LeBron James' New Documentary Is Both Fascinating and Disturbing
LeBron's documentary, "More Than a Game," debuts in October. I recommend seeing it, especially if you care to learn more about the guy who might arguably go down as the greatest player in NBA history.
Sports documentaries are hard-pressed to be successful. Two problems usually arise: either we already know plenty about the subject at hand or we just don't care. In the case of LeBron James' documentary, "More Than a Game", that's somehow not the case.
This is a bizarre fact, of course, because the media and the basketball-watching world has been following LBJ since he entered high school at St. Vincent-St. Mary's in Akron, Ohio. Ergo, in theory, henceforth, etc., we should already know far too much about King James' life.
But that fact is also why the documentary about Bron's high school basketball career comes off so well -- there is an absolutely insane amount of footage relating to James and his friends as well as their SVSM seasons.
Which, honestly, is a little disturbing. I mean, right -- it has to be, I think; and it's okay, I'm just as morally conflicted about this as it sounds. This is a film that, because it chronicles Bron's years in high school, could have easily been released four or five years ago, if you want to really give a wide berth for editing.
Obviously the notion of releasing a documentary about yourself as a second or third-year player in the NBA is beyond absurd, but then again, isn't the whole notion of planning the same documentary?
(Rhetorical answer: Yes. Yes it is, regardless of how awesome you are.)
That being said though, the story's still enjoyable. Why? Because as much as I watch sports and have watched sports over the past decade, I didn't see every single play in LeBron's high school career.
Sure, I remember when he briefly lost his eligibility -- for one game, which, frankly was WAY over-dramatized in the doc -- after his mother secured a loan for a Hummer. And I remember when he got his eligibility back and SVSM won the state and national titles.
I didn't know, at least until spending the weekend in Akron, that Dru III was the son of "Coach Dru." Of course, that's probably because I didn't know who Coach Dru was -- his attitude throughout the course of the weekend really explains a lot as to why he's been successful; the guy has a tremendously positive outlook on life, he gets along with nearly everyone and has a fantastic notion of core moral values.
And that was something fascinating to see within the documentary -- how he played the role of father figure for someone like LeBron, who grew up in a single parent (his mother was 16 when he was born) home and could have struggled without some direction in his life.
Maybe that -- the idea that the world somehow might not have ever gotten to see LeBron James play basketball, a shudder-worthy prospect indeed -- was the core principle of the film. Because without that, regardless of the entertainment level (high, despite graphic cheesiness), the idea of an entire movie dedicated to a "global icon" before he was ever supposed to be famous and set in a time when the entire world was asking, "Is this too much/too early?" seems perilously dangerous, at least for the prospect of this continuing with every "could-be-great" player.
I'm not knocking the film -- I'd absolutely watch it again on cable and if I hadn't been privileged enough to catch a sneak preview, I'd probably pay $6.75 (or whatever movie theaters are charging these days) -- to watch it. Just the game footage, featuring a lanky LeBron James, diced and spliced for effect is completely worth it.
But as noted above, unless we're supposed to think of life without LeBron or to really jump onto the idea of friendships being born out of successful high school athletics, there's always going to be something disturbing about posed pictures and videos of high school athletes, especially when it was blatantly being setup for a movie later.
Of course, I watched his games then. And I watched the movie now. So don't let me keep you from watching it -- I'm as guilty as anyone else.