An analysis of the documentary “Hoop Dreams” looking at the relationship of sport to a broader culture.
The three-hour documentary follows two African American boys on their journey to becoming college basketball players. The film deals with not only the trials that they face within the sport but also the problems that they face growing up in the ghetto coming from poor families. William Gates and Arthur Agee are followed over five years from when they are fourteen to when they finally become college basketball players.
Basketballs cultural significance on the society from which William and Arthur both come from is enormous not only to William and Arthur because they are actively involved in the sport but also to there family and friends. The sport and the hope in succeeding in it are the boys families main mission, it is their faith in the game that unites their families and gives each person hope. The chance of getting to the NBA is not only a personal quest for each boy but also a chance to get themselves and their families out of the problems of teen pregnancy, crime, crumbling public schools, parental drug use and abandonment.
The film shows how Basketball is one of the only hopes of ever getting away from the ghetto and the projects of Chicago. There is evidence all around them of how life can go so wrong very easily, Arthur’s friend goes to prison for drug dealing and his own father is a crack addict for a period of the film. In William Gates family there has already been one hope of fame and fortune dashed in the form of his older brother Curtis who is now over weight and working as a security guard. Curtis puts a lot of pressure on William to succeed saying that “All my dreams are in him now,”
Basketball as a sport represents the broader culture from which it emerges, both at the highest level and at the lowest level basketball is played in the majority by poorer African Americans. It is a sport that is suited for an urban environment and so is the...