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Review Essay – Hoop Dreams



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    Robert Deiz AS 201 MW 5:30 – 7:20 4/14/10 The movie I chose for my presentation is Hoop Dreams. This movie was produced in 1994 by Steve James, Fred Marx and Peter Gilbert. Hoop Dreams is an excellent three hour documentary about two black boys growing up in the inner city of Chicago, Illinois with aspirations of playing basketball in the NBA. The movie starts out when William Gates and Arthur Agee are going to enter high school. William and Arthur both are recruited by Earl Smith a talent scout to attend the famous private school St. Joseph. St.

    Joseph High School is a predominantly white-suburban private High School in Illinois similar to Detroit Country Day High School in Michigan. They both receive a half scholarship to attend Isiah Thomas’s former high school. It takes both William and Arthur three hours round trip a day to attend St. Joseph. William is 4 inches taller than Arthur but they both play the guard position in basketball, Arthur is having trouble adapting to his new environment and is playing on St. Joseph’s freshman basketball team. While William, is playing well coming off the bench on the varsity team.

    Both William and Arthur have tested on a fifth grade academic level. St. Joseph has gone “down state” five out of the last six years. Going “down state” means your team was one of the last eight teams to play for the state title. William makes the honor roll and has a sponsor named Patricia Weir who pays the remaining balance of his tuition. Arthur is not as fortunate and has to leave St. Joseph owing his remaining tuition balance. During their sophomore year Arthur attends Marshall public High School in the inner city of Chicago, Illinois.

    Arthur’s dad Bo leaves the family after 20 years of marriage and is addicted to crack cocaine. William is playing great for St. Joseph during this year. William’s brother Curtis was also a good basketball player who received a scholarship to Central Florida University. Curtis coach said he had a bad attitude and was too hard to coach and sent Curtis back home losing his scholarship. Patricia Weir got William a summer job and Arthur finally started growing taller. Arthur makes varsity his junior year but his mom is on welfare and their lights and gas are cut off.

    William injures his knee and needs surgery to replace missing cartilage in his knee. Arthur’s sister has a baby and his best friend Shannon moves in with his family. This happens during the time Bo has to spend a year in jail. William is rehabbing his knee and he now has a newborn daughter. William comes back too soon and reinjures his knee during the playoffs. He now needs another surgery on his knee. His team fails to make it down state again. St. Joseph has paid for both of William’s surgeries. During the summer William’s rehab goes well and he is invited to attend the Nike All American Camp at Princeton University.

    Other Nike All Americans like Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, and Chris Weber from the fab five are there along with all the top division I college coaches. After the camp William decides to sign with Marquette University but he needs to pass the ACT. Senior year William’s team gets eliminated early in the playoffs and Arthur is there with Earl Smith to watch the game. William never got to go down state rather underdog Marshall goes down state lead by Arthur’s great play. They finished third in the state and scouts are now asking about Arthur Agee’s future in basketball.

    This was Marshall’s best finish in 30 years. Arthur doesn’t score high enough on the ACT to get a division I scholarship but he does get a two year scholarship to attend junior college Mineral Area. On William’s fifth time taking the ACT he gets a 17. 5 which gets rounded up to an 18 and now is eligible to fully accept a four year scholarship from Marquette University. After two years at Mineral Area junior college Arthur attends Arkansas State University on scholarship. He gets his degree and plays basketball five years overseas.

    William marries his girlfriend Catherine and loses interest in basketball. He drops out after his sophomore year. After a year he went back to Marquette University and played basketball to keep his scholarship. This was such a great documentary that took years to make and won several film making awards. There have been attempts to make a Hoop Dreams 2 but the kids featured in the film didn’t get to the level of William and Arthur and the movie was put on hold. I encouraged anyone to rent or buy this film if they like basketball. It’s a must watch documentary!

    Review Essay – Hoop Dreams. (2018, May 16). Retrieved from

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