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Director of Iverson documentary interviewed

Apr 13, 2010, 2:17 PM EDT

No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson, the latest film in ESPN’s “30 for 30″ documentary series, premiers tonight at 8:00 EST. No Crossover focuses on the fallout from a February 14th, 1993 brawl that involved a 17-year old Allen Iverson. Iverson ended up serving four months in jail because of his role in the brawl, and the trial itself exposes some still-simmering tensions in Iverson’s hometown of Hampton, Virginia. Iverson did not participate in the making of the film, which instead focuses on the community and the environment in which the brawl took place. 

The film was directed by Steve James, who is best known for being one of the directors of Hoop Dreams. Hoop Dreams, for those who haven’t seen it, is a documentary that followed basketball prospects Arthur Agee and William Gates through their high school careers. It is considered one of the best sports movies ever made, and Roger Ebert called it the best film of the 1990s
Scott Tobias of The Onion A.V. Club recently sat down with Steve James, who had some interesting things to say regarding his past films, his feelings about Iverson, and what he wants the effect he wants this film to have on people. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
AVC: The film doesn’t lead to a single conclusion. It has the effect of clarifying the issue while muddying it as the same time.
SJ: I’m definitely glad you said that. If I could engineer a response to this movie, it would be basically that you come out the other end asking a lot of questions and debating a lot of questions. It was really important to me in this film–and it’s important to me in all the films I do–that you hear all sides to this situation. Your hear from people in the African-American community who were adamant in their support of Allen, and there were also people in the African-American community who weren’t. I couldn’t get someone to go on-camera and say, “I really wanted Allen to go to prison.” But you certainly hear from people who convey that, and that’s discussed in the film.

I encourage you to check out the full interview, which includes more of James’ thoughts on Iverson, the Hampton community, and an update on the current whereabouts of the stars of Hoop Dreams. 

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