Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby Basketball Fan on Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:06 am

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/b ... ins-436855
Bulls Star Joakim Noah Joins Film About Fallen Basketball Phenom Lenny Cooke (Exclusive)

The All-Star center is a one-time teammate of the Tribeca Film Festival-premiering documentary's subject, who went from being considered the next Magic Johnson to total flame out.

Joakim Noah is teaming up with Lenny Cooke once again, albeit in very different circumstances.
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The Bulls' All-Star center has boarded the documentary about the former basketball phenom as a producer, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The film, simply titled Lenny Cooke, charts the rise and fall of a high school athlete once thought to be the next Magic Johnson, only to fall victim to the easy lure of money and hangers-on that often seize like vultures on promising prospects. The film will make its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Noah, still new to the United States after emigrating from France, played with Cooke -- two years his senior -- for the AAU team The Panthers in 1999.
"Lenny has always been one of my biggest inspirations as a basketball player," Noah says. "His story always reminds me to keep my eyes on the prize and to keep distractions away."
Cooke declared for the NBA draft in 2002, despite high profile college opportunities, and his decline in play, and the distractions around him, led him to go undrafted. After making an effort in the NBA's Developmental League and the USBL, he blew out both of his knees, and now works as a cook in his native New Jersey.
"I hope Lenny will push his story out to the next generation of kids who aspire to one day play competitive basketball at any level," Noah added. "If his story can make an impact on just one or two kids who have the opportunity to see the film, I believe we'll be making a difference."
Noah, who was just 5'9 when he played with Cooke, grew to 6'11. He won two national championships while at the University of Florida, and was named an NBA All-Star this past season.
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Re: Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby Iceberg Slim on Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:25 am

One of the best talents I've ever seen on the high school level. I played against coach Gary Charles and and the Long Island Panthers AAU team during my junior/senior years of high school. They had the best talent in the country. Lenny was the best of them all. He put 45 on us. I remember asking my friend Jason Fraser (Villanova 2002-2006, former Mickey D All-American) how good is Lenny Cooke to you. He said (paraphrased):

Lenny is the best damn player in the country! But he needs to get his head straight. He's like Iverson. Wants the rock all the time and think he can do it on his own. Once he settles down, he'll be an NBA-All Star one day.

Cooke's height was when, as a junior at the famed ABCD camp, he challenged Kobe to a one on one duel. It never happened. Cooke was the camp's MVP that summer. His descent started the very next year when a new young star stepped on the ABCD camp floor named Lebron James. They were pitted against each other in an Ali-Frazier like showdown dubbed "Lenny vs. Lebron". The rest became fast history.
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Re: Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby TIME on Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:55 am

Good story Slim. Thanks for sharing it.
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Re: Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby Iceberg Slim on Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:21 am

Thanks.

I was a bit in awe of Lenny. He was a 6'7" 235 left handed small foward who personified the word "multi-faceted". He ran the point forward in games. He could jump out the gym. He was ferocious in the paint and liked to bang for post points and rebounds. And then, the swagger. He'd berate you all the way down the court, with the Rucker crowd egging him on for more trash talk. Then the crowd might flip on him...so he'd come right back on THEM while pouring in 30 on hapless defenders. Talent wise, he was special. But he was a hood kid with bad grades and vultures around him, trying to get a piece of the next great star. If you knew him, you'd probably assume something like this might happen. And it obviously did.
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Re: Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby gcclaker on Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:28 am

^This reminds me of a recent feature off the ESPN 30 series. It was about a great baller out of Chicago whose life was cut short because he was murdered. His name currently escapes me at the moment. Good of Noah to be involved in it just to put out the message for kids to right by themselves.
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Re: Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby Iceberg Slim on Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:50 am

^The famed Ben Wilson.

The old heads talked about him in the barbershop every now and again when I was kid. The way they gushed about Benji was special. He seemed like was beyond what anyone had ever seen. He was the true Magic Johnson with a jumpshot. I remember trying to google him when I was 12 and 13. Didn't find much. I was delighted to see 30 for 30 do a special on him. You couldn't pry me away from the television when it was on. I still watch it every other week at least once.

Another name for the ages...Schea Cotton. Lebron type hype before that existed. That kid was otherworldly.
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Re: Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby gcclaker on Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:35 pm

^I recall the Cotton news. UCLA wanted him. UNLV too I believe. He ended up with a short stint with the Lakers when he bounced arond. I fell asleep watching the Wilson doc and I would like to catch in in full next time it airs. Wilson played a smooth overall game from the footage I saw.
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Re: Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby 432J on Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:20 pm

^
watch Manchild, the documentary on schea cotton

great watch
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Re: Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby TIME on Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:40 pm

I remember Shea Cotton when he was coming up. Didn't know they did a doc on him. I never heard of Ben Wilson or Lenny before so, I'm looking forward to seeing those treatments.
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Re: Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby 432J on Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:56 pm

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Re: Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby jbiggs on Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:21 am

this story reminds me of hook mitchell...another guy that could have been an all time great only to succumb to the same pressures talked about above

great documentary on him for anyone interested to learn more on him.
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Re: Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby Iceberg Slim on Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:36 am

Hook Mitchell is a great example. I remember Gary Payton and Jason Kidd saying their basketball idol wasn't any HOF'er in the NBA past or present. It was streetball legend Demetrius "Hook" Mitchell. 5'10" jumping over cars. Sick, sick athlete.
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Re: Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby gcclaker on Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:26 am

I'm sure there are others but the one playground legend which for me comes to mind that made it to The League was Connie Hawkins. This is a good thread Ice as some of these cats I've never heard of before and looks to be worthwhile researching. Then of course, I'm sure all of us know about the legend of The Goat.
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Re: Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby jbiggs on Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:19 am

Iceberg Slim wrote:Hook Mitchell is a great example. I remember Gary Payton and Jason Kidd saying their basketball idol wasn't any HOF'er in the NBA past or present. It was streetball legend Demetrius "Hook" Mitchell. 5'10" jumping over cars. Sick, sick athlete.


:jam2: for real. so sad we never saw what he could do in the league
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Re: Joakim Noah joins film about fallen phenom Lenny Cooke

Postby Juronimo on Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:46 pm

Schea Cotton, I remember hearing about him in the '90's, then you stopped hearing about him. I never saw him play but he was supposed to be the real deal, then he fell off the map. I wonder what happened.
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