More Than a Game
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Kristopher Belman is one lucky guy. As a college student, working on an assignment, he managed to get permission to film a high school basketball team from his hometown of Akron, Ohio, as they worked toward their third national championship. Sure, a film about a hard-working team from Akron gaining national attention may have been interesting no matter what its outcome. But what makes Belman such a lucky guy is the amazing story that he managed to capture—and the fact that one of its young stars became NBA great LeBron James.

Through interviews, archive footage, and Belman’s exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage, More Than a Game, tells the story of five kids—James, Dru Joyce III, Sian Cotton, Willie McGee, and Romeo Travis—four of whom started playing basketball together in the old gym at the Salvation Army in Akron when they were just 10 years old. But, despite their humble beginnings—and despite the challenges they faced, both at home and on the court—they came together as a team…which eventually became a family…which eventually became national champions.

  
 
More Than a Game has all the action and suspense that you’d expect from a good sports drama. It’s perfectly plotted, with plenty of conflict and tension—and an against-all-odds story. And the basketball footage will take your breath away. This isn’t just another high school basketball team; it’s a phenomenon.

The film even has all of the characters that make for a great sports movie. There’s the local businessman and father turned reluctant coach, the five-foot dynamo turned three-point king, the angry outsider, the football star, the kid who beat the odds, and the kid from the projects who became the country’s Next Big Thing.

Of course, the one big difference is that, this time, it’s all real. This isn’t another fluffy sports drama. It isn’t based on a true story. It wasn’t inspired by actual events. It’s real footage of real people. And that’s what makes it so incredible: it’s history in the making, playing out in front of the camera.

And More Than a Game is more than just LeBron. While “King James” does understandably get more attention than some of his teammates, each one (along with Coach Dru) gets to share his side of the story. The film explores their backgrounds, their relationships, and their greatest challenges as they battled their way through the media circus and the crowds of autograph seekers to make their childhood dreams come true. And while the film’s action may take place on the court, the most compelling moments take place in the individual interviews, as they open up about the experience, talking about memories that are still so fresh that they sometimes get emotional as they recall them.

More Than a Game does have its flaws. The footage isn’t always perfect—and, due to some formatting issues, the score is often cut from the bottom of actual game footage, which is pretty frustrating. Still, this is one spectacular documentary—a sports film that’s more awe-inspiring, more spellbinding, and more dramatic than any story that a screenwriter could have concocted. Sports fans won’t want to miss it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime story—and one heck of a lucky break for a college kid with a camera.

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