The Super Hoopers_ The basketball tournament of dreams

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For my cousin Juanma<br />

and those Extremadura summers<br />

that heard our childhood <strong>dreams</strong><br />

A. C.<br />


<strong>The</strong> Basketball Tournament <strong>of</strong> Dreams<br />

First edition: February 2024<br />

© Text: Alberto Casamayor Otero, 2024<br />

© Illustrations: Palma&Kako, 2024<br />

Translation from Spanish: Carolyn Louise Black, 2024<br />

© Editorial el Pirata, 2024<br />

Sabadell (Barcelona)<br />

info@editorialelpirata.com<br />

editorialelpirata.com/en<br />

All rights reserved<br />

ISBN: 978-84-19898-07-4<br />

Legal deposit: B 11169-2023<br />

Printed in China<br />

All materials used come from responsibly managed forests.<br />

Editorial el Pirata supports copyright protection.<br />

Copyright protects the creation <strong>of</strong> literary works; therefore, it’s an important element to stimulate<br />

artists’ creativity and the creation <strong>of</strong> knowledge. We thank you for backing the authors by buying<br />

an authorized copy <strong>of</strong> this book and respecting the copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or<br />

distributing any part <strong>of</strong> this work by any means without consent.



Written by<br />

Alberto Casamayor<br />

Illustrated by<br />


Over<br />

heeerrrre!<br />

I’M JOEL,<br />






My field goal percentage is soooooo low that<br />

any one <strong>of</strong> my teammates would pass the ball to<br />

an orangutan before they’d pass to me.<br />

1<br />

Bermúdez, who’s point guard <strong>of</strong> my team and my<br />

best buddy, makes a fake, but he’s really unlucky;<br />

the ball bounces <strong>of</strong>f his foot, and he loses it.<br />

Bounce, bounce, the ball’s coming in my direction.<br />

Five seconds to go.<br />

I catch it.<br />

Why have I spent the whole game asking for it?<br />

I’m scared to death!<br />

<strong>The</strong> crowd roars, a lady flings up her arms, and<br />

the salami goes flying out <strong>of</strong> her sandwich.<br />

<strong>The</strong> coach yells:<br />


I’m shaking all over.<br />

<strong>The</strong> tallest player in the other team, who looks<br />

about the height <strong>of</strong> three giraffes to me, stretches<br />

out his arms to block the basket.<br />

Four seconds!<br />

I turn around so he doesn’t take the ball from me.<br />


With my back to the basket, I shoot.<br />

<strong>The</strong> whole world seems to move in slow<br />

motion: <strong>The</strong> ball rises and curves in front <strong>of</strong> the<br />

scoreboard and stopwatch.<br />

Two seconds!<br />

It starts to fall.<br />

I realize it’s not going anywhere near the basket.<br />

We’re going to lose the championship.<br />

Shoot!<br />

Shoot!<br />

No! Not him!<br />

No! Not him!

But wait up, wait up… I told you I didn’t even use<br />

to like <strong>basketball</strong>.<br />

Do you want to know how it all began?<br />

What brought me and my buddies to the big<br />

final <strong>of</strong> our town's Youth Basketball Tournament,<br />

sponsored by Meaty Beans, ‘<strong>The</strong> veggie burger <strong>of</strong><br />

your <strong>dreams</strong>’?<br />

Well, let’s go back in time a little—you don’t want<br />

to miss this bit.<br />

BOING!<br />


JOEL<br />

2<br />

That’s me.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re’s nothing I like better than Mr. Prodigy comics.<br />

He’s my favorite superhero because he can escape<br />

from any kind <strong>of</strong> trap,<br />

no matter what.<br />

I dream <strong>of</strong> going to<br />

a comic convention,<br />

but my parents<br />

are both freelancers<br />

so they don’t have<br />

the time or money<br />

to take me.<br />

Badly-combed,<br />

wavy hair<br />

I’ll let you in on a secret:<br />

When I’m in my room,<br />

I make little balls<br />

from muffin liners<br />

and throw them<br />

into the waste basket<br />

with my back turned!<br />

And they <strong>of</strong>ten go in.<br />

Well, actually, just twice…<br />

in my entire life…<br />

Ketchupstained<br />

T-shirt<br />

9<br />

Mr. Prodigy<br />

comic<br />

Injury from<br />

last game

It’s the first Thursday <strong>of</strong> the school year, a few<br />

weeks before the shot I was telling you about, and<br />

I'm in my physical education class.<br />

We’re changing in the locker room when we hear<br />

that our teacher—who we all call Pithicus, or<br />

πTQs, because he’s supposed to have been around<br />

since before dinosaurs walked the Earth—has<br />

retired.<br />

“What a tragedy,” I say to Bermúdez.<br />

“Yeah, he was an understanding kind <strong>of</strong> GUY; we<br />

passed the class without really having to TRY.”<br />

Bermúdez and I think physical effort is overrated.<br />

And Mr. Pithicus agreed.<br />

If we managed to stay in line and run around the<br />

schoolyard without hurting ourselves, he gave us<br />

good grades.<br />

Even if we didn’t run, as long as we didn’t hurt<br />

ourselves he still gave us good grades.<br />

A deep voice shakes the locker room walls and<br />

fluorescent ceiling lights.<br />

<strong>The</strong> voice yells:<br />


HEY!<br />

My name<br />

is EVANS…<br />

…and you can call me<br />

Evans, Mr. Evans,<br />

or, if you prefer:<br />

Eh! Vans!<br />

We’re going<br />

to get in shape.<br />

Aaaall out<br />

in two lines!

We rush out like rats from a sinking ship and get<br />

a real shock.<br />

Facing the parallel bars, a circuit’s been put<br />

together which includes jumping over a vaulting<br />

horse, somersaulting over a beam, hanging from<br />

some ladders, and climbing up those ladders to<br />

reach a rope which we have to use to get up to the<br />

ceiling.<br />

I have no idea how it happened, but for the first<br />

time in my life, I’m at the front <strong>of</strong> the line.<br />

I’m Joel,<br />

I don’t know<br />

if the other teacher<br />

talked to you<br />

about me…

No, Mr. Pithicus clearly didn’t talk to him about<br />

me. I swallow hard and look at the vaulting horse.<br />

I swear I order my legs to run and jump, my<br />

hands to grip the vaulting horse and push me up,<br />

but…my legs are shaking so much that I stagger<br />

jerkily to the vaulting horse.<br />

I want to jump, but I don’t have enough<br />

momentum. My sweaty hands slip and…<br />

He’s crashed into<br />

the vaulting horse!<br />

GH!<br />

UGH<br />

One thing seems<br />

pretty CLEAR:<br />

Gym is going<br />

to hurt a bit<br />

this YEAR.<br />

Everything’s spinning. If I almost break my neck<br />

on the first day, how am I going to survive an<br />

entire year <strong>of</strong> gym?<br />


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