June 16, 2005


'Hoop Dreams' stars still living a dream (CAROL SLEZAK, 6/16/05, Chicago Sun-Times)

Before the documentary ''Hoop Dreams'' made them famous, Arthur Agee and William Gates were just a couple of kids who shared a friendship. They didn't know -- who would have guessed? -- that the story of their lives would hit the big screen and become a sensation. They didn't know -- who could have fathomed? -- that even now, 11 years after the film was released, people would still approach them on the street and ask them about each other.

''Hey, Will, how's Arthur doing?''

''Hey, Arthur, seen Will lately?''

Like Jordan and Pippen, like Butch and Sundance, like Abercrombie & Fitch, you can't say one without the other.

Agee and Gates, both now in their early 30s, have moved on in their lives. But they realize they will always be connected by ''Hoop Dreams.'' And that's just fine with them.

''When we see each other, no matter how much time has gone by, it's like we see each other every day,'' Agee said.

''We talk about every three to four months,'' Gates said. ''And at one point in a year we make sure to see each other. And when we do, it takes us, oh, about two minutes to catch up with each other. I don't think basketball or anything else would have been able to tie us together the way the movie did.''

Lately they've been seeing more of each other, because ''Hoop Dreams'' has been released on DVD (Criterion). They've been making appearances for the DVD, which includes an audio commentary by them. The film's director, Steve James, calls the Agee-Gates audio the highlight of the release.

''One thing that was heartening was listening to their commentary track,'' said James, who along with producers Frederick Marx and Peter Gilbert added an audio commentary of his own to the film. ''You get a sense of their closeness when they talk. One thing that comes out is the sense that this experience was for the most part really a positive experience for them.''

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 16, 2005 12:00 AM
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