Through The Fire | 2006
A chronicle that follows basketball star Sebastian Telfair through his senior year in high school. The cousin of New York Knicks player Stephon Marbury and brother of former Providence College player Jamel Thomas, Telfair has to take his Coney Island team to the championship, decide whether to attend college or go pro, secure an endorsement deal, and get his family out of the projects. Since the age of 9, Sebastian Telfair has been one of the best-known basketball players on the streets of New York. At the start of his senior year at Lincoln High School, while his friend LeBron James is making history with a $90 million sneaker deal and NBA contact straight out of high school, Sebastian calls a press conference to announce his decision to attend college at the end of the year. But 18 years of poverty in the public housing projects of Coney Island have created a hunger in Sebastian. When two young men are gunned down in the hallway right outside his apartment, Sebastian begins to feel that he wants to get his family out as soon as possible, and that--if he can--he might try to make the jump right from high school to the pros. Under pressure that builds with every game, Sebastian continues to show his genius on the court. Everyone--from the media who build up his legend, to the sneaker companies who compete for his loyalty, to the NBA scouts who dog his every step--claims a piece of Sebastian for themselves. As America wrestles with the phenomenon of poor children passing up the traditional means of upward mobility for the win-it-all/lose-it-all gamble of professional sports, Sebastian Telfair has become the focal point of the debate. Through Sebastian's story, a candid look is provided into a culture that can push these children to greatness--or drive them to ruin.