Throughout Hoop Dreams you see both Arthur and William struggling with the unfortunate circumstances they were born into. Arthur’s father ditches him at the park for a drug deal. His family’s finances are such that there is never a guarantee of electricity. William is from a broken home. Uneducated and unprepared, he becomes a teen statistic, a father before he even graduates high school. With all of these things going against them, and without having the slightest ability to change these conditions you would think they would merely be a product of their environment.
They do however, manage to rise above though their ability to play basketball, but is this their choice? From a young age they have been recruited and sought after to play basketball for the private high school. Educationally it is light years above the education they would get at the public school in their area. The only thing in the movie at the point of their entrance into St. Joseph’s that I could see them having any control over is whether or not they take advantage of this gift. That too though is only momentary for Arthur. When he doesn’t perform the way the recruiter initially anticipated, they don’t offer him enough scholarship to cover the increase in tuition for the next year, and he is forced to return to the public high school.
As a kid, you can’t control your finances, so that force defeats Arthur. They don’t really go into it, but I assume that finance and lack of education are also the reason that William ends up a father so young. Neither one of them can control who their parents are. This movie shows how much of life is out of our control. It’s the luck of the draw what parents you get, how much money you have, the neighborhood you grow up in, etc. and those things add up and determine a lot of the opportunities you will have. I think that is what James was trying to show in the way he depicted this story.
Arthur in Despair from http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/