One Shot: Overtime Elite

One Shot: Overtime Elite

This docuseries about young basketball hopefuls is too busy advertising the league to see the bigger picture


TV Show

United States of America
Amen Thompson, Ausar Thompson, Eli Ellis

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It’s watchable, especially if you’re already a fan of the sport, but One Shot plays too much like an ad to count as a worthy documentary

What it's about

The miniseries follows the athletes over at Overtime Elite, a new basketball league that gives young hopefuls a chance to go pro without having to go through the typical collegiate route.

The take

Created in 2021, Overtime Elite (OTE) is a basketball league that offers players aged 16 to 20 a new way to play pro ball. Instead of waiting four years after graduating from high school, or entering college as most hopefuls do, young athletes can choose to play immediately with OTE and earn their keep. All the while, they’re housed, educated, fed, salaried, and given a chance to play for NBA scouts. If this is starting to sound like an ad for OTE, that’s because that’s how this six-part miniseries from Amazon Prime mostly plays out. It’s an impressive facility and training ground to be sure, filled with budding basketball stars and watchable reality-show-like drama, but it often feels like an infomercial instead of a truly gripping docuseries. I wish it explained the need to create OTE, what role it plays in the current landscape, and how it can possibly change the rules of playing ball in the US. I also found myself wanting to know more about the backers of the league—who funded it, why, and what future they see with it. Adding more historical context and speculation could’ve deepened the impact of this series. But as it stands, it’s an okay feature for the young athletes. It gives them their 15 minutes of fame and boasts their impressive physicality, even though it intercuts them with commercials.

What stands out

Twin brothers Amen and Ausar Thompson (fourth and fifth overall in the 2023 NBA Draft) are basketball stars in the making, and the team behind the docuseries sure knows how to maximize this. The first episode of the series introduces us to different promising players in the league, from TikTok star Eli Ellis to dunk wonder Jahki Howard, but it is the twins who the filmmakers really zone in on, and for good reason. In addition to being athletic sensations, they’re also funny and charismatic, a real joy to watch.

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