The Next Reel • Season 11 • Series: Sports • Love & Basketball (d: Gina Prince-Bythewood) 2000

Love & Basketball

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It’s time for our next series! We’re kicking off our Sports series with Gina Prince-Bythewood’s 2000 film ‘Love & Basketball.’ This is an incredible film and an easy one to love and talk about. Definitely check it out then tune in!

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“What I always admired was the fight in you.”

Gina Prince-Bythewood looked at her first film as a When Harry Met Sally… type of story that followed a pair of young people – Monica and Quincy – as they both worked on furthering their basketball careers. The film was supported by The Sundance Institute and Spike Lee came on as an executive producer to help get it made. We’re glad everything came together for this film because it’s wonderful. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off a new series about Sports with Prince-Bythewood’s 2000 film Love & Basketball.

It’s easy to fall for Love & Basketball.

Prince-Bythewood followed through on her When Harry Met Sally… story perfectly. We meet Monica and Quincy as new neighbors and instantly fall for them as friends. The fact that they develop a romantic relationship over time works, but only because we buy that friendship so strongly. Small details, like him sneaking over to sleep on her floor to get away from his fighting parents, highlight so perfectly moments that Prince-Bythewood captures to help us buy into this.

It helps that she cast Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps, two incredibly beautiful and charismatic actors, to play the parts as well. They play the roles well, both as basketball players and as friends who become romantically involved. They’re perfect.

Of course the rest of the cast works just as well – Alfre Woodard, Harry Lennix, Dennis Haysbert, and Debbi Morgan play the parents and they all bring something to the table. The child versions of our leads are great. And the basketball is all great.

It’s a film that deals with the challenges of relationships when success changes hands from one to the other. It looks at the way women and men are treated in sports differently. There’s the theme of infidelity and how it’s used in relationships and destroys them. And there are powerful elements looking at parents and their children and how they relate.

It’s a strong way to kick off this series. We have a great time talking about it so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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