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Directed by Benny Safdie, Joshua Safdie

United States 2013 88 mins. In English

In 2001, Lenny Cooke was the most hyped high school basketball player in the country, ranked above future greats LeBron James, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Carmelo Anthony. In an era when high school stars were forgoing college hoops in favor of the potential multi-million dollar contracts promised in the NBA draft, Cooke was supposed to be the next superstar. But over a decade later, while his peers are taking home MVP awards and championship trophies, Cooke has never played a minute in the NBA. What went wrong? With incredible access to Cooke’s story as it unfolded over the past decade, the Safdie brothers follow Cooke from his rundown home in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to the New Jersey suburbs where he spent his high school career, through to the present day, with the friends and family who shared in his dreams and aspirations. Lenny Cooke is a quintessentially American story about dreaming big, the fickle nature of sports celebrity, and unfulfilled destiny.

Genres: Documentary



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.