CATEGORIES Interviews
Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal ... Some of the NBA's all-time greats have made the jump from the hardwood to Hollywood.

The new basketball documentary 'More Than a Game' is a far more 'Hoop Dreams' than 'Space Jam,' but you have to wonder if this is the first of many times we'll see LeBron James, the game's biggest superstar, score on the big screen.

We played sports reporter for a day and caught up with "King James" -- who is also an executive producer on the film -- for an exclusive interview. Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal ... Some of the NBA's all-time greats have made the jump from the hardwood to Hollywood.

The new basketball documentary 'More Than a Game' is a far more 'Hoop Dreams' than 'Space Jam,' but you have to wonder if this is the first of many times we'll see LeBron James, the game's biggest superstar, score on the big screen.

Filmed way back in 2003, the film follows the "Fab Five" of Akron, Ohio's St. Vincent–St. Mary High School basketball team on their quest for a national championship. James is obviously the big draw, but the film focuses more on the incredibly close-knit coterie of teammates than James himself. We played sports reporter for a day and caught up with "King James" -- who is also an executive producer on the film -- for an exclusive interview.

Did having documentary cameras follow you around at such a young age help prepare you for all the media attention you'd be getting later on in the pros?
Absolutely, it set me up exactly the right way that I needed to have. When I got to the NBA, it was easy for me.

At the time, did it put more pressure on you guys to perform?
Honestly, it didn't. We just thought it was kind of crazy that they wanted to follow high school guys around [laughs]. I mean, we were just having fun out there.

How do you think this film might change people's perspective of you?
I'm not sure. Honestly, that's not even what my goal is. I can't lead my life thinking, "What do other people think about me?" I hope that inner-city kids and African American kids can also believe that their dreams can become reality no matter the obstacles they may go through. And that the things they may go through, [no matter] how tough, [that] they can make it through. I don't care what people think about me.

'Game' was shot so long ago -- was it tough to get off the ground?
It was tough for the director [Kristopher Belman], at first, to get [people to agree on] his vision about the story. A lot of people didn't believe in his point of view, [to focus] not only on LeBron, but his four best friends, his high school coach and things like that ... They just wanted the LeBron footage, they didn't want everybody else, and that's not the story we wanted to get out of there. So it took us a little while until someone believed in us.





The film is drawing comparisons to 'Hoop Dreams.' Think they're similar?
Well, I love 'Hoop Dreams.' It's an unbelievable movie about kids and guys in the inner-city growing up, having dreams and things like that. I think it definitely [warrants] comparison to it, absolutely.

Are you still tight with all of your teammates? Do you see each other much?
Oh yeah, absolutely, all of them. We see each other a lot, especially during the summer time, because that's when everyone's home. Romeo [Travis] and Dru [Joyce] are playing professionally across seas, but during the summer we're together all the time. We still take a boys trip every summer. Usually we go to Vegas but we've been other places; we've be to Cancun, Mexico together, we do a lot of things. We try to go to Vegas every summer, those guys like the lights and the long nights [laughs].

Is there anyone in the NBA that you've bonded with like you have those guys?
Well, I've got some really good friends in the NBA. Chris Paul is one of my really dear friends. Carmelo Anthony's a good friend of mine. Dwayne Wade's a really good friend of mine, and a couple of my teammates back in Cleveland. Mo Williams is a good friend of mine. There's no way you can have the same relationship that you've had with guys that you've been friends with since you were 9 years old, but you can really have good friends and guys that you can count on.

If this story was made into a big budget Hollywood movie, who would you want to play you?
Um, I don't know. Someone that has great charisma, great laughter ... nah I'm just playin' [laughs]. I don't know. It'd be great though.

What's your favorite movie of all time?
'Godfather Part I' and 'II.' [The movies] give you all the life skills that you need, you know. I can relate to it ... Don Michael Corleone having to live two lives. How to manage his time between his family, which is the street guys, and his real family. I can relate to that -- how do I balance my time between basketball, my family in basketball and my family at home? Those movies are great.

What can you tell us about your acting debut, next summer's 'Fantasy Basketball Camp'?
It's about five guys from all over America [who come] to my fantasy basketball camp. Fantasy basketball camp is basically for guys 35 and over; these are guys who wish they could be in the NBA but absolutely have no talent, but they still love to play the game of basketball. So they come to my camp, they get put on these teams ... It's a comedy, it's about these five guys coming together as a team and trying to win a championship in my camp.

Who do you think is the greatest basketball player-turned-actor?
I don't know, Kareem, maybe. I mean, he got an opportunity to shoot with Bruce Lee, wow. I mean, how great is that?

We've seen Michael Jordan do family films, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar do comedy, Shaquille O'Neal do action movies, and Ray Allen do drama. What kind of genre would you want to work in?
I could do comedy. I see myself in comedy, or as a superhero type, bodybuilder type ... nah I'm just playin' [laughs].

Who would you want to act alongside of?
I don't know. I'm a big fan of Will Smith. If I got a role alongside of him, wow. How great would that be?

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