When Guards Were Gods: Paramount + with SHOWTIME® Sports Documentary

When Guards Were Gods: Paramount + with SHOWTIME® Sports Documentary

The Paramount + with SHOWTIME® Sports Documentary Film NYC Point Gods reanimates the vibrant streetball culture that exploded across the five boroughs of New York City in the 1980s and 1990s. The film is produced by Kevin Durant’s Boardroom media company, and directed by Sam Eliad. Drawing on a constellation of voices from the era, the film profiles eight point guards who defined the swagger, style, and basketball acumen of New York City street ball. From Rafter Alston to Stephon Marbury, each brought a distinctive personality and court style to the street game drawn from their borough identity and personal history. Some peaked on the hard courts of the city, while others ascended to the summit of the NBA—but all were street legends and gods of the game.

Extensive interviews and rare footage combine to trace their careers from youth basketball to high school, AAU, college, and beyond. The early clips—captured on courts around the five boroughs—are the best, showcasing the stylistic innovations that made each guard a unique commodity in the annals of the city game. 

Context is provided by a rich cross-section of city legends, from players and coaches to contemporary rappers and hip-hop artists and even a “ basketball sage” from Harlem with a vast repertoire of stories from the epoch. Cam’ron, Fat Joe, Nancy Lieberman, Stephen A. Smith, Rick Pitino, Jim Boeheim, Lou Carnesecca, and others all relate tales from the time.

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What Makes an NYC Point Guard?

The documentary focuses on three essential characteristics that make a NYC point guard: toughness, showmanship, and handle. As the documentary unfolds, the toughness of the city’s top guards was largely a product of difficult economic conditions, neighborhood conflicts, and the challenges of playing in front of demanding and vocal crowds, hyper-competitive opposition, and a high standard of crowd-pleasing performative basketball. The emphasis, however—demonstrated by grainy video and emphatic confirmations from witnesses—is on the hardtop innovations that made each player special, and almost all of the innovations had to do with handle—combinations of skill and showmanship that truly set them apart. 

The eight NYC floor generals that are profiled include:

  • Mark “Action” Jackson, St. Albans, Queens 
  • Kenny “The Jet” Smith, Lefrak City, Queens
  • God Shammgod, Harlem, Manhattan
  • Stephon Marbury, Coney Island, Brooklyn 
  • Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, Brownsville, Brooklyn 
  • “Hot” Rod Strickland, Mott Haven, Bronx
  • Kenny Anderson, Lefrak City, Queens 
  • Rafer “Skip to my Lou” Alston, South Side Jamaica, Queens 

As NYC Point Gods spotlights, these players revolutionized the game of basketball with their swag, defined the ethos of New York City community outdoor basketball, and rewrote the rules of the game for generations of players around the country—and world. 

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How to Watch?

Don’t miss the new Paramount + with SHOWTIME® Sports Documentary Films NYC Point Gods, available now on SHOWTIME ON DEMAND®, channel 1545.

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