Charly Palmer's picture book 'The Legend of Gravity' is a loving tribute to streetball

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The Legend of Gravity: A Talll Basketball Tale. Written and illustrated by Charly Palmer.
The Legend of Gravity: A Talll Basketball Tale. Written and illustrated by Charly Palmer.

Artist and Custer High School grad Charly Palmer celebrates playground and pickup basketball in "The Legend of Gravity: A Tall Basketball Tale" (FSG), his first picture book for children.

In this loving tribute to streetball set in Milwaukee, a new kid walks onto the Hillside blacktop courts with prodigious basketball skills. The other Eagles dub him Gravity, as in defying same. How amazing is this Paul Bunyanesque character? "Gravity once jumped so high that we were able to go out for ice cream before he came down."

With Gravity on their side, Liquid, Left 2 Right, Sky High and the other Eagles storm their way to the finals of the Best of the Best basketball tourney, against the formidable East Side Flyers: "From Parklawn to Westlawn, Garfield Park to Mayflower Court, the Flyers were the best b-ball players in the whole city."

Does Gravity have one more titanic performance left in him? Or might he have a different kind of message for his teammates?

Artist and Custer HIgh School grad Charley Palmer has a new picture book for children: "The Legend of Gravity: A Tall Basketball Tale."
Artist and Custer HIgh School grad Charley Palmer has a new picture book for children: "The Legend of Gravity: A Tall Basketball Tale."

Born in Alabama, Palmer moved with his family to Milwaukee in 1964 at age 4. An artist from an early age, he studied at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Now based in Atlanta, he's painted commissioned works for Time magazine and John Legend, and for the suites and club levels at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

In a note at the end of his book, Palmer praises streetball legends he's known and played with, including Richard "Deep Water" Brown and Albert "Spoony" Hall.

"The Legend of Gravity" is aimed at readers 4 to 8 years old and the people who read to them.

Contact Jim Higgins at jim.higgins@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jhiggy.

MORE: Time magazine turns to Custer High alum Charly Palmer for cover of special issue on racial injustice

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Charly Palmer's 'The Legend of Gravity' a loving tribute to streetball

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