“Little Ballers”, Crystal McCrary’s wonderful documentary, follows a group of young AAU basketball teammates (including her son Cole) as they pursue their hoop dreams and a championship season. It premiered on Nick Sports TV (a programming block on Nicktoons) last week and will be shown again tonight at 9pm and tomorrow (March 1) at 10pm (EST).
McCrary gives us a window into the lives of four of the 11 year old talented basketball players on the team. These four African American teammates come from different neighborhoods, schools, and economic backgrounds, but they share an intense love for the game, a commitment to working together to win and the strong bond of friendship. Under the expert coaching of Billy Council these boys not only learn what it takes to succeed on the court, but skills and values necessary for off the court success as well.
McCrary weaves the testimonials of superstar NBA players who fondly recall their AAU days into this compelling documentary, and it is a rare chance to hear these professional players discuss the hard work, passion and sacrifice involved in their craft. Young men who imagine themselves in the NBA one day (and what young ball player does not?) will love seeing their favorite players talk about those good old days and give advice about succeeding in this sport.
In addition to giving us a fascinating look at AAU basketball, “Little Ballers” gives us the rare chance to see on television what so many of us see everyday: Black boys from a variety of backgrounds working and playing together. A welcome addition to a media landscape over populated with stereotyped (and often negative) portrayals of our boys.
If you haven’t seen “Little Ballers” yet, be sure you don’t miss one of the rebroadcasts. Record it and tell your sons to watch it with you even if basketball is not their favorite sport, or if they aren’t much of a sports fan at all. It is a universally compelling story which you all are sure to enjoy.