So, as a teacher in an inner-city area, might I recommend that your friend looks for fiction books that have protagonists that are people of color? In other words, not just sports books. It can be very beneficial to read books where they are able to more closely associate with the main character, on things that touch issues they are going through or can relate to. There's a lot of research on this and it's pretty interesting, but sad (because of lack of options) topic. Most books that African American students are given to fulfill some kind of "see, we're giving you books about other African Americans," quota, are all biographies about athletes, civil rights leaders, or time pieces on slavery. There's more and better options out there for reading.
And before anyone gets upset - I very much respect and love what your friends have done, and are looking to do. Good on them. I am only offering an alternative suggestion, with zero judgement. I just have a lot of experience and knowledge of this area and its issues.