'Greatness Code' Review: A hard-hitting look at the psyche of top athletes and what drives them to their goals
There's something about an athlete. Call it a spark that's hard to extinguish. An attitude that defines and sets them apart from the rest of the world. An aura that has the ability to disperse energy to the others. They have this power to rock the world, get up, and do it all over again. It's easy to categorize them as superheroes. They do the unthinkable and the unimaginable. It's like they're destined for greatness. There's a code they follow, and when deciphered, it means winning.
They win, that's exactly what they do. Apple TV+ decides to bring outline pivotal moments in the lives of top athletes in the 'Greatness Code'. The episodes are snippets and they are crisp and hard-hitting enough to make an impact on sports fans. Comparing the 'Greatness Code' to ESPN's list of hit-scintillating documentaries are unfair. This one's actually a testimonial. It's a revelation by the GOATs about the one moment that was instrumental in helping them touch the pinnacle of success.
The athletes in Season 1 include Four-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist LeBron James, Six-time Super Bowl champion, and four-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady, and Olympic gold medalist and co-captain of the US Women's National Soccer Team Alex Morgan.
Joining them are record-holding Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Shaun White, world's fastest man and eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt, five-time Olympic gold medalist and 15-time world champion swimmer Katie Ledecky and 11-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater.
Director Gotham Chopra doesn't waste time in pleasantries and introductions as they are all displayed in the form of eye-grabbing visuals. There's no background needed. Picking LeBron and Brady are statements. These guys are heroes. Morgan and Ledecky are an inspiration to women athletes across the world. Morgan relived the 4-0 win for the USA against Canada. It was a game that gave her the nerves, but it was always there and in her dictionary, "The perfect game never exists."
Morgan also stressed about how greatness or the moment that puts you on track in her sport was all about the connection."It's about connecting at the highest level with your teammates," she says very matter-of-factly. LeBron wishes he "could bottle up nothing". The 2012 Eastern Conference finals saw Paul Pierce get the better of him. And LeBron didn't feel anything in the aftermath. Except the urge to win. Game 6 which saw him travel to Boston was a ripper as he dunked slammed the ball in the hoop for 45 points that included 15 rebounds.
For Tom Brady, it was the 2007 game against the Buffalo Bills where his sizzling understanding and connection with Randy Moss helped the duo demolish Bills 56-10. It was a game were mercy was kicked out of the window for Brady it "was the ultimate living-in-the-moment".
Usain Bolt is the closest a human being could get to being The Flash and the Jamaican lives for the moment. His stoked rivalry with Tyson Gay in 2009 is what he recollects best and that 9.58 blitz followed. That was a record for the ages and the most incredible piece of sprinting the world had ever seen. That win was his confidence-booster. Couple that with the Jamaican swagger and the mad skills, Bolt's a winner.
White's mantra is to sometimes carry the 'I-don't-care attitude in the back of the mind. Intense pressure can hamper the best of athletes and the snowboarder knows the meaning of botching up on a potential win. That's his recollection and his advice.
'Greatness Code' can easily pass that instant motivation messages that bring you back with the purpose of achieving something. It could be an everyday chore, it could be your squat PR at the gym, it could be the mental lock the pandemic's given you and the world. It's a wake-up call packed with brilliant music, a quick story that works wonders even for vaulting obstacles in everyday life, even if you're not an athlete.
'Greatness Code' premieres on July 10 on Apple TV+.