Destination NBA: A G League Odyssey (2023)

Destination NBA: A G League Odyssey (2023)

R

These relatively unique perspectives on the basketball industry are obscured by a general lack of focus

5.1

Movie

United States of America
English
Documentary
2023
BRYANT ROBINSON, LIAM HUGHES
Scoot Henderson
119 min

TL;DR

As awkwardly structured as the letters NBA-A-G in the title.

What it's about

A handful of skilled players in the National Basketball Association's minor league share their dreams of getting their chance in the spotlight.

The take

It sounds like a great idea to a documentary on minor league basketball players. After all, these are individuals who don't yet have their stories written for them by public opinion, and each of them is an underdog living in close proximity to their ultimate goal, but still not good enough to get there. So it does these men no favors that this film is so disjointed in its construction, and opts to go down the most predictable sports documentary route, asking them the usual questions and making out the G League to be purgatory. And while it's good that these players—whose personalities still manage to shine through in the haze—are honest about their dissatisfaction with where they are, the film ends up becoming less an account of what the G League is like, and more an advertisement for the NBA all over again.

What stands out

Easily the most interesting character in Destination NBA is Ryan Turell—a young man whose passion for basketball actually seems to come in second to his Jewish faith. This intersection between his career and his cultural and religious beliefs is rich enough to be the subject of its own documentary, and whenever the film focuses on him, it's finally able to give us images and moments that you wouldn't see in any other movie with the NBA logo slapped onto it. Turell's story still ultimately gets lost in the shuffle as the film keeps switching points of view, but he's definitely somebody worth keeping an eye on.

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