Carroll wrote his autobiographical tales of "growing up hip" on New York's mean streets" between the ages of 12 and 16, from 1962 to 1966. Carroll earned a scholarship to a posh private school (see Trinity Yearbook page) and spent his time playing basketball, stealing, hustling gay men to support his growing heroin addiction, and, during time-outs, writing diaries and poetry. In 1995 TheBasketball Diaries was adapted to film by director Scott Kalvert, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the role of Carroll.The Basketball Diaries has been reissued in English seven times.
The Tombouctou edition (1978) features a black and white photograph of Carroll by Rosemary Klemfuss/Carroll; this edition also features illustrations from clay sculptures by Marc Blane, a four-page introduction by Tom Clark entitled "Rimbaud Rambles On: By Way of a Preface to The Diaries," and an author's note by Carroll.
The Bantam edition (1980) has a different photograph of Carroll and a quotation from Frank Zappa.
The 1987 Penguin edition has the same cover photograph as the Tombouctou edition, but it is colorized. The 1987 Faber & Faber edition (not shown) is available only in the UK; it reprints The Basketball Diaries and prose works from The Book of Nods in one paperback volume. The cover photo is a cropped closeup of the cover photo on the first editions.
The 1995 Penguin edition is a film tie-in, featuring a photograph of Leonardo DiCaprio; this edition was a New York Times best-seller (download PDF). As of 2005, it has been replaced by the 1998 Penguin edition, shown at the top of this page.
The Basketball Diaries is also available as an audio book, read by Carroll. The Audio Literature version of The Basketball Diaries was released in 1994. The Basketball Diaries has also been translated into several languages, including Norwegian, Japanese, Italian, and French.
See also:1978 Tombouctou edition
1980 Bantam edition
1987 Penguin edition
1987 Faber & Faber edition
1995 Penguin edition
1998 Penguin edition
1994 Audio Literature version
The Basketball Diaries Feature section
The Basketball Diaries film
Controversies surrounding the book and film
Characters in The Basketball Diaries
Trinity School yearbook, 1968
Jim Carroll's New York City