Lenny Cooke: A Great New Documentary Reveals the End of Basketball's Post-Jordan Era

Red Bucket Films
Ten minutes into Lenny Cooke, the documentary's star sits on a couch, watching the 2001 NBA draft with two friends. They debate who is the best player in the NBA: Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, or Kobe Bryant. This is the Post-Jordan Era, and there is no clear king on the NBA's throne.

It's an era of irreverence and optimism. Of Iverson talkin' 'bout practice, of NBA scouts combing through high schools searching for the next Kobe and T-Mac, of a Wild West summer league hoops circuit where AAU coaches and shoe company reps jockey for control of the next generation of ballers.

It's an era of youth and wealth. Of Cash Money Millionaires and Jacob the Jeweler. Of MTV Cribs, Hummers in the driveway, Mitchell & Ness throwbacks in the closet, Cristal bottles in the fridge, stripper poles in the boom-boom room. "The post-modern American Dream," Josh Safdie, one of the film's directors, called it in an interview this week.

Lenny Cooke was riding the wave in 2001. The Bushwick, Brooklyn native was the top high school basketball player in the country at a time when the country was giving high school basketball players millions of dollars. As he notes to his friends in the film, he had "less than a year to make a decision," less than a year until he is eligible for the NBA Draft and competes for the throne. Moments later, Cooke watches the Washington Wizards select Kwame Brown with the number one pick, making him the first high schooler ever taken in the top spot.

"That n---- a millionaire right now," the young Cooke says in the film. "Eighteen years old."

Two of the next three picks are high schoolers as well. By the time the clock starts for the ninth pick, four preps have gone off the board.

More »

The Castle Braid vs. Occupy Bushwick Fight Has Devolved Into a Highly Entertaining, Possibly Fake Twitter Brawl

Image via Google Maps.
Castle Braid's exterior at 114 Troutman Street in Bushwick
For months, there's been a battle raging in Bushwick between Castle Braid, a pricey condo building "custom-built to enable the artist," as their website puts it, and Occupy Bushwick, who accuse Castle Braid of failing to provide affordable housing, despite receiving a generous tax abatement that required them to do just that. OB also accuses Castle Braid of flooding the neighborhood with credit-card-wielding, barely post-college youngsters whose parents will offset the cost of the eyebrow-raising rents (between $1,700 and $2,200 for a one-bedroom, up to $3,300 for a three-bedroom). The local 99 percenters responded to Castle Braid's general existence by circling the property with police tape that read "Occupy" a few months back.

More »

Did a Bushwick Community Board Illegally Approve a Rezoning for a Lucrative Development Site?

Categories: Bushwick

On Monday, Community Board 4 in Bushwick convened to approve zoning changes that would speed up the development of the Rheingold Brewery site. The site would bring high-rise apartments and new retail locations to the center of Bushwick, a move many neighborhood residents vehemently oppose as gentrification. Too bad CB4 closed the rezoning vote to the public, otherwise those residents might have had more of a say.

More »

Latex Fetishwear Retailer Gets Booted From Bushwick Space by Religious Landlords

Photo Credit: Anna Fischer via Compfight cc
Not precisely Klawtex, but you get the idea.
A commercial retail space yanked Claudia Rothchild's lease just before she, owner of Klawtex, was due to sign it. The owners cited their religious beliefs when rescinding the deal. Claudia Rothschild runs an honest business. So what if she makes her money selling costumes and fetishwear made entirely of latex?

More »

Trade in Your Guns and Ammo Today in Bushwick

This is what the Queens buyback looked like.
UPDATE: 85 guns were traded in yesterday for cash rewards. This pales in comparison to the 509 collected in Queens but, hey, any amount of guns off the streets is a success.

As we have said before, no matter how much Americans love their guns, we are, in the end, a money-hungry people, which might explain why the last gun buyback program in Queens raked in 509 weapons off the streets.

Well, once again, in an effort to rid a particular area of crime, you will be able to hand over your Glock or 9mm for a cash prize of some sort this afternoon in Bushwick. Like the one in Queens a few weeks back, it will be held in a church (this one being the Evergreen Baptist Church at 455 Evergreen Avenue) and is supported by Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes, Councilwoman Diana Reyna and the Boys in Blues.

The idea for gun buyback programs in neighborhoods with higher-then-usual crime rates has caught on quite successfully; since the initiative started, around 8,200 guns have been refunded instead of used. Hopefully, the one in Bushwick today will be as effective as the one in Jamaica, Queens mentioned before.

More »

A Youth Stabbing and Deadly Fire Last Night in Bushwick

The past few weekends have been a little rough for Brooklyn residents. Last Saturday, we reported on a deadly accident that happened in Sheepshead Bay and a police officer who might have been over the legal limit to drive in Brooklyn Heights. 

This week, our attention shifts to the the neighborhood east of Williamsburg; the locale of interest for a stabbing and a fire that took the life of a young woman happened last night.

Earlier on, at around 6:30pm yesterday evening, a 15-year-old boy was chased down and stabbed in the chest by a group of teenagers that numbered 10 or more. After hopping over fences and being pummeled with glass bottles, the kid was subdued by the group at a playground. Cops found the bloody weapon soon after at the scene. 

The attack happened around Madison Street, near the border of Bushwick and Bed-Stuy, and the intent is still unclear. But the boy was immediately taken to Kings County Hospital and remains in stable condition.

More »

Long Live the G-Train? New Petition Tries to Preserve Park Slope Extension (UPDATE)

Well, here are four words we never thought we would type: Save the G-train?

Brooklyn's straphangers, known to love the looping line as much as they hate it, are now rallying in support of the G: District Leader Lincoln Restler has organized a petition to keep the MTA from cutting off full Church Avenue-to-Queens service. Nearly 1,200 have signed the online petition, which began Sunday. The move comes as communities continue to feel the effect of MTA cuts -- which resulted in the loss of two subway lines, 36 bus routes, and 570 bus stops in the last several years.

More »

If You Give Directions, You Might Get Robbed at Gunpoint -- Even in Williamsburg and Bushwick

Hey, New Yorker! Yeah, YOU! Now you finally have good reason to be that asshole -- you know, that guy or gal who doesn't want to give directions. It could be dangerous!

Cops say the four scumbags pictured here are preying on the city's good Samaritans -- they'll stop and ask you for directions and rob you while you're distracted.

More »

Bushwick Hipsters Apparently Too Post-Ironic to Care About Area Crime

Bushwick bk.png
One of the more unexamined elements of the shooting of police officer Kevin Brennan is that it happened in Bushwick, which has recently replaced Williamsburg as the cheap hipster neighborhood of choice.

The influx of young, white college students, who frequent newer coffee shops in Bushwick and famed restaurants like Roberta's, lies in stark contrast to the man accused of the shooting, a convicted felon named Luis "Baby" Ortiz.

More »

After Cop Shooting, Mike Bloomberg Calls for Stricter Gun Laws

Last night, police officer Kevin Brennan was shot in the head in the Bushwick Houses in Brooklyn after he and his partners responded to a report of shots fired. Doctors at Bellevue Hospital successfully removed the bullet from the base of Brennan's skull, and as of last night, he was reported to be in critical but stable condition.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly held a late night press conference at the hospital to provide an update on the incident (There was no mention of the controversy surrounding the commissioner's son at the news conference).

Brennan is 29-years-old and has been a member of the NYPD since 2005. Six weeks ago, he and his wife Janet had a baby girl named Maeve.

More »

Now Trending

From the Vault