Movie review: "More Than a Game"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It's easy to forget that before he was King James, he was The Chosen One.

Cleveland has been laying claim to its once-in-a-lifetime NBA superstar LeBron James so long, it's almost a footnote that he actually came from about 40 miles south, a product of Akron prep school St. Vincent-St. Mary.

More than a Game is a snapshot of LeBron's heady prep days, probably unlike any in the history of basketball. Numerous players have been declared the next big thing. Few have proven as prophetic as James.

Through never-before-seen archival footage and present-day interviews, Game chronicles James and a core of teammates brought together in the fifth grade by a father-figure coach (Dru Joyce II) and led through junior-high national tournament trips and a high school run of dominance in the national spotlight.

The beauty of the film is that it really isn't about James. It's about team. It's about deep friendships forged in grade school that last to adulthood. It's about the inexplicable emotional power of sports.

The biggest knock is that it travels down too many roads along an admittedly remarkable true story. The lack of a singular focus can be frustrating when there are so many points of interest along the way.

It's impossible not to be reminded of Hoop Dreams, and this film certainly can't match that level of emotional resonance, but if you're any kind of sports fan, you shouldn't miss it.