphasizes the importance of leaving the outside world at the door, putting aside differences in order to function as one unit. At first, Quinn is convinced by Coach’s advice and wants the team to act as a “colorblind” whole, where racial difference doesn’t matter. However, after Coach bans members of the basketball team from attending the protest, Quinn becomes more suspicious of the demand that the team forget about the outside world. He comes to believe that basketball is not separate from the issues of the outside world, and in order to be a good team it is necessary to confront these issues, rather than ignoring them.

Basketball Quotes in All American Boys

The All American Boys quotes below all refer to the symbol of Basketball. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Atheneum edition of All American Boys published in 2015.
2. Friday: Quinn Quotes

I wasn’t a stand-in for Dad. Nobody could be that. When the IED got him in Afghanistan, he became an instant saint in Springfield. I wasn't him. I'd never be him. But I was still supposed to try. That was my role: the dutiful son, the

All-American boy with an All-American fifteen-foot deadeye jump shot and an All-American 3.5 GPA.

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), Quinn’s Father
Related Symbols: Basketball
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
4. Saturday: Quinn Quotes

I begin almost every day the same way: Ma's voice in my head, telling me what I needed to do, what I needed to think about, how I needed to act. But on mornings like this one––or if Coach Carney was making us do suicides up and down the court for fifteen minutes, or when Dwyer dropped another five-pounder on either side of the bar on my last rep in the weight room––it was Dad's voice in my head, or at least what I thought was his voice. I hadn't heard it in so long, I couldn’t even tell if it was his or if I was making it up. Whatever it was, it got me to where I needed to get.

PUSH! If you don't, someone else will. LIFT! If you don't, someone else will. Faster faster, faster, faster FASTER!

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), Ma, Quinn’s Father, Dwyer, Coach Carney
Related Symbols: Basketball
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
13. Thursday: Quinn Quotes

Well, where was I when Rashad was lying in the street? Where was I the year all these black American boys were lying in the streets? Thinking about scouts? Keeping my head down like Coach said? That was walking away. It was running away, for God's sake.

Related Characters: Quinn Collins (speaker), Rashad Butler , Coach Carney
Related Symbols: Basketball
Page Number: 251
Explanation and Analysis:
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Basketball Symbol Timeline in All American Boys

The timeline below shows where the symbol Basketball appears in All American Boys. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. Friday: Rashad
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
...“stereotypical green-eyed pretty boy” who is loved by everyone and is the captain of the basketball team. English and Rashad have been friends since they were children, along with Shannon Pushcart... (full context)
2. Friday: Quinn
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
...When Quinn meets them, Guzzo points out that it is their last night out before basketball season begins again, meaning they will have practice every Friday and Saturday night. Quinn insists... (full context)
4. Saturday: Quinn
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
...and Quinn tells her it’s nothing. He explains that he needs to head to the basketball court because Coach Carney is picking starters this week. Quinn gets in the shower and... (full context)
6. Sunday: Quinn
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
...enormous they both are. Jill approaches Quinn and strikes up a conversation about the upcoming basketball season. She asks if Coach Carney is putting pressure on Quinn, and he lies in... (full context)
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
...Paul asks what’s the matter, and emphasizes that any conflict between them will jeopardize the basketball team. He adds that he will soon have a few days off, and offers to... (full context)
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
...Paul then singles out Quinn, saying he “needs” him to come out and play two-on-two basketball. (full context)
7. Monday: Quinn
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
...find everyone discussing Rashad. Quinn has received texts from Dwyer and other boys on the basketball team, but doesn’t check them and instead turns his phone on mute. He refuses to... (full context)
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
...Quinn is angry; he thinks that talking about Rashad’s arrest just makes it worse. At basketball practice, Quinn feels disproportionately aware of Shannon and English, because he knows they are close... (full context)
9. Tuesday: Quinn
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
...students take their trays and sit outside by the graffiti. The only members of the basketball team who remain inside are the four other white boys, including Guzzo and Dwyer. Guzzo... (full context)
11. Wednesday: Quinn
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
At practice, Quinn is able to focus on basketball for the first time since Rashad’s arrest, and he does well. He and English get... (full context)
13. Thursday: Quinn
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
...Quinn had felt so relieved. Until Rashad’s arrest, everyone had only been thinking about the basketball scouts, but now Quinn feels like he is in the midst of something much bigger:... (full context)
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
Guzzo avoids Quinn all day, and at basketball practice refuses to look Quinn in the eye. As English aces a new play for... (full context)
14. Thursday: Rashad
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
...school in Rashad’s absence. English tells Rashad about the argument he had with Quinn at basketball practice, and then explains how he and Quinn decided to name their new play after... (full context)
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
...a smile. Spoony begins discussing the protest; when Rashad expresses concern about his friends missing basketball practice, they respond that it’s unimportant. English notes that the protest has spread far beyond... (full context)
15. Friday: Quinn
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
...school day, everyone is distracted. After the final bell rings, Quinn sees Dwyer headed to basketball practice. He knows that there will be consequences for him missing practice, but believes that... (full context)
16. Friday: Rashad
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
...AGAIN TODAY.” Rashad spots Mr. Fisher, Ms. Tracey, Tiffany, his ROTC comrades in their uniforms, basketball players, football players, and Pastor Johnson. Pastor Johnson’s sign reads: “RASHAD IS ABSENT AGAIN TODAY,... (full context)