Hip-hop and basketball have never been so uninspiringly brought together as they are in Gunnin’ for That #1 Spot, Beastie Boy Adam Yauch’s kinetic but shallow chronicle of the buildup to the first annual Boost Mobile Elite 24 Hoops Classic. Yauch flatters the NBA dreams of his 10 cherry-picked subjects—eight black, two white—by introducing them from the confines of their own imaginary playing cards, stressing the unique physical prowess that makes these b-ballers worth watching but little else. The documentary is interesting as a snapshot of the business of how young men are groomed for NBA superstardom, from the sneaker companies that want them to wear their shit on the court to the dubious statistics that rank their potential, but Yauch forgoes human interest. Besides a group of street-corner revelers thrilling at the possibility of one of their homeboys making their hood proud, Yauch never regards the private lives of his subjects, from where they’ve come from to where they aspire to go. Of course, his decision not to get all Hoop Dreams on our asses is clearly the point, but in lieu of discourse about race, privilege, basketball and the American Dream, Yauch gives us a music-videoed purview of the first game of the Elite 24 Hoops Classic. For real, any televised NBA game can benefit from Bobbito Garcia on the mic and Yauch’s favorite hip-hop anthems, but what is Yauch aiming for here? From Garcia’s gentle ribbing of Kyle Singler to the black Michael Beasley and the white Kevin Love’s prickly but friendly interactions on the court, perhaps Yauch is just trying to further that idealistic Beastie Boy message of cross-racial brotherhood. Or from the way he uses his crazy-ass fish-eye lens to liken New York City to a basketball, we may garner that he’s only showing off for his audience: Awesome, I fuckin’ shot that!
- Oscilloscope Laboratories
- 90 min
- Adam Yauch
- Jarryd Bayless, Michael Beasley, Tyreke Evans, Donte Greene, Brandon Jennings, Kevin Love, Kyle Singler, Lance Stephenson, Bobbito Garcia
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