Film: Hoop Dreams

(Netflix streaming and DVD, on reserve at Ayala Library)

“Today, fifteen years after I first saw it, I believe “Hoop Dreams” is the great American documentary. No other documentary has ever touched me more deeply. It was

relevant then, and today, as inner city neighborhoods sink deeper into the despair of children murdering children, it is more relevant. It tells the stories of two 14

-year-olds, Arthur Agee and William Gates, how they dreamed of stardom in the NBA, and how basketball changed their lives.”  Roger Ebert 2009

At the end of your documentary review, connecting the film to course content, please address these questions.

1.  What do you think the odds are for a high school basket ball player to make to the NBA?
(1/10; 1/50; 1/100, 1/10,000)?  It is 1/10,000

2.  Who are the main characters and what are the relationships?

3.  How did the families help or hinder William and Arthur in their pursuit of basketball dreams?
What was special about Mrs. Gates and Mrs. Agee?

4.  Why was Arthur able to stay away from drugs and Shannon was not?

5.  Both William and Arthur entered private school on a 4th grade reading level. Do you think a non-athlete would have been admitted with these reading scores?  What

did they gain by going to private school?

6.  Both needed good grades to play college basketball.  Why do you think Arthur was not prepared for college?

In your opinion, were William and Arthur prepared for any other career if pro basketball did not happen for them?

7.  William believed that basketball was his only ticket out of poverty, but Catherine disagreed.  Do you think there was another way to get out?  What else could

William have done to get out of poverty?

8.  How did William’s life change after Catherine had their baby?  Whose life was affected most, William or Catherine?

9.  How would you life be different if you became a parent while in high school?
Do you know anyone who is a teenage parent?  How did their life change?

10.  Where are William and Arthur now?

11.  Research and write about the education backgrounds of Kobe Bryant, Shaq O’Neal and one of your favorite basketball players.

12.  How does education give you more control over your future plans?


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