The Drew was founded in 1973 as a place for kids in South Central to live and learn through basketball. Now, it’s the center of Baron Davis’ new inspirational documentary, which just premiered on Showtime.
In The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce, Davis tells the story of a Los Angeles summer basketball league and how it went from being a small institution to, as the synopsis describes, “the nation’s premiere destination for pro-am basketball.”
“It is a ’hood story and it’s a positive ’hood story,” Davis told The New York Times. “There’s good stuff in our neighborhood: good people, good leaders, good mentors. That was the beauty of the film. We tried to bring out that community element.”
The goal was to tell a story beyond just basketball.
“We wanted people to get a good feel of the family importance of it and give the audience an opportunity to be part of that community, the competitive energy,” Davis further explained in an interview with Daily News. “A lot of times you see on TV is negativity, and they wouldn’t want to be part of that. We wanted to give the sense of who we are, where we’re at and spread the word about something positive as it pertains to African Americans. We didn’t sugarcoat it, or overdramatize it, or glamorize it. We’re showing what it’s like for many of us who have come out of, and still come back to, South Central L.A.”
The documentary also introduces viewers to some key players in The Drew’s come-up, including Dino Smiley, who became the league’s second commissioner in 1985. Smiley, who is still involved with The Drew today, is described as a father figure.
“There’s a Dino in every urban area in America who is opening up these gyms, opening his house, and helping kids change their lives,” Davis said to The New York Times. “For us, as African-Americans in this country, that’s all we really have.”
The Drew is Davis’ fourth venture as a filmmaker and executive producer.
Watch the trailer for the documentary below. If you missed the premiere on Friday (April 29), you can catch it again on May 3, or watch it on demand.