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The Game Changer, a documentary about the NBA shutdown and Black Lives Matter protests, premiered at Tribeca Fest | Z-non-numeric

NEW YORK. Put 300 NBA players and their prominent personalities in a bubble, give some of them cameras to record themselves, add the tension of social justice riots, and you have Game Change Game, a Tribeca festival documentary that gives viewers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the how the basketball league handled the tumultuous summer of 2020.

The brainchild of former MTV president Christina Norman, now head of content for the National Basketball Players Association, the film had its world premiere at the SVA Theater in Chelsea on Tuesday.

Directed by rookie directors Spike Jordan and Maxim Quoylin, the 110-minute film features in-depth interviews with Phoenix Suns point guard and former union president Chris Paul, Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Sterling Brown and Phoenix Suns center JaVale McGee, as well as basketball greats like Julius Erving, Oscar Robertson and NBA coach Doc Rivers.

“Our mission is to convey the voice of a real player and that has been the guiding light of it all,” Norman told Daily News.

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“In the summer of 2020, when the world was on fire, I sat and tried to figure out what kind of content I am doing now. The players were inspired to use their voices, call for justice, awaken the world and really get involved.”

Revealing footage shows basketball – and much of the sports world – shutting down as the coronavirus swept the country and the world, as well as the NBA’s decision to restart the season, isolating players in what they called a “bubble.”

On July 7, 22 teams arrived at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, nearly four months after the NBA season ended. Many of them stayed for almost three months.

Jordan and Quoylin, best known for their music videos from Kanye West, Nas and Travis Scott, used a layered storytelling style to capture the emotions of the players as they were imprisoned and faced with harsh isolation.

During this surreal 18 months of filming, the players experienced life-changing events: they had to deal with an unknown virus that quickly killed thousands of people, and they were isolated from the outside world in order to keep the billion-dollar basketball industry alive.

At the same time, protests and marches for social justice erupted as the country grappled with the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“Being in the NBA doesn’t take me out of the conversation,” Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics says in the film. “First of all, I am black and a member of this community.”

In one of the most heartbreaking scenes, Rivers, 60, recounts his own encounter with racism, when skinheads burned down his house because he was “interracially married.”

“It’s one thing to tweet, but it’s quite another to go out and embody what you say,” Matisse Tibull of the Philadelphia 76ers says as cameras show him taking to the streets with Black Lives Matter protesters.

Social justice activists and victims of police brutality are also featured in Game Change Game, including author and activist Kimberly Jones, who has rallied to uplift black people.“We couldn’t just do a regular documentary… We wanted something visually immersive that would speak to the players in the same language they speak,” Norman said.

Jordan called the film timeless and timely.

“I have to say that because of what this is about and because it’s 2022 and we’re still going through the same thing, we’re still fighting for justice, for our rights as human beings, as black and brown people,” said the director of The News.

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