Merlino Reads From “The Hustle”
TWO FATHERS, ONE WHITE, one black, organize a basketball team with poor black kids and rich white kids in Seattle, Washington. The fathers saw their experiment as an opportunity for the black players to earn a chance at a private school education, and a way for the privileged white players to learn about life on the other side.
Doug Merlino, a former editor of the OPC Bulletin, writes about these players in the non-fiction The Hustle: One Team and Ten Lives in Black and White [New York: Bloomsbury]. The boys became fast friends, and the experiment was deemed a success. But was it? Among the white players one became a tough-on-crime prosecutor, another a dot-com millionaire turned hedge fund manager, and one dropped out of the rat race and lived in a cabin in the Oregon woods. Among the black players, one became a city auditor, one a Pentecostal preacher, another sent to prison on a drug conviction, one was murdered and one is hustling. Merlino, a bench warmer on that mixed-race team, has written for Wired, Men’s Journal, Legal Affairs, Slate and the Seattle Times.
Merlino won the OPC Foundation’s 2004 Alexander Kendrick Scholarship for his essay on refugees in West Africa.