No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson - Wikipedia
His minute film, No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson, which he shot from October to September and is finishing this week, will. On Valentine's Day , year-old Bethel High School basketball star Allen Iverson was bowling in Hampton, Va., with five high school friends. It was su. A Film Review Of No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson CHICAGO - FEBRUARY Allen Iverson #3 of the Philadelphia 76ers holds his head his second best film to date with No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson.
But Iverson and three other black teens were charged as adults with "maiming by mob"—a felony under a rarely used statute written to prosecute Klan lynchings.
Thousands of supporters, most of them black, rallied on behalf of the teens and raised money for their defense. Iverson missed 69 days of school that year in addition to being charged with a felony, but he was allowed to go on playing and he led Bethel to the state basketball championship too.
But ultimately, he adds, they also helped to free him. Iverson and two other defendants were convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison, with 10 years of the sentence suspended.
A Dream Nearly Destroyed, a Town Divided | Movie Feature | Chicago Reader
The fourth defendant, tried separately, was convicted of a misdemeanor and got probation. Still, he got lighter treatment than his codefendants: Iverson's athletic career looked like it was over.
But activists pressured Virginia's outgoing governor, Douglas Wilder—the nation's first black governor—to grant Iverson partial clemency after four months at the City Farm. He was released on supervision, and a few weeks later, in an apparent afterthought, so were his codefendants. In all their convictions were overturned on appeal. James is known for his skill at getting people to open up about difficult subjects; in Stevie, a documentary about Stevie Fielding, a sex abuse victim he'd taken on as a "little brother" while James was at SIU, Fielding and various members of his family speak with astonishing intimacy after he's arrested for molesting a relative.
No Crossover: The Allen Iverson Trial
The Iverson project put James's skill to the test. When Joyce Hobson, a Hampton High teacher who organized a support group for Iverson and his codefendants in '93, finally agreed to talk to James, she told him on camera that she'd been reluctant because he was white and "it's critical for African-Americans to tell our own stories. Black and white, they told him they feared retribution from coworkers and neighbors. Even James's own mother was "nervous about how she'd come off," he says, though he did manage to convince her to appear in the film.
If you took the position that Iverson did something pretty bad and should pay a high price for it, that's a harder thing to say without people saying you're racist. He played ten years for the Sixers, four of them as the NBA's top scorer, then bounced between other teams for a few years, briefly retired, then returned to the Sixers this past December.
In '97 he was arrested for illegal possession of a gun and marijuana and was sentenced to community service. Charges in that he'd threatened two men with a gun while looking for his wife after a domestic dispute were dropped.
Iverson "throws himself into the game and is so fearless, but he has not always played team basketball," says James.
He never quite got there. He was a scrawny little guy and what got him where he was were these qualities of bravado and toughness. He's spent his life trying to prove himself, over and over. Looking back, James says, the trial exposed the city's racial divisions, as Iverson was charged as an adult, of "maiming by mob," a Virginia law that pastor and local activist Marcellus Harris notes was conceived to combat lynching.
Famous even then, Iverson became an emblem of these divisions, James says, and today, "so many years later, he still haunts my hometown. It makes me wonder about how far we've come. The film briefly notes the difficulties of Iverson's childhood -- his absent father, the mother and younger sister he looked after as a boy, the poor neighborhood where he came up.
James also notes the context Hampton provides, as the first place -- in -- where slaves were brought to the U. Rather, the film argues, it is the process by which history is written, framed and reframed to benefit certain ideals, politics, and sometimes, individuals.
- 30 for 30: No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson
- No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson
- A Dream Nearly Destroyed, a Town Divided
And so No Crossover uses the trial as occasion to revisit such revisionism. Local news footage recalls the participation of witnesses, lawyers, and activists, the difficulties of finding a stable truth about that night, a point underlined by the replaying of nearly illegible tape made by someone in the bowling alley.
While the media at the time were certainly focused on Iverson, the film makes clear that his life is just one of many affected by the legal and other proceedings. As James seeks understanding, he speaks not only with sports writers who were at that time and place, all white, the film notes, and called on to analyze black athletes and experiencescoaches, lawyers, and local activists, but also with his mother, a former school nurse whose recollections of high school "race relations" only underscore their ongoing irresolution.
James includes as well a couple of conversations he shares with his black camera operator Keith Walker. When James admits that for all his own memories of high school basketball bringing young teammates together "I always thought that sports was my common ground with blacks"he "was never in any black teammate's home and no black teammate was ever in my home. When he asks Walker whether he ever wanted to be white, the answer is straight-up: