Read this review right through to the end, because The Hoop Doctors will be giving away a free copy of ‘Gunnin’ for that #1 Spot’ to 4 lucky winners that complete a small task described at the end of this post!
Yesterday I finally had the chance to sit down and watch the basketball documentary “Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot”. The 2008 documentary directed by Adam Yauch (founding member of the Beastie Boys) premiered at the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival in April 2008 and opened in theaters June 27, 2008. At the time the film was at Tribeca I was busy traveling, and around the time it was distributed in theater, my local cinema didn’t pick it up. So needless to say i’ve been dying to see it. The great thing for all basketball fans out there, is that iTunes has picked up the rights to distribute the movie directly through their store. One or two clicks, and $9.99 later through iTunes and i’m watching the documentary yesterday on my laptop. Can we say ‘con-ven-ient’! Because i’m a nice guy, here is a link directly to where you can access the movie and download it through iTunes. Just click on the following iTunes button:
For those of you basketball fans that haven’t heard of this movie yet, be ashamed. LOL, nah just kiddin’, i’ll give you a quick synopsis….The documentary follows around 8 of the best players from the first annual Boost Mobile Elite 24 game that took place on September 1, 2006 at the legendary Rucker Park in Harlem. Basically the top 24 high school players in the entire country were invited to play in this game at Rucker. Of those, the 8 best players were followed by a camera crew in the weeks leading up to the big game, and during their time in New York for the game.
What I love about the movie is that it doesn’t just focus on the high flying dunks, and amazing on-court plays (not to worry there is plenty of this), there is also a strong message being made here by the film-makers about the negative impacts that the media and internet based High School Player Ranking Sites have on these rising stars. The film also shines a light on how the competitive nature of big business and particularly the shoe companies have gotten so cut throat, that their grassroots marketing campaigns are starting to target players as young as 8-12 years old. Apparently some of the ranking services have caught onto this trend and have started to produce listings of the top 5th Grade basketball players in a particular state. Who cares who is good when they are in grade 5? A lot can change as people grow and mature!
While the quintessential basketball documentary remains as Hoop Dreams, this film offers something very different. Where Hoop Dreams was very heavy, emotional, and profound, Gunnin’ for the #1 Spot is very light-hearted, fun, and has a lot more star power. Just as predicted by the production team, many of the Elite 24 players chosen for this particular big game at Rucker are currently either millionaires playing in the NBA, playing at Big Division I schools, or playing pro overseas waiting for their shot at the NBA. Since the Elite 24 game doesn’t have age restrictions like the McDonald’s All-American game, there is even a player featured in 2006, Lance “Born Ready” Stephenson, that is still playing High School Ball. The film uses slow-motion clips and hip-hop music weaved in to perfection.
Personally I was most interested in the spots with NBA Stars Michael Beasley of the Miami Heat, and Jerryd Bayless of the Portland Trail Blazers. But if I had to pick one player that I was most excited to learn about and watch play in this film it would have to be California native Brandon Jennings. The kid put on a serious clinic in the game finishing with 15 points and 16 assists at Rucker, and clearly belongs in the NBA. Brandon decided not to attend college before playing in the NBA and is currently playing pro overseas for Lottomatica Roma in the Italian League. It was great seeing a more personal side to Jennings in this film.
The only disappointing thing I can say about this movie is……I can’t find the damn soundtrack. The music was amazing, but for some reason I haven’t seen the soundtrack kickin’ around. If you are reading this and know where I can pick that up, drop me a line.
If you’ve read this review and you still aren’t convinced that you want to see the movie, then check out this movie trailer and then try and tell me you don’t want a behind the scenes look at NBA guys like Michael “Be Easy” Beasley, or High School prodigy Lance “Born Ready” Stephenson:
Okay, okay, okay…..we promised a contest right? Here’s the giveaway….We have 4 copies of the movie Gunnin’ for the #1 Spot to give away through a download on iTunes. The only catch is you must live in the USA to enter since the downloads are for the US iTunes Store. How can you win? You just need to send us an email to (firstname.lastname@example.org) telling us the correct answers to the following four questions about players featured in the movie. If you answer the questions correctly your name will be put into a draw for the free copies of the movie on Wednesday March 25th, 2008.
1. Kevin Love’s dad played in the NBA. What is his name?
2. Brandon Jennings currently has an endorsement deal with what sporting gear company?
3. What College team did Donte Greene play for?
4. What state did Jerryd Bayless play his High School basketball in?