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LENNY COOKE (2013)
Directed by Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie
USA | 92 Minutes

Professional sports are known as a true meritocracy, a field in which the cream really does rise to the top, as there’s simply too much money at stake to operate in any other fashion. In uncommon instances, however, inefficiencies can occur and gifted players may fall through the cracks. Such is the story of Lenny Cooke. In 2001, Cooke was the number-one ranked high school basketball player in America, with future NBA greats LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony listed beneath him. Yet after declaring himself eligible for the 2002 NBA draft, Cooke, shockingly, ended up going undrafted, and became a journeyman playing in little-known leagues across the world. Today he lives in southern Virginia, a should-have-been-great who simply did not quite make it. The first documentary feature from American independent film scene fixtures Josh & Benny Safdie (Daddy Longlegs, The Pleasure of Being Robbed), Lenny Cook explores the fascinating question of how, exactly, Cooke’s seemingly assured future could go so awry.

Praise from the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival:

“Penetrating and heartbreaking” —Scott Foundas, Variety

“Poignant, fascinating… You’ve never seen a sports movie like this before” —Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“An emotionally stirring cautionary tale… will stand with Hoop Dreams and Sugar as the best portraits of failed path to sports stardom” —Brandon Harris, Filmmaker Magazine

“Honest…devastating…New York’s Hoop Dreams” – Rafe Bartholomew, Grantland

—-

This film opens tomorrow (Friday December 6th) at the Howard Gilman Theater at the Lincoln Center, with Lenny Cooke himself, as well as the filmmakers Josh and Ben Safdie during the 7pm screening. On Monday, there will be a Q&A hosted by Rafe Bartholomew.

More info: Official Site

Buy Tickets: Lincoln Center

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