What do you get when you mix a modern Jewish academy in desperate need of a basketball coach with a former CBA basketball player? The delightful 2003 Disney TV movie, “Half Court Miracle” based on the true story of Lamont Carr.
The TV movie stars Alex D. Linz (“Max Keebles,” “Home Alone 3,” “Bounce,” and “One Fine Day”) as Alex Schlotsky (aka “Schlots”), a young 14 year old modern Jewish boy who dreams of playing basketball in Philadelphia. Schlots attends the Philadelphia Hebrew Academy. The school’s basketball team has become a joke in the past two years. Schlots and his teammates realize that they need a miracle if they are going to compete in the Philadelphia basketball tournament. To make things more complicated, Schlots’ mother wants him to follow in her footsteps and become a doctor instead of pursuing his basketball dream.
After learning about Judah and the Maccabees in history class, Schlots and his friends spot Lamont Carr, a former CBA basketball player who retiredafter knee surgery, playing basketball in the park. Convinced that Carr is the modern day Judah Maccabee, the boys convince Carr to coach them in the interim, while he waits for a tryout with the 76ers. During their time together, they all learn to appreciate each other despite their differences.The end of the film parallels the miracle of Chanukah with the team’s hopeful miracle on the court.
The TV movie exposes the audience to a modern Jewish family and various rituals like shabbat dinner and lighting the menorah, facts about being kosher, and what a modern Jewish school might look like. What is most rewarding about the TV movie is the fact that Jewish boys can easily identify with the characters in the film. It is not every day that you can turn on the TV and watch boys in kippahs go about their daily lives. The TVmovie occasionally airs on Disney TV. Check your local listings andkeepyour eye out for it!