Basketball County: In The Water

Rated Greg’s Top 5 All-Time P.G. Basketball Players

  1. Kevin Durant (#2 Overall 2007 NBA Draft Pick)
  2. Len Bias (#2 Overall 1986 NBA Draft Pick)
  3. Steve Francis (#2 Overall 1999 NBA Draft Pick)
  4. Victor Oladipo (#2 Overall 2013 NBA Draft Pick)
  5. Willie Hopkins (#488 Ranked High School Freshman In The Nation – 1999)

In the front lawn of an Annapolis mansion in 2005, Bradley Cooper goes deep for a touchdown.  “Crab cakes and football!  That’s what Maryland does!”  It’s a hilarious sequence capped by one of the most quotable lines from perhaps the most quotable comedy this century.  “That’s what Maryland does!”  What a strange and over the top proclamation. 

At first glance any Marylander would assume the writers of Wedding Crashers don’t know shit about Maryland, otherwise the script would have read “crab cakes and lacrosse” when referencing the state’s stereotypes of a certain type of family.  Putting aside the fact that it’s just easier to have Bradley Cooper catch a football than teach Christopher Walken how to wield a lacrosse stick, I’m starting to think the writers actually had a point about us Marylanders by including that specific line in the final cut.  Not because the state is known for tossing pigskin, but rather because we LOVE to take pride in pretty much anything involving our state.  We won’t shut up about Maryland.  Just ask my roommates when I attended Boston College.  Or my coworkers when I lived in Los Angeles.  We think it’s the best state in the country and want everyone to know it.  It’s a level of enthusiasm that caused us to lead the nation in articles of clothing with a state flag on it.*

*A completely made up stat that I am 100% certain is true

This level of pride doubles down if you’re from Prince George’s County, MD, the spotlight of Showtime’s latest sports documentary, Basketball County: In The Water.  To its residents they’re not just “from Maryland” or “from the DC area.”  They’re “from P.G.,” a common clarification that was even joked about in last Sunday’s episode of  HBO’s Insecure.  While the P.G. Hall of Fame includes footprints from the likes of Jim Henson to Ginuwine, Kathy Lee Gifford to Sugar Ray Leonard, Martin Lawrence to Goldie Hawn, Taraji P. Henson to Sergey Brin, it’s actually the county’s basketball pedigree that separates the area from the rest of the country.

Co-directed by John Beckham and Jimmy Jenkins, Basketball County is a personal, yet methodical love letter to the community they grew up in and the sport that envelops it.  Among NBA circles and Division-1 recruiters, it’s no secret that the most hoops talent in the country comes from just outside DC.  Nor is it a coincidence.  In this film Beckham and Jenkins explore why exactly that is, passing the rock from the geopolitical history of the county, to the leaders that spearheaded a one of a kind development environment, to even Go-Go’s influence on P.G.’s style of play, while celebrating all of the larger than life players that got their first bucket there (most notably Kevin Durant who’s an executive producer on the project and the gone too soon Len Bias).  True to form, Beckham and Jenkins put on for their city and Basketball County is a delightful expose’ not just for fans of the sport but for all interested in the different slices of life that make up America. Grade: A+       

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