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TV Worth Seeing

TNT has a documentary up about street ball at Rucker's Park in New York.

Rucker's has been legendary for decades. Guys like Wilt Chamberlain used to show up there in the summer, and Connie Hawkins and Dr. J were also regulars in their day. The film featured a visit by Vince Carter, who came up against a young kid who pretty much held his own, actually.

The film obviously talks about the ecstatic nature of street ball, which at it high points is poetic and glorious, but it also talks a lot about guys whose lives are essentially over at 35 or 40: having played ball hard until their bodies can't keep up with the younger kids, several of the players profiled had no education and really weren't much interested in the world outside Ruckers and other courts. A Knicks scout, named, if we remember, James "Eggman" Williams, said that basketball hurt a lot more people than it had ever helped, and that was a really sharp observation and no doubt true.

While we enjoyed the outrageous athleticism and the showmanship, we appreciated the filmmakers for reminding us that it came at a cost.

Excellent film and highly recommended. Being cable it should be on 10 or 15 times this month, so try and catch it. It's really very good.

Between this one and the Russell documentary, and Hoop Dreams from several years ago, there's a much richer body of intellectual knowledge about the game, for which we should all be happy.