Co-Directors Eric W. Newman and Daniel B. Levin entertain and educate in Showtime Sports Doc "Kevin Garnett: Anything is Possible"
The latest documentary from Showtime Sports and Showtime Basketball is Kevin Garnett: Anything is Possible. This raw and amazing film gives a personal perspective on the career of NBA Hall of Famer and 2008 Boston Celtics champion Kevin Garnett.
The feature-length documentary follows Kevin Garnett's pivotal moments that defined his remarkable career. KG became the first high school player to be drafted by the NBA in 20 years, paving the way for future legends like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. One of the most emotional parts of the project is when Garnett returns to Farragut Academy in Chicago to reminisce
about his spectacular high school years with coaches William "Wolf Nelson and Ron Eskridge. Garnett's years with the Minnesota Timberwolves made him a superstar but it was his move to the Boston Celtics that made him a champion and cemented his legacy as a basketball icon.
Eric W. Newman and Daniel B. Levin, co-directors of Kevin Garnett: Anything is Possible , joined SportsJam host Doug Doyle to talk about the importance of the film and the challenges they face in making it during a pandemic.
Newman says they were fortunate to gets some great footage in just the few days available.
"We only had four shoot days before the whole country shutdown, so it was two LA shoot days which were eerily two days before Kobe's tragic passing and we were very close to where that happened. It's still something that I can't believe is real because Kobe Bryant was supposed to be in this film. But you know we go to Chicago for All-Star and Kevin makes his appearance on All The Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, which if you haven't watched it or listened to it, it's epic Kevin Garnett, and then we capture him at the Hall of Fame finalist press conference and then President's Day Monday is the Farragut visit."
Newman says that greeting at Farragut touched him personally.
"We get to the school it's empty, the kids are off, we coordinated it. If we don't do that then Doug, we never get that shoot during a pandemic. It just doesn't happen in that way, and who knows if we ever get Kevin to go back to Chicago. The choices and following our instincts, you know the moment we walked in that door that day before Kevin got there, it had that feel. I still go back to my high school on Long Island where I'm still close with my coach and we had success, I try to go back once a year. I know what that feels like personally. From Kevin's perspective, not being back for 25 years and what Chicago and Farragut mean to him, the moment he walked in that door and you see that embrace and you feel that love, it's one of the most special things I've ever been a part of capturing. It was awesome."
Co-director Dan Levin agrees that was the most magic moment for him in Kevin Garnett: Anything is Possible. Levin is no stranger to film projects, he comes from a family of successful journalists.
"I come from a lineage of film. My grandfather Al Levin was a journalist. He worked at PBS. My father Mark Levin, who worked on this film, he's an EP (Executive Producer) on the film. I've been working with him since I've been in high school, you know old enough to hold a camera. I've always been in it. I've always been around it. Mark introduced us to Kevin. Kevin had seen a lot of Mark's films in the 90's and he's done a lot of stuff. Film making and basketball are two things that my father gave to me and it's something that has trickled into my work, so I'm blessed."
Newman says he met Mark and Dan Levin ten years ago.
"I'm not here with my life and career without them. Mark immediately played a mentor role in my life when he was finishing Prayer for a Perfect Season in 2011 and he invites me to the Blowback (Productions) office to screen the film and share my thoughts. You know Doug I'm a former basketball coach and teacher doing creative on the side. I come from a unique film background too, but it was a film appreciation background, my father is a film collector. He's got three thousand movies in the house and I grew up watching anything and everything and I was a jock. I was a basketball and football player. I'm meshing that stuff together and trying to figure out as a career and I meet Mark Levin and he's asking me to come watch Prayer for a Perfect Season and share my thoughts, I looked at him sideways, you've got to be kidding me.
A short time later Newman met Dan Levin and began work on the wonderful documentary about legendary playground basketball star Lloyd Daniels called The Legend of Swee' Pea. Ben May's The Legend of Swee' Pea was also featured on SportsJam.
Dan Levin says what makes Kevin Garnett's story so interesting is the impact he's had on today's game in the NBA.
"We had these four pillars that we looked at. you know how KG changed the game, of course being the first to come straight from high school in 20 years was probably one of the most well known, so that was our initial. Then of course he signs a deal, a 126-million dollar contract that was the biggest in sports at the time and that changed the business of the game, it led to the lockout. Then of course he transformed the power forward position, his position. He sort of took it to where it is today. He (at 6'11) spread out the floor, he could bring the ball up, he could shoot, he could move. Ultimately, he lands in Boston in 2008 and creates the big three and that really creates the super team era that we still see today. Those are sort of our pillars of how he changed the NBA. You pair that with his unbelievable story telling ability, that was sort of the framework of our film."
Minnesota teammates Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury would also help the NBA transform into Hip-Hop culture. One of the more emotional scenes in this Showtime doc is when Garnett sits down with the rapper Snoop Dogg and discuss how music and the NBA connect. They also talk about the circumstances surrounding the 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Featuring a wide range of dynamic voices like Snoop Dogg, Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers and Allan Iverson, the film makers had tremendous access to stars and game-changers. Newman, who grew up a Celtics fan, says he's proud that this film was able to go beyond the "norm" when it comes to voices in a documentary.
"The reaction when we would coordinate the interview was unbelievable. Most documentaries, I don't wan to generalize, but you have your subject and your star and you have two or three voices that really stand out from the chorus of voices , how lucky did we get? We have this unbelievable line of voices. You look at interview by interview, they all deliver such great passionate unique stuff and it speaks to the connection they have with Kevin, the history and the impact Kevin had on their life."
Kevin Garnett: Anything is Possible also delves into the emotional relationships the NBA star had with his teammates, like Ronnie Fields at Farragut and the late Malik Sealy in Minnesota. Both of those relationship show the personal side and depth of the NBA giant and why this doc is one you should miss.
You can see the entire SportsJam interview with Daniel B. Levin and Eric W. Newman here.