Carmelo Anthony has been part of highlight films, now he is making films. That’s what we have seen from the New York Knicks star this week with not one, but a series of continuing projects both in front of and behind the scenes. First on Tuesday Anthony released, from Vice Sports, the fourth installment of his video series “Stay Melo,” and in this one he visits the notorious Rikers Island prison, and spoke out for prison reform.
Then it also came out that he is executive producer of a new documentary, “The Legend of Swee Pea,” which tells the story of streetball legend turned NBA player Lloyd Daniels, and had its world premiere at DOC NYC on Tuesday at the IFC Film Center in New York with a sold out screening, (and will screen again November 19 at 7:30 pm at the Bow Tie Cinema at 260 W 23rd St. The trailer is here
“I did some creative stuff on it,’’ Anthony told The New York Post Tuesday. “When I saw the rough footage I had, I saw which direction to go with that. That story is a powerful story, especially for athletes now who are on the fence. It’s a bigger message to that story.’’
This film documents Daniels’ struggle to survive the perilous streets of New York, to navigate in the world of high stakes professional sports, and to overcome a lifetime of addiction. In addition to interviews with Tarkanian, David Robinson, John Lucas, and Avery Johnson, as well as Five Star Basketball founder Howard Garfinkel, legendary basketball talent evaluator Tom Konchalski, longtime New York high school coach Ron Naclario and Newsday’s John Valenti, the project uses archival footage, current verité, and illustrations to recreate that mythic talent that the young Swee’ Pea displayed in the playgrounds, to express not only his charisma and charm, but also the darker side the unrepentant lone wolf and hustler who, in the words of a friend, is “a rogue…he walks the face of this earth endlessly.”
Daniels, a father of three, including promising high school star Lloyd Daniels III, currently lives in New Jersey.
Anthony said the Daniels film has inspired him to produce more documentaries. Daniels played at five high schools, got recruited by UNLV, and was shot three times at age 21 over an argument regarding a cocaine deal.
Hopefully he can score as well in media as he has on the court this season for the resurgent Knicks.