Um, sorry about the ad. We have no control over that, LMAO.
Over the weekend, Showtime aired a new documentary directed by Ron Howard spotlighting Jay Z and the inaugural Made In America Festival. Above, you can watch it in full, which in addition to interviews and perfomances with Hov, also features Run-DMC, D'Angelo, Jill Scott, Skrillex, Tyler, The Creator, and Pearl Jam.
Plus, there's the ultimate "Mama, I made it!" moment when Jay looks out his old apartment window at the Barclays Center in his hometown of Brooklyn. Top that, everybody else.
Just moments ago, Big Sean released a dope new documentary chronicling the 'Road To Hall of Fame'. The in-depth video goes as far back as 508 days before the album's release earlier this month and centers around the creative process and development of tracks that made and didn't make the album. As you can then imagine, we see some candid studio sessions with the likes of No I.D., Kid Cudi, J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, and Common (whose first reaction to "Fire" was priceless.)
Give this some time and stay tuned through the end for truly a full-circle conclusion that best explains why the album is called Hall of Fame. I appreciate seeing such a close look and insight into an artist creating art and this was a job well done by director Zeno Jones, Sean (who narates it all), and the whole crew.
BONUS: Appreciate the dap from Sean on our new video earlier this week. Check it out below, along with our new GIF of what he mentioned in the tweet. Ha!
February of 2012 — I'll always remember this month for what was one of the most surreal sports stories I've personally experienced. Jeremy Lin, the first Asian-American in the NBA, an undrafted point guard on his third team, was given a shot from the end of the bench of the New York Knicks. He quickly became the team's leading scorer and led them to a 10-3 record that was highlighted by 38 points vs. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on national TV and a thrilling buzzer beating 3 in Toronto just days after.
We were all there; even the most casual of basketball fans knows how Linsanity swept the nation. But now we get to dive even deeper into the full story with this upcoming documentary on Linsanity — an official look at the story of Jeremy Lin. Not only do we follow the events during February of 2012, but also from Lin's upbringing to the hurdles he jumped over to even make it to the NBA.
I had heard about the doc leading up to today's first public trailer from its official selection at Sundance, and later SXSW. Now I'm even more excited to relive one of my favorite sports stories through a lens that is right there along Jeremy Lin himself. Catch the well-produced trailer above and see the Linsanity premiere in select cities this October over at linsanitythemovie.com.
"The number one question people always ask me: what was it like comin' out of high school? Second question: whatever happened to Ronnie Fields?"
- Kevin Garnett
Ronnie Fields was a Chicago basketball legend in the mid 90s... as a high schooler at Farragut on the city's south side. To give a modern day analogy: think Derrick Rose at Simeon kind of hype... multiplied. And for good reason. After all, future hall-of-famer Kevin Garnett still gets asked about his Farragut teammate to this day.
Fields and KG were the talk of Chicago basketball in 1994-95, stealing the spotlight from the three peat of the Bulls as Michael Jordan was in Birmingham taking his swing at baseball. Garnett moved from his hometown in South Carolina to Chicago to play against tougher ball players, and play with Ronnie Fields. If that doesn't speak volumes to Ronnie Fields, how about this: Fields jumped over defenders for a dunk before Vince Carter famously did the same on the Olympic stage. Watch that incredible highlight, and first get acclimated with Bounce Back in the trailer below.
Bounce Back: The Story of Ronnie Fields [Full Trailer]
A Documentary by: Ryan Mayers & Thatcher Kamin (Taste Media Group)
A couple of weeks ago I attended the Bounce Back premiere and found out the answer to that question KG always gets asked: whatever happened to Ronnie Fields?
The documentary unfolds to that answer by first doing justice to how much Ronnie was revered in Chicago as a high school star. The highlights and interviews really show that Ronnie had all the makings of a future NBA star. An unfortunate car accident, however, left Ronnie with a broken neck at the end of his senior season and thus began his digression from the path to the NBA star everyone thought was a certainty.
As Fields was recovering, he couldn't get the grades up to be accepted at DePaul University and play D1 ball, and then he got caught in a sexual misconduct case; both events tarnished his reputation on top of the injury. But, as the title suggests, Fields bounced back. He played professionally in the CBA and overseas for over 10 years and became a charitable figure in those locations (often donating entire wardrobes to the needy) and a motivational speaker after retirement.
As Scoop Jackson so poignantly said in the documentary, the best thing that ever happened to Ronnie was not making the league. Ronnie himself agreed with that in the Q&A after the film. The way his path was illustrated in the film... it's just flat out inspiring to see how much good he's done for others and how he still made a career of doing what he loves.
A few more takeaways:
- An especially emotional and candid Kevin Garnett. KG doesn't do interviews, yet opened up about his former teammate Ronnie Fields, as personified in the trailer with his confusion that Ronnie never got a shot at the NBA. Producer Thatcher Kamin told me that their interview with Garnett could have been its own documentary. (Need an extended verson!)
- The documentary's soundtrack is entirely Gemstones, who is a fitting parallel to Ronnie Fields as he's bounced back and transformed himself as a person and throughout his music career. Gem performed an original track "Ronnie Fields" LIVE as the film was rolling its end credits.
- The documentary happened in the first place because of a successful Kickstarter campaign by the film's director and producer Ryan Mayers & Thatcher Kamin. Great to see the people behind this, as the money was used to officially use NBA and other footage that helped give the documentary its authentic feel.
- Meeting Ronnie and seeing his gracious personality first-hand. He stayed after the film for over an hour signing autographs and talking with friends, family, and fans.
- Chatting with Red Eye sports writer Jack Silverstein (whose interview with Fields is a great read) provided more insight on who Ronnie is with his experience. Jack also put in perspective more stories from the 90s, which, as talking with people after the film, I found out that everybody has a Ronnie Fields story if they saw him at Farragut. It's amazing to see the impact he has had on everyone in Chicago, and now, the whole world can feel that too with the new #BounceBack documentary.
A must-see for any basketball fan and even if you're not.
We Get Free is a documentary series that explores Chicago hip-hop pedagogy by documenting the stories, relationships, and practices of Kuumba Lynx. Through this we see how Kuumba Lynx’s approach to hip-hop pedagogy has transformed and empowered members of its community, and in turn how these members have shaped and informed Kuumba Lynx’s pedagogy. We Get Free asks the question how is Chicago using hip-hop to resist in these days and times? See how We Get Free!
This is the first part of a series...stay tuned for Episode 2
Two "Day In The Life" videos in the matter of a week... I'm sensing a phase. Over the weekend, I shed light on Luol Deng's Day In The Life with Life + Times, and now YouTube is making recommendations for other NBA players' Day In The Life's. Seriously, I hit the YouTube homepage last night and see Paul George, Zach Randolph, and JJ Redick (nice move btw, Clippers) but was drawn to Arron Afflalo's story first.
The hip hop crossover? As many of you know, Arron is the subject of the first verse to "Black Boy Fly" — a standout track off Kendrick Lamar's debut album, good kid, m.a.a.d. city. The connection? Kendrick Lamar is a year younger than the Orlando Magic swingman who led their Compton, CA high school to state championships his junior and senior year. Yup, imagine going to high school with a future NBA player and hottest rapper in the game less than a decade later. The documentary showcased Afflalo back home and working out at his old high school in Compton and that inspired me to look deeper at the relationship of Afflalo and Lamar. That's where I stumbled upon a fascinating dual interview with ESPN The Mag for their Music issue earlier this year, and when I realized: "Wow! I have to post this." Here's the link to that fun read and the well-done documentary short on Arron Afflalo above!
An instagram from our experience last night watching Bobbito Garcia's new documentary 'Doin' It In The Park'
Last nite, we were in for a treat. Rather than watching Game 4 of The Finals, Julian, Maks, and I all attended a screening for a documentary on NYC streetball called 'Doin It In The Park'. It's a film by Bobbito Garcia and Kevin Couliau, with Bobbito likely a familiar name to you for his involvement in the NYC basketball scene, legendary voiceover work for NBA Street Vol. 2 & 3 (I played this game ad nauseum back in the day), and his sneaker with Nike.
Nike put on this screening — one of many to take place across the globe — to further promote the great culture Bobbitto & Couliau were able to capture. We all came away impressed and with more knowledge about the whole NYC basketball scene, which is long regarded as the mecca of basketball. I myself knew of much of the names and background, but there were a lot of new revelations as well (like the culture of prison ball, which is not like the 'myths' we hear about, and the history of all the famous parks). Interviews with former NBAers Kenny "The Jet" Smith, Kenny Anderson, Smush Parker, and fellow NYC streetball legends like Pee Wee Kirkland, Homicide, Fly, and none other than Dr. J Julius Erving all lend a first-hand perspective to the ins and outs of pickup basketball in New York City. Job well-done by Bobbito & Couliau, who were fielding some questions and comments in the Q&A afterward. It seemed like everyone in the theatre enjoyed the documentary and for those not in attendance, you can watch it online at doinitinthepark.com. Shouts to Nike Chicago and Ron and his crew at Mid C Media.
In brief: 'Doin It In The Park' captured the essence, history, and culture of NYC pick-up basketball. By the end, we fully understood just how magnetic the game of basketball really is. And that's an amazing thing for one orange ball and two round hoops.
Get a glimpse of what I summarized above with the documentary's dope trailer below. And if you happen to catch this at posting time in Chicago, head on over to Villa where Bobbito Garcia is with Sir Michael Rocks & Save Money til 10pm, also previewing new Nike & Jordan gear.
The Doctor.Dr. J, Julius Erving. For me, and many others out there, we didn't get a chance to see Dr. J perform at the peak of his powers, or, at any point in his career. But as any NBA fan of the past couple decades (and more) can attest, the mark he's left on the game is still seen today, and his career: one of legendary status.
But it's still one thing to have experienced Dr. J at a time when he wasn't even televised as the face of the ABA. The documentary by NBA TV that aired last night told generations who knew the encylopedia facts and a story or two... Dr. J's entire story. It emphasized that experience of seeing Dr. J — a jaw-dropping one if you saw him in person and one you otherwise heard about through word of mouth until he started winning MVPs in the NBA (since news consumption is nowhere near what it is now in the digital age).
Amidst some frank and stoic words from Dr. J himself, we also heard stories from Hall-of-Famers and those who grew up watching or covering Julius Erving. The documentary chronicled Dr. J's entire life: the personal triumph of being the best player that ever was at the famous Rucker Park and the ABA to the elusive NBA Championship he finally attained in 1983, and the personal tragedies of losing his brother at age 19, and his son, also at age 19. We got to see the human side of Dr. J as he emotionally expressed what it was like to go through that pain. Needless to say, this was an amazing hour and a half trip through Dr. J's personal life and professional career that many of us didn't have a seat for. Hooked from the very first scene with Magic and Isiah. And now it's hard to find one scene or section that I felt more intriguing than another. It all was, and now you can watch the whole documentary ICYMI above! (shouts toYardie)
Dr. J was all class, the coolest superstar, and the consummate teammate. Not only does the documentary illustrate that, but also this piece by the one and only Scoop Jackson that's a must-read before or after you watch The Doctor.
Spoiler alert! Dr. J dunks at age 63 to end the documentary. Whoa!
I, among many other sports documentary enthusiasts, am of the highest of excitement for the return of ESPN's 30 For 30 series. (Sidebar: Kuda & I watch about one a week at the office, hah.) The second documentary slated for release this October (the 9th to be exact) is '9.79*' - the story of Ben Johnson's world record 100m race at the '88 Olympic Games, only to be asterisked after he tested positive for anabolic steroids just days later. The trailer above was released today and it's already, as expected, riveting. (Full synopsis below).
ESPN's 30 For 30 returns on October 2nd, making it a trifecta for sports-loving hip hop fans everywhere. If you're keeping track at home, that's 30 For 30, NBA 2K13, and Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid, m.A.A.d. city. Ladies, plan for a ladies night.
The 100-meter men’s final at the 1988 Seoul Games was the fastest and perhaps most thrilling sprint in Olympic history. But within 48 hours, gold medalist Ben Johnson had tested positive for anabolic steroids, and scandal reigned. This one race still haunts the eight men who took part. But what brought them to the starting line? And what happened to them since?