2015 Los Angeles Film Festival

Film Review: The Drew: ‘No Excuse, Just Produce’

 

The DrewNBA Player Baron Davis takes matters into his own hands and pays tribute to phenomenal amateur basketball league in South Central L.A. in a documentary.

Call it what you want, but in this game of life, you either win or you lose. And there’s no losing for ambitious, passionate souls, as the drew league would say ‘no excuse, just produce.’ Let’s take it a little back to the Tupac days, as he said it best, ‘the rose that grew from concrete,’won’t be criticized for how it grew, but rather admired for growing out of something nearly impossible.

The Drew league was initiated 40 years ago at Charles Drew Junior High School in Compton and was created as a refuge for young women and men to play ball. This humble sports project slowly grew into a nationally eminent spot for professional basketball talent. Drew League leaders now share their side of the story.

Many basketball stars are featured in this film such as: Kobe Bryant, Byron Scott, LeBron James, Baron Davis, James Harden, Kevin Durant and many more. If you’re a basketball fan, then this documentary is a must! If not, you can still get a gist out of this film! After all, who doesn’t enjoy an inspirational film?

Former Knicks point guard, and NBA Veteran, Baron Davis who also grew up in the hood of South Central LA, was a member of the Drew since age 13. Not only does Davis work as a producer for this film, but also as a co-director and interviewee. Straying away from the court, Davis takes interest into film producing as he recently produced Stacey Peralta’s 2008 documentary, Crips and Bloods: Made in America.

No excuses here, just production! Though the Drew league was established in the middle of the Crips and Bloods era, when people stepped inside the doors of the drew gym; there was no gang affiliations. Everyone was neutral, as this would serve as the refuge for young women and men. The Drew basketball court was a safe place for the young players; though sometimes some stories ended more tragically than others.

Everyone loves to watch a superstar play, but ever pay attention to how this star is made? Of course, the real heroes are always the altruistic coaches and mentors who have kept at it for decades, and who even sometimes serve as a father to troubled young men. Among the self-sacrificing individuals lies Oris also known as ‘Dino’ Smiley, the charismatic giving coach who has been the head of the league for 30 years. Former star college athlete, Kenny Brunner, reminisces on how Dino served as a mentor to him after he was sentenced to jail time for armed robbery. Feeding back to the recurrent theme of the film, ‘basketball serves as a father to the community.’ As this motto allowed Brunner to get back on his feet and turn his life around 360.

This film touches on the issues of poverty and racism as they showcase clips from the Watts riots to the Rodney King NWA days. Nonetheless, it never strays away from all the positiveness the court brought through these hard times.

No Excuse, Just Produce is an exceptional, phenomenal documentary. Davis wanted to give back to the community, and he did just that with this film. Interviews and appearances from basketball legends really exemplify how spectacular and truly special the Drew League is.

The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce:

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