Almost two decades ago, Joe Angio spent a summer driving around Chicago, trying to chase down that mesmerizing pick-up game that magnetizes passersby, turning the scene into something out of either a Spike Lee movie or an And 1 Mixtape.
He never found it. But in the process, he made a film that that was sort captured Chicago basketball at a time when it was a hotbed for NBA talent, including on Glenn “Doc” Rivers. In making his 1992 documentary “More Than A Game” — not to be confused with the LeBron James coming-of-age- story of the same name — Angio said, “We just saw so many great players.”
Along with former Phoenix Sun Eddie Johnson and Rickey Green, who spent his best years in Utah and his last year in Boston, Angio interviewed a young Doc Rivers.
Looking back on it now, Rivers said, “That one time, that was an amazing stretch. When you think about it, I was luck. It was like 17 or 20 guys in the junior or senior class that all made it to the NBA. That?s an amazing number. The stars were aligned.”
Recalling what it was like to sit down with Rivers then, Angio was simply impressed by his conviction.
“He more than anyone was just so passionate,” Angio said. “Not only the playing but the perceived downside of it, where perspectives get askew. The passion he felt about playing equaled the life of it. There’s no cutting corners. I got no sense that he was telling me what I wanted to hear. There was no spin there.”
The film was released in the shadow of the indelible classic that was “Hoop Dreams,” but was released a week ago on the online exhibition site Snag Films. Angio said, “The aim was Just to show the love of the game and what drives these people.”