Saturday, June 28, 2008

Donte Greene's Gunnin' for the No. 1 Spot

Last night, my girlfriend and I went to see the opening night screening of the high school basketball doc, Gunnin for that No. 1 Spot directed by Adam Yauch (better known as MCA of the Beastie Boys). Unfortunately, its not playing in Houston yet and there's no real schedule to get it out there (its due in Dallas July 11). That's one of the perks of being in New York City, I guess, we get the little movies first, hopefully the box office catches up with the film's critical acclaim and Houston becomes a destination. Yauch was even there for a little Q&A after the screening, a pleasant surprise we didn't know about beforehand.

Anyway, Houston Rockets rookie Donte Greene is one of the eight featured players in the film shot in '06 that covers New York's Elite 24 game held annually for the Top 24 prep players (of any grade level) at Harlem's famed Rucker Park. If you're a basketball fan then Rucker is definitely a place worth visiting. The mystique is palpable. I actually got the chance to run some games there with Gunnin' expert and Elite 24 announcer Bobbito Garcia at the Rucker on Tuesday as they filmed a spot for local television. Just being there was an experience. Little crowds popped up just for a random midday game.

But back to Greene, if you liked him already, you'll like him even more after seeing this movie, which is the genius to Yauch's approach. He didn't just want to record a basketball game, he wanted to get to know his players. You'll see Greene, a Baltimore native, just trying to lift his family out of a bad situation. Like a lot of the players, he's singularly focused, just trying to get to the next step. You'll see how he's been compared to Carmelo Anthony (also from B-More) his entire high school career and how he's followed in his footsteps. You'll meet his grandparents, who've taken care of him since his mother died, his little brother, his family, and you'll genuinely like the guy. Its funny how knowing just a little more about someone can alter and re-inform your perception.

For one, I can see why Michael Beasley gets a bad rap for his attitude. It has nothing to do with being a bad person. The guy is just a cut-up. He can't help himself. He's an irrepressible force, a walking hurricane of personality with a sense of humor beyond his age. Any authoritarian would think he had an attitude problem, any teammate would think he was the funniest dude they ever met. He teases, he prods, he taunts, but its all in good fun. And sure enough, he dominates the movie like he dominates the court. Beasley is the kind of person that will be around the NBA for a long time... whether you like it or not.

All the featured players were very likable. From Kevin Love, Jerryd Bayless and Kyle Singler (my girlfriend's favorite because he reminds her of Ron from the Harry Potter movies) to still prep stars, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings and Lance Stephenson. You'll wish nothing but the best for their careers when the lights come up just as now, more than ever, I hope for nothing but great things for Donte Green as a Houston Rocket. Find a way to watch the movie. Petition the site, petition your local theater, its worth it.


Originally posted at Yao Central on June 28 09:21 AM

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