The Book

All the Dreams We’ve Dreamed: A Story of Hoops and Handguns on Chicago’s West Side

Shawn Harrington returned to Marshall High School as an assistant coach years after appearing as a player in the iconic basketball documentary film Hoop Dreams. In January of 2014, Marshall’s struggling team was about to improve after the addition of a charismatic but troubled player. Everything changed, however, when two young men opened fire on Harrington’s car as he drove his daughter to school. Using his body to shield her, Harrington was struck and paralyzed.

The mistaken-identity shooting was followed by a series of events that had a devastating impact on Harrington and Marshall’s basketball family. Over the next three years, as a shocking number of players were murdered, it became obvious that the dream of the game providing a better life had nearly dissolved.

All the Dreams We’ve Dreamed is a true story of courage, endurance, and friendship in one of America’s most violent neighborhoods. Author Rus Bradburd, who has an intimate forty-year relationship to Chicago basketball, tells Shawn’s story with empathy and care, exploring the intertwined tragedies of gun violence, health care failure, racial assumptions, struggling educational systems, corruption in athletics—and the hope that can survive them all.

“Two decades after the film Hoop Dreams, the stories unfolding at Marshall High School are more important than ever before.  Anyone interested in courage, stamina, education, race, health care, guns, or American society will find All the Dreams We’ve Dreamed a riveting read. Shawn Harrington is an American hero, and his story needs to be heard.” —Arne Duncan, former US Secretary of Education, founder of C.R.E.D.

“With heart and verve, Rus Bradburd takes us on this extraordinary journey of friendship, contrition, and heroism, all in the confines of a storied basketball program on Chicago’s West Side, all amid the persistent violence of the city. It’s one compelling read.” —Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here

“This unflinchingly honest work insinuates its way into the reader’s psyche the way only great books can. Unforgettable.”—Booklist (“starred” review)

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