The First Basket (2008)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

David Vyorst's documentary The First Basket takes a look at the early days of the Basketball Association of America. When it was formed in 1946, the majority of players were Jewish -- a fact that certainly is not true of American basketball just 60 years later. This film showcases how these athletes provided inspiration for Jews suffering discrimination.
Documentary , Sports & Fitness
Directed By:
In Theaters:


Peter Riegert
as Narrator

Critic Reviews for The First Basket

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (6)

It uncovers a fascinating and largely forgotten chapter of the game's history that is well worth revisiting.

Full Review… | November 14, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

A valuable reminder that for nearly three decades, basketball was dominated by Jewish players -- and coaches who found the sport an ideal vehicle for assimilation in the United States.

Full Review… | October 31, 2008
New York Post
Top Critic

When the history of the sport is allowed to unfold through the reminiscences of geriatric Yiddish pros, pic approaches the richness of its impressive archival trove. Too often, however, director David Vyorst's chauvinistic agenda intrudes.

Full Review… | October 29, 2008
Top Critic

The First Basket, a functional (if narrowly interesting) history lesson by the filmmaker David Vyorst, recollects the rich history of Jewish participation in basketball.

October 29, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic

David Vyorst's comprehensive and celebratory documentary presents the stats in one easy-to-follow, nicely organized 86 minutes.

November 14, 2008
Los Angeles Daily News

The First Basket is a moderately interesting documentary about a moderately interesting subject.

November 4, 2008
Boxoffice Magazine

Audience Reviews for The First Basket

This was really good documentary on the beginnings of basketball in America and it's origins I'm sure will surprise a lot of people. It's all very interesting as you can see the game change, form and develop into the modern era and some of the key players from the begining give thier insights on how the game has evolved.

Bobby Diablo
Bobby Diablo

A talking head documentary which tells the story of jewish participation in the development of basketball. This documentary sheds an important light on a forgotten part of Jewish-American history.For Vyorst basketball was a way for Jews, especially New Yorkers, to become assimilated into American life. The big flaw for me is Vyorst doesn't do a convincing enough job explaining why there aren't many Jews playing at a high level today. I think it has less to do with demographic shifts and more to do with New York's shrinking influence on the game. You'd be hard pressed to find a star player in the NBA from New York of any race or ethnicity. (For those who would say Telfair or Marbury I would reiterate the word STAR.)Still this docco does a good job of highlighting a fascinating chapter in American History.

Ben Kavanaugh
Ben Kavanaugh

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