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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

the answer brings up questions...

just got done timeshifting this: (hey, you get busy with a baby... then Glee is on.)

And I'll admit, I'm biased for a ton of reasons here.

-I'm a Virginia native, grew up across the water from the Peninsula in Virginia Beach, just a couple of years older than Iverson.

-I always liked Iverson on the court. A ridiculous force of nature that had his moments, but tried too hard to make everything happen to the point of being counterproductive. The tats and all that cosmetic stuff, I never understood why people got so aggravated by it, when they should have saved their energy and really gotten mad over the practice attitude and other classic "no I in TEAM but there is a ME" moments AI displayed over the years.

-Steve James, like me, is a JMU grad. He brought Hoop Dreams in for a screening when it premiered in 1994 to Harrisonburg (off campus) and it still remains one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. Not sports documentary. Documentary, period.

-Like James, I was away from the area during the trial and subsequent controversy in college, but I tried to keep up with it from afar. I have pretty much believed the same thing since 1993: yeah, Iverson screwed up and did something stupid, but no one gets sentenced to 15 years on three felony counts for a basic brawl where no one is seriously injured unless someone's making a point.

Michael Vick didn't get that much time for killing dogs.
Leonard Little and Donte Stallworth didn't get that much time for killing a HUMAN BEING with their cars.
Big Ben isn't going to get any time for his borderline rape/sexual assaults.

The whole situation was complete overkill, and anyone that doesn't understand that just isn't seeing the world properly, including a lot of the people interviewed in the film.

Strange how Iverson's legal troubles seem so simple and quaint compared to current athlete issues...

-I worked in the area as a photojournalist for a while (strange to see a fellow shooter who covered the trial being interviewed, hello Joe Fudge!) and still maintain that the shady areas of Hampton/Newport News are among the sketchiest places I've ever been in, period.

-On the flip side - the recruitment tidbits were GOLD, especially when Iverson tells his lawyer, WTF am I supposed to do with this Malcolm X book Mike Jarvis gave me, and the lawyer points out all in all, you're actually not making out too bad in this incarceration spot on a work farm... Also, it is sad to know how many people STILL didn't want to talk about this almost 20 years later, and how much all this race and class and privilege shit still cleaves between people and blows everything out of proportion to this very day.

This was 1993. Not 1953, or 1893. Unbelievable how it all got out of hand.

Basically, it was an incredibly fascinating and compelling program about a completely enthralling and exasperating professional athlete.

Iverson's no saint, and he's made his life harder every day with all the ridiculous shit he's pulled over the last 17 years since the brawl... but I really think that kind of experience at age 17 will screw with your head in more ways than anyone can really figure out. He's shown too much depth and self-awareness in brief glimpses to NOT understand what the world's viewpoint toward him is, and how he's more responsible for that than he really will ever admit.

If you ever paid any attention to The Answer - or even if you didn't - take 90 minutes and watch.

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