Okay, so suffice it to say that I am not sporty. How not sporty am I? The extent of my basketball knowledge is “dunk” and “rebound” and I’m not 100% sure that I’d know the latter if I saw one. I just hear people say the word. I went to the US Open and chatted with my daughter the entire time. I walked backward through the Wyndham. I’m embarrassed, but I do try.
The only other basketball show I’ve watched recently (Ballers) was strictly about the view. So, for me to be drawn to a movie about basketball is an act of God. I thanked Him for this one. Living with men will make you glean sports information. I was crocheting once in a room while an ESPN specials about the NFL was airing. I was taken aback by “the auction” that apparently takes place annually in the league. Men with money and power checking the weight, mass and speed of new bucks alarmed me because I thought I was in the 21st Century, but it is what it is. I thought to myself, no wonder I don’t like sports. It’s against my core beliefs.
Thankfully, I am not alone. Writer, Tarell Alvin McCraney—Chair of Playwriting at Yale, co-writer of Academy Award winning Moonlight, the dossier continues— captured what little bit I know and took it a step further. I’m so glad this brother is writing because he tells you what black life is not what you think it is or what someone else wants you to see it being. I love that shit. High Flying Bird reminds us what’s going on inside and on the black hand side of this sports game and writes smart—no, brilliant— black minds into the scene. Thank you, Professor McCraney. Captain, my Captain.
The movie, so I understand was shot on a iPhone, directed by Steven Soderbergh and was pitched to Soderbergh by Andre Holland the actor that plays one of said brilliant black minds. Gotta be brilliant if you’re going for the pitch. Then there’s the captivating natural, Zazie Beetz, Sonja Sohn who has not cracked and the most indelible mark of perfection, Bill Duke.
I loved it. For the subject, the talent, the bravery and the timing.