“It’s not about basketball. My job is to help you become men.” Thus spoke Coach Dru Joyce II to his stellar team at the beginning of senior year at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. He knew these kids had a dream. They wanted to win a national championship. He knew they had the talent and discipline to do it. Now he knew what he had to do to help them.
More Than A Game , a new documentary by filmmaker Kristopher Belman, tells the amazing story of five friends, more like brothers, really, and the coach whose memorable run to the 2003 high school basketball national championship made history. One of the five, a kid who loved basketball since he received a Little Tikes hoop and ball for Christmas at age three, would go on to be drafted to the NBA right out of high school. His name: LeBron James.
But the story did not begin with James. It began with Dru Joyce III, known as “Little Dru,” and his dream. Dru’s dad, Coach Dru Joyce II, knew nothing about coaching but learned everything he could to help his son’s dream come true. So he gathered together a bunch of 5th grade kids from the neighborhood who looked liked they enjoyed basketball. Sian Cotton, Willie McGee and LeBron James (Romeo Travis would join the “family” in high school) joined Little Dru and his dad on a journey of courage, failure, veracity and brotherly love that began in a Salvation Army gym with a linoleum floor.
Filmmaker Belman does a masterful job at weaving this poignant story together using interviews, home video footage, news coverage and photos. Talking about the film, Coach Dru said, “The whole experience is very humbling. What we hope people take from this is that their dreams can come true. For us, it happened through basketball. I truly believe that God gives each of us a dream. Whatever it is for you, pursue it.”
More Than A Game opens in Los Angeles, New York and parts of Ohio on October 2nd. Wider distribution begins on October 9th and 16th. Go to www.morethanagamemovie.com for show times.
Sister Hosea Rupprecht, FSP, is a Daughter of St. Paul and an associate at the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Culver City.
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