My Review of "A Kid from Coney Island"
An interesting and informative documentary about a totally misunderstood former NBA basketball player.
A Kid from Coney Island is a documentary on the former NBA basketball player Stephon Marbury. I'm sure today not too many people remember who Stephon Marbury is nowadays but back in the day he did have a pretty big name for himself in the NBA. Even before that he had a big name in the streets of New York. A lot of his adventures outside the NBA aren't really documented so it's interesting to hear what happened afterwards.
This film starts off with the build up of what Stephon grew up into and the pressures he had to deal with. It explains how big his family was and how they had to struggle to make ends meet. The film also goes on to explain that he had grown into a lineage of basketball players and the family's dream was to make it to the NBA.
His father and his brothers had passed down knowledge down each generation of siblings. Whenever one sibling would fail the pressure would be placed on the following sibling to take on the challenge to make it into the big league. This would go on until Stephon finally took on the challenge.
At the time Stephon was developing his skills as a premier player the neighborhood that he lived in was not the best environment for children. Still Stephon's skills were more than just the pride of his family it was the pride of the community. The film goes on to explain that even drug dealers in the neighborhood knew that they needed to shelter Stephon from the seedy side of their doings.
With the community all holding Stephon in such high regard the pressure continues to become ever more pressing for Stephon to do well. It's not like he just innately bestowed basketball gifts though. His work ethics and the support of everyone helped him become the basketball player he became to be.
Eventually he would be accepted to a top college and then drafted into the NBA. Little does everyone know, Stephon continued to help the community that he came from by coming back and trying to help uplift the people in his old neighborhood. This is a recurring theme throughout the film.
This wouldn't be recognized as the media would make him out to be an entirely different person in the news. The film really dives into the pressures of being a player in a sports organization. Larger sports organizations tend to put more pressures on big stars to perform and he ended up playing for his own hometown team.
There's a huge falling out that Stephon deals with later in the film that actually makes him go mad. He definitely had some sort of mental break that had deeply affected his career and his personal life. It was hard to see anyone go through such hard times but with someone with so much potential losing it at his prime is particularly terrible.
Still this isn't all a depressing film. They talk about what he had to do in order to get his head right and how he came to accept himself. It's a pretty impressive transformation and nice story. I think they could have focused a little more on his recovery but it may have been a little difficult for them to ask him to go even deeper.
I love how at the end they talk about the mentality of the children in his neighborhood with some simple questions toward a little boy in a barbershop. It's a very interesting instrospection of American culture. It was as revealing as it was disturbing.
Overall, I really enjoyed this documentary because it was not only an interesting investigation in the character of Stephon Marbury but it also has a twist at the end of the film to explain the number of messages Stephon had to say to the world. The messages were also congruent with the film. It fit perfectly. I have to give this documentary an 8.5 out of 10. It is a film that sports fans definitely have to see and even casual viewers alike.