Before Paul Pierce was an NBA superstar and world renowned athlete, he was just a kid growing up in Inglewood who loved basketball.
The City of Inglewood was also the stomping grounds for film director Jay Gerren and police Lieutenant Scott Collins.
“Paul Pierce grew up in this neighborhood of Inglewood right around the corner," said Gerren.
- Local basketball camp helped launch the career of NBA superstar Paul Pierce
- Pierce one of many prominent athletes mentored by police Lieutenant Scott Collins
- New film Inglewood Morning Sessions tells story of the camp and players it spawned
"They used to have something called a police activities league and Lieutenant Scott Collins was a part of that league. And that's when the two met.”
When Gerren heard the story of how Collins became a mentor to Pierce and many other kids growing up in this neighborhood, he decided to make a documentary to tell the story of Collins and his early morning basketball camp, which helped mold Pierce into a basketball legend.
The film is called Inglewood Morning Sessions.
“I feel kind of weird, I've said this to Jay several times when I look at it's kind of hard for me because the story is kind of about my life," said Collins. "It is about my life. But it's about so much more than just my life.”
The Rogers Park Community Center has been the seeding ground for a number of top athletes. And Collins was a coach or personal mentor to many of them.
As Gerren and Collins walk across the basketball court in the rec center, they look up at the Inglewood Hall of Fame banner high up on the wall with rows of names of the community’s top performers.
“I just said to myself, this story is so inspirational to me, I know it will inspire others," said Gerren. "I need a way to share the story of Lieutenant Collins and all the positive things that he's done in the community and actually still does in the community.”
“I want them to be proud of this film because there's a lot in the film for them to be proud of,” said Gerren, looking over at the guys warming up on the court behind him.
Even though this film has star appeal, the heart of the story is about the people who contributed to a small community’s legacy.
The Pan African Film and Arts Festival is happening at the Cinemark Baldwin Hills Theater from February 7-18th. For more info go to: www.PAFF.org.