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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The true story of the death of innocence and the birth of an artist
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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
After the boys jump into the river, there is a gash on the right side of Jim's forehead, after he takes the drugs out of the medicine cabinet; it is on the left side. See more
[after getting hit in the nose by Jim
All right. Fine. Tell them whatever you want. Nobody's gonna believe a druggie like you, anyway.
You think we're stupid? You think we don't know what you've been doin'?
Referenced in Entourage: The Scene
Written by Salvadore Poe
(as Paul DiBartolo), Adam Flax
Performed by Massive Internal Complications See more