[Movie Review] GUNNIN’ FOR THAT #1 SPOT

Gunnin\' For the Number One Spot

via NY Times

On Sept. 1, 2006, two dozen of America’s top-ranked high school basketball players converged on Rucker Park in Harlem for an unprecedented event. Regardless of age, experience or sneaker-company affiliation, these athletes would play for no other reason than love of the game.

The musician and filmmaker Adam Yauch (of the Beastie Boys) was there with his camera, and the result is “Gunnin’ for That #1 Spot,” an on-the-fly record of a memorable moment in basketball history.

Focusing on eight players from a wide variety of socioeconomic backgrounds — like Kevin Love, the nephew of Mike Love of the Beach Boys, and Donte Greene, whose grandfather works as a janitor to support him — the movie travels to hometowns and sketches personal histories. Coaches, experts and members of the media all have their say, but this disarmingly unaffected, rough-hewn film lives and dies on the court itself.

As guileless and eager as the most avid fan, “Gunnin’ ” is neither cautionary nor analytical, allowing its insights to occur organically and without fancy camera moves. Behind the bone-crunching collisions and impossible jump shots lurk the pitfalls and pressures faced by increasingly young athletes — the ever-changing rankings, the circling recruiters, the dangling endorsements — but right now these kids are happy with just a ball, a team and a crowd. We should all be so lucky.

Directed by Adam Yauch

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