Secondary Break An NBA Dad Story

Marvin Williams Sr

Book Cover



    Core Theme



    1960s & '70s,20th Century (multiple decades)








    CATHY: 30S. LOVER.

    ANDREA: 16. LOVER.


    This book is about a young man who came from a dysfunctional and abusive family and feel in love with the sport of basketball. His love and passion for the game would take him on a lifelong journey, a journey of disappointments, setbacks, and finally triumph,

    Target Audiences

    Age: 13-17,18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal


    New York and North Carolina

    Based on a True Story


    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher

    Publisher: Fulton books

    Year Published: 2020

    Starting Description

    the year is 1964 in Brooklyn New York, where he grows up during a time of racial struggles in the city..

    Ending Description

    He finally get to see his dream of becoming a part of the basketball world come true when his son is drafted into the NBA., and his relationship with his dad finally gets better before he passes away.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available




    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Meaningful Message,Happy Ending

    Plot - Premise

    Rags to Riches,Tragedy

    Main Character Details

    Name: Marvin williams

    Age: 10

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Leader,Underdog,Modest,Patriotic,Religious,Outspoken,Selfless,Visionary,Secretive,Lone Wolf

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Ellis

    Age: 56

    Gender: Female

    Role: Mentor

    Key Traits: Aggressive,Badass,Complex,Empathetic,Leader,Blunt

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Horace

    Age: 60

    Gender: Female

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Aggressive,Complex,Confident,Engaging,Leader,Strong Moral Code,Outspoken,Uneducated

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this




    The life story of Marvin Gaye Williams, born in 1960s New York into an abusive family, whose passion for basketball leads to a lifelong journey of adventure, setbacks, and finally triumph.

    Overall Rating


    Point of View


    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: EXCELLENT

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Yes. It requires a developmental pitch.

    Draw of Story

    Marvin's life is genuinely fascinating and it is easy to empathize with him in his quest to succeed as a basketball player. While basketball certainly takes a front seat in this tale, almost becoming a character in itself, SECONDARY BREAK is nonetheless a book that not only sports fan will enjoy but everyone interested in trying to understand the difficulties faced by young African American men in a white and often very racist. Through Marvin's eyes we witness parental abuse, marriage breakdown, poverty, violence, police brutality, racism, as well as more tender topics such as love, fatherhood, determination, and, above all, passion; and it is the drama at the heart of this story that makes it so enjoyable and engrossing. This is a tender, touching story not only about basketball but also about fatherhood, racism, poverty, and the light inside each of us that never dies and always urges us toward a better life.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The problem with this book is that it glosses over Marvin's whole life in a small number of pages. This means we get a cursory insight into Marvin's journey without ever feeling like we're experiencing it ourselves, and this keeps us at a distance from Marvin and his story, ultimately reducing the power the story has to move and inspire us. There is a massively improved story somewhere inside this story that with the right approach can be brought out. There are many ways to do this but the best might be to choose a certain, narrow period in Marvin's life (say, a few years) and focus on that for the majority of the tale, with some flashbacks/flashforwards to add weight and resonance where required. Focusing on a narrow period of time in this manner is a classic biopic technique (eg. ALI, BRAVEHEART), and it is used so widely because, by bringing us into a specific period of the subject's life--but in great detail and with a slower pace--allows us to empathize powerfully with the subject and this gives the story great emotional strength. It also reduces the tale to a more manageable scope which can be more easily adapted into film. Related to this, the style of narration is one of informational summary rather than immersive prose. A version of this story which brings us into each scene like a novel and allows us to experience it more deeply will produce a much more effective story.

    Use of Special Effects


    Primary Hook of Story

    The hook here is Marvin's unique perspective on basketball as well as growing up in America, as Marvin was a hugely talented basketball player born into a poor, abusive family in New York who grew up both in NY and the Deep South and after that joined the US Navy and then became a basketball coach for decades after narrowly missing joining the NBA twice, until finally Marvin's son completes Marvin's journey by joining the NBA. Marvin's story is uplifting, inspiring, unique, and fascinating.

    Fanbase Potential

    If adapted it could have a fanbase similar to those of similar major sports dramas, such as COACH CARTER or THE WAY BACK.

    Awards Potential

    The awards community generally favors dramas which feature tough American life and social issues, so an adaptation of SECONDARY BREAK certainly has awards potential.

    Envisioned Budget


    Similar Films/TV Series


    What’s New About the Story

    Original is the author's perspective as an ex-basketball player who almost made the NBA and then became a highly reputed coach and then father of an NBA player. It could be made more unique by diving deeper into the details unique to Marvin's life.

    Lead Characters

    Marvin is the only character given sufficient space to stand out but even then we see him at a distance because of the nature of the narration, which summarizes information rather than bringing us into each relevant experience in Marvin's life. All the same, Marvin is a complex and fascinating protagonist who is as impulsive and reckless as he is passionate and determined.

    Uniqueness of Story

    This is almost a rare gem but in its current form provides too little detail in its sweeping and cursory exploration of Marvin's life.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Indie, Streaming, Studio TV Series: Limited Run / Mini-Series

    Analyst Recommendation



    This was very close to being a "consider" but there is simply not enough material in this book to adapt it into film or TV. Marvin's life as told here, while fascinating, moving and inspiring, lacks detail and is ultimately a cursory retelling of these events told in a summarizing style rather than a detailed, immersive memoir that brings us into each relevant experience as a novel or film would. A rewrite which focuses primarily on a more narrow period of Marvin's life while providing much more detail and written in a more immersive style of narration could be a strong contender for adaptation.

    Tips for Improvement

    More details of Marvin's life over a more narrow period of time in a more immersive style of narration.


    The life story of Marvin Gaye Williams, born in 1960s New York to a dysfunctional and abusive family, whose passion for basketball leads to a lifelong journey of adventure, setbacks, and finally triumph.

    What We Liked

    SECONDARY BREAK offers a fascinating glimpse into the life story of Marvin Gaye Williams, who was born in 1960s New York into an abusive family and quickly found escape in his passion for basketball. Marvin's talent for the game leads to many opportunities, some of which are squandered by Marvin's youthful impulses and ignorance, until all comes out well in the end as Marvin's son continues the journey Marvin started. This is a book that not only sports fan will enjoy but everyone interested in trying to understand the difficulties faced by young African American men in a white society where opportunities are scarce and generational trauma continually threatens to drag the next generation beneath its painful depths. Marvin's passion for basketball is like a balm for the soul as he continues fighting, first to make it as a basketball player hoping to play in the NBA, and following that to be a great father to his son in a way he himself never experienced from his own father. This is a tender, touching story not only about basketball but also about fatherhood, racism, poverty, and the light inside each of us that never dies and always urges us toward a better life.

    Film: Basketball films are a genre to themselves, and a highly popular one that never seems to fade away. Because of this, an adaptation of SECONDARY BREAK could easily become the next big basketball film which audiences flock to see. While the film may be marketed as a sports film, word of mouth will naturally lead to a bigger viewership as audiences realize the depth to this story that encompasses everything from fatherhood to racism, police brutality, poverty and desperation in modern America. Ultimately, this is a story about one man's passion for basketball and how that passion carried Marvin through the storms in his life, allowing him to come out the other side as a loving and proud father to his NBA-player son. It's a timeless tale that a universal, global audience can relate to, and could be an awards contenders as well.

    TV: Because the story follows Marvin's life from birth until Marvin is a 60-year-old father of an NBA player, a TV series could be an excellent format for adaptation of SECONDARY BREAK. It could potentially follow a breezy, comedic, episodic approach, such as the biographical EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS, or a more dramatic, serial approach, or even a limited series. Marvin's life takes him to many places in the US and many interesting careers, such as Marvin's four-year stint in the Navy where he nonetheless plays basketball frequently as part of the ship's team. There are a multitude of people in Marvin's life who could become series regulars and no shortage of guest stars, while the potential for subplots is similarly vast. Structurally, seasons could each follow an epoch in Marvin's life, culminating in Marvin's son's successes as an NBA player when Marvin is a proud NBA dad.

    Key points:
    1) A fascinating glimpse into the game of basketball from the ground up
    2) Not just a sports movie -- at its heart, this is a deeply moving drama about life in modern America
    3) Tonally diverse: simultaneously moving, uplifting, funny, tragic, exciting, thrilling, frightening
    4) Could be adapted cheaply if necessary
    5) A timeless tale that a universal, global audience can relate to


    Brooklyn, NY, 1964: Marvin Gaye Williams is born, one of eight children into a Black family. They live in a brownstone, apartments on each floor and every family knows every other family, including a Muslim family and a karate teacher who trained under Chuck Norris. The community watches out for one another. Pigeon wars: Marvin and his father trained homing pigeons to return to their blue coop. Other rooftops had different colored coops and various owners would try to get their “smarter” pigeons to fly home, bringing someone else’s pigeons along with them. Growing up, the family did not open up to one another emotionally; Marvin saw the result of issues without ever understanding the cause. Father, while not educated, was the smartest man Marvin ever knew with a PhD in street-smarts, a jack-of-all-trades. Marvin’s mother’s family were from North Carolina and whenever Marvin and the family would visit those relatives in the Deep South, Marvin was always horrified by the increased racism from white people towards Black people down there.

    In 1971, at 7 years old, Marvin began to understand about the gangs that controlled the streets. Back then, despite territorial disputes and violence, gangs followed a code. Marvin’s friend Tony had an uncle who was in a gang, and like many gang members, Tony’s uncle was very poor. One day Marvin and his father went to check on Tony. Marvin’s father asked Tony if he had food and Tony said he did have food but when Marvin checked the cupboards, he found only cans of cheap dog food—and Tony’s uncle did not have a dog. This was the moment Marvin learned what real poverty looks like.

    One day, an elderly white woman hired a young Black man to clean her basement, then seemed to forget she had hired him and called the police, afraid of the noises coming from the basement. The police arrived and shot the kid to death. Riots in the community ensues and continued until the Black Panther Party became involved and ensured that justice was served: the woman was arrested. The Black Panther Party also organized the summer lunch program that ensured poor kids from almost every NYC neighborhood could eat during the summer holidays; Marvin believes this may have kept his friend Montgomery alive. Montgomery cares for his younger siblings, and Marvin never saw Montgomery’s mother. A talented basketball player, Montgomery taught Marvin to play—the start of a lifelong passion for the game for Marvin. It was an escape for Marvin from his home life which saw his drunk parents fight often, sometimes violently. Sometimes Marvin would have to stay with an aunt to get away from it. Sometimes the police were called by neighbors. Basketball kept Marvin away from the street gangs, which he sometimes saw waging battles on the streets with weapons.

    In 1972, Marvin’s family moves from Legion Street to Flatbush and Rogers, a more peaceful area of Brooklyn. There he meets new friends and plays handball and basketball with them, each sport adding to Marvin’s skills at the other. Marvin would often ditch school and get the bus to Manhattan with his bus pass. Manhattan then was full of pimps and prostitutes. Marvin’s father would often beat Marvin as punishment, including for skipping school. Then one day Marvin is told the family are moving to North Carolina.

    In 1974, Marvin’s family (except for his father as his parents were separating) move in with Marvin’s grandparents in Wallace, NC. Shortly after, Marvin’s grandfather dies. Packed house: mom, six kids, two aunts, grandmother, and sometimes an uncle, too. The grandmother is abusive and enjoys watching Marvin get paddled as punishment at school (as an adult from the family must witness the punishment). Marvin’s uncle, other relatives and even neighbors also paddled him often. The frequent punishments were a result of the Black people’s fears of being embarrassed in front of while folks.

    In NC, God was everywhere. Marvin went to church seven days per week (in NY, he never went), sometimes again at night, and most of the whole day on Sundays—the only day in the week when Marvin did not have to crop tobacco. Cropping tobacco was poor money to begin with but Marvin’s mother would take his earnings and spend it as she saw fit, and while cropping Marvin was only fed crackers and a Coke—Marvin views this experience as akin to slavery. Basketball became Marvin’s escape from everything else. Eventually, Marvin’s father moved to Wallace and that’s when the real violence began. Every night Marvin’s parents would drink and fight, and sometimes Marvin ended up in hospital as a result.

    Summer, 1977: Whenever he had time away from the tobacco fields, Marvin would go to Wilmington, NC, to compete in basketball tournaments against bigger city school kids. During this summer Marvin became friends with future NBA players, Kenny Gattison, Clyde Simmons, Buzz Peterson, Larry Jordan, and Michael Jordan. Marvin’s first year of high school sees his game improve playing against so many bigger teams. One day his father is told how good Marvin is, and goes to see Marvin play for the first time. Marvin is excited and proud to see his father watching the game.

    1980: Marvin is excited by watching Michael Jordan play. By now, Michael is one of the top ten young basketball players in the country and the talk of the community. Marvin’s dream is to go to college and make something of his life but he is not sure he can do it. His coach believes that Marvin can do it and this fills Marvin with hope. Marvin gets scholarship offers but doesn’t take them and instead goes to live with his aunt in New York, where he continues to play basketball. There, people watch Marvin play every night and one man offers Marvin the chance to play in the legendary Rucker League of NY, which Marvins accepts.

    One day Marvin’s cousin approaches him about doing a robbery of a sneaker store. They commit the robbery but Marvin’s addict cousin takes off with the cash, so, later Marvin beats him up, causing his aunt to call Marvin’s parents. They drive all the way up to NY to collect Marvin, and Marvin’s father beats him. They take Marvin back to North Carolina. In September, 1983, Marvin enlists in the US Navy, hoping to still play basketball there while earning money and getting away from North Carolina and the violence.

    Marvin goes through 16 weeks of hellish training in Orlando, Florida, with 149 other male enlistees. For the first 8 weeks of training, no communication is allowed to anyone outside the military unit. One day the enlistees are tested to either float or swim, jumping off a 20-foot platform into the pool below. Marvin, unable to swim or float, refuses to jump until his CO climbs up the ladder after him. Marvin jumps and is rescued by the scuba divers in the pool. The CO gives Marvin three days to learn to float for two minutes or he will be discharged and sent home. Finally, on the last day, Marvin at last learns how to float just in time, and graduates boot camp.

    Marvin is sent to San Diego, California, after boot camp and immediately is shipped off for a six-month deployment. On the ship, the crew assembles a basketball team with Marvin as one of the best players. They play games against the crews of other ships, winning the first season 82-2. The crew stops in Bremerton, Washington, for a year for repairs and Marvin gets an apartment there, playing basketball games with ship’s crew versus local teams. Marvin falls in love with a local girl named Andrea but he is secretly engaged to a girl from back home. Eventually, Marvin tells Andrea the truth about his situation and is promptly confronted by Andrea’s furious mother. Marvin makes amends by calling off his engagement and committing to Andrea. Then Andrea tells Marvin that she is pregnant with his child. Marvin is thrilled but is leaving for San Diego soon on the ship. He asks Andrea to marry him so that she would receive the best medical care with his benefits. They marry in a small ceremony and, later, after having left for San Diego, Marvin receives a telegraph stating that his son, Marvin Gaye Williams Jr., was born on Father’s Day, June 19, 1986.

    One day three years into service, Marvin’s chief tells him he’s so good at basketball he should be playing for a college team rather than being in the Navy. The captain calls in favors, calling up Washington DC, and manages to get Marvin off his Navy contract. Marvin is offered a scholarship with Arizona State and his wife and child will be allowed come live with him on campus. But Andrea refuses to leave Bremerton where her family live, so Marvin takes a scholarship with Olympic College in Bremerton instead. The marriage begins to get rocky with Marvin living in Bremerton. There is little money and Marvin plays basketball all the time. He is in a bad mood constantly and he and Andrea argue. During one such argument, Andrea is holding their son and Marvin has a flash of watching his own parents argue as a child. By the end of Marvin’s first year at college, he and Andrea get divorced.

    After college, Marvin lives near Western Washington University where he trains. The assistant basketball coach is a white woman named Cathy who is as fanatical about basketball as Marvin is. They end up dating and will remain in a relationship for ten years. Cathy’s family are wealthy and her grandmother does not like Catchy dating a Black man; Marvin must not be seen by the grandmother. Marvin does an NBA tryout and gets all the way to the final hurdle before he is called that night and told that the NBA are choosing another play over him. This happens again two years later when Marvin is 26. After this second close call, Marvin decides to leave his NBA dreams behind and do something else with his life.

    Marvin ends up drinking alcohol to replace basketball, so much so that Cathy is very worried about him. Cathy takes a job coaching girls’ basketball at Bellevue High School and asks Marvin to be the assistant coach. This ends up saving Marvin’s life and gets him off the alcohol. Marvin and Cathy become involved with Seattle Magic, a program that helps get elite female basketball players college scholarships founded by an investment banker named Jim Webster.

    On New Year’s Eve, 2000, Marvin is pulled over by police despite assuring them he is not drink-driving. Marvin refuses to cooperate with the police, fighting them instead, and is arrested. This sets off a bad reputation leading to Marvin’s firing from his job and being looked down upon by the community. Encouraged by Cathy, Marvin hires an attorney to fight the case and over a year later Marvin wins the case, the charges are wiped, and his reputation is restored.

    In 2004, Marvin Jr. decides to attend the University of North Carolina where he will be coached by Roy Williams, who is Marvin Jr.’s biggest fan. UNC, with Marvin, ends up winning the championship, and Marvin is drafted into the NBA, playing for the Atlanta Hawks. One day, Marvin’s father goes with Marvin to watch his grandson play for the Atlanta Hawks. On his deathbed in 2006, Marvin’s father tells Marvin that he did right by his father, that he is proud of Marvin.

    In 2014, Marvin joins the Charlotte Hornets, the team owned by his father’s old friend and idol, Michael Jordan.

    About The Author

    Marvin Williams Sr. is a member of The Fathers and Men of Professional Basketball Players organization, a group dedicated to improving fathers and families in need, and has been featured on TNT Sports, CBS Sports, and FOX Sports Southeast. Marvin has coached high school and college basketball teams for over thirty years. He resides in Charlotte, NC, with his son and granddaughters.