More than a Game
When they were young kids they played basketball all day everyday. Some of them took it as seriously as a job, spending up to eight hours or more a day out on the court. Those who made the sacrifice to get to the park early in the morning benefited because there were few players and they got the chance to hone in on their skills. A few hours later there could be up to 50 players and then the games would get more heated.
They describe spending hours on the court as an amazing feeling of relief and joy. With the boom box hanging from the fence, these young me showed off their skills as they competed informally with each other. For them, it was much more than a game; it was a lifestyle that took many of them all the way to the NBA where they became legends.
This is where it all started. They spent hours on the playground perfecting their skills, completely focused on being the best and beating the other guy. For them it was like getting high on something; they had become unstoppable. They polished theirs talents while playing in tough conditions like falling on glass or getting knocked down on the hard pavement.
Years before, kids played a number of sports, but in the early 90s when this documentary was filmed, it seemed like the focus was only on basketball. According to those who grew up in the city, if there was one thing you learned to appreciate it was your basketball court. Kids would spend their hard earned summer money on buying nets and rims for their local court.
One of the problems faced was when the players were in relationships and the women didn’t understand their passion or appreciate the game. The women only saw that it meant their men weren’t spending enough time with them.
Once on the court, these young men became totally different persons. They could have just walked out of a restaurant together, but once they got picked for opposite teams, the friendship was put on hold and they waged war against each other until the game was over because losing was just unacceptable.
Old timers remember that before there was a lot of honor involved in playground basketball, which led to a lot of respect for one another. The game was a matter of survival and of escaping the harsh realities they had to face everyday.
If you love basketball, this is a documentary you’ve got to watch.