Hoop Dreams

Today's entry in Hulu's Days of Summer is Hoop Dreams. Before there was the panoramic American epic The Wire, there was Steve James documentary about Chicago inner city high school basketball players Arthur Agee and William Gates. It is one of my five favorite documentaries of all time, and the first one that enlarged my view of what a documentary could be. Watching it will make you guilty for what earns the title "reality TV" today.

The scene from He Got Game where Denzel and Ray Allen face off? It's got nothing on the scene in Hoop Dreams when Arthur plays his father Bo one-on-one.

Today, Arthur Agee has a foundation, while William Gates is a pastor in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood of Chicago. Both have experienced tragedy. Arthur's father Bo was killed in 2004 after having seemingly turned his life around. William's brother Curtis was murdered in 2001.

I remember them as I saw them in Hoop Dreams, and I find it hard to imagine how, given the circumstances, any of us could have turned out any better.