THROUGH THE FIRE (Jonathan Hock). 105 minutes. Opens Friday (February 17). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NNNN
Biggie once rapped about making it out of the hood, "Either you slingin' crack rock or you got a wicked jumpshot." In Jonathan Hock 's ESPN-produced documentary Through The Fire , getting drafted by the NBA is smiley-faced Sebastian Telfair 's only chance to lift his family up from the Coney Island projects.
As one of his brothers/coaches points out, Sebastian, New York Knick Stephon Marbury 's cousin, has all it takes: looks, talent and marketability. He's "basketball's Tiger Woods."
But unlike the neighbourhood rallying him on, Bassy's mom's hopes aren't so high. His equally swift big brother Jamel Thomas was in a similar spot five years earlier, and to everyone's shock and disappointment, he didn't get drafted.
The Tribeca Film Festival Spotlight selection follows Telfair during his high school championship games as he works toward the NBA drafts. In this LeBron era, salivating basketball scouts and sponsors trawl high schools for prospective players.
He gets used to Sports Illustrated covers, ESPN appearances, all-star games and Jay-Z popping by his locker room to wish him luck. (He brushes some imaginary dirt off Jiggaman's shoulders.)
But as Bassy's ego inflates (the pre-draft $90-million Adidas contract doesn't hurt), we can't forget his mother's reservations.
SportsCentre watchers already know how this ends, but the rare intimacy of this asphalt-to-hardwood story still rivets.