30 for 30: Season 1, Episode 10

No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson (13 Apr. 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | Biography | Sport
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There has always been questions raised about Allen Iverson's conviction for a fight he was involved in as a young man. The film maker goes back to his home town to try and understand the ... See full summary »


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Title: No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson (13 Apr 2010)

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There has always been questions raised about Allen Iverson's conviction for a fight he was involved in as a young man. The film maker goes back to his home town to try and understand the events and how they have left a mark on the town he calls home. Written by glenchapman@ruraltel.net

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13 April 2010 (USA)  »

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Fair and balanced summary, but never gets into the grit of the incident nor steps above to look at it as a microcosm of the wider issues
16 January 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I started laying basketball in 1995, having never really been exposed to the sport prior to that. As a result the first time I heard the name Allen Iverson was when he was the star point guard on the 76'ers, covered in tattoos, arrogant, selfish but full of heart when it came to playing; I certainly knew nothing of the subject covered by this documentary. The majority of the film is covering the incident, the subsequent case and the impact it had on the community in terms of splitting it down racial lines. In this regard I found the film interesting because it was about an incident I knew nothing of and in this way it held my attention.

James does struggle with the telling though because he does have a limited number of directly involved people who are willing to talk to him. Of these they can only really say how things were from their perspective, there isn't really much in the way of light shed upon it. That said I did still find it interesting even if it wasn't a film that really managed to be about more. At times it does try to go above this incident and be about race and sports but it never quite manages to use the Iverson incident as a microcosm for a bigger issue – which is really what it should have been doing in my opinion. It doesn't manage it though, partly because beyond the feelings, there isn't a lot concrete to build on. There clearly was racist motivations behind some of the decisions made and things done, but the film doesn't capture these particularly well when it comes to specifics.

What James does do well is to provide balance to the telling; while the film makes strong feelings (and extremes) on both sides, he manages to walk the middle line and provide a fair summary of the incident. Iverson was probably there and (given how he plays and talks) probably didn't calmly walk away from a fight so he didn't deserve to be hushed up or escape any questions, but at the same time it was certainly treated harsher than it should have been and the only clear reason is that somebody somewhere decided this rising star deserved to be taken down a peg or two.

Others have praised this documentary here and I'm afraid I don't totally see it that way. I found the introduction to, and summary of, the incident to be engaging but it never got beyond that level, never really made significant points at a higher level. This limited it to one viewing for me and I do suspect that I may not have been so engaged in the film if I had been aware of the details before viewing it.

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