A GRIM AND GRITTY LOOK AT THE UNDERBELLY OF BASKETBALL...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 08/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This documentary focuses on an inner city basketball team named "Kenny's Kings" from Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, NY, and its star player, Ed "Booger" Smith", as well as his coach and mentor, Kenny Jones. The film immediately lets the viewer know that the action is taking place on the mean streets of Brooklyn, and the documentary follows the team during one long, hot summer, as they play the inner city tournament circuit.
Ed "Booger" Smith is the point guard and rising star on this team. He is really a terrific player, and the magazine, "Sports Illustrated", has touted him as "King of the Streets". The viewer is even treated to clips of "Booger" playing at the age of nine, and, even then, he had some pretty impressive moves on the court that any player would envy. The viewer also gets some early insight onto "Booger", and what they see does not look promising. It seems that "Booger's" aspiration is to be an NBA player or, in the alternative, to be "a drug dealer" (his own words). Is he kidding? You be the judge.
Kenny Jones, the coach, a large, bull-necked, linebacker of a man with a good heart, works in a liquor store, when he is not coaching, and will work two and three jobs, if necessary, as he spends his money on the team and the heavy gold jewelry that he sports. He boasts that he has the best dressed team in Brooklyn. Too bad he can't say that they are the best behaved. Now that would be something about which to brag.
Coach Kenny took "Booger" into his home, after his mother threw him out of the house. It is a pretty thankless job, as "Booger" always seems to be getting over on others, stealing, staying out late, and even dealing drugs. Kenny's wife, Ronnet, says that "Booger" loves to go to school, but she laughingly admits that he is a pathological liar, cuts most of his classes, and does not read too well. He also has a criminal history, as he is known to the police, having been arrested numerous times by them for various criminal offenses.
Still, Coach Kenny is not totally blameless in his star player's attitude, as he himself does not set the best example on the court that he can. He routinely uses a racially pejorative word, when referring to opposing players, and he has a mouthful of four letter words and other expletives that he routinely uses when speaking to his players, as well as with the referees. This is totally unacceptable behavior, and I am surprised that he would conduct himself in that fashion. Coach Kenny is in a position to lead his players by example, and when it is critical for him to do so, he fails. It is possible that he simply does not know any better. There can be no other explanation.
Moreover, his players conduct themselves in like fashion on the court. In one instance, Coach Kenny has to be instructed by a referee that he finds the repeated use of a racially pejorative word by his players to be offensive, and requests that the coach specifically instruct them to cease and desist. Now, players will often talk trash on the court, but it generally does not degenerate to this level. What is also really pathetic is that "Booger" also coaches a pee wee basketball team called Baby Kenny's Kings. It is appalling to see "Booger" use a racially pejorative word and curse away at these young kids, just as Coach Kenny does. In this respect, Coach Kenny has done "Booger", as well as those young players whom "Booger" coaches, a great disservice.
Coach Kenny and his wife may have their hearts in the right place, but they seem to be unable to keep "Booger" in check, and they also seem to emphasize basketball much more over academics. The film does underscore the necessity of academics, as despite his brilliance on the court, "Booger" is academically ineligible for consideration by Division 1 colleges. Moreover, in a sport where giants are king, Booger" is relatively short and needs a reality check. In the film, they refer to him as being 5'11" inches tall, but his college stats have him listed as being only 5'8" tall.
Yes, "Booger" finally gets an opportunity to go away to college, as a junior college, which is much more academically forgiving, is willing to take him on and give him an opportunity to don a freshman jersey. Coach Kenny is happy at this turn of events, as he recognizes that it will take "Booger" away from a potentially bad environment. After a very touching scene, where a clearly broken-up Kenny bids him goodbye, "Booger" goes off to Yuma, Arizona, where he attends Arizona Western, a small community college where he plays for the Arizona Western Matadors and does better than most people expect.
He stays there for his freshman year, but when he returns home that summer, he and Coach Kenny face off after a squabble. "Booger" then moves out of Kenny's home, as he feels that he is now a man and able to fend for himself. It is amazing how little insight "Booger" has. He does not return to Arizona Western. He does not make the most of his opportunity. He does not have the vision or the ability to look at the bigger picture. Instead, he renews his acquaintance with the police and the criminal justice system.
This documentary has a true cinema verite feel about it. It is raw, gritty, and oftentimes grim, and the soundtrack by the Wu-Tan Clan and Brand Nubian reinforces that. The film offers a look at some great basketball playing. It also looks at people's hopes and their dreams. It makes no judgments and offers no panacea. It is simply a look at the underbelly of Brooklyn's street basketball tradition and the players that make it great."
Not exactly what i expected but definetly a must buy....
thebigsmooth | Oshkosh, Wi | 10/14/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"this video was pretty damn good........ i was expecting more basketball highlights but in the end it really didn't matter cause the movie was an interesting look at what its like to grow up being a ghetto celebrity...... i would really like to know what boogers up to know but he's probaly just roamin the streets dealin or somethin.......this movie was also funny as hell with boogers coach/kinda dad who would go off on the refs and other teams droppin like a hundred f bombs in a minute.... to anyone who wants an interesting look at life and basketball from the perspective the streets should cop this video......"
The successor to hoop dreams
PC from DC (firstname.lastname@example.org) | Alexandria VA | 11/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"despite the opening scene, the movie was facinating. it interested me so much that last summer i went to nyc to see if i could see the kenny kings in action. i was in luck. they were playing in a game at west 4th street. booger had some of the best moves i have ever seen. it is a wonder that some nba team doesnt pick him up. i plan on going back next summer."
This film went farther than any basketball movie ever could.
thebigsmooth | 07/07/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This documentary was very good. It was also very informative. It shows you the "real" side of basketball stars. I felt that this film should open some eyes to the situations that our young black athletes face on a daily basis. In a nutshell, this film is very good. Thats it!"
This is for anyone who likes gritty, realistic documentaries
thebigsmooth | 06/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was real. I rented it and watched it about 6 or 7 times. It basically follows the current NYC streetball star, Ed "Booger" Smith and his summer team, the Kenny Kings. This movie keeps it real, shows some great ballers, and kept me interested from start to finish."