With superstar LeBron James as its point man and a big heart at its center, “More Than a Game” is about the boyz from the ‘hood who made up the St. Vincent-St. Mary High School basketball team of Akron, Ohio, which launched James into the NBA and is a kind of classic of American sports history. Limited theatrical seems possible, given James’ enormous following and an emotionally potent story that involves fast friendships, teamwork, ego, the perils of overconfidence and the entrapments of celebrity.
The object of helmer Kristopher Belman’s attention for about eight years, the story involves high schoolers who, since grade school, had played for the same coach: Dru Joyce, who left corporate America to find more meaning in his life and found more than he bargained for at St. Vincent-St. Mary. Belman has solid material to work with, courtesy of James, Dru Joyce, Sian Cotton and Willie McGee, who were joined by Romeo Travis and together terrorized the Ohio competition. Belman and editor V. Scott Balcerek shape a propulsive, fast-breaking narrative that doesn’t quite follow the conventions of fiction, although it sometimes seems like a fairy tale.