Ryland Staples | Staff Writer
Amateur, a new Netflix original film, takes a look at the lives of extraordinary high school basketball talents in the United States. It explores and explains how everything isn’t always what it seems when it comes to the talent pool of prospects.
The main character of the movie is Terron Forte (played by Michael Rainey Jr.), an eighth-grader who started in the public school system but already plays for the local high school team. Forte is a star there. He makes everything look easy against opponents. His encounters with opponents include fancy dribble combinations, flashy passes and amazing shooting. Forte is the unopposed star. However, his home life isn’t the best.
His mother is a night school teacher, and his father falls in and out of employment. His father deals with constant headaches and chronic pain all over his body due to his past career as an NFL player. His dad is an integral part of his life. He is his self-proclaimed manager, meaning that he records Terron’s highlights and uploads them to the internet.
When Terron gets home and does his math homework, he struggles with it on a daily basis. He suffers from a rare form of dyslexia that makes it almost impossible for him to be able to read numbers. Later in the movie, it even affects him on the court. Forte isn’t able to read the scoreboard/shot clock.
Terron Forte is offered a full-ride scholarship to play on one of the top high school teams in the country. His mother is concerned that he’s still in eighth grade and will be attending high school, so he ends up commuting to a nearby middle school. At this point in the movie, he’s ready to play and be taken seriously as a national prospect. When he arrives, he moves in with the team.
As expected, he isn’t treated with the utmost respect. He has to deal with the common jeers of “You don’t belong here” and “Who let the middle schooler on the team?” He has to carry the older players’ bags, and he doesn’t get the opportunity to play as much as he did while he was in the public school system. School isn’t the same either; he rarely goes to any of his classes.
This mirrors what’s happening in today’s amateur basketball landscape. There is an increasing number of players who feel there’s no point in pursuing an education, and many college players decide to only play for a year and go to the NBA. With this in mind, they only attend class for the first semester so they’re able to stay eligible to play in the second semester.
Amateur is a movie to which many student-athletes can relate. Check it out on Netflix to see how Forte’s future plays out.