More Than a Game
Directed by Kristopher Belman
Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Release date: February 2, 2010
They may be the best high school basketball team ever. He may have had the best high school basketball player ever. Akron, Ohio’s St. Vincent-St. Mary won the proverbial basketball lottery when they got LeBron James and his boyhood friends to attend their school. From humble beginnings, future NBA superstar James, along with childhood friends Dru Joyce, Sian Cotton, and Willie McGee, all began a journey that would take them from local fame to national acclaim. The “fab four” were later joined by Romeo Travis in their sophomore year and the five fused their talents and, with the help of a dedicated coach, rewrote Ohio basketball history.
More Than a Game is a very well made documentary that keeps the viewer’s interest throughout with a sly use of visual effects, editing, and original music. Director Kristopher Belman was able to capture some amazingly candid footage by following the St. V basketball team during James’ senior season and with the aid of first-hand accounts by the players themselves, photographs, and home videos, the viewer follows these young men from middle school all the way up until the last days of high school and it’s a remarkable journey.
Being a basketball player in high school myself I was able to relate to the traveling, the camaraderie in the locker room, and the fun they had on the court. I also loved seeing James (one of my favorite players) at such a young age. It was a fun to see this skinny kid with a high-pitched voice grow into the tall, chiseled, and tattooed man that he later became. You can tell he’s pretty much been the same person on the court and I loved seeing certain characteristics even at an early age.
The director chose to make the story about the team and their relationship rather than take the easy way out and just focus on the kid who went on to become the Most Valuable Player of the National Basketball Association in 2008-2009 and I think this makes the documentary stronger overall. You really get to know these five young men through their struggles as well as their successes.
The one downside I had with the film personally was the length. I felt the 105 minute running time could have been trimmed for a tighter film but that’s just a minor nitpick with an overall good film.
More Than A Game is a delightful documentary and even if you aren’t a sports fan in particular, you will have ‘More Than A Good Time’ while watching (sorry I couldn’t resist).
- More Than A Film [9:38]
Director Kris Belman’s filmmaking journey from concept to completion.
- Winning Ways: A Look Inside Sports Psychology [9:27]
Interviews from prominent sports psychologists, the director, Coach Dru Joyce II, and players on the impact sports has on young athletes.
- Behind The Music [4:49]
Exploring the making of the film’s music with producer/composer Harvey Mason Jr.