In 2001, Lenny Cooke
was ranked the #1 high school basketball player in the United States -- but within the year, the 18-year-old athlete's dreams of playing in the NBA were over.
Cooke speaks to Jian about his meteoric rise, as chronicled in the new documentary Lenny Cooke
, and what happens when your big break comes too soon.
The film's producer Adam Shopkorn
, who shot the original footage of Cooke as a teen, reflects on the changes he saw in Lenny and the challenges of making the film.
Cooke's story also highlights the sometimes exploitative tactics used by the league to attract young players. Reviewers have described the film as a "confessional, cautionary" tale and a "heartbreaking inventory of hard lessons learned on and off the court."