Alfonso Ball
Last year

Good basketball documentaries.

I think that the first basketball documentary I ever watched was probably Hoop Dreams when it came out on video. Actually it may have been that The Tigers Tale on channel ten back in the day at the end of a Mitsubishi Challenge season. I watched that again on YouTube a few years ago after I heard Lanard Copeland mention it on a YouTube video at a Sydney Kings training session - its totally worth a rewatch. I also rewatched Title Town about the 36ers in the 90s a few years ago. Anyway I like me a good basketball doco and I have seen a few so I thought I would start a thread about them and tell you guys some of my favourite ones and maybe you can tell me about some I might have missed.

The first one I want to mention is the HBO Documentaries: Perfect Upset: Villanova vs Georgetown which is about the 1985 NCAA Championship when underdogs Villanovan defeated Patrick Ewing's Georgetown - its a great doco and I especially enjoyed it because I am a Sydney Kings fan and a big Dwayne McClain fan. Its so cool to see the D-Train getting it over Patrick Ewing and I don't think its just Kings fans that can appreciate that but any NBL fan. But even if you have never heard of the D-Train, Perfect Upset is a great basketball doco and if you missed it then I suggest you watch it on YouTube next time you want to kill an hour.

Another really good basketball doco you should watch if you missed it is This Magic Moment about Shaq and Penny when they were at the Orlando Magic. I remember getting my dad to drive me and a couple of friends to the cinema to watch Blue Chips when it came out and watching the This Magic Moment doco made me feel nostalgic and remember how big the Shaq-Penny duo was back in the day - and how awesome. I kind of forgot how great Penny was and how much I liked him - and the doco made me feel kind of sad about how things turned out for Penny and it makes you think how hard it would have been for him watching Shaq have success with Kobe at the Lakers. Anyway - its good - its an ESPN 30-30.

Another ESPN 30-30 that is good is Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs the New York Knicks. I used to love Reggie Miller back in the day and I never really liked Ewing and the Knicks. My favourite NBA Finals series is the 1994 Finals and I was cheering for the Rockets. Remember that Finals series? It was the best. "OOOOOoooooooooTIiiiiiiiissss! .... Otis Thorpe." That was the best. Those were the days. But yeah Winning Time is kind of about how some of the best rivalries in basketball - like Knicks vs Hicks - have nothing to do with championships. Well, Eastern Conference Championships sometimes. Its also kind of about how Patrick Ewing is such a loser.

Another great basketball doco is Patrick Ewing - Standing Tall.. Just kidding. It is pretty funny though. It ends on kind of a downer. Spoiler - Ewing never won and NBA Championship for the Knicks. Its on YouTube.

Still on Patrick Ewing - the doco Requiem for the Big East is a great 30 for 30 about the Big East NCAA conference. Ewing did have a lot to do with the rise of the conference. Its a very interesting doco that anyone interested in basketball history will enjoy. Talks about how the rise of ESPN is linked to rise of Big East, importance of the Big East coaches. Ewing's tough Georgetown teams. Its a really good basketball doco.

Jordan Rides the Bus is really good. I really liked this doco because I always thought of Jordan as a supremely arrogant guy and when it comes to basketball he is and for good reason - and it was probably arrogant of him to think that he could make it to the show in baseball - but after watching Jordan Rides the Bus I have a totally different opinion of Jordan. The doco is pretty much about how Jordan committed himself to be essentially a nobody on a minor league baseball team and how he was a good teammate that worked hard and didn't want any special treatment even though he was Michael Jordan. Jordan may not have been as successful as Dion Sanders or Bo Jackson at playing two pro sports ( Sanders and Jackson 30-30s are excellent by the way ) but he was no joke as a baseball player and if he had tried baseball earlier or stuck with it longer he probably would have made an MLB roster apparently. Anyway - Jordan riding a bus - its really interesting and I like Jordan a lot more after watching that doco.

Another excellent basketball 30-30 is Free Spirits which is about the Spirits of St Louis ABA team and the ABA/ABA-NBA merger. Its a really interesting doco. The team kind of reminded me of the Flint Michigan Tropics from Semi-Pro. Its another interesting basketball doco for anyone interested in basketball history - and Marvin 'Bad News' Barnes vs Dr. J. If you don't have access to ESPN 30-30s then watch Longshots - The Life and Times of American Basketball which is another good ABA doco - its on YouTube.

Another couple 30-30s I would mention are When the Garden was Eden which is about the Knicks championship teams of the 70s - great doco if you can stand Michael Rapaport. Bad Boys about the Detroit Pistons Bad Boys days. And recently I caught the Rodman 30-30 which is absolutely hilarious and pretty interesting.

If its an ESPN 30-30 basketball doco I have probably seen it - Benji, Without Bias, Playing for the Mob, Bernie and Ernie, Survive and Advance etc - all worth watching. But can you guys think of any basketball docos that you would recommend to me? Has anyone seen the Hoop Dreams sequel Hoop Reality? I didn't even know that existed until the other night when I heard it mentioned in the sbnation Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook beef YouTube video ( all those sbnation basketball beef YouTube videos are worth a watch if you haven't already ). I can't find Hoop Reality online anywhere to watch - is it worth buying? And has anyone seen that Seton Hall Andrew Gaze doco? What's that called again? I have a feeling I watched it because I remember ... yeah I think I have seen it - I remember Gaze being interviewed about how he was basically the first one and done guy in the NCAA and he answers that yeah it would be stupid to say that he wasn't there for basketball. And the bad call by the ref at the end of that game. Yeah what's that called again? I gotta watch that again. Or am I remembering an article/articles I have read about it? What is the Andrew Gaze Seton Hall ESPN doco called and where can I get it?

But yeah what else?

Topic #46110 | Report this topic

Last year

tl;dr version - ESPN's "30 for 30" documentary series has basketball-themed episodes!

It's called Gaze, Ramos and The Pirates:!14937/season-special!14938

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Uncle Bol  
Last year

I liked the Guru of Go, its a 30 for 30

Reply #769026 | Report this post

Last year

A Courtship of Rivals which is about the rivalry between the Lakers and Celtics and particularly Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, is an amazing documentary

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Last year

A Courtship of Rivals is undoubtedly of of the top basketball/sport documentaries. Larry and Magic saved the NBA in the 70's and 80's.

Reply #769031 | Report this post

Last year

Ben Simmons One and Done

Reply #769032 | Report this post

Last year

Linsanity Documentary

Reply #769033 | Report this post

Last year

Shut Up and Dribble.

Reply #769034 | Report this post

Last year

Rodman 30 for 30 special. Felt sorry for him before even more so after watching that.

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Last year

Bowling for Columbine

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Last year

Once Brothers - about the broken relationships between Serbian and Croatian players (Vlade Divac and Drazen Petrovic in particular) when Yugolslavia broke up.

Also 'The Other Dream' team about the Lithuanian national team, centred on their 1992 Olympics campaign. Some good context about what it was like for the players to live in the Soviet era.

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Last year

A good Jordan doco space jam the untold adventures of Jordan

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Last year

Once Brothers is brilliant. Without Bias is another one that is stunning. The ultimate cautionary tale of the 80s and the cocaine culture that destroyed a young man who could have been the next Michael Jordan, only bigger and stronger. Len Bias at Maryland was almost beyond belief. Then he gets drafted by the Celtics, just coming off a championship and with Larry Bird the reigning three-time MVP. But cocaine killed him that very night. He's one of the great 'what if’ stories.

Reply #769048 | Report this post

Last year

My favourites were
- Once Brothers, because I loved watching Petrovic
- Guru of Go, because I loved playing that up-tempo style
- Gaze, Ramos and the Pirates, because Seton Hall when he played was what turned me on to NCAA
- The Association, about the Boston Celtics, because it was on when I was in Boston for my first live NBA game

Reply #769050 | Report this post

Last year

I still hate Christian Laettner was interesting
Good doco on Michigan Fab 5 and their payments
I enjoyed one on a Vancouver girl trying to locate Bryant Big Country Reeves...Where is Big Country or something.

I like ones that follow lesser known players.

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Last year

Ah...Hoop Dreams anyone.

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Last year

Along Came Polly, was based on a true story.

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Last year

The Dirk one is great

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Last year

Hooked - The Legend of Demetrius Hook Mitchell.
One of the best, certainly an opportunity wasted.

Also, not strictly a doco but a film you must see is:

Rebound: The Legend of Earl "The GOAT" Manigault
Once he retired, Kareem rated this guy the best he's ever seen, played with or against so pretty good company there.

Reply #769295 | Report this post

Last year

Thought of another one!

"Gunnin' For That #1 Spot"

directed by the late Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys), features a number of players we know today when they were in High School circa 2008.

Reply #769297 | Report this post

Last year

There is a great one on Netflix at the moment called Basketball or Nothing.

"Follow the Chinle High basketball team in Arizona's Navajo Nation on a quest to win a state championship and bring pride to their isolated community."

Reply #769302 | Report this post

Last year

I thought the best documentaries were:
A courtship of rivals (Magic and Bird)
Once Brothers
Dream Team documentary
Winning Time
Celtics vs Lakers (about 3 hours long)

Another good one was Going Big about Sam Bowie and his story. I never realised he was as good as he was at Kentucky before his horrific leg injury. He even dominated Olajuwon in college- no mean feat!

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Last year

Oh.. and the ESPN 30 for 30 Bad Boys was awesome too!

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Melbourne Boy  
Last year

30 for 30 - Guru of Go

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Last year

Basketball A Love Story

Reply #769676 | Report this post

Last year

I didn't find Gunnin' for that #1 Spot very impressive, more just a behind the scenes tour at the HS All-Star games and some interviews with the kids than a real story-telling doco.

The Heart of the Game is about a HS girls' team in Seattle and is quite good.

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