LeBron James To Produce Netflix Indian Basketball Film ‘Rez Ball’
NBA star LeBron James will produce a new Netflix film, Rez Ball, a Native American basketball drama. The movie is described as a mix between Friday Night Lights and Hoosiers.
The project’s description noted that the film “follows the Chuska Warriors, a Native American high school basketball team from Chuska, New Mexico, that must band together after losing their star player if they want to keep their quest for a state championship alive. It’s an all-American underdog story about Navajo kids and coaches told from inside-out.”
Veteran TV director Sydney Freeland will direct the film from a script she wrote with Sterlin Harjo, who with along with Taiki Waititi co-created the forthcoming FX series Reservation Dogs.
The two are writing the storyline based on Michael Powell’s novel, Canyon Dreams, as well as his articles for the New York Times, which were published before the novel. Both explore “reservation basketball,” which has influenced NBA athletes and coaches over the years.
The movie will be filmed in New Mexico. The crew was given permission to film on reservations by local sovereign tribal nations.
“Basketball on the Rez is like high school football in West Texas. It has a fanatical following that few sports can rival,” Freeland told The Hollywood Reporter. “This is a story that’s commonplace for Indian reservations all over the U.S., but most people aren’t even aware it exists. What we want to do is bring people into our world, to tell a story about the people and places we know, and what better way to do that than through a sports movie?”