- Love & Basketball
name = Love & Basketball
caption = "Love & Basketball" film poster
producer = Andrew Z. Davis
writer = Gina Prince-Bythewood
Omar Epps Sanaa Lathan
Terence Blanchard Ralph E. Tresvant
cinematography = Reynaldo Villalobos
New Line Cinema
April 16, 2000
runtime = 124 min.
country = US
language = English
budget = $15,000,000
amg_id = 1:184522
imdb_id = 0199725
"Love & Basketball" is a 2000
romantic drama film, written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. This film stars Omar Eppsand Sanaa Lathan. It is the story of two next-door neighbors in Los Angeles, Californiawho grew up loving basketballand, eventually, each other.
Tagline: "All's Fair in Love and Basketball."
Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy ( Omar Epps) have wanted to be professional basketball stars since they were kids. However, Monica has to work hard to establish herself, while Quincy is born with natural star potential. As the two struggle to reach their goals of playing professionally, they must also deal with their emotions for each other.
The film spans roughly thirteen years of friendship between childhood sweethearts Monica Wright and Quincy McCall. Monica and her family moved to Los Angeles in 1981 from
Atlanta, Georgia, and quickly became acquainted with their new neighbors the McCalls, a wealthy family due to the success of Quincy's father Zeke, the star shooting guard for the Los Angeles Clippers. Quincy and Monica are drawn to each other instantly, sharing a love of the game basketball. Quincy is shocked that a girl could ever love basketball as much as he did, and he is even more shocked when Monica beats him during their first ever game of one on one. He angrily knocks her down during game point, and accidentally cuts her face.
Their mothers intervene and soon Quincy and Monica have made up. Monica proves tougher than Quincy ever could've imagined in another person, and draws closer to her, asking her to be his girlfriend. Monica accepts and they share their first kiss, but it isn't long before they insult each other and are rolling around on the grass fighting, with Monica clearly winning.
The second quarter of the story begins in 1988, when both Monica and Quincy are the respective leaders of their high school teams. Scouts have taken clear notice of Quincy, who many see as one of the top prospects in the country. He is extremely popular with the other students, could have any girl in school that he wanted to, and dates one of the prettiest girls in school, but is still good friends and neighbors with Monica.
Monica on the other hand struggles with her fiery emotions on the court, picking up technical fouls at critical moments of games. Her coach would often bench her because of this, which she feared would negatively affect her recruitment to a top college. She also secretly still harbors feelings for Quincy, but struggles to express them as he is always surrounded by other girls.
Through soul searching throughout the season, Monica learns to control her emotions and leads her team to the state championship. However, Monica's team comes up short in final moments of the game, losing by one point due to a questionable reach in foul called on Monica that lead to the opposing team's game winning free throws. Monica takes the experience extremely hard and blames herself for the loss, even though she had heroically scored her team's final five points.
Over the next few days, she begins to recover from the loss with the help of her older sister Lena, who gives her a makeover and hooks her up with a college friend to take her to her prom. With nothing more than a new hair style and a dress, Monica shows up to the prom looking as beautiful as ever. While dancing with his girlfriend, Quincy notices her immediately, and can't believe his eyes. He walks over to her to try to play his usual games with her, but quickly notices her tall, dark and handsome date. All night he seems to hate himself for letting Monica slip away, and later that night, he sneaks over to Monica's house to tell her his feelings for her. They make love that night for the first time.
The third quarter of the story follows Quincy and Monica to their freshman year at the
University of Southern Californiawhere it is implied they have been a happy couple for some time. Again, the same problems seem to present themselves, this time on a bigger stage. While Quincy finds instant success on the court, as well as more and more female admirers, Monica struggles for playing time. Not only that, but Monica's coach always seems to single her out in practice, much to her frustration. Her relationship with Quincy becomes more and more strained as Quincy struggles to deal with the media attention surrounding his father and a paternity suit against him from a former lover. Quincy feels betrayed by his father for lying to him and threatens to leave school for the NBA early. When Monica finally earns the starting point guard spot at the end of the season, Quincy can't be happy for her. He blames her for not being there for him when he was having problems with his father. Monica is hurt deeply by Quincy, and the two go their separate ways (as Monica said: Friends?, in a state of confusion).
The fourth quarter of the story follows the characters through the early 1990s, a few years before the establishment of the WNBA. Monica's prospects for professional basketball lie exclusively in the
European leagues, while Quincy steps into the pros at home. Monica settles into her new life in Barcelona, where she struggles to cope with the everyday grind of playing overseas. She misses home, but can't imagine a life that didn't include basketball. She adapts to her surroundings, and it isn't long until her coach makes her the focal point of the team's offense. She leads her team to a dominant victory in the Championship game at the end of the season. Yet despite all her personal success, it seemed as if her life and Quincy's life had finally grown apart.
The story then flashes forward a few years. Having left USC after his freshman season, Quincy is now in his fifth year in the pros, trying to find a role with his new team, the Los Angeles Lakers. He's had a difficult season, but finally finds some playing time when his coach subs him to replace Nick Van Exel. Immediately, Quincy bricks a three point shot, but makes up for it on the very next play with a showtime steal-dunk. But just as quickly as it seems he has turned his bad streak around, he suffers a devastating knee injury when he lands awkwardly after the play, tearing his ACL. His family rushes to the hospital to be with him, but his now divorced parents become embroiled in an argument when they see each other. Monica hears about Quincy's injury, and flies home to see him.
At the hospital, Monica meets his fiancée (
Tyra Banks)---a flashy and talkative girl who treats Quincy like a child. After her meeting with Quincy, Monica soon realizes that her feelings for him still exist. Over the next few months, Quincy undergoes rehabilitation while the day of his wedding draws closer. He and Monica meet up once again, this time as friends, and reminisce over their shared past. At this point, Quincy has recovered from his injury, and Monica finally steps up with an ultimatum. She challenges him to one final game on the court- but this time the stakes are higher: if he loses, he calls off the wedding and chooses Monica; if not, he marries someone else. Quincy agrees and beats her in the game, but can no longer be apart from Monica and chooses her.
The film fast-forwards 2-3 years. Monica has finally gone pro in the WNBA, which was created by the NBA in 1996. Quincy is in the audience holding their baby daughter, cheering on Monica as the announcer calls her name during the starting lineups.
Sanaa Lathan— Monica Wright
Omar Epps— Quincy McCall
Dennis Haysbert— Zeke McCall
Alfre Woodard— Camille Wright
Regina Hall— Lena Wright
Shar Jackson— Felicia
Monica Calhoun— Kerry
Tyra Banks— Karen Kessler
Gabrielle Union— Shawnee Easton
Chris Warren Jr.— Kelvin
Kyla Pratt— Young Monica
Glenndon Chatman— Young Quincy
Debbi Morgan— Nona Jones
Al Foster— Coach Hiserman
Harry J. Lennix— Nathan Wright
Boris Kodjoe— Jason
Erika Ringor— Sidra O'Neal
Domonic Everett- David Jones
Kiana Rivers- cast director
"Love & Basketball" received mixed, but generally favorable reviews for its direction, cast, and storyline. On
Metacritic, the film scored a 70 metascore—based on 28 reviews. ref|meta Notable film critic Roger Ebertof the Chicago Sun-Times, says "The film is not as taut as it could have been, but I prefer its emotional perception to the pumped-up sports clichés I was sort of expecting. It's about the pressures of being a star athlete; the whole life, not the game highlights. I'm not sure I quite believe the final shot, though. I think the girl suits up for the sequel." Ebert gave the film 3 stars. ref|ebert
Film critic Desson Howe, of
The Washington Post's Entertainment Guide, writes " 'Love and Basketball' had moments of such tenderness and sophistication, complimented by such romantic dreaminess between lead performers Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan. First-time filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood's film joins such films as 'The Best Man' and ' The Wood', which look for the class, not the crass, in African American life." Howe gave the film 3.5 stars. ref|howe
"Love & Basketball" was produced on an estimated $15,000,000 budget. In the opening weekend of its release, it was shown on 1,237 screen, and took in $8,139,180. It would eventually take in a total of $27,441,122 at the box office.
DVD features include:
#Feature-Length commentary by writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood and actress Sanaa Lathan
#5.1 isolated score with commentary by composer Terence Blanchard, editor Terilyn A. Shropshire and Gina Prince-Bythewood
#Audition tapes featuring Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan
#Animated storyboards of basketball sequences
#Music video - Lucy Pearl "Dance Tonight"
#Original documentary: Breaking the glass ceiling - The rise and acceptance of women competitors
Awards and Nominations
2001 NAACP Image Awards
*Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture —
*Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture —
*Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture —
*Outstanding Motion Picture (nominated)
2001 Black Reel Awards
*Best Actress (Theatrical) —
*Best Director (Theatrical) —
*Best Actor (Theatrical) —
*Best Screenplay (Theatrical) —
2001 Independent Spirit Awards
*Best First Screenplay —
*Best Female Lead —
2001 BET Awards
*Best Actress —
Love & Basketball (soundtrack)" — soundtrack to the film.
# " [http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/loveandbasketball Love & Basketball] ". "
Metacritic". Retrieved January 14, 2006.
# Roger Ebert. " [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20000421/REVIEWS/4210304/1023 Love & Basketball] ". "
Chicago Sun-Times". April 21, 2000.
# Desson Howe. " [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/entertainment/movies/reviews/loveandbasketballhowe.htm 'Love and Basketball': A Winning Team] ". "Washington Post's Entertainment Guide". April 21, 2000.
*imdb title|id=0199725|title=Love & Basketball
*rotten-tomatoes|id=love_and_basketball|title=Love & Basketball
*amg movie|id=1:184522|title=Love & Basketball
*Ymovies title|id=1800354471|title=Love & Basketball
*metacritic film|id=loveandbasketball?q=Love%20&%20Basketball|title=Love & Basketball
*mojo title|id=loveandbasketball|title=Love & Basketball
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