Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce (LA Film Fest 2015)

Former L.A. Clippers star Baron Davis co-directed and produced this up-tempo documentary about The Drew, an amateur basketball league that’s been situated in South Central Los Angeles for over forty years. Tracing the history of the league through the eyes of its long-time commissioner Dino Smiley, The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce details how the small, scrappy organization became a safe haven for South Central residents during the gang warfare of the ‘80s and ’90s.

The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce
Co-Directors: Baron Davis, Chad Gordon

While the focus is mostly on the positive impact of the league on the community, the doc spotlights a few of the major talents who have come through the league over the years and moved on to the NBA, including people like former Laker player and coach Byron Scott and current Houston Rockets star James Harden. There’s also a Hoop Dreams-style segment featuring Baron Davis and Kenny Brunner, following along as the former transitioned into college and the NBA while the latter got in trouble with the law before joining The Drew and ultimately becoming a street ball legend.

Of course, there’s plenty of fast-paced basketball footage to be found here, and even some star power as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kobe Bryant all make appearances at The Drew’s small gym and suit up to play in the intensely competitive games that make the league legendary. With narration by Xzibit, dynamic editing, and some slick graphics, The Drew is an educational and entertaining look at the beating heart of the L.A. basketball scene and an organization that started from nothing to become one of the premiere basketball destinations in the country.

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