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Fathers of the Sport (DVD Review)

13 Mar, 2011 By: Angelique Flores

Street 3/22/11
Victory Multimedia
$19.98 DVD
Not rated.
Features Julius Erving, Penny Marshall, Magic Johnson, Joe Bryant, Larry Brown, Chris Mullen.

Rucker Park is synonymous with impressive basketball. Fathers of the Sport shines a light on some of the legends of the Harlem basketball court, the birth and rise of the sport, and its arguable peak in popularity that drew mobs of spectators at Rucker during the 1970s.

Such Rucker veterans as Richard “Pee Wee” Kirkland, James “Fly” Williams, Julius “Dr. J” Erving and Joe “Jellybean” Bryant (Kobe’s dad) as well as other streetballers, ABA and NBA players, and others weigh in with their experiences at Rucker and the sport itself.

Players from the 1950s faced racial segregation traveling around for games. Other players from the 1970s went on to successful careers in the NBA, while others missed out on careers in the pros because of their life of crime on the streets.

In the 1970s games at Rucker were more competitive and more of a show for the fans than the NBA games. And when the streetballers would play the pros, it was the street guys who were on the winning side then. Not so anymore.

The documentary tells a great story with interesting interviews, old photos and even old ESPN clips at Rucker.

The film shows what a colorful bunch the ballplayers are. Pee Wee talks about himself in the third person, Fly recalls his time in Attica, and Hammond limps around the city and sells the rights to his life story.

Fathers of the Sport is a unique kind of sports documentary in which there isn’t the usual inspiring happy ending for all the young talent, but it certainly is a compelling and enlightening look at the game of basketball.

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