High-school basketball stardom is a grueling life for William Gates and Arthur Agee, two kids from the Chicago projects. They can make poetry of a jump shot, but to them algebra looks like Chinese. And when they get on the court, they must perform under pressures that would break most adults. “It became more of a job,” William says, “than a game to play.” Steve James’ taut, nuanced epic, which took Sundance’s Audience Award for a documentary and earned $8 million in theaters, found an apt microcosm for African-American ambition — to become an NBA star — and the overwhelming odds against achieving it.
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