LeBron James Producing ‘Rez Ball’ About High School Basketball in the Navajo NationAugust 5, 2021
LeBron James' next film project is coming into focus.
According to Mia Galuppo of The Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Lakers star will help create a Netflix sports drama called Rez Ball focusing on a New Mexico high school basketball team playing on the Navajo Nation reservation, with a script to be written by Sterlin Harjo and Sydney Freeland—who will also serve as director.
James and Maverick Carter will serve as producers via their production studio SpringHill Company.
"Rez Ball is described as Friday Night Lights meets Hoosiers. The story, according to the project’s description, 'follows the Chuska Warriors, a Native American high school basketball team from Chuska, New Mexico, that must band together after losing their star player if they want to keep their quest for a state championship alive. It's an all-American underdog story about Navajo kids and coaches told from the inside-out.'"
The film will be based on the book Canyon Dreams by Michael Powell, which followed the Chinle High School (Arizona) boys basketball team in Navajo Nation as it attempted to win a state title.
Michael Powell @powellnyt
Personal news: My book on the great Navajo Nation and some remarkable young men -- "Canyon Dreams" (now in paperback -- is the basis for a Netflix movie w LeBron James as executive producer and Sydney Freeland as director: <a href="https://t.co/Y7LscDAFeX">https://t.co/Y7LscDAFeX</a>
“Basketball on the Rez is like high school football in West Texas. It has a fanatical following that few sports can rival,” Freeland told THR. “This is a story that’s commonplace on Indian reservations all over the US, but most people aren’t even aware it exists. What we want to do is bring people into our world, to tell a story about the people and places we know, and what better way to do that than through a sports movie?”
This is the fourth project between SpringHill Company and Netflix. The two collaborated on Self Made, The Playbook and the upcoming film Hustle.
James' company has also worked with HBO, CNN, Warner Bros. Pictures, Bell Media, Starz, and NBC.