"[19] Roger Ebert, film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times, says "The film is not as taut as it could have been, but I prefer its emotional perception to the pumped-up sports clichés I was sort of expecting. There are expectations put on us as women in sports. Growing up, I was the tomboy. It's incredibly flattering that people want the story to continue. She's like Monica. Everyone is still striving, but you're having young black kids who have dreams and aspirations, growing up together, pushing each other. Having shot at the real Crenshaw High, where Monica and Quincy played, it was only fitting for the film to screen at the Magic Johnson theaters nearby at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. Cynthia Guidry, executive producer: I cannot tell you over the last 20 years how many men and women have told me they love it. VIDEO: Real life "Love & Basketball" -- Man proposes while playing 1-on-1 with his girlfriend http://t.co/BdnDGVW8o4 http://t.co/odnHD3SwMA, "For a while, it was similar to how Quincy completely shut down communication [in the movie]," Dorsett told Bleacher Report. Any chance we got, it was, "Let's play 3-on-3." Chicago Sky forward Cheyenne Parker discusses her favorite scene from "Love & Basketball.". My mom was like, "What?".

"What's revolutionary is that this amazing black woman can love both [basketball and her partner] equally and still be a woman," says "Queen & Slim" screenwriter Lena Waithe. But Prince-Bythewood, even up until the previews, was convinced she had missed her shot. She's going to remember that for the rest of her life. Nevertheless, they prove to be more than leads in an early-aughts hoops flick or relatable characters in a coming-of-age love story.

He also made sure to innocuously mention to Dorsett that his hamstring was bothering him on the way to the gym that day. Sanaa was pretty good, but she'd never picked up a basketball in her life. Magic Johnson and Cheryl Miller up on the wall.

Ruth E. Carter, costume designer: Part of why this film has endured was because Gina ensured that it was authentic. According to Prince-Bythewood, an Olympic sprinter (pre-scandal) and the greatest female tennis player of all time were among the more than 700 athletes and actors considered for the role of Monica.

I had never really picked up a basketball. Losing that shot didn't affect the movie in any way and it was absolutely worth it. Sandra Perez-Thomas, who plays Sandra, Monica's USC teammate: Hair and makeup hated us. Quincy's father, Zeke, is the star shooting guard for the Los Angeles Clippers. Basketball was No. It took many people off the list. We did a lot of dribbling techniques, shooting techniques, and running up and down the court [training for the film]. She came aboard. This is you." By 1998, Monica is playing in the new WNBA with Quincy and their newborn daughter cheering. Lena even finds Monica a college friend to take her to her spring dance. Quincy agrees and wins, but can no longer be apart from Monica and chooses her instead. Lathan: I had no idea what it was going to become, how it was going to impact people. She also secretly still harbors feelings for Quincy, but struggles to express them as he is always surrounded by other girls. But just as quickly as it seems he has turned his bad streak around, he suffers a devastating knee injury when he lands awkwardly after the play, tearing his ACL. 1 for both of us then, so we didn't see love as that important. I saw your name in the credits. She said that if I agreed to play Monica, she would play my mother. She didn't know until we were on set. It wasn't until I got into the editing room that I really saw what Sanaa gave, how next-level Sanaa was and is. I don't necessarily need to know what happened to Quincy and Monica or where they are 20 years later. This movie represented my fantasy, a dream of what life could be -- and we only get one? Monica was beautifully played and beautifully written, so it's a lot of people's favorite movie.

What a dummy I was! Quincy and Monica are drawn to each other instantly, sharing a love of the game basketball. It was all real. Gina Prince-Bythewood: Anytime you see women playing ball on TV or in movies, it was so wack that it set women in sports back years. Prince-Bythewood: There was one other woman, Niesha Butler, and she was a top recruit out of high school, [played at] Georgia Tech. But all I had to aspire to was college. "I loved it so much," Lathan told Bleacher Report. Lathan: Omar and I were like, "We're not going to tell Gina because I have the feeling she could have a beef about it." To have an emotional response like that when you're just sitting down with a script is special. This leads to them finally acting on their feelings, making love that night. With New Line Cinema, Prince-Bythewood was able to explore the lives of her protagonists, Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy McCall (Omar Epps), on her terms. This was different. Pratt: And the scene where you see Glenndon [Chatman, young Quincy] and me rolling down a hill, you can see him getting away and then me coming back after him. Didn't know they were dating, though. I would've pushed him back. You either have chemistry with somebody or you don't. We were just having fun. You could fake a jump shot, but you can't fake a close-up. They had a family. Throughout the movie they struggle to balance their affection and love for each other with others and basketball. That's the norm, and that was all Gina -- she made Monica relatable. And because of that people don't think it's really me. Proposals are so important because obviously, that's the one time you make that gesture. Once I talked to her on the phone, I said, "I will do whatever you say. The movie ended, and it was dead silent. In the original draft, I was much harder on the mother character. The fact that it's normal, women playing ball as pros. As a young person, I was, I guess, they called us "tomboys." It received positive reviews from critics, with praise directed at the performances (particularly those of Lathan and Epps), Prince-Bythewood's direction and script and the emotional weight of the film. First-time filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood's film joins such films as The Best Man and The Wood, which look for the class, not the crass, in African American life. Sanaa worked her ass off. "[21] He also elaborates on the acting, stating "Omar Epps possesses a chiseled body and a blank stare [...] Lathan is only slightly better, but she's stuck in a hollow role. Johnson is considering opportunities to play in either Italy or Germany next season to be closer to Dorsett. I knew I had to just go 150,000 percent in order to make it work, otherwise it could have been a bit cringey. It made me feel, well, foolish. My mail carrier years ago said, "I was watching 'Love & Basketball' with my daughter. Love & Basketball was released on April 21, 2000 in the United States. "[18], New York Post film critic Jonathan Foreman gave the film a mixed review; he appreciated how the film "effectively conveys the excitement of basketball from a player's point of view", but says it's filled with fake-sounding dialogue you only find in the cheesiest TV movies. Sanaa was training every day for three months with no promise of a part, and same with Niesha and the acting coach.

We were watching the dailies for when Quincy breaks up with Monica outside of the [USC] dorm. It's about the pressures of being a star athlete; the whole life, not the game highlights. Robin Roberts, former ESPN anchor who appears in the film: I loved the scene [right after "double or nothing"] where Monica is revealed as a WNBA player and Quincy is courtside waving their baby's hand at Mommy. "Love & Basketball" was relatively well received, bringing in more than $27 million at the box office worldwide (the film's estimated budget was $15 million to $20 million). It turned out really well.".

I related to [Monica]. "What's revolutionary is that this amazing black woman can love both [basketball and her partner] equally and still be a woman," says "Queen & Slim" screenwriter Lena Waithe. During their freshman year at USC, Monica and Quincy are managing themselves as athletes, students, and a couple. [2] The film grossed $27,728,118 worldwide; $268,503 (1%) was grossed outside of the United States.
[16], Film reviewer Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave Love & Basketball an A- review. To mark the 20th anniversary of "Love & Basketball" on Tuesday, ESPN spoke not only to the creatives behind the film and cast who brought Prince-Bythewood's script to life but also to WNBA players who thought that if Monica Wright could make it to the league, they could too. I had gotten the CD, and I played ["Fool of Me"] driving in to work, and that ultimately ended up in the movie. Love & Basketball is a 2000 American romantic sports drama film written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (in her directorial debut).

Cheyenne Parker, Chicago Sky forward: Hold on -- the WNBA didn't exist yet? I remember going home that day and curling up in my bed. The film is produced by writer-director Spike Lee and Sam Kit and stars Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps. Terilyn A. Shropshire, editor: It was a scene that ended up getting shot over two days. Unbeknownst to Prince-Bythewood, stars Lathan and Omar Epps had started dating prior to the film's production. We premiered it there, and there was such raucous screaming [of support]. We scored so high. My mom's white, and I obviously grew up around half my family being white, but it's really cool to see people on the screen that looked like me and play the sport that I play. The story and the life that audiences have concocted in their minds for these characters is a thousand times better than anything that I would come up with. Melody Ehsani, designer, collection includes a Monica and Quincy-themed T-shirt: Most basketball movies feature a male lead, like "White Men Can't Jump." I think that's the aspirational part of the film. But she longed to tell a semi-autobiographical story about a female baller. My plan was to drop to the floor and grab my hamstring and he would pass it to me. Sheryl Swoopes, Naismith and Women's Basketball halls of fame, first WNBA player signed: I was just like, "That is so my story." I'm like, "Someone had me in mind." Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand. Love and Basketball shows how strong true love really is.

Third one, I'm going to flop and fake an injury.". But I played Pop Warner football. Lennix: Most of the content that was popular, things like "A Raisin in the Sun" [a play by Lorraine Hansberry that portrays an impoverished African American family living on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s] or "Nothing But a Man" [1964 film about an African American rail worker], showed black people in a certain economic condition. Even if you were in the working class or the lower working class economically, it was a very rich lifestyle in terms of quality of life and community. This was touching in a different way for me because it reminded me of the movie. According to him, I was staring at him the entire game. Those characters' stories were told.

Lathan was definitely a fan of how he executed his plan. It was a secret until they were on set.

Prince-Bythewood: That took 15 takes. Immediately, Quincy bricks a three point shot, but makes up for it on the very next play with a showtime steal-dunk. Lathan: They really wanted a basketball player who could act as opposed to getting an actress who could learn basketball. They said because it's too real. She wanted somebody who could play basketball. That's kind of our relationship. Matsuhara: I didn't realize until much later that they were dating. While they maintain their story played out in an organic manner, they admit there are a few similarities between their relationship and Monica and Quincy's (Lathan and Omar Epps) on-screen romance. I remember being worried about that. "Yeah, it was cute," Dorsett said in between chuckles.

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