More Than a Game follows Akron’s Fab Four (later Five) kids on the basketball court, from their “Shooting Stars” traveling youth team into high school and a run of championships. The reason this documentary tells their story—instead of that of the team that miraculously upsets the by-then-nationally-recognized starters in junior-year playoffs—is because one of the Fab was LeBron James. Ignored in the film’s discussion of James’s transition to premature fame is his attempt to swing early NBA eligibility after the loss, which wouldn’t jive with the “All for one” ethic, among the film’s many pep talk lessons. The ostensible director here is Kristopher Belman, an Akronite who played court videographer to King James’s St. Vincent–St. Mary team, but final cut belongs to LeBron, Inc. The recent PR flub of Nike henchmen confiscating footage of James getting gently dunked on in a pickup game testifies to the powerful trust authoring his legacy. The film could be a tie-in to the recent ghostwrite autobiography, Shooting Stars. Most obtrusive, though, is the contribution of Harvey Mason Jr., producing and soundtracking, who sets Game adrift on an endless sea of crashing crescendos. Good game footage, a few clear looks at the kids behind it, but mostly as processed as Space Jam.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 29, 2009