The NBA G League will kick-off the 2020-21 season on February 10 in Disney, with a handful of teams—including G League’s Ignite, who have a stacked roster full of NBA Draft-eligible players including Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga—are scheduled to compete inside the bubble.
To give more insight into what this journey has been like for NBA hopefuls, the League has partnered with Blue Cups Production and will be premiering Hoop Portraits, a documentary series that “provides intimate vignettes of hoopers during pivotal moments in their lives.”
Directed and produced by Taylor Sharp, as well as producer Holland Randolph Gallagher of Blue Cup Productions, the first episode, “Two Ways to the League” follows two North Carolina basketball standouts Ty-Shon Alexander and Josh Hall as they prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft.
The documentary also gives a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like for them to go through the extended pre-draft period, following them around for six weeks as they live together in Charlotte, train with former NBA player and Tarheel, Jeff McInnis, and try to make their dreams come true.
“What attracted us to their story was the inherent tension that would remain present until the moment they received a call that would determine their professional fate. Hearing their name called on draft night was never guaranteed for these players, and that’s a story in sports that’s not as often told,” said Taylor Sharp, director of Hoop Portraits, via an official press release.
“This documentary will turn into something really valuable because they’re going to make it, they’re going to be big-time players in the NBA, so this will show people how they got there,” said McInnis.
Hall, a former Moravian Prep five-star recruit, was committed to NC State before he decided to forego college. He has signed a two-way contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, making him the first basketball player since Tracy McGrady in 1997 to go straight to the G League from a North Carolina high school.
Meanwhile, Alexander is a four-star recruit who suited up for Creighton University for three seasons before signing a two-way contract with the Phoenix Suns. He’ll play for the Canton Charge this season.
Many players who went undrafted have gone on to have successful careers in the League, from four-time Defensive Player of the Year and All-Star Ben Wallace to NBA Champion Fred VanVleet. As McInnis emphasizes, what matters most is how you prove yourself when you got onto the court.
“Your draft status doesn’t matter once the ball gets tipped. The opportunity in front of them is to play basketball in the NBA—no matter what the contract says, they got one. Now prove that you belong and that you’re there to stay,” adds McInnis.
A virtual premiere will be held via live stream on February 8th, which will host a screening of the film and a Q+A with Josh and Ty-Shon, a host from the NBA, and Sharp. The live stream can be accessed via NBA Twitch, G League YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch.
“The NBA G League is proud to play an important role in a player’s journey to the NBA,” said NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim. “The G League has long cultivated NBA talent, and we’re thrilled when we can help give players a platform to tell their stories along the way.”