DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: DVD Revisits LeBron’s Formative Years
Most people only know LeBron James the basketball phenom who went straight from high school to the NBA and became the youngest MVP in the history of the league. However, few are aware of how challenging a childhood he had to overcome en route to the pros, being raised by a young single-mom.
In fact, Lebron moved about a dozen times between the ages of 5 and 8, living in some of the worst projects around
LeBron ended up forming what would prove to be lifelong bonds during his formative years, first while playing in an AAU league and later while attending St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. For over that period, he had the same teammates: Dru Joyce III, Romeo Travis, Willie McGee and Sian Cotton. Consequently, as LeBron reminisces, “It was basketball, but it was more like friendship than anything.”
Furthermore, they were coached by Dru’s father, a practical role model who impressed upon them from the outset that basketball was “more than a game.” LeBron and company took that message to heart, cultivating not only character, individually, but a chemistry and cohesiveness, collectively, which would stand the test of time.
That tight-knit squad enjoyed unparalleled success on the court, including the national championship title. Yet, this moving documentary focuses as much on their achievements away from the sport to drive home more important points about the value of loyalty, persistence and integrity in overcoming any adversity.
And although LeBron was obviously the star of the team, the picture devotes equal time to all the members, each of whom had his own cross to bear. Along the way, we learn that Willie was raised by his big brother, because both of his parents were drug addicts; that diminutive Dru had a short kid’s complex; that Romeo had anger management issues; and that Gentle Giant Sian struggled to outgrow his clumsiness.
At heart, an inspirational bio-pic about the transcendent magic of friendship forged in pursuit of hoop dreams.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG for mild epithets and smoking.
Running time: 100 minutes
Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Featurettes entitled “More Than a Film, “Behind the Music” and “Winning Ways: A Look inside Sports Psychology.”