LeBron James to co-produce HBO documentary 'Student Athlete' on 'exploitative world' of college sports

The documentary will illuminate the complex rules of amateur athletics in America and how they affect the uncompensated athletes and their families


                            LeBron James to co-produce HBO documentary 'Student Athlete' on 'exploitative world' of college sports

According to a press release by HBO, Cleveland Cavaliers forward and basketball legend LeBron James will be co-producing a sports documentary titled 'Student Athlete' that will explore 'the exploitative world of high-revenue college sports' and 'illuminate the complex rules of amateur athletics in America and how they affect the uncompensated athletes and their families.'

Statistics suggest that these athletes generate billions of dollars in revenue for their institutions every year — an audited financial disclosure from the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) in March 2018 revealing that the association earned $1.1 billion in revenue in 2017 — with the documentary looking to highlight the stories of 'four young men at different stages of their athletic career' and their struggles.

LeBron will be co-producing the documentary (Source: Jason Miller/Getty Images)
LeBron will be co-producing the documentary (Source: Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The NCAA is technically a 'non-profit organization' that regulates the athletes of 1,281 institutions and conferences across the United States and is supposed to aid them in organizing programs and events. However, as the audit went to show that the non-profit is just a facade. 

The documentary also highlights prominent personalities in the scene such as former NCAA and NFL coach John Shoop, New Jersey high school basketball phenom Nick Richards, Mike Shaw, who played at the University of Illinois and Bradley University, Shamar Graves, a former wide receiver at Rutgers University, and Silas Nacita, a walk-on who played at Baylor University.

Speaking about 'Student Athletes,' Steve Stoute, Founder and CEO of United Masters, said: "The NCAA blinded by revenue goals is turning student athletes into full-time employees."

"This documentary is incredibly important as it debunks the myth that student athletes are being fairly compensated by receiving scholarships and a valuable education. In fact, the demands put on these students by this oppressive system makes it impossible for them to get the education they deserve. The time is now to end this false narrative and reveal the truth of this exploitation," he added.

Maverick Carter, CEO of SpringHill Entertainment, shared Stoute's sentiment. "This is an incredibly important story about the institutional denial of basic human rights for these student athletes," he said. "When Steve Stoute brought us this idea, it was a perfect fit for the kind of stories we want to tell at SpringHill. We’re excited to work with one of the best human rights storytellers in Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy to help people see and feel how this issue impacts the lives of those living it."

The documentary will be directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Saving Face, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness) and Trish Dalton (Bordering on Treason), with Carter's SpringHill Entertainment and Stoute's United Masters joining LeBron, who will spearhead the production team, as producers. It will debut on HBO on October 2 between 10 and 11:30 pm ET/PT.