Tuesday, August 25, 2009


If you’re a Basketball junkie like me, then you need to check out Adam Yauch’s Gunnin’ for that #1 Spot. The documentary is about eight of the country’s best High School players and their journey to NY to play in the Elite 24 Basketball Game. Elite 24 is an outdoor Basketball game featuring the country’s 24 best players taking place at one of Basketball’s meccas, Rucker Park. And in case you were wondering, yes that’s THE Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys fame, who put this documentary together. I actually first heard about this documentary last year on Ball Don’t Lie, so forgive me if this is OLD NEWS to you. But since I just watched the documentary, and since I want more people to check it out, I had to make this post.

The documentary itself follows Kevin Love, Brandon Jennings, Michael Beasley, Tyreke Evans, Donte Greene, Jerryd Bayless, Lance Stephenson, and Kyle Singler. I’m just quickly going to go through a couple of random tidbits I found interesting about every baller featured in this documentary…

Kevin Love:

- The documentary shows how Love was ranked #1 in his class. I noticed that the ranking didn't really seem to affect him at all.

- Also the doc talks about his father a little bit, Stan Love, who was a former NBA player. And about his Uncle, who is a member of the Beach boys. That lineage is probably why Love is pretty good at handling pressure.

-I knew Love was sick in HS, but I didn't know Love was a beast. It was sick when he shattered that backboard in the documentary.

-The documentary also shows him with a sick full court game winner, as well as a bunch of his nice full court passes he is famous for.

Donte Green:

- I had no clue that Green was born in Europe, Germany to be exact.

- Donte's mom passed away when he was 13. Going through the exact same thing in my life, I know how hard something like that can be for a person. That is why I'll always be rooting for him in the League and wish him all the best.

- Donte and his younger brother(who he calls Baby Shaq), were raised by his grandparents in Baltimore. They both seem like great individuals who worked hard to get Donte to where he is today.

Jerryd Bayless:

- Bayless definitely seems like a hard worker and someone who plays with a chip on his shoulder. They show him putting in work at the gym, but there is just something about him that seems like he wants to prove people who judge him wrong. People don't think he can be great because of his size, and he doesn't think that he gets enough publicity in Arizona, because Arizona isn't considered a famous High School Basketball area.

- Bayless is smooth, on and off the court. On the court, his game just looks naturally smooth and effortless. Off the court, they show him a little bit with the ladies, which is kind of cool too to see. It's funny that at the end of the day, they guys are all just regular guys.

- They show Bayless taking a yoga class, which I thought was pretty cool / different for a High School baller.

- Bayless was one of the four best ballers at the big game.

Brandon Jennings:

-Jennings has this swagger about him. Personally, for me, his game was definitely the most fun to watch during this documentary. I thought he played the best out of everyone and dominated the big game.

-Jennings has a little brother that looks up to him.

-You could tell Jennings is a little out there. Even his AAU coach tells him to chill out and not mess around. Him and B-Easy definitely stick out, out of the eight. More on B-Easy to come.

Kyle Singler:

-The shot Singler hits when he is shooting around is sick.

-Who knew Singler was such an athlete. It seems like he plays every single sport in HS. I was definitely surprised and got to give him props.

-Kyle's family is pretty much composed of all athletes, so you can see where he gets his skills from.

-Again, Kyle's a lot more athletic then I thought he was. I'm a Duke hater, but I'm going to try to watch him play some more next year. This Kid does seem like he will be something special in the future.

Lance Stephenson:

-For being just 15 years old in the documentary, this kid is HUGE!

-Stephenson is already well known in NY since he is from Brooklyn. What's even crazier is that he is well known at Rucker at the age of 15!

-His game is pretty smooth already at that age. I wonder if his game will progress with his age though. It'll be fun to watch him play at Cinci next year.

Tyreke Evans:

-Evans' support system basically seems like it is composed of his brothers. One brother coached him growing up, and his other brother, named Pooh, seems like Evans' spokesperson. If you watch the documentary, you will know what I mean. haha.

-I find it interesting that Evans hasn't really played much streetball. At least that is what his brother said.

-Evans seems like a quiet kid who only cares about Basketball. He doesn't really talk much in the documentary. He kind of reminds me of Derrick Rose for that same reason. Both are PG's who don't talk much, but love Basketball and play hard.

Michael Beasley:

-B-Easy was my second favorite player to watch in this documentary. Like Jennings, he is kind of out there personality wise. In the end, there is no denying his game. His skill set is sick and highly unique.

-My favorite part of the documentary was definitely when B-Easy punks Donte and takes him baseline for a sweet layup.

-He loves to talk, and he is definitely entertaining to watch.

-I also just wanted to quickly say I hope this kid gets better soon with all that he has going on in his life right now. At the end of the day we have to remember that he is still just a kid. I hope he can get some good people around him to help him through these trying times. He's an amazing talent, and I hope he can bounce back from all this. I look forward to seeing him play in the League for years.

Overall, I thought this documentary was awesome! It was pretty cool getting an inside look at all of these guys, and it’s crazy in a way to see all of them at such a young age during the documentary. More than the game at Rucker itself, everything else that goes on behind the scenes in these players’ lives is what really fascinates me. Besides the Basketball aspect of it, that is actually my favorite part about this documentary.

We get to see how the Media itself and how these player rankings affect these players on and off the court. We also get to see just how big these player rankings and lists have become. I also loved how they showed those player rankings by class, because you know you have looked up and seen those exact same player rankings over the years!

I also loved how we get to see the business aspect of things. It is most prevalent in the documentary when they talk about the shoe companies. Shoe companies approaching players at the age of 8?!? That is insane to me, but hey the Sport Industry is a multi-billion dollar business, and companies can't take the chance of missing out on the next big thing!

I also thought some other little things shown were cool. Like how the players talked about coaches texting them (Tyreke in particular), or how the players talked about groupies (Bayless). Oh, and the soundtrack was tight too.

All these things are definitely why I loved this documentary and definitely recommend it. There’s not much I would actually change about the documentary itself other than maybe some of the game footage. In regards to the actual game that took place, I just think overall they could’ve come up with some better clips and highlights. Also, what was up with all that slow motion during the game? Most of the slow motion and double takes weren’t even needed, so I would have probably cut some of that out. But overall, that didn't ruin the documentary for me.

I guess one other thing I would’ve maybe changed was the number of ballers they followed. On one hand, following 8 different players is pretty cool and it shows you how each one is individually different and where they are coming from, but on the other hand, you can’t really get attached to any of the ballers in the movie because you don’t follow them for long enough. Just when you are getting to know one of the kids and falling in love with them or their game, their little segment is over. I guess what I’m trying to say is remember Hoop Dreams? How close were you to Gates and Agee at the end of that documentary? You felt like you practically knew them right? And how much did you feel for those two kids at the end of the documentary? I still to this day remember Gates and Agee, and would love to meet them in person to talk to them about Hoop Dreams and about their lives ever since.

In Gunnin’ maybe they could’ve followed 4 kids instead of 8, to take us a little closer into these kids’ lives. In the end, I don’t think that is direction they wanted to go in with this documentary, which is cool too, because again, it was still great. I think they went with 8 kids to just show star power, give us a broader view of the event itself and to show us what goes on behind the scenes. It was definitely a lighter documentary for the viewing audience than Hoop Dreams.

Anyways, those were just my random thoughts about the documentary. Be sure to check it out if you have some time, and please stop back and let me know what you guys think, or what your opinions are about it in the comments section…

Here’s an interview with Adam speaking about the documentary.

Also here is the link to check the movie out for free on Hulu

1 comment:

Stormin' Norman Disciple said...

I just watched the documentary finally. I liked most of it but the most annoying part was definitely all those slow-motion game clips. I mean most of them were just lay-ups!