On Thursday night, the Akron Civic Theatre was home to a private screening of the Kristopher Belman film More Than A Game...you may have gathered as much by the ticket pictured above. Nike's media department was nice enough to offer me that ticket, and I appreciate the fact that they did. The movie exceeded my expectations, and so did the evening. The air in Akron was filled with pride last night, and to watch this tale be told on the big screen, in the city that witnessed it first hand, was special. And if I may play Roger Ebert for a moment: equally special is this film, it is certainly more than just a movie.
If you think that MTAG is just about inner-city hoop dreams made good, or its a LeBron James documentary, you're incorrect. This is a movie about friendship, loyalty, and dreams. Its far from basketball-centric, and I believe that anyone who watches it can relate to its message. If you think you know everything there is to know about the LeBron James / SVSM story, this movie will show you that you don't. And if you don't think that this movie will inspire you to some degree, it will. I heard the guy behind me talking before the movie about how he had seen it in Chicago already and cried. I thought to myself, I'll probably like this movie, but c'mon...no way I cry. And then I cried...go ahead, make fun of me, I don't care.
Before the movie, director, and Akron native, Kris Belman spoke about the eight years it took him to make this movie. I know people probably think this guy was just lucky. Right place, right time, and there you go, now he's got a movie. But if you didn't already think so, let me be the first to tell you that he deserves any and all credit he gets for telling this story in the real-life way in which its told. He spoke about the offers from various movie companies, ESPN, and other production outfits, who offered him money to just sell them the footage along the way, and how tempting it was to do that. However he didn't sell-out in the end, followed his vision, and in turn gave this story the truth in telling that it deserved.
After the movie Belman, and the cast came out for a Q & A, pictured below, from left to right, is as follows:
No idea who the first guy is, Willie McGee, Dru Joyce III, Sian Cotton, LeBron James, Coach Dru Joyce II, Kris Belman
Quotes and Notes:
In response to a question about how he handles negative press, LeBron James said the following:
"Coach Dru told me early on that if the worst thing that happens to you in your life is that someone in the media says something negative about you, than you've had a pretty good life. That is something that I have always believed in ever since a young age, and that is how I handle it. Like when people in the media want to talk about how I didn't shake hands (laughingly) I just don't let it bother me."
In response to a question about new friendships he has made in the NBA, LeBron James said the following:
"I have made some very good friends playing in the NBA. In fact one of them is right up there, that being Chris Paul."
Last question of the night was from a kid in the audience named Mike, who said the following:
"LeBron, are you wearing that sweater because you lost a beat?"
To which LeBron and everybody else laughed...and then the night was over.
The Nike More Than A Game Tour makes 10 stops worldwide. They are in order as follows:
Chicago, DC, Akron, Beijing, Shenyang, Shanghai, Paris, London, NYC, LA
Click Here for more on the Akron Screening of More Than A Game