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Hoop Dreams: I’ve Been Waiting to Write This Blog Entry for Some Time

July 29th, 2008 by Jason Kilar CEO

In January 1997, I was walking curbside at Boston’s Logan Airport. Waiting patiently in a line in the freezing temperatures was a guy named Steve James, the director of the documentary film Hoop Dreams. Steve was standing there by himself, minding his own business. I recognized him because he had just given a speech to a packed auditorium at a local university. I attended the speech, pressed up against the back wall due to the incredible response Hoop Dreams was getting in theaters at the time. When I saw him standing there on the curb, I walked up to him like a little kid and blurted out, “Hi. You made the best documentary I’ve ever seen in my life.”

He looked at me and said “Man, you just made my day!”

We proceeded to talk at length about Hoop Dreams. It was fascinating to hear such passion in Steve’s voice when it came to the topic of Arthur Agee and William Gates, the two friends with ambitious basketball dreams that together form the basis of the film. It was obvious that Steve cared deeply about Arthur, William and their families. I asked him about various nuances of the film, and he answered me with an excitement and sincerity in his voice, as though this were the first time anyone had asked him about this film that was generating such buzz across the country. At the end of our conversation, I shook his hand and left to catch my plane, comfortable with the knowledge that such an incredible film was made by a genuinely good guy.

Steve James is the real deal, as is his documentary, Hoop Dreams.

Please, if you have not seen this film, take the time to watch it. You won’t regret it. It is a story that is painful and uplifting at the same time. And in my opinion, it possesses perhaps the most poignant and unvarnished line uttered in a documentary over the past 15 years. (Hint: it is a scene where William wonders aloud about the loyalty of his friends.)

Steve James, if you are reading this, thank you again for such an incredible film.

Jason Kilar (),
CEO, Hulu

Last comment: Feb 21st 2009 1 Comment
  • Tom Mulroe says:

    I was so glad to stumble on this comment about HOOP DREAMS and Steve James. Many moons ago now it seems my wife and I knew Steve James through his wife Judy who worked at a domestic violece agency with us. They were both as wonderful and cool as his film was. He was making it t the time. It is the best documetary I have ever seen also.

    Thinking about Steve now with the Oscars this weekend. As we sat huddled over a small black and white television watching Steve & Judy at the awards we knew then what we know now. it was the best movie of the year! Hope we have the honor to cross paths with Steve and Judy again sometime. Meanwhile–sharing HOOP DREAMS with our five kids.

    Tom Mulroe