In honor of the 20th anniversary of the film Love & Basketball, director Gina Prince-Bythewood recently reflected on the legacy surrounding the romantic drama.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Bythewood wrote how Love & Basketball had an uphill climb to become a cult classic.
“Every single studio turned it down,” she said.“It was a story that I was so passionate about, that I so believed in. And that’s why I feel like it’s so important that the first thing that you come out with should be something very personal and passionate, because you are going to get a thousand noes.”
Bythewood revealed that the journey to get a major studio to greenlight Love & Basketball was a lesson in persistence for her.
“I mean, to be talking about it 20 years later is so amazing and humbling to me as an artist. You just hope that your film has an impact on somebody,” Prince-Bythewood continued. “And given the fight and struggle and the blood, sweat and tears to get this film into the world, to be here today, getting to talk about it, it blows me away. I never ever get tired of hearing somebody say they love the film or that it meant something to them … the fact that it’s resonated…not just with Black audiences but with everybody is also validation that our stories need to be in the world and everybody needs to see our stories.”
Released in 2000, Love & Basketball starred Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps as Monica Wright and Quincy McCall, next-door neighbors who fall in love in their quest to become basketball players. As written by -Prince-Bythewood, the film follows Quincy and Monica from their childhood years to young adults.
Photo: Warner Bros.