Every season, last year’s greats give way to new talent as a fresh league takes to the court. As exciting as the NBA’s current direction is, however, it’s worth looking back at the accomplishments of the men that have helped make it what it is. Herein, we found some of the best basketball documentaries to air around the start of this season, plus some to look forward to.
‘Dwight Howard: In the Moment’ on EPIX
With a television debut yesterday on EPIX, this in-depth documentary sheds new light on Dwight Howard’s private life and career. Taking place during the period of his pivotal transition from the Los Angeles Lakers to today’s Houston Rockets, you’ll see Howard open up for the first time about his biggest moments and most important career decisions, including his uneasy departure from the Orlando Magic and the tough year he spent playing in California. Just like the previous “In the Moment” film starring Amar’e Stoudemire, it helps highlight what it really takes to make it in the league.
‘Becoming’ with LeBron James
The first episode of “Becoming,” an inspirational documentary aired November 7 on Disney XD, featured James’ own story of finding self-esteem as a youngster and starting on his journey to the NBA. However, one of its prominent executive producers—LeBron James—hopes it will go further than that. He wants to turn “Becoming” into a series of mini-documentaries that will eventually come to encompass the origins stories of several pro athletes of all stripes. It’s not James’ first foray into the entertainment business, however. He has some experience from producing Starz’ “Survivor’s Remorse,” a dramedy loosely based on his rise to fame.
‘The Offseason: Kevin Durant’ on HBO
NBA players face a lot of scrutiny when regular play is in high gear. However, the effort doesn’t stop during the offseason. Released November 4 on HBO, this new doc follows NBA MVP Kevin Durant to show what he gets up to during the summer. Spoiler: the bulk of his summer focuses on maddening, never-ending workouts. As Durant astutely points out in the trailer, the offseason is actually an NBA player’s busiest period, the kind that can make or break a career. Steve Nash and Russell Westbrook also make appearances.
‘When the Garden Was Eden’ on ESPN’s 30 for 30
Released just ahead of this season’s start on October 21, “When the Garden Was Eden” transports us back in time to the New York Knicks’ heydey in the early ‘70s, when the team won its only two championship titles to date. ESPN 30 for 30 talked to surviving members to create a profile of the team that beat the then-dominant Boston Celtics, also offering a look at how the sport itself has changed. Entertaining interviews with the players recall a simpler time when NBA players graduated from college, worked offseason jobs and only earned five-figure salaries. Crazy.
Coming soon: ‘Kobe Bryant’s Muse’ on Showtime
Kobe Bryant’s documentary treatment remembering his challenges and victories is slated for later this November. The Showtime film centres on Kobe’s training and commitment to the sport, and touches on his injuries. It’s a perfect time to look back at his polarizing career, too, with the title of the NBA’s No. 3 all-time scorer just around the corner for him.