Kristopher Belma’s well-edited documentary follows the incredible 9-year journey of five Ohio basketball
players known as “The Fab Five,” among whom is the future NBA superstar LeBron James. When the
regular coach moves on to a bigger school Dru Joyce II, a former businessman and not at all a professional coach, accepts the job. He had been an ardent supporter of his under-sized son Dru III, who possessed an incredible shooting skill, sinking balls far out from the basket.
Four boys have played basketball together in Akron, Ohio from the sixth grade, when they are joined in high school by transplanted Chicagoan James LeBron The five play so well together that they lead their team to a national championship, and LeBron James becomes a nationally acclaimed athlete.
The director has assembled interviews, newsreel footage, home videos and photographs into a seamless film that should appeal not just to basketball fans but to anyone interested in the small and improbable winning out over great odds. We see the importance of teamwork and the familiar struggle of the ghetto dweller to leave his former squalor behind as his athletic skills are rewarded. For such folk basketball is indeed more than just a game.
1. How does this film compare with Hoop Dreams or other sports film in which the characters are members of a minority?
2. What do see as the significance of the title? How are sports and entertainment the gateway for many people to gain “the American dream” ?
3. At what points do we see that faith is important to the participants?