A spirited debut of a rising basketball star wrestling with his town’s outsized expectations and his family’s complicated legacy
Jimmy “Kamikaze” Kirkus is a basketball star, destined for a legendary future in the NBA. At the age of five, he can make nine shots in a row. By high school, he’s got his own Sports Illustrated profile. To the citizens of Columbia City, it seems like he was born for the sport.
But Jimmy soon confronts the “Kirkus curse” when tragedies begin to emerge. Not even basketball can save him from his family’s sorrow-filled past..
His eventual defeat on the court echoes another disastrous legacy: Jimmy’s father, Todd “Freight Train” Kirkus—who had also dreamed of basketball stardom—was forced to give up his dream for a life defined by the curse of his name. Can Jimmy find a way to end this cycle of tragedy?
Like Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding and Friday Night Lights (the book and cult television show), Timothy Lane’s debut novel uses the lens of basketball to understand family, community, and—ultimately—hope. Populated with complex, compelling characters, Rules for Becoming a Legend is proof that every hero is human, and sometimes triumph is borne from tragedy.