Hoop Dreams Celebrates 20th Anniversary With A Digitally Restored Version



In late 2014, Hoop Dreams will be returning to movie theaters for special screenings,

and in 2015, Hoop Dreams will be coming to Blu-Ray in a digitally remastered version of the film.

I remember watching Hoop Dreams as a teenager and being hypnotized in front of my 800 pound analog television. It was most likely the first documentary I ever watched as a kid, and it is now considered one of the first great sports documentaries of its kind. Hoop Dreams was an almost 3 hour film which kept me engrossed and captivated for the entire time as it took me from Boston onto the inner city streets of Chicago.

For nearly 5 years, filmmaker Steve James followed and documented the high school careers of William Gates and Arthur Agee as they pursued the ultimate journey of making it to the NBA as professional basketball players. This is first and foremost, a film about basketball, but the other compelling aspect which the film captures is the daily struggles and sociological depictions of growing up in impoverished areas of Chicago and how it impacts the family structure. The film also depicts some of the hardships inner city athletes face as William and Arthur both have to deal with 3 hour commutes to attend ST. Joe’s and enter a community which is foreign to them.

The film shows just how difficult and how rare it really is to become a professional basketball player, even with the superior talent and skills that Gates and Agee possessed. This film is great for young athletes to watch as it stresses how important it is for high school athletes to take academics seriously along with sports, because you want to have something to fall back on if becoming a professional athlete is not a certain reality.


If you enjoy the documentary, make sure to check out the book as well, Hoops Dreams, A True Story of Hardship and Triumph by Ben Joravsky. The books does a fantastic job of exploring Arthur’s and William’s family life and history even more.

Hoops Dreams is a film which brilliantly captures the environments, cultures, and stressors which face two inner city athletes, the dreams which arise out of them, and the road blocks individuals must overcome in order to become successful.

If you enjoy the game of basketball, of if you are a student athlete who is compelled to be a professional athlete one day, Hoop Dreams is a film which should be at the top of your list to watch. It is a moving and thought provoking documentary and commentary on sports, poverty, education, and the challenges young people in urban environments are faced with when it comes to accomplishing dreams.


Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people. Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball.