June 27th, 2011
NBA Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Producer/Director Deborah Morales sat down with CNN to discuss their documentary on The Harlem Rens’ impact on civil rights
Check out never-before-seen footage from the cutting room floor of the film, On the Shoulders of Giants! Watch as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Jerry West, Jerry Reinsdorf and Marques Haynes discuss the different arenas they played in over the years, and how each arena has its own personality!
On the Shoulders of Giants Widescreen DVD contains over 40 minutes of Bonus Material.
Available only as a set in our store now – Hardcover Book, Widescreen DVD & FREE CD Sountrack.
Ships within 48 hours on receipt of order.
(DVD not sold separately)
By Los Angeles WAVE STAFF
EAST LOS ANGELES — Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar paid a vist to Garfield High School here Wednesday morning to discuss the new film he produced.
“On the Shoulders of Giants (The Story of the Greatest Team You Never Heard of)” is a feature-length documentary about the New York Renaissance Big Five that became affectionately known as the Harlem Rens, a basketball team from Harlem in the 1920s and 30s that did as much to integrate the sport of basketball as any other team.
The film includes interviews with civil rights leaders and basketball greats as well as musicians and film makers of today.
The story finds its footing in the rhythms of jazz, its roots in the Harlem Renaissance … and its voice in a group of players much too talented to be ignored.
The film is now available on Netflix.
–Mark Medina, Los Angeles Times Lakers Blog
It was a who’s who of basketball — former Laker Jerry West, former Celtics center Bill Russell, Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, former Harlem Globetrotter Marques Haynes among them — and amid their laughter, arguments and playful ribbing, it became apparent that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s question about what basketball team was the best in history was not going to be met with an easy consensus.
This scene didn’t come from a sports talk show, although it would’ve made for riveting television. It was from Abdul-Jabbar’s documentary, “On the Shoulders of Giants,” a 75-minute movie narrated by Jamie Foxx that focuses on the Harlem Rens (also known as the New York Renaissance) and the effect of that basketball team both on the sport and society.
When Russell touted his 11 championship rings and claimed superiority over any former or modern NBA center, including the Captain himself, West immediately intervened and argued Abdul-Jabbar would’ve blocked Russell’s shots. When West brought up the Lakers’ five NBA titles in the Showtime Era during the 1980s, Reinsdorf argued that that accomplishment paled in comparison with the Bulls’ six NBA championships in the 1990s. And when Reinsdorf boasted that Scottie Pippen limited Magic Johnson in the 1991 NBA Finals, West then argued the outcome would’ve been different if Abdul-Jabbar hadn’t retired in 1989.
Shaking his head in amusement, Abdul-Jabbar told the panel they all were wrong, saying the Harlem Rens were the “greatest basketball team you never heard of” for plenty of reasons. They compiled a 2,588-529 record during their 27-year existence, from 1922 to 1949. The Rens played basketball with what Abdul-Jabbar described as a “no-nonsense approach” — quick passes, minimal dribbling, balanced scoring and “suffocating defense.” And most importantly, the all-black Rens team helped spur integration by playing exhibition games against all-white teams.