Hoop Dreams (1994) - full transcript

This documentary follows two young African-Americans through their high school years as they perfect their skills in basketball in the hopes of getting a college scholarship and eventually play in the NBA. Arthur Agee and William Gates both show great potential and are are actively recruited as they look to enter high school. They start off at the same high school but unable to pay an unexpected bill for tuition fees, Arthur has to withdraw and go to the local public high school. The film follows them through their four years of high school and their trials and tribulations: injuries, slumps and the never ending battle to maintain their grades. Through it all, their hoop dreams continue.

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♪ Hoop dreams

♪ Hoop dreams

♪ Hoop dreams

♪ Hoop dreams

And welcome to
the 38th annual NBA All-Star game...

from Chicago Stadium.

A standing-room-only crowd.

A steal by Jordan.
He spun it away from the Mailman.

Just needs a little time-out to reorganize.

And the chances
of a West comeback are slipping away.

Aguirre for three.

I have never seen an All-Star game...

that had such spectacular passing...

and plays,
and thundering plays like this.

They're beginning to hang, Billy.

Ah, what a way to end this ballgame.

Right now, I wanna, you know,
play in the NBA...

like anybody else would wanna be.

That's who...
That's something...

I dream and think
about all the time...

playing in the NBA.

He's just doing something
that he loves so much.

He just love it so much.
I'm just happy for him.

If somebody can understand
the way William play...

that'll make me feel
a lot better.

The way they should have
understood the way I played.

This Chicagoan
is making his seventh All-Star appearance.

From the Detroit Pistons, 6'1 "...

Isiah Thomas!

When I get in the NBA...

the first thing I'm gonna do...

I'm gonna see my mama,
I'm gonna buy her a house...

I'm gonna go there and make sure
my sister and my brother's okay.

If we were okay or not.

Probably get my dad...

a Cadillac Oldsmobile...

so he can cruise in the game.

Something real long.

Dominique! Ooh!

He dreams about it.

He look at those basketball commercials...

where they be advertising
these Nike shoes?

He'll tell his little, small brother...

"Joe, Joe, that's me."

So the West leads.
Thomas trying to go the distance. Loses it.

I don't even think about it,
if he don't make it.

Just 'cause I'm so...

I'm so, you know,
focused in on him making it.

I just know he'll make it.

♪ Early in the morning

♪ I'm on the rise, I'm on the rise

♪ By the time we hit the courts
Roll hard, you know, squad up

♪ I'm just a young man with a dream
but the streets continue to test me

♪ Like a full-court press, G
I ain't even tryin' to hear that though

♪ 'Cause gonna make it automatic
like a free throw

♪ See, in my neighborhood
the streets are law, but not for me

♪ And I will never let the hood
destroy my dreams

- ♪ Hoop dreams
- ♪ Where dreams are made or broken

♪ And I'm rollin' as long
as my jumper strokin'

- ♪ Hoop dreams
- ♪ Where you come hard or don't come at all

♪ The only way to get props
when we ball

- ♪ Hoop dreams
- ♪ Strive to make my dreams come alive

♪ First I must overcome other things
to survive

- ♪ Hoop dreams
- ♪ One in 100, 000 fulfill this dream

I'm off to Central...

and the Congress Expressway...

a park over there where there are
some pretty talented young men.

Earl Smith works downtown
as an insurance executive.

On weekends he's an unofficial talent scout
for several area high schools.

This is what you call
"beating the bushes."

This is the job
of most of your freshmen coaches...

and guys like me who...
who played a little bit of the game...

who love trying to help young people
on the road to success.

It's in! It's in!

Today Earl spots Arthur Agee,
who just graduated from grammar school.

He's got the quickest first step
that I've seen in about five years.

His first step.

I will bet you a steak dinner
in four years you'll be hearing from him.

I don't even know anything about him.

Several days later, Earl takes
Arthur and his family on a recruiting visit...

to the high school
where NBA star Isiah Thomas played.

The visit will give
St. Joseph's coaches...

a chance to see Arthur perform.

Your role today, Arthur...

is to impress the coaches.

Try not to be too fancy.

Take the open shot when you have it.

Play good defense
and make good passes.

The rest of it,
just play natural, you know.

I'm hoping I'm gonna go to St. Joe
and play...

but first I gotta...
I gotta get my books straight.


hopefully come out
and impress the coaches.

Is it kinda scary?

Yes, it is.

I've never been to a school
way out before...

and I would be going to a school
with different kids, different races.

You can look at the scenery,
new friends to meet.

What if Isiah's there today?

Well, if he be there...

I'll be shocked...

'cause that'd be my first time
ever seeing him...

up close, you know, real life.

Basketball has to be second
to your academics.

If you don't get your grades,
you're not gonna play.

If you work hard at the grades,
and if you work hard at basketball...

then I would be able to help you
as far as going to college.

And I guarantee this.

I can't promise you where you're gonna
go and if you're gonna be a star...

but I guarantee that I would help you
get into the school...

that would be best for you.

I'm making a commitment to you...

if you make a commitment
to being part of this kind of a program.

Out of all of the kids
at the St. Joseph Basketball Camp...

there are a few like Arthur
that Coach Pingatore is recruiting.

It was like million of guys
trying to be better than the other...

but, to me,
I was better than all of them...

except for Isiah.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce
to you a graduate of St. Joe's...

high school all-American...

all-American from Indiana University...

five-time NBA All-Star...

Isiah Thomas.

Hello. How are you?

In everybody's neighborhood,
there's a guy who can really play.

He can shoot the lights out.

Every time down the court...
Swish, swish, swish!

Then he goes to St. Joseph High School...

and the guy gets cut.

You say, "But Tom was real good.
Why did he get cut?"

See, Tom didn't learn
the fundamentals of team basketball...

which is what you're learning
how to play.

He told my daddy
that he knew I could play...

so he just had to play me hard.

I can see the
playground in him. I can see talent.

But I don't see the confidence.

With Isiah, I just knew
he was gonna be a great one.

He had that total combination
of personality, confidence, talent...


I think I see it in one kid
that's coming here.

He flows with a smoothness
and confidence...

and strength...

that you don't see in every kid.

But he could become a great player.

Use that hook shot.
Always work it. You can't block it.


I just bang him and bruise him.

I'm trying to let him know right now
you gonna get hit, get knocked down...

you gonna get banged around,
so you better get used to it now.

Stop it. One-hand hook.

All these basketball dreams I had,
they gone.

All I see... All my dreams is in him now.

I want him to make it so bad,
I don't know what to do.

if they want to play basketball
and stuff, that was always okay.

But I was gonna make sure all of 'em
got through high school.

A high school diploma
was very important to me.

My mother,
she was like mother and father to me.

She don't want me really
hanging around over here that much...

'cause of the gangs.

I feel if I go to St. Joseph...

I'll at least get a good chance
to go to a good college.

That would be good for me.

That was my first son.

I said, "That's Daddy's man,"
so we just started calling him "Man."

Get around it!

I could have been a good college player.

Most likely I would have
made it to the pros.

But, you know, once I had my son...

I knew then something good
was gonna come out of it.

I think the talent gonna be passed on.

♪ Da-da-da-da-da, da-da

He told me, "I'm so scared of growing up."
I said, "Why?"

He said a grown-up has so many problems.
"I got so many things on my mind ."

I just want Arthur to have more...

you know,
have a better life than what I had.

I don't want him experiencing
bad things that I went through in life.

Austin Boulevard
will be the next stop. Austin is next.

Like Isiah Thomas before them...

both Arthur and William make
a three-hour round trip each day...

between the city and St. Joseph's.

That was strange for me
going out to a far-out school.

I saw a rug, flowers, clean hallways...

things that I didn't see
in an ordinary school.

Gotta move! Gotta move!

Come on.

- Three, four, five or 10?
- Ten.

You got it. Three, four, five?

Arthur wins the starting
point-guard position on the freshmen team.

Agee, I want you to find
in that warm-up number two.

Brown, number three.

Ettmeyer, four.

Hey, Arthur, you know
if you miss free throws...

they count 'em up,
and you have to pay 15 cents.

Then if you don't pay it,
they gonna make you run 50 laps,
and still you have to pay the money.

- You still gotta pay the money?
- That's way out.

When Arthur first
started at St. Joseph's...

he was a good kid,
from what we saw...

but he was very immature.

He might have been a little more
disruptive, speaking out...

getting into childish things.

He wasn't used to the discipline
and the control.

He reverted back to, maybe,
his environment, where he came from.

I just never been around
a lot of white people and...

it was different, because at a black school
I could associate with the people.

You know, they talk the way I talk.

It was a little hard,
but I can adjust to it.

You can see there was talent there.

We kept saying up in the stands,
"Get the ball to Arthur...

because he's going to do it for you."

And sure enough, they gave him the ball
with seconds on the clock.

I noticed a change immediately
after he started going out there.

To see your child mature, you say,
"Oh, maybe this is good for him ."

William begins
his freshman season on St. Joe's varsity...

the top-ranked squad in the state.

He's already received several letters...

from Division I schools...

Marquette and Rice and Creighton,
Illinois State...

to name a few.

Beat him! Beat him! Beat him!
Keep back!

Hold it up! Hold it up!
You're killing us!

Why did he get to the ball before you?

He asks me, do I wanna be
a great player? And I keep saying yeah.

He said, "For four years,
I'm gonna be on you every day."

So he said, "You might as well
get used to it now."

Hard left. No, no. Go hard left.

Right, I know you can do it.
Left, you can't. All right? Go hard.

Not bad. Do it again.

if you look at Matthew,
and again he's saying...

at the time the kingdom of heaven
will be like this.

This is how Matthew's gonna use Jesus.
This is how he's gonna start it out.

What this is saying
is you have to take the faith...

When I first came out here,
it was, like, "I wanna go home.

Is this really the right school for me?"

But every little thing you do
that go against their rule...

you have detention.

And they'll suspend you quick
at the school too.

They'll suspend you quick.

The kids that are willing to do it...

are gonna take something away that will
help them for the rest of their life.

The kids that are not willing to do it...

for whatever reason, uh...

are not gonna be very successful
as far as here.

The civil rights movement
started up in the '50s.

When William first entered St. Joe's...

tests revealed he was working
on a fourth or fifth-grade level.

I could see that
he had the potential...

but because he was shy, it seemed as
though no one was trying to reach him.

Sister Marilyn told me,
"You have to be one good ballplayer...

to get in this school with these grades."

- What war beginning in the '60s?
- Vietnam.

At the end of the year,
he had gone four grades above...

just in the way he listened and learned.

Back in grammar school...

academics really didn't matter
too much to me at all.

It was playing ball for the team...
really, we was the standouts in the school.

If you showed up in class,
that was good enough for them.

I was just going to school for the girls.

Trip out with your friends...

get out, go play some more basketball.

That was basically it.

Arthur also entered St. Joe's
on a fourth or fifth-grade level.

Nobody in their right mind
is crazy about school.

If the president brought up a thing right
now that say, "Close all schools"...

do you think any kids would be trying
to go out there, stand on a picket line...

and wave and get billboards...

saying, "Reopen schools"?

Nice and tall, guys.
Now, don't look at the flash.

Arthur was in
the lower group of the general program.

Okay, fellas. Good.

At the end of the year,
he was still in the lower group.

One, two, three!

For Arthur, the season is over.

His freshman team finished second
in the conference.

William's varsity is rolling
through the play-offs.

Against Proviso East,
William plays his best game yet.

And the Chargers move a step closer to
going downstate to compete for the title.

St. Joe's made it downstate
five of the last six years.

The one thing we haven't done
is win a state tournament.

Man, that'd be a big thing
if I could go downstate as a freshman.

Isiah was good enough
to start on the varsity as a freshman.

I didn't do it because I was worried
about bringing him along too rapidly.

I think by not doing it,
it cost us a state championship.

In the sectional finals,
Fenwick challenges St. Joe's title hopes.

But in the second quarter,
William steps up.

With his brother Curtis looking on...

William scores 16 points to lead
the Chargers to the sectional title.

From Chicago,
it's The Sports Writers On TV.

I think I may have seen
the next Isiah Thomas.

St. Joe of Westchester
has a kid named William Gates...

who is starting as a freshman.

Remember, you heard it first
from Bill Gleason.

Put it in your memory banks,
ladies and gentlemen.

William Gates.

In the supersectionals,
St. Joe's meets DeSalles...

to decide who will go downstate.

William plays more like an intimidated
freshman than a freshman sensation.

Six-nine senior all-American
Eric Anderson dominates St. Joe's.

But in the third quarter,
William takes over again.

He fires over Anderson
and is fouled.

William's 13 points
in the second half...

pull the Chargers to within four.

With less than two minutes to play,
it's a must-score.

St. Joe's jump shot falls short.

Eric Anderson!

Despite the loss,
William's gutty performance...

bodes well for next year.

There will be an announcement on
ticket sales immediately following the game.

Rewriting 7,300 times 10...

to the negative fifth
in scientific notation.

Who wants that problem?

- I do.
- Go ahead, William.

- 7.3...
- 7.3...

- times 10 to the third.
- times 10 to the third times...

- 10 to the negative second.
- Is that good!

Very good.

When I went out there,
I was very intimidated...

'cause I just knew that everybody out there
was just smarter than me.

As the year went on...

and I was making
an "A" and "B" honor roll...

I just felt like,
"Hey, I'm just as good as them ."

Now what you have to identify...

Both William and Arthur
have partial scholarships from St. Joe's.

The rest of William's tuition
is paid for by Cycle...

a Cabrini Green organization.

But Cycle can't cover
this year's tuition increase.

I was called on
by Brother Edwin Duprais.

He was trying to raise money
to help kids...

that couldn't otherwise go
to those kind of schools.

It really touched a soft spot
in my heart...

and so I decided that my husband and I
would participate on a personal basis.

William was selected as the kid...

that was able to go to school,
based on our contribution.

- Nice to see you.
- Nice to see you.

You played a great game. I want you to
meet our friends Liz Duncan, Tom Paris.

- Nice game.
- William Gates.

With continuing
support from Patricia Wier...

William is assured
that his entire education at St. Joe's...

will be free.

Arthur's family is paying
for half of his tuition...

and the increase comes
at an especially bad time.

Worked for Sara Lee, got laid off.

Uh, worked for Scala's Meat Packing.
Got laid off there. You know.

You look around your house,
you see your food getting low. Okay?

And you got your bills due here,
your bills due there.

I got called down to the office.

Brother Leo wanted to talk to me.

He was telling me about how much,
certain money my mama had to pay...

for me to stay in school.

They say if she don't have it by this time,
you gotta stay out till she pay it.

I was staying out, like,
two and three weeks and stuff.

By the end of the freshman year...

whatever balance there was for tuition
was never taken care of.

going into the sophomore year...

we had the balance
plus the new tuition...

so that it was going to continue
to become a problem.

Whatever scout that they have come out
to these different neighborhoods...

and scout out
these little basketball players...

and get 'em to come to their school
and offer them these scholarships.

Then once they get out there,
the story is totally different.

I was under the impression that Arthur would
have help as far as getting to school...

Arthur would have help
in getting his books.

But, see, none of that occur.

Finally, with the Agees
owing $1, 500 in back payments...

St. Joseph's forced Arthur
to leave the school.

I thought Pingatore and them
would help me out, but...

You have to draw the line
because, as I said...

tuition is something that,
as a school, we depend on...

for 90% of our revenue.

I guess he thought I wasn't gonna be
that big of a ballplayer.

So why would he just waste some money
on me staying there?

Or, you know, he thought
I wasn't gonna grow.

He kept on saying,
"When are you gonna grow?"

Well, I don't know.

If I had known that all of this
was gonna lead to this...

Arthur would have never went
to St. Joseph's.

I mean, if I had known that he was gonna
have to go through this type of pain...

and myself... the anguish of it...

and then to put him out
in the middle of a school year...

IDs, ladies and gentlemen.

All right. Okay, okay. All right.

Can't take no beepers in here.

Give me my beeper, man.

Mr. Wade, I need to see you
at the front door.

Now where you gonna go?
Your friend go to jail. No beepers in here.

Don't make no scene.

Arthur is accepted
at the public high school near his home.

He's been out of school for two months
and lost a whole semester's credit.

Here you have a youngster caught in
the middle of two separate school systems.

Had he stayed at St. Joseph's...

he would have been able to receive
credit for that first semester.

Doesn't seem fair,
but then that's the system.

If he was going out there and he was playing
like they had predicted him to play...

he wouldn't be at Marshall.

Economics wouldn't have had anything
to do with him not being at St. Joe's.

Somebody would have made
some kind of arrangement,
and the kid would've still been there.

He's not making it like they thought he was
gonna make it on the basketball court...

so he's not there, simple as that.

It doesn't take no brilliant person
to figure that out.

It's mid-season
when Arthur joins the sophomore team.

He was so depressed and devastated,
he just closed himself off in the room.

I would go in there and tell him
every day, "Hey, things will look up."

Coming off the bench,
Arthur wears number 11...

Isiah Thomas's number.

What kind of techniques were being used...

to take away the freedoms
that had been earned?

- Jeannetta.
- Poll tax.

Poll tax. Okay, Arthur,
what other techniques were used...

to keep black Americans from voting?


You could almost forget
about his being there.

That's how quiet he really was.

I think the transition
had something to do with it.

In comparing
Marshall High School to St. Joseph...

I don't think
that there is any comparison.

People can afford
to send their children there.

They can afford to put money
into the school.

Once they walk in those doors...

they walk in there to get that diploma
and to go on to college.

Whereas our students,
if they get out of high school...

a lot of them,
it's an accomplishment.

Trinomial. What's this gonna be?
Both of these are what?

if he wanna go back next year...

he gonna go back, if I have to beg.

Because, uh, I wanna help him
with his little dream.

Arthur's mother, Sheila,
has lost her minimum-wage job...

as a nurse's assistant...

because of chronic back pain.

It's just a real hard area
to live in, period.

And as far as raising kids...

kids don't even have a playground
or play area...

anything constructive to do
in the neighborhood.

But you see why half of them
become gangbangers, you know.

Because it's nothing constructive
in the neighborhood for 'em.

So now it's, like, you more or less
got to keep your kids close to you...

and watch 'em at all times.

In June, after 20 years of marriage...

Arthur's dad leaves the family.

Big logjam into the lane.
Jordan's 15-footer good from out front.

Make sure you look at
how many shots have been taken.

Jordan might shoot, uh, 15 out of 40.

Fifteen out of 40?

I'm just saying, for instance.
He's done it.

But see, if you do that,
you're gonna know about it.


Curtis tells William,
"The most important thing...

is getting the ball in the basket."

Curtis said the boy's good.

He say he's real good,
but he don't listen.

He said if he listen to him,
he'd be better.

He's always telling me,
you should do this and you should do that.

Seems like everybody I know
is my coach.

I know a whole lot about basketball.

Now it's Isiah Thomas.

I guess, in so many words,
I'm a pro at that in my mind.

The Trojans were led on the
court all season by 6'2"sophomore guard...

Curtis Gates.

When he went to college,
and Michael Jordan first came to the NBA...

they would, you know, sit around and argue
over him... who could play the best.

Curtis was named Player
of the Decade at Colby Junior College...

but he also developed a reputation
for being uncoachable.

Curtis's idea of being real good is...

you don't follow the rules,
you do what you wanna do.

Curtis finally signed
at the University of Central Florida...

but he didn't get along with the coach
and rarely played.

Even if he didn't play ball...

it was a nice university.

He could have finished school.

But he couldn't handle it.

Security. Can I help you?

I'm used to everybody
in the neighborhood loving me...

and knowing how good I can play.

It just seemed like people looked up to
Curtis Gates when it came to basketball...

but now...

I'm just a regular old guy
on the street now.

Welcome to the prep game of the week...

in the Class AA Sectional Final.

You got the guru,
the legend, in Gene Pingatore.

Gates! Good!

Boy, Gates is on fire.

William Gates is one
of the premier sophomores.

William scores 17
points in the first half...

as the Chargers look to return
to the state finals.



He is a thoroughbred of a player.

Can they get it done here now?

In the second half, Gordon Tech
turns to their own sophomore star.

drives the middle, puts it up. Good!

Gordon Tech hangs on to a slender
lead in the waning seconds of the game.

Three-point lead with 12 seconds left.

My guy's William Gates.

I'd like to see him get it, just get to go
one-on-one and pull up and ice it.

Oh, boy. This is it.

- Gates is the man with the ball.
- That's the one I would want.

He's gonna pull up from way out.
Off the front of the rim!

Kleinschmidt hits it around.
Three seconds left.

Cunningham goes out. It's up!

No good! Gordon Tech wins!

to the Gordon Tech Rams.

They're on a joyride,
one game now from Champaign.

Come on.

Arthur's season ended well,
and he has high hopes...

to play for the varsity next year.

Whoo! Lots of iron on that shit.

Arthur's dad shows up.

Man got big hands.

These days, Arthur rarely sees him.

- Watch this. Watch this dunk.
- Joe, I'm gonna go after you, okay?

Watch this.

You got old legs, Dad.

Old legs.

Hey, Man.
I'll see you later on, okay?


Increasingly, this playground court...

has become a place
to buy and sell drugs.

"Dear Mother...

I hope when Mother's Day comes...

you will light up the sky
with a big smile.

You, Mother,
are the only one in the world...

who can provide
and take care of me.

You are the one
that makes our family work.

You are the one that I will miss so much
when I go away to college.

No one can replace you ever.

Love always, Man."

Mother's Day, 1989.

I said to him,
"What are you gonna do this summer?"

He said, well, he didn't know.

So I said, "Well, if you need a job...

let me know,
and I'll see if I can help you."

We had a job that didn't require
a lot of previous training...

so we hired him.

I messed up so bad on my first day
'cause I wanted to do everything right.

Just messed up everything.

Puttin' tapes in the wrong numbers...

all sorts of stuff.

But I just pushed myself
to come out here...

because I know, in the long run,
it's gonna be good for myself...

and for my family.

I give my mother $50
out of my checks.

All she done for me, I don't think there ever
be enough that I can get to pay her back.

Unless I make pro.
Then I'm pretty sure I can pay her back.

I drew on these.
Look at my name.


I had heard that his nickname used to be
Tuss, so I just started calling myself Tuss.

Say "Tuss."

You know, I say,
"Man, you may not make it to the NBA."

He said, "Don't keep on
telling me things like that.

That's just like showing me
you don't have any trust in what I do."

I said, "I do, but don't just keep
putting everything into this."

He said, "Ain't nobody gonna
take my dream away from me.

That's what I wanna be,
and that's what I'm gonna do."

Go first.

I say, "Hey, it's your dream.
What can we do?"


"Dear William, Georgetown University
basketball staff is very interested in you."

"We are going to kick off the season
with a midnight madness celebration."

Bobby Knight called.

Michigan State...
boy, do they ever call.

"Will be on national television."

Any school you name.

"Dear William, there's gold
at the end of the rainbow.

$500 in there for you too."

Did you see Isiah play the other night?

Yeah, I caught the end of it.

- How'd you like it?
- He played pretty good.

The whole school
see me as being a Isiah Thomas.

I'm trying to build my own identity.

When I leave, they're gonna be, like,
"You're gonna be the next William Gates."

The St. Joseph Chargers
are strictly man-to-man.

- Gene Pingatore believes in that system.
- Watch Isiah come.

- Going down the middle, throws it up.
- What did he do?

- He took the charge.
- He took the charge.

- Something we have to get you to do, right?
- Yeah.

Everything he does
is what a coach is looking for.

You listening?

Out to Clark.
This is Thomas with the ball again.

What an eye!

You're actually a better shooter
than Isiah from the outside.


That's heads-up ba...
Oh! Thomas! What a move.

That means you have
a lot of responsibility, William.

Can you handle it?

I hope so.
I'm ready to go downstate.

- You wanna go downstate?
- Yeah.

You gotta do something about it.
You have two years to get us down there.

It's going to be all on your head.

Isiah Thomas has just hit his 20th point.


Hold up! William.

The man playing defense
dropped way off here.

Now, who would you rather
have shoot the ball?

Stras shoot the ball there,
or you stop in here and shootin' the ball?

- Me.
- Well, shoot it!

William practices today having
just recovered from a slight knee injury.

Come on. Let's go.
You're playing soft.

William? Does it bother you?

Don't be afraid though.
Don't favor it.

Tempo! Tempo!

Hold it. That's bullshit!

You didn't jump to the ball
and deny the man!


That's still one.

Nope. It's still one.

We'll stay here all day
until you get a 10-seconder.

William, you gotta take it easy.




Now we start all over.

You people just refuse to work.

You don't know what it is
to be intense!

And if you don't have it,
you're gonna be crap for this team!

Give me a good reason why I should
keep you on this team, Corey.

How 'bout you, Reed?
Give me a good reason.

What do you think, William?

I mean, how many of these people
work hard?

- Not too many.
- Not too many.

Wanna stay home
when the state tournament comes?

All right. Go on in.

The next day in practice,
William re-injures his knee.

You, most likely,
have at least torn this cartilage...

the inside cartilage of your knee.

And you may have
a ligament tear in your knee, okay?

If the ligament is torn, William,
you would miss this year...


This is a lot to happen to you
at an early age.

But I think if all goes well...

you'll be able to come back.

Everything was just going great.

Now this.

All you guys can't get large.

- Somebody accidentally...
- What's up, man?

Somebody gotta wear medium. You little
skinny guys wanna get in a large.

What the other guys gonna put on?

Watch that boy.
He'll steal your drawers.

Junior year, Arthur makes
varsity for the Marshall Commandos.

This is the year, right?

This is it.
All righty.

Not too bad.


Back home,
the family's troubles have worsened.

Now I'm on welfare...

that I wasn't on then.

And trying to live month-to-month
on something like that is very hard.

You have three growing kids
that need this...

and you have bills to pay...

and it's just not enough
to make ends meet.

Man! Sweetie, is Man in there?

I was never raised on welfare.

My mother and father both worked.

We was cut off for three months.

We was cut off aid complete
with no income.

So, therefore,
do you know what happened?

Our lights were cut off.
Our gas was cut off.

And we were sittin' in the dark.

They had cut me off because
I failed to meet an appointment.

It hurt everybody.
It changed everybody's attitude.

That you can have something today
and it's gone tomorrow.

So you know what the system
is saying to me?

Do you know what it's saying
to a lot of womens in my predicament?

They don't care.

The good news is
that your ligament looks fine.

- Good.
- Okay? Your ligament looks fine.

We can actually
sew the cartilage back.

So you're looking at a minimum
of 12 weeks, maybe 16 weeks...

before I'll let you play ball again.

Possibly being able to play
by tournament time.


I'm gonna slip you a little something
into the IV...

to kind of take the edge
off of things, okay?

All right?

- I can tell.
- Yeah.

No doubt.

♪ All the years of useless search

♪ Have finally reached an end

- Let's turn him.
- Yeah, this way.

If it stays there.

Probably go with the right post here
and little stuff.

The doctor told me he wasn't gonna
even try to get him ready to play this year.

So what do you think
that gon' do to his career?

I really thought Curtis
was gonna make it.

But he didn't make it,
so I just wanted to try...

I just wanted this one to make it.

We were able to repair the cartilage.


When basketball is over,
William may not have a friend in the world.

Curtis lost his job as a security guard...

and has been unemployed
for over four months.

Sometimes I sit around
and my eyes just kinda get watery...

'cause I be, like,
I ain't amounted to nothing.

You know, I ain't got nothing.

I can't even go out there and get a job
making seven dollars an hour.

I'll be sitting there telling myself,
"You ain't gonna get no better."

What did y'all tell me about
after y'all go to college and everything...

y'all get your own place?

We can all go to Arby's, baby!

- And get fresh Matt's Cookies.
- And going to Jewel's for our meat.

- That's a lot of food stamps.
- We ain't gonna need no food stamps.

Each day is a struggle.

Trying to deal with the kids' attitudes
as well as my own...

and trying to be strong enough
for them and myself.

- That is so neat.
- I forgot to turn in my work.

That is what you call a neat paper.
Yeah, that's neat.

Don't you say that about my son.

My son got a brain.
Now, you cut that out.

- But he don't use it.
- See that brain there?

Now there are two
new members of the Agee household.

Arthur's sister Tomika
has a baby girl named Jazz.

And Arthur's best friend Shannon moved in
to escape his own troubled home.

Shannon is like me.

He understood me,
and I understood him.

He could sit back and talk to me
'cause I was his best friend.

He trusted me, and I trust him.

It's been crazy, as far as his father
and his mother's breakup.

He'll come home,
and Bo stealing and buying drugs...

and beat on his mother and stuff.

You have to call the police
or get an order of protection...

for him to leave me alone.

My father was the same way.

I think about it all the time,
when you come home, and they fightin'.

You know, that gets to a child's head.

They can't... Especially when you're
living with your mother...

and you young,
and that's all you see all the time.

He had to do something
to keep his spirit up.


Why you...

Starting at guard,
number 11, a junior, Arthur Agee!

When I played basketball,
I knew what I wanted to do.

This is what I want, you know.

This is what I wanna do
for the rest of my life.

Come on, win it, boy!

Get that ball!

He's way behind
where I think he should be at this point.

I've had a few guys come
to me from college...

"Ooh, I like that kid.
He's quick, he's fast."

But something's missing with Arthur.

Shannon was on the basketball team too.

He was a little more raw
than Arthur is.

I couldn't handle two guys like that...

so I tried the lesser of the evils.

That was Arthur.

Marshall's won six and lost 14...

their worst record in 20 years.

You just in a hurry to do nothing...

'cause that's exactly
what you're doing... nothing.

After spending
most of the game on the bench...

Arthur gets another chance.

Get that ball! Work that ball, boy!

Yes! That's the way you do it!

In the final minutes of a close game...

Arthur takes it strong to the hoop.

He's called for charging
and fouls out of the game.

- There's been some bad calls all day.
- Amen!

I'm telling you. Oh!

The daily regimen of rehabilitation...

is not the only change
in William's life.

Say "Hey!"

- Hey!
- Say "Hey!"

I was just basically scared to tell people.

I was feelin' sick, you know...

holding all this stuff
inside of me.

I couldn't let it out.

When I did finally tell Coach,
he was like, "When did this come about?"

And I said...

"Oh... three, four months ago."

He was like,
"Three or four months ago?"

I was in the delivery room.

The nurses gave her to her...

and she handed the baby to me,
you know.

And I'll never forget
how hard she was squeezing my hand.

Once we got her home
William offered his help and stuff...

but it was almost like I didn't want it
'cause she was mine.

You know?
Instead of the two of us.

So then, after a while we...
I finally let him keep her.

And he earned his title.

It felt good.

Your numbers look real good.

I think you're two to three weeks away
from being able to practice full.

- You know what I mean?
- Two or three weeks?

I know you wanted to
waltz in here today and I'd tell you
to go back to practice right now...

but I don't want it
to have to tear again.

I felt that this was the year for me.

I know we can make it downstate.

That's just a big dream I done had.

I look up on the scoreboard...

My name is not even on there anymore.

Where do I fit in with this team?

William takes a makeup exam in math...

because he skipped the final.

Here's the cutoff point for passing.

And you ended up right there.

So you passed the final... barely.

When I stopped playing ball,
all my grades just sunk.

I understand we, uh...
we got the ACT results.


Not as good as we, uh...
we wanted, huh?

William scores a 15 on his first ACT.

He needs to score an 18 to qualify
for an athletic scholarship...

to any four-year university.

I think what we have to do is get you
set up with the Britannica course.

We'll have to talk to Mrs. Wier. Okay?

Sometimes you have had the right answer
and you changed it to the wrong answer.

Through Patricia Wier,
William's St. Joe's sponsor...

the cost of the six-week class is waived.

If you're just outright guessing...

if a monkey took this test and you
trained him to do just B's and C's...

he probably would get more right
than if he picked A's and D's.

You just don't know the feeling...

not knowing
if you gonna be able to play...

just because of a test.

I mean, as soon as you don't tighten
one screw, everything falls apart.

- El caballo.
- El caballo.

- El caballo.
- El caballo.

- La vaca.
- La vaca.

Arthur, ¿Tienes tu el libro?
¿Tienes tu el libro?


- What do I say?
- Okay, how do you say "yes"?


- How do you say "yes" in Spanish?
- Sí.

Sí. Look up on the board.

He's a pretty smart kid,
but he does just enough to pass.

Hey, Shannon!

Most of them
that have come through here...

and had that type of attitude...

usually end up in the streets talkin'
about they used to play for Marshall...

and if they'd gone to class they could've
gone to any school they wanted to.

This is just somebody
standing on the street corner talking...

trying to find a job, then can't
find a job, that kind of thing.

This is where he's headed, really.

- How's your knee?
- It's pretty good.

Easiest thing right now would be for you
not to play and wait till next year.

What do you wanna do?

- Wait till next year?
- Right.

- No.
- You think you're ready?

My next year is now.

I've seen athletes
who have come back from surgery...

where they worried about the injury.

When this happens,
they may never be the player they were.

William's first start is the
final home game of the regular season.

William should have shot it.

He gotta do that the whole game.
He only do it when they leadin'.

It was like my injury
was making him look bad.

Run it out!

I always felt that Curtis...

should not be living his dream
through me.

If he don't do somethin' out here on this
court... Man, he ain't showed me nothin' yet.

You gotta come out
and start playing hard all the time.

Otherwise you're just another player.

You follow me?
Just remember the way we talked.

Okay? As long as you're physically able. If
you're not, you shouldn't be playing at all.

So nervous about the start tonight.

But I'm glad it's over with.

Now I can just...

get onto the floor more better.

Spread the floor to four corners!

St. Joe's has made it to the sectionals.

And in the final minutes...

William goes to the free throw line
with the Chargers leading by six.

Always a clutch free-throw shooter...

he sinks four straight
to help seal the victory.

In the sectional finals...

St. Joe's looks for revenge
against Gordon Tech...

the team that knocked them out
last year.

With his whole family watching...

William seems out of sync
and bothered by his knee.

You are not working hard enough!

You understand me?
They want it harder than you!

At the beginning of the fourth quarter...

St. Joe's leads by a point.

Got any pain with that?

While the doctor examines William's knee...

Gordon Tech surges ahead.

The Chargers steal the
ball, trailing by one.

William calls time-out.

I want it down floor so we can
get it to one of our good jumpers.

With only seconds on the clock...

the Chargers find William
in the corner.

The shot doesn't fall,
but William is fouled.

With six seconds to go...

William steps to the line
with two free throws...

and a chance to win.

He shouldn't have been out there.
He shouldn't have been playing.

- The knee?
- I'm very disappointed.

Y'all get that on tape 18 times.

Disappointed in the system.
He shouldn't have been out there playing.

His knee came out of place
a couple of times, it looked like.

I mean, if winning's that important,
we need to reevaluate the program.

That ain't no excuse. He got out there,
said there wasn't nothin' wrong with him.

That's an excuse.

If he was hurt,
he shouldn't have got out there.

There's two possible problems
you could have.

You might have healed,
say, 80% of that cartilage...

and still have
a small residual tear.

William's brother-in-law, Alvin...

takes him to see Dr. Hefferon,
the Chicago Bulls team doctor.

What you need to do is have
your knee arthroscoped again.

- What side we gonna do?
- Right side.


A lot of people say I shouldn't
have played, shouldn't have came back at all.

Coach kept sayin'
it's really up to me...

and if you leave it up to me
I'm goin' back out there on the court.

We're gonna remove
this portion of the cartilage here.

He'll have a higher incidence of arthritis
as he gets older than you or I would.

But in terms of his basketball career,
he has a good chance of performing fine.

- There's the medial meniscus.
- Wow.

It's the only thing on my mind,
is gettin' downstate...

is makin' it down there.

I want to be able to go all out
the whole year.

No setbacks, no nothin'.

At least Coach won't have to say, "William,
you didn't play hard this game"...

'cause when I step on that floor
I'm gon' be all business, and that's it.

One year after he left...

Arthur's dad Bo rejoins the family.

He spent seven months in jail
for burglary...

and overcame an addiction
to crack cocaine.

- Man might fail ya,
but Jesus never fails!

Praise God! Whoo!
If you haven't tried him, try him!

Sometimes you look for friends
and they're not there.

- But Jesus is always there.
- Amen!

- Even in the midnight hour, he's there.
- Amen.

Glory to God! Whoo!

- Hallelujah!
- Hallelujah!

Glory to God.

Lord, we know
you always bless the family.

Glory to God. Even in the beginning, Lord,
you blessed that first family.

Glory to God. We pray right now,
don't let nothin' come between 'em.

Send strength, Lord, glory to God,
wherever there is weakness.

Please, Lord...

let the love prevail.

♪ I've had my good days

♪ I've seen some bad days

- Yeah!
- Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Lord!

♪ I've had my ups and downs

That's right.

♪ And, Lord

♪ I've been turned around

♪ While I was incarcerated...

I just asked God,
"Show me a different way.

Give me a new life. Take the taste of drugs
and evil way of thinkin' away from me."

I asked the Lord
to forgive me for what I did...

the times that I mistreated my wife,
beat her physically, you know.

♪ I wanna thank the Lord
for protectin' my family

♪ I just wanna say thank you, Lord

♪ I wanna thank the Lord

I just hope this be
a lesson to my children...

to see me turn my life
over to the Lord.

♪ Lord, I won't complain

♪ You washed my tears away

Oh, yeah!

♪ The Lord has
brightened up my days

♪ When I was little...

he had let me down.

People used to come up to me...
"Your father a drug addict" and stuff.

And I'd just be, like, "Yeah, okay."

You know?

And I used to take so much,
you know...

that he has to start realizin'
that, you know...

that what is he doing, you know.

'Cause I remember sometimes he used to
try to go to church while he still...

He was still on drugs
while he was tryin' to go to church.

Give me a hug before you go.

- Give your granddad a hug.
- Thank you!

The closeness was not there
at first, when I come back home.

And then Arthur,
he was watchin' me...

What move would I make now?

Am I just...

bein' like this
since I just come back...

or am I gonna break bad again?

William's dad invites him
down to his auto repair shop.

He hasn't lived with the family
since William was a baby.

The car that I was gonna give you,
uh, I didn't finish it up yet.

I got some more to do to it yet.

I didn't see him for, like, three years.

It never popped in my mind.

- The car back there?
- No, that's the car right over there.

That black Cutlass right there.

I think he's, like...

"Oh, he really must be able
to play some basketball."

I think now he sees
somethin' at the end for himself.

I remember one time he tried to whup me,
but I wouldn't let him.

I said, "You may be my dad biologically,
but as far as being there...


You say you'd like to come
to my next show that I do?

Yeah, come out and...

finally get a chance
to see you sing and...

Okay. What I'll have to do... I don't
have my schedules right this minute.

But I'll have to get that,
and I'll let you know.

Alicia, you're my only friend.

"A'wight? Jimmi-fi."

Thank you.

I always knew that I was
gonna be a better dad than he was.

I wouldn't just leave her like that.

- Alicia?
- Hmm? Yes, Mama?

if Alicia has a problem,
then I have a problem.

She's believing whatever she said.

William's second rehabilitation...

is at the Baxter Clinic...

used by many
of Chicago's pro athletes.

Both of William's operations and rehabs have
been paid for by the school's insurance.

Don't expect to be playing in a game
the first day back.

My mother put a big restriction
on those pickups.

She said, "These are her knees now."

When you're out on a date,
do you have to have sex?

- No! No! No!
- Yes, you do!

No, you don't!

What about the woman's perspective?

All right, quiet down a minute here!

For the second straight year,
Arthur and Shannon must take summer school.

- Restate your question.
- What'd I say?

Shut up!

This class
is for freshmen, sophomores and juniors...

who have failed English.

The basic problem here...

is that we were strapped for money...

and we only had one English class
available to our students.

Hopefully you could touch a nerve
in some of them...

like a spirited discussion
on a controversial topic.

Because exactly what is having sex...

but engaging in an act
that doesn't fulfill...

Shannon really didn't care...

so he just stopped coming...

and he was dropped
from the roll.

Usually in an illicit...

Even if Arthur passes summer school...

he may not graduate
with his class next year...

because St. Joseph's is refusing
to release his transcripts.

I called up the school.

The lady explained to me
that he owed $1,800...

so I felt, well, they have
a school policy there...

and there's, uh, nothing
I can do about that.

About how much can you afford?

Okay, we're looking at 18...

- 13. 10.
- Oh.

13. 10?

1,813. 10.

Well, to total that out...

and from here to...

June... When is graduation?

We're looking at somewhere around...

It's 181 .30 per month.

Is there any way possible that his...
I don't know. I'm just asking.

- Sure.
- Could his credits be released too?

I will get a promissory agreement
drawn up. Okay?

As long as you show me good faith
after the first two months...

I'll release 'em, uh...

That would be end of September.

- Yes, sir.
- Okay.

- Then I'll send 'em to Marshall.
- Okay. That would be fine with us.

- I really appreciate this.
- How's Arthur doing, anyway?

Pretty good.
I can't really complain about him.

- Good.
- Wish he could've stayed here, though.

- Yeah. Me too.
- Well, things...

- Things happen, you know, and...
- Things happen, you know, and...

- Hey...
- That's part of life.

- I can't let him down no more.
- Good.

Okay, good.
I hope we can work something out then.

- I'd like to thank you.
- No problem.

- That's why we're here. We try to help people.
- That's right.

- Okay? Very good.
- All right. Thank you very much.

- Have a nice day.
- Take care now.

Okay. Very good.

- Okay.
- Okay.

- That's what I need.
- Yeah.

I think about it... Had I not been on
drugs when Arthur went to St. Joseph's...

just how good
it would have been for him.

He wouldn't have had to leave.

Here's one of the corners right here where
I used to come up and cop all the time.

Threw away a lot of money
on these corners, boy.

I almost threw my life
right along with it.

He can just look at my life...

and say here's a good example
of what not to do.

If he had my ways...

I would be shakin' in my shoes
right now.

Hey, look at that Georgetown coat.
Man, I might get that.

- Dang!
- Pocket on the side.

That's the one I was tellin' you about.

How much?

Seventy bucks even, no tax.

Some of the drug pushers
in the neighborhood...

they'll give us money, tell us,
"Go shoppin'. Go get you somethin'."

They're thinkin', we playin' basketball
and they can give us stuff...

and keep our career goin'.

So that's how we were to
keep up with the styles.


While you're sitting here today...

you should feel like a million dollars.

You should feel so special.

You are one of a hundred
of the best high school players...

in this country,
the United States.

My mother, God bless her,
she's in heaven today.

She used to always say to me, "This is America.
You can make something of your life."

Come on! Come on!


All the coaches from over here.
To the stands, please, coaches!

Coaches, we gotta clear!

If you a player, somebody up there
gonna recognize that you a player.

So there's 250 of us here.

We're doing it to try to find out who the
best players are and get 'em in our program.

There aren't very many kids at any level,
including the NBA...

that really understand
what basketball is all about.

We always say, you're going to war, would you
want him behind you covering your flank?

If you're pouting,
they're gonna also recognize that.

And don't tell me they're not
gonna write it down in that book.

At the prestigious Nike camp...

William hopes to prove
the injuries are behind him...

and he belongs
among the nation's best.

One, two, three.


One, two, three, four!

♪ Check, check, check, check it out

Arthur and Shannon spend their summer at Pizza Hut earning 3.
35 an hour.


- Hello. How are you all doing today?
- Fine.

It's a waste of my time
down here. I'm ready to go home.

Here I am, always tryin'
to play this team ball.

A few coaches... more coaches
comin' around to look...

everybody feel they gotta do
they own little thing here.

Move it! Move it!

Stick in the post!

Some of you are gonna make it
where you want to be...

and others of you will not make it.

This is summer for them.
They don't wanna be sitting in a classroom.

But we provide them with an experience...

you can't get anywhere else...

in that we simulate what it's going
to be like to be a student athlete.

Fifteen hours a week for basketball.
How many hours do we have up here?

The statistics on Division I players
graduating from college are really frightening.

Let's assume you're playing
big-time college basketball...

and your team travels...

You have to realize...

that nobody cares about you.

You're black,
you're a young male.

All you're supposed to do
is deal drugs and mug women.

The only reason why you're here...

you can make their team win.

If their team wins...

these schools get a lot of money.

This whole thing
is revolving around money.

Recruiting is like
any other sales business.

We've gotta win to keep our jobs.

We've gotta fill the arena
to keep our jobs.

And if we don't, they fire us.

I mean, that's... Hey, if bankers
don't make money, they fire them.

When you look at some of these young boys'
bodies, they got NBA bodies already.

There's one particular kid
who's here now...

I've watched him since sixth grade;
I've watched him blossom.

That's when you wanna get on 'em...
when they're young...

and start writin' 'em
before everybody else writes 'em.

Try to get any edge you can
in this business.

It's already become a meat market.

But I try to... to, uh, do my job...

you know,
and serve professional meat.

What schools do you think
are most involved with William right now?

I would say DePaul...

Marquette, Indiana, Michigan.


Great job! Way to go!

Bob Gibbons done seen me
play my best game out here.

Turned in 16 points, 12 assists.

Bob Gibbons over there like this...
"Hmm ."

Yeah, I was smilin' too, Bob.

Give me a slice of the crust.

Probably will.

Thanks a lot.


Hey, Mom.

Right now I'm feelin' good about myself.

I really feel like, since I been down here,
that I was all-American.

When I go back home
I'm gonna feel unstoppable.

This one eyebrows up.
This one eyebrows up.

Swing it!


I'm gonna pull up on it, okay?
Tell me if it hurts more.

- Yeah.
- It hurts more when I do that?

Easy does it, now.

It's on the muscle. It's not on the joint.
It's above the joint.


What's your name?

Though it's only a muscle injury...

it's severe enough that William will not
compete for the final two days of the camp.

How many electives
you need to graduate?

- Six.
- Six?

Arthur's transcript
from St. Joseph's has arrived.

If you pass all of the classes
that you're presently taking...

you can graduate
from summer school.

- Okay?
- Mm-hmm.

- Have you taken the ACT?
- Mm-mmm.

When do you plan to take it?

Sometime soon.

What institution are you planning
on going to? Have you decided that?

I was, um, thinking about,
going to, um... Alabama.

But you need to take
Algebra-Trig. Okay?

Do you plan to take that?

I don't know.

You don't know?

So you just barely gettin' by again.

No. You ain't gotta say that.

But you are.
You've been barely gettin' by all along.

Now, you gonna have to do better than that
if you wanna go to Alabama...

or any other school.

You gonna have to do more
than just get by.

Don't forget to bring
those papers back to me.

- Okay.
- All right.

St. Joe's just messed everything up.
Shouldn't have even went there.

Thought I had more credits than this.

They gon' kick me out
'cause I ain't payin' 'em money. Man!

That's all right, though.
I'm gonna still make it.

"Don't let your best
opportunity get away from you.

You can have a great experience
at Marquette University.

Once you visit our campus...

I feel confident that you will know
that Marquette is the right place for you.

Sincerely, Kevin O'Neill."

I like these.

I been gettin', like, two a week
from the school for...

a couple of months.

So that's quite a few.

I know you're game,
but, Monica, you seem very overwrought.

I had Division I offers.

I had even signed at Marquette 'cause
they thought I was gonna make the grades.

The great ballplayers...

they care about basketball
more than they care about school...

and I know they do.

Shaky. Shaky.


Let me try somethin'!

If you're looking for
a progressive college basketball program...

with experienced leadership
and a winning tradition...

then the Marquette Warriors
are for you.

William's first home recruiting visit.

Three top schools postpone visits...

preferring to wait and see how William
will do his senior year at St. Joe's.

if you don't make the test score,
it doesn't mean we don't want you...

because we still do...
that's what I'm telling you.

If you tear your knee out
again this year...

and you can't play ever again...

you're gonna have your education
paid for at Marquette University.

I know that the scholarship
is one-year renewable.

Gene's right about this, but any school worth
its salt is gonna give you four years.

The bottom line is this...
we want to win the national title.

Number two... I wanna make you
the best player I can.

I wanna give you an opportunity to,
maybe someday...

be one of those guys that makes
some money in Europe or in the NBA.

You're one of seven guys
that we're recruiting right now.

- You're recruiting seven guys?
- Seven guys for three spots.

Where he fit in?

- Where does he fit in?
- Yeah.

As soon as William tells me
he's not looking at any other schools...

then I'm not looking at
any other players.

So, what?
The first one sign, that's...

Well... Well, that's what
it's gonna come down to.

If I tell you that, hey,
you're our guy and this and that...

and I lose you to Kansas, Indiana,
North Carolina State or something...

I'm out of luck.

The president's saying to me,
"I thought you were recruiting a guard ."

It's a tough situation,
but it's something that has to be done.

It's a great place.

We're gettin' ready
to have it rockin'.

The best is yet to come.

Lot of serious ballplayers
been through this building...

Junior Bridgeman, Sidney Moncrief,
Bob Lanier, Oscar Robertson.

Can you see yourself playing
in this place here, 18,000 in it?

Big difference from St. Joe's, now.

We stayed at the Hyatt.

Man, it was nice. Real nice.

They had these balloons
all hangin' up on the ceiling, everything.

They... They really did it up.

And I must say, we did it up too.

We... Room service.

Had these phony newspapers written up.

Notre Dame 77, Marquette 76.

Gates is out high, calling for the ball!
There are six seconds left.

The freshman spins past the defender,
slicing to his left to the foul line.

Three seconds left.
Marquette down by one.

Gates launches a running one-hander!
It's on the way!

It is good!

Gates buries a 13-footer
just ahead of the horn...

and Marquette
has defeated Notre Dame!

If you think we care about you
a lot in recruiting...

we're gonna do more when you're here.
You know that.

Don't let it get to a point where somebody
else comes in and takes a scholarship away.

Let us know what you wanna do... unless
you know what you wanna do right now.

He knows, but he won't say.

You talked to any, uh...

leading black people on the campus?

- The leading black people?
- Yeah.

- Such as?
- Whoever might be in charge...

of all the black students on campus...

what kind of community life
they have for the blacks there.

- Uh...
- Did you talk to anyone about it?

- Did you ask the players how they're treated?
- Yeah.

- What'd they say?
- Players say they treated fine.

I mean, they get
the best of everything.

- You think that's where you wanna go?
- Yeah.

That's fine.

Obviously, if you wait you'll have all the
other schools that were on you before...

like Kansas and Indiana
and North Carolina State.

That's all right, uh, but...

I discussed it with...

I think you should take a few days.

Because you just came back.
You understand?

- Poop!
- Yeah!



Is there any cash with this?

Uh, it's in the mail.

To four years of excellence.

- Hear! Hear!
- Hear! Hear!

- It's alcohol-free.
- It's not that bad.

I am fixing him
a birthday dinner today.

It's his 18th birthday...

and I want to show him
how much we appreciate him and love him...

and care for him.

Everything that you can imagine
was going wrong with this family...

but now everybody's together.

It's his favorite cake.

He's a great kid.

And some kids don't live
to get this age, you know.

That's another thing
to be proud about...

that, you know,
it's his 18th birthday, he lived...

and to get to see 18, that's good.

I wanna tell you that I love you very much.
I'm very proud of you.

It seems like I was 18 just yesterday.
Here. Happy birthday. I love you.

- Ohh!
- Hey-hey!

- Happy birthday!
- I love you too!

- Come over here.
- Where you goin', homes?

Where you goin', homes?

♪ Happy birthday, dear Arthur

♪ Happy birthday to you

Blow out the candles!

♪ Have many more

Two months after his 18th birthday...

Arthur is cut off public aid.

This is what I brought to their attention.

He's still a full-time student.
He hasn't graduated yet.

So why would you-all cut him off?

- I'll bite you!
- I'll bite you back.

They feel like when they get 18...

most the black kids
they drop out.

So that means that the child
is just thrown out there.

I was gettin' 368.
Now I get 268.

And that's it.

And that's to take care of me
from one month to the next.

Now, can you imagine
a person living on that?

Do you-all wonder sometime,
how am I livin'?

Or how do my children survive,
or how they livin'?

It's enough to make people really wanna go
out there and lash out and hurt somebody.

A message to the Oreo cookie.

No matter how much you wanna switch,
here's what they think about you.:

Fried chicken
and biscuit-eatin' monkey, ape, baboon...

big-thighed, fast-runnin',
high-jumpin', spear-chuckin'...

360-degree basketball-dunkin'...

pit-swingin' spade moulanyan.

Go the fuck back to Africa.
Go the fuck back to Africa.

Go the fuck back to Africa.

Think about it. Fuckin' sellout.

Play the music, motherfucker!
Put the music on!

- Bam!
- ♪ Tune into the radio

♪ Listen for a minute
Yo, G, stick a fuckin' tape in it

Shoot it.

Rebound! Go, go, go!

Gates stinks.

You got that? He stinks.

He doesn't play with confidence,
like he did before he was injured.

I don't believe the other players
have complete confidence in William.

They were in awe of William
when he was a sophomore.

They're not in awe of him anymore.

Sophomore year...

I was just carefree.

If it could be done,
I was gonna do it.

I wish I could
get that attitude back.


Hold up!
That's crap!

That is dog-shit crap!

Why did you have to
do something unnecessarily?

If you would've kept it over
here, William... Look at me!

If you had kept it over here, wide,
you could have gone all the way.

What is that crap,
the shovel pass?

There was never any point in our school...

where we just...
just played outright, you know.

Now, remember, think about the ball game
on the way to the game.

I'll bet a nickel.

If I got a nickel.

Yeah, I got it!

Marshall began its season well...

winning four of six.

Today's game will be their first
against a city power.

The only way you gonna beat them
is to play good basketball.

All that bullshit that you be playin'...

You play half of a game, for two
or three minutes you play pretty good...

then you go to sleep.

You have to play a whole ball game.

When we start out,
Arthur will be completely in the ball game.

But as the game progresses,
then he digresses.

By halftime, Marshall trails
highly favored Dunbarby 15 points.

But late in the fourth quarter...

Arthur and the Commandos
claw their way back.

On a crucial possession...

the ball goes to Arthur.

Hey, boy!
Gimme some, boy!

Hey, Arthur G!

Hey, Arthur G! You ever got rich,
they'd catch you for sure! Come here, dog!

That's it, man!
Showin' your beef!

I want it up high, G.
I want it up high.

Led by William's 16 points a game...

the Chargers have a 20 and 3 record.

But Coach Pingatore feels they're not ready
for the impending play-offs.

Alabama! Alabama!


Well, don't throw the ball!

Jesus, will you cut it out
and quit acting like a baby!

Will you quit cryin'!

This team just drives me crazy.

It's been a struggle all year.

You think you're better than you are.

The two big guys are prima donnas.

They should be killin' people.

For you people
that are really agonizing...

and just hate all this stuff
and all the hollering...

if you don't make a turn,
it'll be over next week...

so you won't have to worry about it.

That's the point.

I wanna end this game
in the next three to four minutes.

Otherwise it's gonna be a ball game.
All right, let's go get 'em. Come on.

Hail Mary, full of grace.

Blessed art thou...

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

All right, let's go.
Come on.

William's just too nice of a kid.

I don't know if he has
the killer temperament.

I don't know if he has
the eye of the tiger.

He's gonna need that
when he goes to the next level.

Remember, square up!

It's business, it's big bucks...

and that's what the scholarship's for.

Good job.

- His coach is stingy and selfish.
- My coach is not...

He just want William
to run out there and play...

- My coach is not stingy and selfish.
- Yes, he is!

The day she was gonna be born
I told him he had to be there.

I don't care what his coach say.
I know the game was important.

But this was more important,
and his coach doesn't see it like that.

I just can't miss a game...

just because, you know,
an incident occur...

unless it was like a death
or somethin' like that.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
Ain't like the girl was born every day.

That's what I was tryin' to get you to say.

Especially around that time
of the year too... state tournament.

It was simply out of the question.

He tells me,
"Well, it'll benefit us in the future."

I'm, like, "But what about now?"

He keeps sayin' in the fu...

Basketball was my ticket
out of the ghetto.

If I wouldn't have been playin' ball,
I would not even be goin' to college.

I'm goin' to college, and I have
a daughter. So what's my excuse?

- Because the situations are much different.
- No, it's not.

I haven't been workin' for about a year.

And if it wasn't for William
knowing Miss Wier...

I wouldn't even be here.

'Cause I walked in the door and that's the first
thing I see on the sign... "No openings."

It ain't much better than a person
without a college degree can get.

So I feel like I'll be here
for quite a while.

What you lookin' at?

I don't believe people
when they be sayin', "Wow, school's hard!"

The work weren't hard for me.

All right. I'm gonna do it.
I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna do it.

If I gotta do, like,
a report or somethin'...

I don't like none of the topics,
so I'll just pick somethin' that's simple.

So, what's the topic of your paper?

The life cycle of the butterfly.

- Gonna read it for us?
- Mm-mmm.

Aw, come on!

No, man!

- I wanna hear it...
- I'm just doin' this stuff!

I know, but I just wanna hear
how you write.

"Well, as the people bloom
into another year..."

You know, the year just changed,
January 1.

"The butterfly also blooms.

The butterfly are very beautiful
flying objects."

Then it say at the beginning of the butterfly,
it goes through a change and all that.

Then I keep goin', man.
I just wanna, like, do that stuff.

Then I'll just keep goin'
on and on and on...

and I won't never stop.

Move out the way! Move!
Look out! Move out the way!

Its botanical name is Cannabis sativa.

Millions of Americans break the law and use it.

Arthur's latest report card shows...

he's failing
both Spanish and Science.

He rushes through his work.

As you see,
he just missed one assignment.


But his test scores were pretty low.

- He had a 10 on one test.
- Mmm-mm-mmm.

Will you do me a favor?

When you see things are slippin' like this,
give me a call and let me know.

Let me make sure I have
the right phone number.

So I can stay up on top of this boy.

Because he tells you one thing...

I say, "Where your book?" "We didn't have
to work on the book. It's in my locker."

He gonna have to start
showin' me somethin' better.

He probably on the borderline, and all
that clownin', people just give him an "F."

That's what I would do too.

But I'm gon' stay up on his behind
this time around.

'Cause I told him we payin' 181 -odd
dollars out there to St. Joseph's...


For his transcripts.

He got the transcripts and he ain't doin'
that? Uh-uh. It ain't gonna happen like that.


You remember I told you,
whatever I start I finish.

I'm not like some people I know.

I don't need nobody to push me.

All I gotta do is have the goal
and the motivation, and I'm ready.

It's Sheila's graduation day...

from a nurse's assistants class
at a local community center.

A high grade
will assure her certification.

I want to be an RN nurse.

I've always had that dream.

Well, Miss Agee.

- Sheila.
- Hmm?

You scored 89 on the exam.

You're gonna get the highest
grade point average for the class.

Really? Really?

No, no, no, no!

Oh, I love you, I love you, I love you!

Oh, I'm so happy!

Oh, thank you, Miss Martin!

You did it yourself.

Oh, thank you.

Oh, you so good.

I didn't think I could do it.

- I knew you could do it.
- Yeah, you did.

You gave me that belief in myself.

You're really inspiring me to go on.

Not just stop right here,
but go farther.

And people told me
I wasn't gon' be anything.

♪ Tell me why

♪ Should the shadows fall

♪ I sing

♪ Because

♪ I'm happy

♪ And I sing because

- Miss Sheila Agee.
- ♪ I'm free

♪ And his eye

♪ Is on the sparrow

♪ And I know

♪ He watches

♪ Over me

The gym is packed for today's
game against West Side rival, Westinghouse.

Marshall's rebounded
from last year's dismal 9 and 16 record...

to go 16 and six.

And Arthur has emerged as the Commandos'
second-leading scorer and assist man.


Some junior colleges have begun to notice.

A lot of these kids won't talk
to a junior college...

really until after they've seen
the dream of, you know...

Illinois and Nevada, Las Vegas
and Georgetown kind of fade.

A junior college
could be Arthur's only hope.

Without better grades
and an 18 on the ACT...

major colleges can't offer him
a scholarship.

It's just too bad
those kids don't realize...

hey, if they had an 18,
the door is so much wider open.

You're in the middle!

In the fourth quarter,
the Commandos fight back
from an 11-point halftime deficit.

They trail by one.

We gotta play more aggressive on defense.
We're not good at playin' on defense.

Yeah, man.


Derrick Zinneman's layup
pushes Marshall to a one-point lead.

Moments later,
a Westinghouse foul...

and then a double technical puts Arthur on
the line with a chance to ice the victory.

One more! Whoo!

The upset win is sweet
vindication for the unranked Commandos.

- Arthur Agee, you lead the books.
- Junior!

You got seven.

Seven turnovers.
Even for the guards, that's too many.

This is a good win for you,
but it doesn't mean anything.

You gotta do better than that, man.

You have to do better than that.

Yeah, man.
That was a good game though.

You could have played better though,
you know.

Oh, Mom. You know he did good.
You're just killing me.

You know your mother's proud of you.

He been gettin' down.

Like a real star.

Number 11...

Arthur Agee!

Nearly four years after
discovering Arthur on the playground...

Earl Smith shows up to see Arthur win
his first play-off game.

I figured this game and the next
game may be his last high school ball game.

- Where you been, man?
- Where I been?

- Yeah. Where you been?
- I've been workin'.

- Oh, yeah, right.
- I've been following you in the paper.

- Oh, yeah. You impressed or somethin'?
- Yeah. I'm impressed. I'm here, ain't I?

- If I wasn't, I wouldn't have followed you.
- You been talking to Ping?

- For what?
- You don't talk to him no more?

- Why not?
- What do I have to talk to him about?

- Well, Jamal...
- You ain't there.

- Yeah, you're right. I had to break out.
- Yeah.

So I was thinkin' about goin' tonight
to see, uh, St. Joe and Nazareth play...

but I wasn't sure
if you had time to do it.


I've got a bitter taste in my
mouth about a lot of things that happened.

A lot of people accuse me
of taking youngsters...

out of the inner city and taking them out
to St. Joe High School...

and they ask
what did I get out of the deal and...

a lot of racial slurs and so forth from
my own people about me, about what I did.

I still felt and feel
that I was doing the right thing...

for that particular time.

Uh, sometimes I have second thoughts...

when I see the net results
of what happened with the youngsters.


- Arthur...
- Arthur Agee, sophomore.

My gosh. What are you doin'?

- What are you doin' now?
- Goin' to school.

- Where?
- Marshall.

Oh, I taught him.
Can you believe it?

- So you came in case
you have to play St. Joe's?
- Yeah.

Arthur. Arthur.

- What's up, man?
- What's up, man?

- What you been up to? You playing basketball?
- What? Yeah.

- How'd you guys do?
- We did a'ight. Still playin'.

Still playin'?
When's your next game?

- We gotta play Crane. High school in Chicago.
- That's cool.

It'll be all right.

William is benched
for arriving late to the locker room...

and Nazareth threatens.

William enters the game to go head-to-head
with Nazareth star Sean Pearson...

his friend and roommate
from the Nike camp.

The favored Chargers
race to an early 14-point lead...

in this second-round play-off game.

Give me an "E"!
Give me an "R"!

But near the end of the game...

St. Joe's begins to unravel.

William takes control.

Pearson responds.

His three-point shot gives the Roadrunners
their first lead of the game.

For the Chargers, their whole season
may come down to this possession.

Down by one,
with just over a minute remaining.

A loss tonight would be their earliest
exit from the play-offs in six years.

And for William,
there is no next year...

no more chances to get downstate.

It ain't but one thing: bad coaching.

Bad coaching.

Well, we got him here
about five minutes late.

So what? This... This ain't no time
to be teaching nobody no lesson.

All right, boy.

It's all right, bro.

- You all right? You're crying, man.
- Shut up.


- It hurt, don't it?
- Yeah. More than ever, man.

- I didn't never want to go out this way, man.
- Your last year, man.

I'm trying to get it, man.
I'm striving for the same thing.

Hey, man. We'll call you.
Give me a ring. All right?

- All right.
- You played a good game, boy. All right.

You're gonna be all right.

- I love you, boy.
- I love you too, man.

All right.

William was 20 minutes late.

The team was dressed and already talking.

Then he came strolling in.

Maybe he has to learn something from that.

Even in a big game.

The game was a mirror...

It was a mirror
of all of the games all year.

To quote Isiah, the toughest loss
he ever took was the...

My toughest. And that was the De La Salle
game in 1979 when we got beat at the buzzer.

On a 30-footer. And we were favored
to win the state that year.

Um, now we look back on it
as just one of those great moments in...

in our high school scene.

Our toughest loss to take,
and we talk about it.

So that's what I look at, you know,
with these things now.

- Arthur, we could have used you tonight.
- Yeah.

Good luck.
I'm gonna be watchin'. Don't forget.

Stay in touch.

- 'Cause we've talked about... You know.
- Yeah.

- School.
- Yeah.

All right. I'm watching you score.
How's your grades?

- They're all right.
- Good.

- They're all right.
- We missed you.

- I missed y'all too.
- Well, I'm proud of what you've done.

Mr. Bedford said
a lot of good things about you.

- You be in touch. Okay?
- Okay. All right.

- Good luck.
- All right. You too.

Marshall's second-round opponent,
Manley, presents little challenge.

This just explains a little bit
about our program...

where our program's headed.

I like what you're sayin',
and I want him close to home.

- Yeah.
- You know. And, uh...

I think, you know...
I'm kind of leaning your way...

because I just thank God that he's getting
into it... you know, somebody do want him.

I'm Tommy Travis,
Northeastern Illinois assistant coach.

- Okay. Nice to meet you.
- I'm Arthur's father.

- Arthur Hester.
- Okay. Arthur Hester.

Us Arts gotta stick together.

- I'm over at Kennedy-King.
- Kennedy-King?

- Yeah.
- Okay.

May the best man win.

- I thought mom was a cheerleader.
- Oh, thanks.

Thank you for the compliment.

His parents seem to think
he may, uh, pass the ACT.

- He may what?
- He may pass it.

Oh, yeah.
Well, I hope he does.

- Us Arts gotta stick together, guy.
- Yeah.

- Okay.
- Hey.

Would you get excited if a college coach
came up and talked to you?

Not really.

Really, it's just...
You're just going...

to another level of basketball.
That's all.

I'll be excited when I get there.

That's when you'll be
excited the whole year.

I'll be excited as soon as I step up
in there... first day of practice.

If I graduate, I think I'll be
the only one in my family...

besides my uncle,
to finish college.

Me too.

In the fourth round
against heavily favored Taft...

Marshall meets their first
true test of the play-offs.

But the Commandos have been
bucking the odds all year.

Arthur plays one of his best games
of the season...

scoring 19 points...

and the Commandos claim a spot
in the city semifinals.

The final four! I told y'all
he was going all the way. All the way!

Do you guys feel you can play with
any team in the city?

On any given day, we can play with anybody.
We can beat anybody.

Marshall now faces
the ultimate test.:

King High School,
the rulers of the public league.

Winners of last year's state crown, they
were labeled the best team in the country.

King has sparked controversy
by out-recruiting rivals...

for the biggest and best
grammar school players.

We don't understand what
we're really doing to these young kids.

Kid not even 12 years old...

and you're baiting him
to come to your school...

you know, to play basketball.

Falls back in the paint.

I'm not going to start
recruiting in that manner.

No, I'll probably get out
of the game before then.

The winner of these two semifinal games...

will play for the Chicago Public
High School Basketball Championship.

King's strategy is to
go inside to its two seven-foot starters.

Only Arthur seems
un-intimidated by the Jaguars.

And King's poor play
keeps the game close.

We are the... best!
We are the team!

I think they gonna take it.

But in the second
half, King makes their move.

- What are you doin'?
- Come on. Get in the game!

King grabs a four-point lead.

Hey, Mookie, Mookie, Mookie!

Y'all playing
with no confidence whatsoever.



- All right! Go get in charge of that ball!
- Don't foul him! Don't foul him!

Let's go! Let's go!

The Commandos get aggressive on defense...

Too soon now!

And use their superior speed on offense.

Players, sit down.
We got three minutes to go. Sit down.

Marshall grabs a
six-point lead late in the game.

We got a long time to play.

Coach Bedford wants to
force King out of their zone defense...

and make their big, slow players match up
man-to-man against Marshall's quick guards.

One, two, three. Defense!

Arthur simply holds the ball
as the clock ticks away.

The King coach has no choice.

For the defending national champions,
it's all over.

And unranked Marshall
will play for the city title.

Whoo! 26 and 2 now!

They're 26 and 2 now.

That's my Man!

All right, Man!

- I told you we could do it.
- Yes!

- I told you we could do it.
- I told you you were gonna do it.

I knew y'all was going all the way.
I told ya.

I said, "You're going all the way."

This is your last year.
You're going all the way. Yeah.

They got the best shot of him, you know.

And it's great. That was a great
shot, wasn't it?

But this one in the, uh, Tribune
is what I really like.

It says,
"Arthur Agee stood as still as a statue.

Time after time was on his side."

You know, the championship
that I missed when I was in high school...


Twenty-one years later I got a chance
at getting a championship through him.

You know, you're always trying to
build your children up...

and saying, "Well, you-all can do it"...

but, you know, really lying on
the inside a little bit, saying...

"Well, you know, you got a long haul."

But, you know,
this make you even more confidence...

because if he's sure of hisself,
then you know you can bank on it.

Yesterday, you know, when he won the game,
you know, he told me he loved me.

And, you know, I haven't heard that
in, uh... You know.

You can feel it, but I haven't heard it
coming verbally from him.

In a rematch with rival Westinghouse...

Marshall proves to everybody
they have what it takes to be city champs.

Inside pass. Shot rejected.

To the lane with the lay-in.

Busts this game wide open.

Did you see that?
Did you see it? Did you see it?

They are celebrating because they know...

their high school is headed
to the elite eight in Champaign.

And the Marshall Commandos
have won the Public League Championship...

in convincing fashion...

58-38 winners over
the Westinghouse Warriors.

What's up, man?
Told you on the phone what I was gonna do.

Told you, boy.

Marshall, baby. Marshall!


Marshall! Marshall!

Marshall! Marshall!

Your ACT came in, William,
and you received a 14 for a composite...

which is not high enough.

Uh, you've taken the test...
Now, this was for the fourth time.

Now, if you add all those up,
it comes out to 17.2.

In order to play at Marquette,
you're gonna have to get the 18.

And they're very, very concerned.

One assistant called twice this week,
and Bo Ellis called today.

Smile, William.
It's not the end of the world.

- Right?
- I hope not.

Well, you gotta work at this
as hard as you worked at your jump shot.

And it was missing a lot this year.


Now you are down to the final inning
and the last strike.

We're going, going downstate!
We're going downstate!

Now let's, let's celebrate!
Now let's celebrate!

- What are we gonna be?
- State champions!

Your Marshall Commandos!

- Yeah!
- We're gonna take state!

Take state! Number one!

Beat B-A... B-A-T-A-V-l-A!

Beat B-A... B-A-T-A-V-l-A!

Beat B-A... B-A-T-A-V-l-A!

Downstate Marshall plays
its familiar role as underdog...

to third-ranked Batavia.

Justice has it. Justice, one-on-two.

- Spins up...
- Nice move.

In the media glare of a statewide
audience, Marshall shows big-game jitters.

Now bust out.

And Marshall missed the layup.

Sealed off, blocked by Williams.

You got easy shots.
You gotta make your easy shots.

I can't shoot for you.

Now he's gonna penetrate.
Left it for Christian. Missed the shot.

Luther Bedford looks like
he's ready to commit suicide over there.

Y'all better get on your job,

- Now into the corner.
- Get in there.

Batavia's got these guys on the run.

One, one, one, one!

One, one, one, one!

But in the third quarter,
the Commandos charge back.

And a steal by Marshall!

Agee gonna take it all the way.

Yes! That's the way you go!

- Here we go.
- Picked him clean.

Dale. Marshall leads.

Marshall's first
lead since the first quarter.

Like a lightning bolt,
the Commandos have struck.

37-36, Marshall leading Batavia.

Chicago Marshall has exploded...

I always dreamed of, like...

me and William taking
them downstate together.

When I was at St. Joseph...

maybe we could have went downstate,
and maybe we couldn't.

But we did when I'm at Marshall.

Arthur's big fourth
quarter helps add Batavia...

to Marshall's growing list of upsets.

Spectacular comeback
in the fourth quarter by the Commandos...

In the post-game news conference...

Coach Bedford labels
his unranked team "the giant killers."

- Y'all are playing the number one team.
- We're playing the number one team.

We're playing the number two team.

This is the first time in the history
of the school that we've gone this far.

- Really?
- In the history of the school.

Just like the Commandos.
See, we been the underdog.

I'm glad we are because then
it just show you how you could come up.

And then you beat your opponent.

Oh, yeah.

Be a good place for Man to come.

Yeah. This is really,
you know, something that a...

a child would really miss out on.

Like a whole different world.

It's beyond different.


In this semifinal game,
we'll see some great individuals...

just as we saw many years ago.

Remember Isiah Thomas,
one of the great guards.

Here you see the same moves
he plays with in the NBA today.

Well, we've got someone like that.:
Howard Nathan, number 34...

for Peoria Manual.

Marshall got here because of
one reason: quickness.

The reason: Arthur Agee.
Look at this man. He just explodes, Dan.

He can get downcourt
as quick as anyone I've ever seen.

In the semifinals...

Arthur goes head-to-head
with Howard Nathan, the all-American.

Make him work for it, Man.
Make him work for what he get.

All right! Let's go!
All the way, Man! All the way!

Yeah! That's it! That's it! That's it!

Arthur Agee,
spinning inside, tough shot. Good.

Arthur has a great first half...

but the Rams play even better.

He's got it.

Get up for the Rams!
Everybody get up!

Get up for the Rams!

In the second half,
Arthur tries to pick up where he left off.

Penetration move by Agee.
Slapped out of there by Manual.
They've got two-on-one.

Ooh, and a nice fake and a score.

But it's the Rams who don't miss a beat...

pressing the tempo against
the tired Commandos.

You're not in the offense at all.

You're just out there
playing individual basketball.


Hey, hey, guys. No fouls.
We want to keep the clock going. Remember?

Let's go, Marshall!
Let's go!

Let's go, Marshall!
Let's go!

Marshall showed us last night
they have the ability to come back.

Let's see what they can do here.

This is Nathan.

Nice pass.
Knock it down.

Biggest lead of the game now,
and the Rams fans can smell it.

Been a great run
for Luther Bedford's team.

The string of upsets stops here.

- And a foul on Agee.
- He fouls out.

But he just never quit.
He just kept going for the basketball.

I wouldn't be surprised
if he made the all-tournament team tonight.

- Number one!
- We're number one!

We're still number one.

All right. All right.

Though they lose to Peoria Manual...

they finish third in the state, the highest
a Marshall team has finished since 1960.

This was a great season you had.

There is nothing sweeter
than going downstate as a young person.

I mean, the record's
gonna stay there, you know.

1991, there was a team
from Marshall played.

- You know, and you're part of that.
- Yeah.

- That's part of history.
- Ah!

But for you seniors, you know...

Best wishes to all you seniors,
and whatever you try to do, uh...

Mr. Williams and I
will be around school...

as we always are...

To help you if you want to be helped, okay?

Winning five games in six days,
that really takes a lot out of you.

Like Coach said,
you just gotta sacrifice...

you know, sacrifice everything you have.

Like, if you love the game of basketball, you
just go out there and give all your heart.

He got a little ways to go,
but he's... he's gonna get there.

Hopefully he's got his head
screwed on pretty good, you know...

and now, you know,
he's gonna be on his own to do whatever.

Hopefully he'll do it right.

When we got down here, people don't expect
"Marshall? How'd they get down here?"

They lookin' like: "Who they got on their
team?" I had to come out and prove myself.

I think I could play Division I basketball.

'Cause all I need is just a scholarship.
That's... That's all I'm looking for.

Arthur Agee.

All right!

All this area through here
is our new computer labs.

We'll take you through
all those rooms.

Arthur's first recruiting visit...

takes him to a junior college
in Southern Missouri.

The strength that I see here is the
tremendous teaching that goes on here.

Have you decided
what you want to go into?

Uh, communications.

Are you more interested
in the overall communications...

That, and, uh...
I like that and accounting.

- Like business.
- Oh. Okay.

We enjoy winning things,
but the primary purpose is your education.

What are some of your career goals,
may I ask?

I want to fall back to,
like, make... have my own business.

Like real estate.

This is where it all happens.

Beautiful place.
And it gets to rockin'.

- You gonna try it on there?
- Yeah.

Those are about $120 apiece.

You need to be very careful
with this decision.

You know, if you come in and act right,
you're going out of here...

with two years
of your college finished...

a scholarship to a Division I university.

Exactly where you'd want to be...
on track to graduate in four years.

♪ Check, check it out

♪ My man Ben pulled a mack move
and called a mack

♪ To attack, take a track
and stack it fat like a brother

- ♪ Happy that he picked no other
I'm here to do the duty
- ♪ The duty

Mineral Area doesn't have dorms...

but it does have a basketball house.

All the ballplayers
on scholarship live here.

Get your ass up, nigga.

Of the seven blacks
in the entire school...

six live in this house.

You come in and look at this little
house, then after a while you get used to it.

Try to make a little home, you know.

Home away from home anyway.

We hang around each other most of the time.

We know who to trust,
who not to trust.

I just want to go somewhere
where I'm gonna play.

I can get the grades.

I love basketball.

How many of your players that leave there and
they end up going to a four-year college?

- Thirty-one sophomores in a row.
- Really?

Every last one of 'em he coached.

- Hi. How you doing?
- Hey. How you doing?

- Arthur Sr.
- Bo and Sheila have been separated.

She asked him to return today
over Arthur's objections.

I'll show you exactly
what the scholarship entails.

Is this a full
scholarship for the two years?

The reason I'm skeptical is because of
the promises that was made in the past.

From the time
he comes down there until he leaves,
you will not have a financial need.

Now, when you make this decision...

you got to live and die with it.

'Cause it's your decision to make.

Now, I'm here to support you if you...
if you done searched this whole thing.

And it's what you really want.

Not, you know,
'cause Mama said this or your dad...

Or because you're saving
Mama money, because if we have to...

we will still pay...
if you have to try to pay...

if we can put some...
I'm just sayin'.

You... Understand what you're saying. You
want to save somebody money, but still...

But you have to still do
what is best from here.

But still we want the best for you...
even if you have to...

or we have to go in the hole, you know.

You understand what I'm saying?
I'm just saying. But still,
the decision is up to you.

So, what do you think?


- Ready to sign it?
- Yeah.

- Yep.
- Let's do it up.

- What time is it?
- 1:56.


Come on, Bo.
Whup it to him.

Come on, Bo.
Whup it to him.

When I was 23, how old was he?

And I whupped him then.


You want to see it rain?

Let it rain!

- You want to see it rain?
- One more time.

Let it rain!

You want to see it rain?

Let it rain!


Peoria Manual.
Remember what they did to you now.

Yeah. Do you know Howard Nathan?

And I strung him up,
just like that.

Uh-oh. Like father, like son.
What's up with that?

You better stick to church music,
leave that basketball alone.

Hell, no. You can't do that.

Foul! Foul!

Foul. Foul, foul, foul.

- That's 32.
- That's 34.

- 34!
- That didn't count 'cause he called "Bo."

- That's 34!
- That's 32!

- He didn't hit nothing else!
- I did!

- He didn't hit nothing else!
- It's 34-28, Bo.

- Bo's a sore loser.
- All right!

- No. I know how to count though.
- Ain't no con game. I'm older now.

- Yeah.
- Ain't no con game going on no more.

- No more. Ain't no more.
- The score is 32 to 28.

Now, you can play for 32 if you want to.

Game over with.
I can con too.

Losers quit. I'm ready to play.

Now, youse a coward if you don't...
Check ball.

- You're mad now.
- Check ball.

- Throw it over there.
- You ain't two years old.
You ain't gettin' no pacifier.

- Give me that.
- Yeah.

Your mama ain't here
to give you this ball. Let's go.

- Give me the rock.
- Let's make it rain. Make it rain.

- ♪ It feels good
- Right there.

Bang. Bang. Right there.

Ha! Go sit down.
Go sit down.

Bo, it's raining!

Bo, it's raining.

- It's raining, Bo!
- It's raining, Bo!

You're on punishment when you get home.
You're on punishment when you get home.

And you're on punishment
when you get home. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

It's gonna rain on your head, Bo.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen...

and welcome to St. Joseph's
Annual Basketball Awards Dinner.

We had a...

difficult year.

Most of you are aware of that.

When I first went to St. Joe's, I
really did sleep, eat and drink basketball.

That was all I did.

But it became more of a job
than a sport to play.

Things here have not changed since...

You know, Coach Pingatore
just had these dreams in his head.

He just wanted me to go
the same route he took Isiah.

The most steals.

He played as a freshman.
Not even Isiah was a four-year starter.

You know, basketball was
just like... He was possessed with it.

You know, it was his life.

And he wanted it to be
everybody else's life too.

All-conference in the SCC.

All-state in the Sun-Times.

A McDonald All-American nomination.

MVP, 1990-1991 season,
William Gates.

When I had some real problems...

I couldn't go to
none of them about it.

You know, I was having some problems
with Catherine's family and my family...

and I said, you know, "Coach Pingatore,
their family's been getting on me about...

you know, I'm not doing this,
and I'm not doing that."

And the only thing
Coach Pingatore could say is...

"Write 'em off."

That was all he told me. And I was,
like, "What kind of advice is that?"

Well, how's it feel to be finishing?

Uh, I mean...

Now, don't say anything
you don't mean, William.

I mean, I'm serious, Coach.
I enjoyed my four years.

I mean, we had our run-ins, and, uh...

- Who had run-ins?
- Me and you.

- We did?
- Yeah. Like that time
you made me run 75 stairs.

- I never f...
- You never forgot that.


See, you should have been happy and
enthusiastic about doing your punishment.

But someday
you're gonna learn that, uh...

everything that was done
was for your benefit.

So that you can come back four years
from now and say, "Coach, you were right.

"Everything that happened
at St. Joe's helped me a lot...

and as a result I got a degree."

That's what I'm hoping for.

I'm going into communication...

so when you start asking for a donation,
I'll know the right way to turn you down.

I'm sure you'll never turn us down.


I never really felt
that he bought into the system.

He was never convinced what he was
doing was the right thing to do.

But overall he had a good career...
not a great career.

It's never good-bye.

Could've been
different if the injury didn't occur.

But it did occur.

- And that was the big difference.
- I'm proud of what you did.

- Okay.
- I expect you to do a lot better.

I don't want this to be the...

- Yeah.
- You know, the highlight of your career.

You've got a lot of
bigger and better things to do.

I'll see you later.
Good luck.


another one walks out the door,
and another one comes in the door.

That's what it's all about.

It came through for me.

- Got the score I needed.
- All right.

And, hey...

I'm eligible.

You know, this is one of the greatest
feelings in the world. That's about it.

I mean...

After five attempts,
William's composite score of 17. 5...

is rounded up to 18...

and he can finally accept a scholarship
to play at Marquette.

I think my mom...

all through high school
really, really was proud of me.

She said, "Everybody's throwing
their dreams into you...

but you got to throw
your own dreams into yourself."

When I gave her the diploma
after the graduation...

she was, like,
"This is it, one of my proudest moments."

My baby graduated.

Curtis always wanted to go to Marquette...

and his grades weren't
good enough for him to go...

and now it's like
he got the grades, you know?

Excuse me, Curtis.
You gonna give anybody else a chance?

What two countries
are we competing with for world trade?

Before Arthur can graduate,
he must pass summer school.

And for the first time in three years,
Shannon isn't there with him.

The other country, of course, we said...

He thought he could sell drugs
and don't get caught, you know.

But he found out the hard way.

And I told him, while he was doing all
that... I wasn't hanging with Shannon then.

I was like, man, "Shannon, you should
stop, man. Stop doing that stuff."

We always said we weren't
gonna never do no stuff like that.

We were just gonna go on
and graduate and go on to college.

But, you know, he had to be the one.

One week before his graduation,
Arthur is robbed at gunpoint.

At first I thought he was gonna shoot me
because I didn't have no money.

'Cause he kept asking me, "You got...
You got some money. Where your wallet at?"

Be like, "What you driving a car like this
for?" I was, like, "I ain't got no wallet."

And then, you know,
he grabbed me and stuff, and I was...

and I was about to panic and stuff,
and I just calmed down.

I sit down and had a long
talk with him and his sister.

Someone pulled a pistol on her
right down the street from the house.

I said, "Do you all understand what is
going on out here in these streets today?"

Even with me, when I was out there...
you know, out there strung out...

you know, I looked for somebody
that seemed like they had something.

Hmm. After this, I...

I... I'm ready.
I'm ready to leave.

'Cause there ain't no...

Everybody up here going to jail
or... or either in drugs.

Or dead.

♪ In this very room

♪ There's quite enough hope

♪ And quite enough power

♪ To chase away any gloom

♪ For we are the future

♪ We are the future

James Davis.

- ♪ And we're here in this very room
- Diana Stapleton.

Arthur Agee.

Please hold your applause
so everyone can hear.

Christine Bowman.

Erica Byrd.

Sandra Crockett.

I never thought he would
get to the place where he's at now.

Arthur's self-esteem
was really drained from St. Joseph's.

I said, "Well, you are somebody.

No matter where you go,
it's what you have in your heart...

that you're gonna go somewhere."

Come on.
Move out of the way, boy.

Everybody out there, there's gonna be a party
tonight. There's gonna be a party tonight.

You know it.

These flame-broiled burgers...

♪ Right where you're
standing 'cause, uh

♪ Funk's gettin' down
like a real live band

♪ Real live band

♪ Real live band

It's scary, man. I'm telling you.

I'm telling you the truth.
Scary generation, man.

- I thought you might hit me in my head, fool.
- I didn't hit you in your head.

To my son.

I hope you pursue all your dreams
and your desires...

that you have within you.

I love you very much.

- Ooh, that is so nice.
- Whatever.

♪ Oh, no!

God, we thank you
for this day, Lord.

And we ask you to
go with junior, Lord.

And we thank you, Lord. Go with him
as he try to better his education, Lord.

And we thank you for him
for coming this far.

We came this far by faith, Lord.

And we ask you, Father,
when he get in college, Lord...

to keep him, Lord...
keep him protected.

We thank you for him, Jesus.

- In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
- Amen.

Oh, you can cry like a river, girl.

You're crying so bad,
I won't even make fun of you.

Oh, God.

- I'm gonna miss you.
- I'll miss you too.

I want you to be good, okay?

And don't, uh, get mixed up in
none of that old stuff that, uh, you know.

I done told you what to do.

Don't get no alcohol, no wine coolers.

None of that stuff.


I just hope he stay in there.
That's what worries me most.

Once he get in the door,
I want him to stay in there for four years.

Think he gonna make it?

You do?

I think he gonna make it.

Well, I hope so anyway.

When I was young... When I was little,
that's all I used to think about... the NBA.

If I set my mind, I can... I can go.

I can st... I can go.

Get in good college. I can go.

But if I don't, you know, I ain't gonna be
no drug dealer, you know...

cry about it,
come back and, you know...

stick up gas stations
or nothing like that, you know.

Probably go into comedian or architecture,
something like that.

You don't think that you'll have the kind
of tough times like your dad's been through?


I can't say... I can't say that I will.
I can't say that I don't. I don't know.

Four years ago, that's all I
used to dream about was playing in the NBA.

I don't really dream about it
like that anymore.

You know, even though...

I love playing basketball,
but, you know...

I want to do other things
with my life too.

- Say, "Hi, Daddy."
- Hi, Daddy.

- "How you doing?"
- How you doing?

- Say, "I love you."
- I love you.

if I had to stop playing basketball
right now, I think I'd still be happy.

- I think I would.
- Thank you, Daddy.

- Where'd Daddy get to?
- Uh, Marquette.


That's why when
somebody say, you know...

"When you get to the NBA, don't forget
about me," and all that stuff...

I should say to them, "Well, if I don't
make it, watch you don't forget about me."

♪ Check, check, check, check it out

♪ It's time to set it up
run the break like a pro

♪ 6'4", runnin' the joint with beef

♪ Much flavor at any position

♪ I'm like a leftover goulash
Still dishin', dishin', dishin'

♪ Nice with the handles
Kick it tricky like the crossover

♪ Ill with the skills
It's one-on-one till this run's over

♪ Got to keep the pressure on and on and on fool,
we runnin' like this till the break of dawn

♪ So push it up
and dish the rock while we hit the boards

♪ We crash and dish and crash
till our knees are sore

♪ And that's just
when the getting's good

♪ We'll show why we're the kings
that reign supreme on the hardwood

♪ 'Cause on the daily
we live and breathe the rock

♪ And get it to the man fast
when the trigger's cocked

♪ Give me the rock, I'm in a zone
Ooh, I got the range

- ♪ Like the NBA, I love this game
- ♪ Fast break

♪ I'm, I'm on the fast break

♪ Yeah, check it out
Kickin' the fast break, huh

♪ Uhh
Out, out on the fast break

♪ Check, check, check it out

♪ So let's run and gun, excuse the pun
No reference to the drive-by

♪ I elevate, I get sky-high
And, boy, I just can't be stopped

♪ And to get with this
you got to pump more in those Reeboks

♪ See, nowadays the game's played
above the rim

♪ No fouls allowed
Boy, you're playin' with men

♪ So, bring it up and bring it on
'cause the man's bringin' the break

♪ Yo, you know he sets the tone

♪ On the break the game's at its pinnacle
with Showtime

♪ Like Magic run the Lakers
you know I'm gonna gets mine

♪ And you can bet when I come to the hole
it's hard like steel

♪ With the rim shaking
like Shaquille O'Neal, huh

♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Check it out

♪ To keep my skills up
I take my game to the playground

♪ 'Cause like Barkley wreaks havoc on
the court I'm rippin' down rebounds

♪ See, some things
just can't be coached

♪ You come with heart on the blacktop
or you get stomped like a roach

♪ 'Cause on the court it's a test of wills
Come on and "D" up

♪ You keep the pressure on, boy
I gets keyed up

♪ That's when I take you
to the other level

♪ Where only few have gone before
and where others revel

♪ So here we go, here we go
Once again it's on

♪ Enough of the trash talking
Yo, so bring it on

♪ Like Naughty By Nature
take it to your face now, yo

- ♪ So deal with the pace of the fast break
- ♪ The fast break

♪ Yeah
Here we go, Here we go

♪ I'm out on the fast break
Huh, come on

♪ Huh, yeah, ha
Kickin' the fast break

♪ Check it out
Check it out

♪ Yeah
I'm out on the fast break, huh

♪ And here we go, here we go
So, what you wanna do, huh

♪ The fast break

♪ Out, out on the fast break