105 Must See Films

105 Must Watch Films: Hoop Dreams (1994)


Starring: William Gates, Arthur Agee

Director: Steve James

In this documentary, two young Chicago teens are followed as they chase their dreams to become professional college basketball players, showing their struggle, the drive from their families and their different attitudes to life. The pressure on the two kids is huge, and could change their and their families lives forever.

William Gates and Arthur Agee want to be like Isiah Thomas, their basketball hero who made it out of poverty to riches through the game. When they are recruited by an athletic scout, they think they’ve made it, but being the only black kid at predominantly white colleges, and one drops out to pursue his dreams a different way.

It’s A Must See Because:  Over the five years, we see how the other people in the boys lives are effected, and how the families tear apart. Alot of the pressure to succeed comes from the boys family and not just from them, and their sense of self and self worth is tied up in this outcome. It’s a rumination on what it means to succeed, what success costs, and how other people exploit it.

See It If: the 90’s was all about basketball, it’s really insightful to see the reality and not just the White Men Can’t Jump vision of the world.


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