i’ve liked allen iverson at various times in his career. i thought he was misunderstood or that some of his sideshow stuff was blown out of proportion. however, it’s also undeniable that he’s done some things he shouldn’t have done and acted rashly from time to time. this documentary (from steve james of hoop dreams fame) is about his high school years when he had his first run in with the law and was convicted of participating in a brawl that was basically conducted on racial lines (though that may or may not have been the cause of it).
james attempts to unravel the story and find some truth while looking at some of the racial tensions of hampton virginia (hometown of james and allen iverson). he’s the perfect guy to tell the story since he’s from the area and he directed perhaps the best documentary of all-time. this one isn’t on that level, but it’s a good story about a lot of different things.
iverson stands in for inner city youth here. it didn’t need to be him, really. for both the whites and blacks in the community he is emblematic of something much larger. the blacks tend to rally around him and his story of persecution while the whites tend to think it’s p.c. treatment of a star athlete. they’re both right.
to me, he’s a good guy at his core. i still believe that people misunderstand his drive and bravado, but he’s also a selfish product of his environment. under different circumstances iverson would have been a role model instead of a cautionary tale.Short