At the time the "Hoop Dreams" documentary came out, America’s fascination with Michael Jordan, basketball and the sports “rags-to-riches” iconography were at a peak. Basketball provided a great hook for audiences, but the real theme of the film – the basketball dream as metaphor for how hard it is for poor people to achieve the American dream – is what gave the film its heart and moved so many people.
The key was finding great subjects - Arthur Agee, William Gates and their families - who had something to say. Part of the pleasure as a viewer is getting to know them all and becoming a part of their lives. We didn’t try to be too slick and hip in form and style. We just tried to tell the stories of these young ballplayers and their families in an honest and dramatic way.