In Hoop Dreams, the lives of two students athletes, William Gates and Arthur Agee, are documented as they both pursue their dream of making it to the NBA one day. The documentary emphasizes many of the themes and concepts about the African American athlete that we have learned in class.
One of the themes we talked in class was the exploitation of the student athlete for the benefit of the school. Student athletes are expected to live up to the expectations of the coaches and the school and devote a majority of their time to the sport they participate in. If an athlete does not live up to the expectations of the school, he or she can be cut from the team. This theme was definitely prevalent in the documentary. Both William Gates and Arthur Agee were recruited by St. Joseph High School to help their basketball team win games. They basically served as an employee of the school because they were only brought in for this sole purpose and could be let go if they didn't perform up to par. Because William Gates performed at a high level, he was given a free education, medical treatment, and academic support. On the other hand, Arthur Agee was basically forced out of the school after he didn't perform as well as the school had hoped for. St. Joseph's really only cared about their own success and not the success of these athletes outside of the sport.
Another theme we talked about in class was the challenges that African American athletes face in school and at home. In college sports, minority male athletes and revenue-producing sport athletes tend to achieve less academically. In fact, most athletes spend more time on sport-related activities than on school-related activities during the season. This was especially true in the documentary. Both William Gates and Arthur Agee struggled in school and had a hard time keeping their grades up. William Gates struggled to achieve the minimum score needed to attend Marquette University while Arthur Agee's scores were so low...
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