Saturday, September 15, 2007

What Ever Happened to Basketball Man?

It was set up to be the nonfiction sports film of the year. It featured basketball stars and legends like Michael Jordan, Steve Nash, Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson, Tayshaun Prince, John Wooden, Carmelo Anthony, NBA commissioner David Stern-- and the last interview with coaching legend Red Auerbach.

CBS Sports called it "the definitive documentary."

The Kansas City Star said it was "great."

The Boston Sports Review called it "an epic story, well told."

The New York Times movie review guide calls it a "remarkable look back at a key development in sports history."

Parade magazine described it as "a slam dunk."

Frozen Pictures' nonfiction film on the life and legacy of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, premiered to great acclaim at the NBA All Star weekend. After many unexplained delays, it finally went on sale in May in a DVD set that was packed with extras.

There was great press in magazines like FHM and Parade, the DVD went on sale at Amazon.com-- and then...


Inexplicably, the publicity ground to a halt at the time it shoukd have moved into overdrive. The DVD sits below 84,000 on the Amazon.com sales charts. The box cover is no longer displayed on the site. The Basketball Man movie site hasn't been updated since the Spring.

What happened to Basketball Man?

Our pals at Frozen Pictures aren't commenting and have turned over all questions to "Double Dog Sports & Entertainment," backers of the project. "We have no idea," said producer Brett Hudson. "They took over everything and cut us out in the middle of the promotion campaign. The ball, as they say, is in their court."

But we hear there were problems with the DVD distributor and with the drab box art, which cloaks the vitality and present-day storyline (and fails to highlight the stars) in a musty, historic wrapper, which kept distributors from ordering up the package on display. And we hear that NBA commissioner David Stern, under fire for gambilng, cheating referees and incidents of violence among players, was not happy with the documentary's strong moral stand for sportsmanship and its highlighting of player-fan violence.

Basketball Man should be everywhere. Every fan, and especially every kid, needs to see this story.

Stay tuned.

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