Handle with Care: The Legend of the Notic Streetball Crew is archive galore. It shows enough of the footage side, showing these teens’ moves when they stepped on those courts. It was the early 2000s in Vancouver. It’s a Canada different from the kind of diversity I grew up in. The photo side of the archives come with voice over interviews about how these teens met. Comprising the titular crew are mostly Black first generation immigrants who felt alone and dumb. That’s until they found their sport and other teens like them who played streetball, different from basketball that felt structural.
Handle with Care follows the crew from their bootstrap origins. They made a videotape that went 2000s viral. That’s enough for them to get free shoes from And1, tours, and uniforms for when they recorded footage for the second Notic videotape. Directors Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux and Kirk Thomas do a good enough job at making sure that there was enough screen time for its crew members. But there are a few standouts. There’s Joey Haywood, who tried to juggle both streetball and the more structural version of basketball. There’s also Rory Grace, who used streetball to escape home troubles.
The documentary does a lot of gear shifting as it goes into its third act but these shifts make for a more challenging film. It’s unafraid, letting some of the crew confront the directors about past wrongs. There’s also a distinct Canadianness here especially within the context of its mostly Black subjects. They capture, through their words, what it’s like to not fit in and be alone, an experience they’ll feel here multiple times. Basketball and streetball gave these teens hope and that hope stuck as they grew into adults.
Find out how to watch Handle with Care: The Legend of the Notic Streetball Crew as part of Hot Docs here.