Tuesday, April 20, 2010

ESPN 30 for 30 - No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson

On Sunday, I watched No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson. This is the tenth installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 series.

On Valentine's Day 1993, Allen Iverson was involved in a fight in a bowling alley between a group of whites and a group of blacks. Iverson and several of his friends were eventually arrested, tried, convicted of three counts of felony mobbing and sentenced to five years in prison. He was a junior in high school. None of the whites involved were arrested or charged.

Written and Directed by Steve James who produced the documentary Hoop Dreams, the film looks at Iverson's high school career, the trial and the aftermath of the conviction. James is from the Hampton, Virginia where Iverson grew up.

Watching the film, I had a number of random unrelated observations. The footage of Iverson playing basketball and football as a junior in high school is amazing. Given his size, his athletic skills are astounding. His basketball and football teams won state championships when he was a junior. It is clear that Iverson had a challenging childhood. Combining this background with the treatment he received by the legal system in the bowling alley case makes it easy to see some of the source of his anger as an adult.

At almost an hour and a half, the film dragged a little for me in the middle. I understand what James was trying to do; he was exploring all sides of the trial and the conspiracy theories associated with the charges and the sentencing. I just think that it ran a little long in the third half hour.

Taking place at time when I did not have cable, ESPN and SportsCenter, I do not remember hearing about this when it happened. It is an interesting, well told story.

The film is available on Amazon.

No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iversion is also available on iTunes.

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