Film adaptation of street tough Jim Carroll's epistle about his kaleidoscopic free fall into the harrowing world of drug addiction. As a member of a seemingly unbeatable high school basketball squad, Jim's life centers around the basketball court and the court becomes a metaphor for the world in his mind. A best friend who is dying of leukemia, a coach ("Swifty") who takes unacceptable liberties with the boys on his team, teenage sexual angst, and an unhealthy appetite for heroin -- all of these begin to encroach on young Jim's dream of becoming a basketball star. Soon, the dark streets of New York become a refuge from his mother's mounting concern for her son. He can't go home and his only escape from the reality of the streets is heroin for which he steals, robs and prostitutes himself. Only with the help of Reggie, an older neighborhood friend with whom Jim "picked up a game" now and then, is he able to begin the long journey back to sanity. Written by
Mark Fleetwood <email@example.com>
Every punk on the block says it's not going to happen to them... but it does.
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Motion Picture Rating
Rated R for graphic depiction of drug addiction with related strong violence,sexuality and language
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Did You Know?
After being nominated for an Oscar for Running on Empty
(1988), MTV asked River Phoenix
what he wanted to do next. He responded by pulling out a beat up paperback of "The Basketball Diaries" and stated "I wanted to play Jim Carroll." Later, the Los Angeles Times declared, "River Phoenix may have wanted it too much." Leonardo DiCaprio
was a fan of Phoenix's. See more
The blood on the shirt of the kid shot in the classroom disappears between shots. See more
I just wanna be pure, I just wanna be pure.
Watusi Latin Boogaloo
Written by Joseph L. Altruda
(as Joe Altruda)
Performed by The Joey Altruda Latin Explosion See more