LeBron James and Gotham Chopra planned a series of documentaries and started working well before last February.
What they did not have nearly nine months ago was a name for Chopra's docu series. This changed when Laura Ingraham of Fox told LeBron James and Kevin Durant that they had to "close and dump" after watching James and Durant talk about President Trump and politics.
"I was already in this thing," said Chopra. "It was not because of Laura Ingraham but because of the times we live in. It was not because of Laura Ingraham, but because of the times we live.
"The thing Laura Ingraham has given us the title … The titles not only give you a marketing hook but an organizing principle, so we went back to the editions for refinement."
Shut Up and Dribble & # 39; – a three-part documentary – makes its debut on Saturday at Showtime (9 pm ET). James, Maverick Carter and Chopra are executive producers and former ESPN personality Jemele Hill recounts the program.
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As Chopra explained, the documentary was in the works before Ingraham's comments. Chopra collaborated with Showtime, who loves the documentaries, and James on other projects and began putting it together two years ago.
"One of the great challenges we have is that there is so much history to say," said Chopra. "We had three buckets – on the court, outside the court cultural stuff – children who made rap albums – and then there was that beyond the court aspect." Who is talking out who says something? It became clear that this is the third bucket that was going to take most of the oxygen in the room and we had to make some choices. He gave us more reasons to do that. "
Initially, the documentary began as an exploration of three of the biggest projects – 1984, 1996 and 2003 – and their impact on championship, basketball and society. But as soon as they started digging, they realized the story was much wider than the three classes, and it was impossible to ignore the contributions of non-course players like Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell.
"He developed because, as we started doing that, we realized these times and the players had a far greater impact than basketball," Carter said. "It was more about culture. That was the story we had to say that basketball was really the sport of America."
The docu series focuses on the NBA's cultural and judicial relevance, from the impact of Michael Jordan on Allen Iverson's style approvals to the influence of hip-hop on the NBA and his stars. He also hits other times of liking – Malice in the Palace, James's Jump in the NBA and his next mistakes and successes, Russell's play-changing skills and Robertson's free service.
And it outlines some of the issues of political rights faced by players and society, including some important but fair stories, such as visiting Craig Hodges' White House with the Chicago Bulls Championship in 1991 where he wore dashiki and hand delivered to the president Bush, asking him to do more for the poor, local Americans and African Americans.
The documentary also looks at the former NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who did not support the national anthem because he said he was against his Muslim faith.
"I look at the series as the alternative story of the NBA," said Chopra. "In this look, they are not" who are the best players and teams? "We are not really talking about Kobe Bryant, we are not really talking about San Antonio Spurs, we are talking about children like Craig Hodges, and we are talking about Mamoud Abdul-Rauf, who was the original (Colin) Kaepernick. What's really important here? "