'The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce'
(Nick Perdue, et al / DVD / NR / (2015) 2018 / Film Rise - MVD Visual)
Overview: From humble beginnings in 1970s Los Angeles, deep in the crime and gang infested blocks of South Central, The Drew League has grown into the nation's premiere destination for pro-am basketball. 'The Drew' chronicles the unlikely rise of a hoops institution, the men and women who made it possible, and the unifying, positive force it has become while crossing racial, cultural, and socioeconomic barriers.
DVD Verdict: For a city that is the home of a 16-time NBA champion, is one of just two markets to house a second NBA team and features a state university that has won 11 NCAA basketball championships, Los Angeles doesn't always get the respect it deserves as a hoops Mecca.
Directed by both former NBA and UCLA player Baron Davis and newcomer Chad Gordon, 'The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce' is, for all intents and purposes, a love letter to The Drew League, a semi-pro summer league that has been a fixture in the LA area since 1973.
Davis and Gordon do a good job trying to explain how the league worked in its early years based out of a small middle school gym in South Central LA. Originally, it was meant as a way to get young men off the streets and, eventually, became a no-gang zone where members of competing Crips and Bloods would play alongside each other, ignoring their rivalries once they stepped into the gym.
Fast forward a few decades later and The Drew has grown from six to 10 to 28 “invitation only” teams that feature high school, college, professional and amateur players.
There are hundreds of stories Davis and Gordon could tell about this venerable local institution, but they do their best to provide a general overview that has its pluses and minuses.
Featuring some of the most recognizable names in the NBA, 'The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce' celebrates the value of basketball, persistence, loyalty and, above all, community. The power of sports meets the power of people.
In conclusion and for better or worse, 'The Drew' leaves you wanting to know much more about the stories of the unknown players who ran up and down the courts in that small Junior High gym. But, as a document of LA's impact on the global basketball scene, it's totally a slam dunk! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.