More Than A Game

This is a mid-length documentary about playground basketball on the South and West sides of Chicago dealing specifically with the myths surrounding it, the culture it has created, and its effect on individuals. Notable NBA interviewees within the film are Glenn "Doc" Rivers and Eddie Johnson.

0:22Copy video clip URL Opening credits and then shot of downtown Chicago with voice overs about basketball, “you have the NBA All-Star game out here every day.”

1:31Copy video clip URL Zoom in on men of various ages playing basketball.

3:08Copy video clip URL Shot of St. Louis Playlot on the West Side of Chicago. Terry Keyes says, “he’s like a cocaine addict, he comes out again and again to get that high he got that first time… to get that moment of glory.” There are interviews with several different people on the south side of Chicago at Avalon Park including Lloyd Brown, Robert Isaac and Bernard Hardin who talk about how the times have changed.

5:18Copy video clip URL Glenn “Doc” Rivers, a professional NBA player, talks about how some of the people on the South Side are so good in the playground that they go on to the pros; he talks about Isaiah Thomas.

6:27Copy video clip URL Switch to interview with Eddie Johnson, another NBA player from Chicago who talks about how he played against Isaiah Thomas while he was in grammar school and how he was good even then.

6:56Copy video clip URL Switch to shot of Washington Park on the South Side where Aaron Harris talks about how many great players didn’t make it out of the neighborhood.

7:13Copy video clip URL Switch to shot of Rickey Green, an NBA player, who talks about a local legend, Arthur Sibyl, who was apparently even better than the pros but he never got out of school. Transition to a wider shot of Green playing with Shannon Bowen and another guy at the Avalon Park court while they talk about Arthur Sibyl.

8:34Copy video clip URL Switch to a Reebok commercial that was aired about Lamaar Mondane AKA “Money.”

8:57Copy video clip URL Switch to shot of a court where Lamaar is being interviewed.

10:23Copy video clip URL Rickey Green and “Doc” Rivers are again interviewed about the difference between street ball and professional.

11:26Copy video clip URL Return to Avalon Park where Pierre Poinsett talks about the switch from well-rounded sports players playing many different sports to focused, niche players who only play basketball, all day long every day of the year.

11:52Copy video clip URL Eddie Johnson is interviewed again and he talks about “the city was our basketball court,” and how they spent all their time and money on basketball.

12:35Copy video clip URL Terry Keyes talks about how you can get “so bogged up in basketball,” that your personal relationships outside of the court suffer.

14:16Copy video clip URL Switch to shot of Rickey Green who talks about how much time he spent on the courts as a kid, “it was like a job.” Rivers then talks about his own experiences which were similar to Green’s.

15:08Copy video clip URL Switch to shot of Garfield Park on the West Side and people arguing there over the outcome of one of the plays. A replay is shown by the camera crew.

16:00Copy video clip URL Terry Keyes talks about the competitiveness of the sport and how friendships are suspended on the court. Mondale then talks about the same subject. John Lyles, a local coach, says “I’d rather be a dirty winner then a clean loser any day.”

17:43Copy video clip URL Switch to shot of Palmer Park on the South Side. “We’d almost kill to win…we played all day, every day…we took it a lot more serious.” Different people talk about the cutthroat world of playground baseball.

18:30Copy video clip URL Voiceover of George Stanton the Head Coach of Whitney Young High School. He talks about the honor that playground ball had, how there were less fouls, more giving it up to the other team, etc.  Talridge Milan, Head Coach of the Julian High School basketball team, then talks about the difference between then and now and how “we played basketball to accomplish things we couldn’t accomplish on our own.” He talks about the identity of basketball and how it kept people out of gangs.

20:08Copy video clip URL Lloyd Brown and Pierre Poinsett talk about how children nowadays are hyped up about the shows of NBA stars believing it’s their ticket to success even though they can’t afford the expensive shoes.

22:06Copy video clip URL Voiceover of Bill Alderson, Assistant Coach of Simeon High School, talks about how basketball was very innocent when he started, “we enjoyed it and the camaraderie between players. Now the ultimate goal is getting to the NBA.”

22:35Copy video clip URL Voiceover of a young man on a court in Chicago while a black and white clip of a professional game is being shown he says that NBA players are his role models because they’re doing the right thing which is making money.

23:33Copy video clip URL Green talks about not thinking far ahead and only thinking of your surroundings. Mondale talks about keeping the dream in perspective because everyone can’t be a Michael Jordan. Alderson says, “kids believe they’re going to be the one who wins the NBA lottery…Basketball has gone beyond a game, I think it’s strictly business.”

27:13Copy video clip URL Bob Hambric, Head Coach of Simeon High School, talks about basketball as a formative experience, “Basketball made me a better student, I had to pass to play.” Rivers talks about how some great basketball players fade into obscurity because they don’t stay in school. Eddie Johnson talks about life as a straight line and how “They don’t walk the straight line,” and as a result all the talent in the world means nothing. At the St. Louis Playlot Terry Rucker, a high school dropout, talks about how he wants to do pro basketball but he messed up in school so now he can’t. Rivers says, “Basketball has ruined a lot of people’s lives…they settle for short term instead of big picture.”

34:45Copy video clip URL Bob Sullivan, Former Coach of Thornridge High School, talks about people misleading kids by telling them what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear. He also talks about the need for a support system.

36:12Copy video clip URL Many different people talk about the intersection of basketball and gangs, how the gangs beat up the basketball players who stayed out late and the basketball players beat each other to keep them out of the gangs. Rivers talks about the change in times, “Nowadays the most popular person in school is the drug dealer.” Paul Sidney, an aging player, talks about how playing basketball helped people stay out of gangs.

45:07Copy video clip URL Credits roll and tell the stories of the different people who were interviewed throughout the course of the film.


1 Comment

  1. Lloyd. Brown says:

    Have not viewed this since being given the DVD in the 90s after production.Now 30 plus years later many of the comments are still relevant.Also in 1992 I was 39 when this was filmed. Now it is 2021 and blessed to be here unlike some of the other participants in the film. Now at 68 how I would love to have those days back.
    Lloyd Brown

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