Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Airball: My Life in Briefs” as Want to Read:
Airball: My Life in Briefs
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Airball: My Life in Briefs

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  270 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Kirby Nickel loves basketball. He loves watching basketball. He loves talking about basketball. The only problem is he can't play basketball. But coach has a plan for Kirby and the supremely untalented seventh-grade team. It involves the guys playing nearly naked -- only in their briefs. Maybe the so-called Stealth Sportswear (think: The Emperor's New Clothes) will really
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Roaring Brook Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  270 ratings  ·  69 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Airball: My Life in Briefs
Garrett Gaudin
Kirby has always loved basketball. He was just never the athlete some other kids are and he can't play basketball. But when McNet McGrew's jersey is being retired the basketball team is invited to the ceremony to help. Kirby is a big fan of McGrew and needs to make the basketball team so he can see him. Not only does Kirby want to see McGrew because of the way he plays basketball but Kirby might also be McGrew's son. Will he be able to make the basketball team to see McGrew or will he just shoot ...more
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think the theme is to always work hard no matter what
James Kluth
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
In the story there is a kid named Kirby Nickel and he loves basketball, loves watching it, and loves talking about it. It takes place in Kansas. So, Kirby has a problem, he can’t play ball and he doesn’t want to try out for the team to humiliate himself in front of everyone. Then we was at a practice and the coach said that the Kansas University will retire a famous basketball player’s jersey, and his name is Brett “McNet” McGrew. Since Kirby’s seventh grade basketball team will be part of this ...more
Shawn Camp
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great book for young kids getting into basketball. My son(9) and I read this together and he enjoyed it that at times he read ahead of me but insisted we go back to where we left off together every time.
Simona Maurice
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Funny!! I could totally see this being successful as a Disney movie. Lol! It has the same kind of vibe as I have a Bad Feeling about This
Peyton Murphy
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book about the park being awesome.
Abdullah Alhashimi
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Alhashimi, Abdullah
English 10A 8th
Ms. Kim
4 November 2016
“Airball: My Life in Briefs” by LD. Harkrader is a funny, puzzle-like book that will be taken to another level no other book has been taken to. The main character, Kirby Nickle, who is a captain of the 7th-grade basketball team was told by his fearless coach, that if their season goes well, they would get to meet an all-time NBA basketball player, Brent McGrew, that played in Kirby’s town. Problems occurred however when the whole team,
Tranna Foley
Jun 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: hickman
From Destiny Library record, "Uncoordinated Kansas seventh-grader Kirby Nickel braves his coach's ire and becomes captain of the basketball team in order to help him prove that NBA star Brett McGrew is the father he has never known."

This would be a good book to recommend to boys (especially those who need a lower reading level, but high interest). The ending is predictable and happy, but you want it to be that way! :-) Some humor in the story, but not laugh-out-loud.

Review from Publishers
Nia Tucker
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Who would've thought that killing two birds with one stone could be taken so literally? A seventh grade boy named Kirby Nickel is a lover of basketball, lives in Stuckey, Kansas, which is also know as "The Basketball Capital of Kansas" where basketball is very well appreciated. All his life basketball is practically all he knows. His cousin encourages Kirby to play basketball but Kirby just doesn't want to risk the chance of humiliation and rather watch from the stands. However, one day while he ...more
Jean Marie
Apr 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Personal Reaction-I enjoyed this book because while reading this book I really wanted Kirby who was a great down to earth kid, find his dad. It was also great to see Kirby accomplish so much in just a basketball season. At times I have been put in the same situation as Kirby and have had to step up as a team captain even when I have not necessarily wanted too. I really liked how he showed his commitment to his team and having to make decisions even when they were tough decisions to make. Also, ...more
Apr 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Personal reaction – I enjoyed this book I thought it was humorous and kept the reader on their toes. I thought the theme of the book was an important message that hard work pays off. It teaches you a good life lesson that if you practice enough you will become better at what you do. As the main character Kirby is at first really bad at basketball but as the book progresses his work ethic starts to transform his game and he begins to gain confidence in himself.
Read aloud- This book
Oct 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sports; boys
DP description ----- Uncoordinated Kansas seventh-grader Kirby Nickel braves his coach's ire and becomes captain of the basketball team in order to help him prove that NBA star Brett McGrew is the father he has never known.

From School Library JournalGrade 5-7–Airball is a quirky combination of The Mighty Ducks meets Captain Underpants with a sideline story involving the search for a biological father. An untalented group of seventh-grade boys gets the chance to meet its small Kansas town's
Zahava Davis
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Personal Response:
I loved how much I could relate to this book! The references and connections to Kansas, specifically Lawrence and the KU basketball team, made it so much more enjoyable to read. The main character, Kirby, is also a very dorky and sweet kid that many people, including myself can relate to. He struggles with family issues and peer issues that many student go through, and it is addressed in such an appropriate and not blunt way.
Read aloud- This realistic fiction has a
Cameron Clark
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: airball
Author: L.D. Harkrader
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Page numbers: 198
Genre: fictional

In the basketball Capitol of Kansas lives a kid named Kirby Nickel and he loves everything to do with basketball but his only problem is that he can't play it. He is small and uncoordinated in every way that involves basketball but he learns that a pro basketball player is coming to town and meeting the 7th grade basketball team at a jay hawks game and retiring his jersey#5 but eventually he
Sarah Holland
Apr 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
Personal Response: I personally did not enjoy this book. It was was not interesting and too focused on the basketball concept to me. I found it rather dull and unrelatable. Although I did not enjoy this book, younger readers may appreciate it more because it has some humor tied into a serious tale of a young boy searching for his father.

-read independently: Some students can relate to not having a father or not having a parent in general. Kirby's endless pursuit of discovering who is dad
Gracie Larcher
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Overall, I enjoyed reading Airball: My Life in Briefs. I found it to be a cute story with a great ending. It is definitely a book I would recommend to students.

Airball: My Life in Briefs, tells a story about a young boy named Kirby. I think a lot of students would enjoy this book because they could really find themselves identifying with Kirby. Whether it be in terms of not being skilled in sports, or not having the typical American family. Kirby tells his story in a slightly humorous way,
Nick Honor
Mar 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Airball by L.D. Harkrader was a very interesting book which related reality even though this is a non fiction book. As Kirby Nickel tries out for an important basketball team, he realizes that he easily made it but he also notices that there are some things to lose in this great opportunity. I connected with this book because I am a basketball player and have tried out for a team before.

"I can't go out here like this." (Harkrader 98). This quote explains one of the trials that Kirby has to go
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Middle Schoolers
Recommended to Miguel by: Ms.Lewis
Shelves: best-book-ever
6/4/10 By:Miguel Lopez Grade:7th Group:4

When i first picked up this book I thought it was going to be horrible just by the fact that I had to read it and give a book report and heck was I wrong.

In the first part of this book you learn about Kirby Nickel, a kid with a problem. You see he stinks at basketball and the worst part of that is he lives in Stuckey, Kansas a basketball loving town home to the basketball star Brett McGrew who he claims to be his father.

As the story continues, he finds
Allison DeMeo
Personal Reaction: I honestly thought this book was "cool". I thought it was awesome to relate to KU and our basketball team. This is such a good read and it gives you few laughs as well. This book kept me on my toes the entire time because I was so curious who his real father was!
Purpose: I would have my students read this independently because I feel like only certain students would enjoy this book, especially those who know they are adopted. This book is relatable to many students because the
Jennifer Lanman
This book was interesting and had a good plot. There was a turn at the end that was unpredictable but made it a happy ending. I could imagine it really happening and especially since there was a lot of information on Allen Fieldhouse and the Jayhawks. This can be used for students in 5th-6th grade. The theme of the story would make a great use of teaching story plot specifically theme. You can also use this if you were trying to teach your students about team work and working together always ...more
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Personal Reaction- Loved this book! I love basketball and, again, having a young boy as the main character is also a plus. A very touching story as well because Kirby, the main character, has the chance to meet his dad. Would read this book/other books from this author again.

Purposes- A good book for 5th-6th graders. Kirby gets the opportunity to play basketball and also the opportunity to meet his dad. This book could be a good book to use when talking to students who do not have one of their
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Silly little girls
Recommended to Andy by: Texas Lonestar List
The beginning of this book was inspiring. Harkrader had a decent idea to work with: a kid wants to find his biological dad, and he has a good idea who it might be already. The inspiring part: I liked her sentence structure and her paragraphs, but very quickly the dialogue bogged it all down. Something wasn't right. I stopped reading, checked the dust jacket, and discovered that the author only used her initials. I read the Library of Congress info (because I'm cool like that) and it listed HER ...more
May 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Jack Hegarty 198 pages

Kirby Nickel loves basketball. He knows every stat of every player and can talk about basketball all day long. The only problem is that he can't play basketball. Brett McGrew, an NBA star that comes from the town that Kirby lives in, will meet Kirby's middle school team if they can win their first game. Kirby tries out for the team just to meet Brett McGrew and makes it because the rest of the team is just as bad as Kirby. When Coach comes up with new Stealth Uniforms, the
May 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is the second of 15 SSYRA books for 6th to 8th grade that I've read. Despite the fact that the twist ending was (to use the language of basketball) "telegraphed" a good 100 pages before it occured, I found this to be a very enjoyable book. Kirby is in 7th grade and loves everything about basketball but has no natural skill for the game. He lives with his grandmother and has never been told who his birth father is. Through a series of events, he becomes convinced that his father is Brett ...more
Jul 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Reader by: A 2009-2010 Sunshine State Book for Grades 6-8
A 2009-2010 Sunshine State Book for Grades 6-8.

While this story was a little slow at times, I enjoyed the moral of the story. I think boys with dreams of playing in the NBA will enjoy reading this book. Sometimes, our dreams are bigger than our bodies physically allow, but its the determination and belief in ourselves that make the chase feel possible - even probable - and the pain worthwhile. We may not always succeed in pursuing our dreams but on the path of trying we find there's more to
Nov 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, sports
Even though I'm well past the intended age range for this one, I still really enjoyed it. It was well written, a compelling story, and I'm always a sucker for a good basketball book. What sold me on reading it in the first place was this line from an interview with the author:

Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I wanted to be an artist and a spy. My plan was to own an art supply store, which would make a great cover for my spying activities, and when I wasn't spying, I could sit at
Jan 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
I like this the book because it is a unique, fun book. The team had a different, but weird strategy to win their games by only wearing underpants to play better. Also it has a surprising ending to the book. The kid, Kerby Neckel,thinks his dad is Brett McCrew the NBA star from his home town. He actually finds out that he misthaught all the eveidence.
This is a good book for people who like sports, espeacialy basketball. Also for people who like suprises at the end. I give my rating of this book
Amy Brown
Apr 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Kirby loves basketball but he's not a good athlete. In fact he wasn't even going to try out for the seventh grade basketball team until he realized that the team was going to be at a special even for famed local basketball hero Brett McGrew, who Kirby thinks is actually his father. Kirby's baskeball team is awful but through a series of events including the introduction of stealth uniforms (a.k.a. invisible uniforms), Kirby's team starts to work together. Playing in their underwear creates team ...more
Sandra Stiles
Jul 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kirby Nikel loves basketball. However he can’t play basketball. Kirby joins the basketball team when he learns their seventh grade team will get to meet his idol and former school alumni, Brett McGrew. This meeting is very important because Kirby is sure that he has all the clues to prove that Brett McGrew is his father. The one thing that stands in his way is the school board. They have informed the coach that there will be no team or meeting Brett McGrew if the team can’t win the first game of ...more
Christian Sam
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Airball, by L.D. Harkrader is a great book I think for children who loves sports whether you play sports or not. Kirby Nickel is a boy who LOVES the game of basketball, but there is one measly problem, he is not very good at it.. at all, to go along with that he is in a basketball rich state, Kansas.

Kirby is small and not very coordinated. Kirby finds out a pro player is coming to town to talk to the 7th grade basketball team at a Jayhawks game to retire his jersey #. What throws a twist into
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Sunny (Track, #3)
  • The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery
  • Double Dribble (Athlete vs. Mathlete, #2)
  • The Lions of Little Rock
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
  • The Tale of Despereaux
  • Ghost (Track, #1)
  • All American Boys
  • The Trembling Years
  • Room One: A Mystery or Two
  • My Friend the Enemy
  • Beyond Cold Blood: The KBI from Ma Barker to BTK
  • Deliver Us From Normal
  • Harlem Summer
  • Monster
  • Seeing Red
  • Three Times Lucky (Mo & Dale Mysteries, #1)
  • The Crossover
See similar books…
“Can't be a hero if you're afraid of looking stupid.” 3 likes
More quotes…