Hoop Dreams (1994)

Directed by Steve James

Every school day, African-American teenagers William Gates and Arthur Agee travel 90 minutes each way from inner-city Chicago to St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois, a predominately white suburban school well-known for the excellence of its basketball program. Gates and Agee dream of NBA stardom, and with the support of their close-knit families, they battle the social and physical obstacles that stand in their way. This acclaimed documentary was shot over the course of five years.

In the conventional narrative about sports that is shared by liberals and those on the right, athletes are chosen based purely on their raw talent and ability to score points. And whllst Hoop Dreams is doing many things, it is also making an implicit repudiation of the idea that sports are such a meritocracy.