"Basketball County: In the Water" (2020 release; 52 min.) is a documentary about the basketball traditions in Prince George's County, MD, located just outside of Washington, DC. As the movie opens, we get a quick montage of some of the many NBA and WNBA players that hail from PG County. "There's something about the water we drink", comment several of them. We then go back in history to understand how PG County became what it is, not just from a basketball perspective, but also from a community perspective, as middle-class black families fled DC in the late 60s (in particular after the riots ensuing from MLK's murder) and instead took refuge in the suburban surroundings of Prince George's County. At this point we are 10 min. into the documentary.
Couple of comments: this documentary is executive-produced by Kevin Durant, and feels like it is a loving tribute from KD to the community that he clearly cherishes and care about deeply. So yes, there is a heavy dose of KD interviews and footage. But you step back, and it is astonishing how one county can produce that much basketball talent. KD, Michael Beasley, Jeff Green, Quinn Cook, Dermarr Johnson, and on and on. And yes, Lenny Bias. Bias is featured within the significant segment devoted to DeMatha HS, the legendary catholic school with a basketball program the likes of which is probably unparalleled in this country. Coach Wootten gets his due, of course. If there is one criticism that I have of the documentary, it s that it frankly crams too much in just 50 min., and that this cries out for a less hurried approach. Make it a full-length feature!
I lived in neighboring Montgomery County, MD earlier in my career and the reputation of DeMatha in the area was monumental. "Basketball County: In the Water" premiered on Showtime earlier this week, and is not available on SHO On Demand and other streaming services. If you like basketball, or are familiar with the area, I'd readily suggest you check this out and draw your own conclusion.
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