For Junior, who has grown up knowing that his race and his poverty, not to mention his physical disability, have put him at a disadvantage in the world—being, as he puts it, “a loser Indian son living in a world built for winners”—basketball represents a much fairer, meritocratic system in which everyone starts off equally and people succeed thanks to their own hard work and skill. Unlike the wider world, where a smart woman like Junior’s mom or a great basketball player like Eugene can’t go to college because they can’t afford the tuition and don’t have the preliminary education to get there, and unlike the classroom, where Mr. Dodge ignores Junior’s contribution because he’s Indian, the basketball court is a place where Junior’s commitment and shooting talent make him one of the most valuable players on the team, even though he is shorter and skinnier than all the other boys. It’s when he’s playing basketball that Junior hears and believes the words “You can do it”—this is one place where all his hopes and dreams really are within his reach. Meanwhile, the excitement people feel over basketball transcends class and race—Junior’s dad hugs and kisses the white man next to him “like they were brothers” after Junior’s big three-pointer against Wellpinit—and Coach pledges to treat all of his players with dignity and respect, directly counter to forces like poverty and racism that specifically deny people those qualities.
Basketball Quotes in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
The The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian 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: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Little, Brown and Company edition of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian published in 2009.).
Chapter 25 Quotes
We had defeated the enemy! We had defeated the champions! We were David who’d thrown a stone into the brain of Goliath!
And then I realized something.
I realized that my team, the Reardan Indians, was Goliath.
Basketball Symbol Timeline in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
The timeline below shows where the symbol Basketball appears in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4 - Because Geometry Is Not a Country Somewhere Near France
Chapter 17 - Dance, Dance, Dance
Chapter 20 - Reindeer Games
Chapter 25 - In Like a Lion
Chapter 26 - Rowdy and I Have a Long and Serious Discussion About Basketball
Chapter 29 - Talking About Turtles
...conditioning, and Junior tries to build up Rowdy’s confidence about the possibility of a pro basketball career, since “Rowdy didn’t believe in himself.” One day, they decide to go swimming in... (full context)