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30 for 30: There's No Place Like Home

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Uh, yeah.  James Naismith invented basketball in Massachusetts.  Then he went to Kansas and started the basketball program, where he coached for 8 years and posted a losing record.

Fast-forward more than a hundred years, and Naismith's great grandson decides he wants to sell the original rules that Naismith typed up.  A Kansas fan hears that this is the case and makes it his personal goal that Kansas should have the rules.  Never mind that they should probably be in Springfield, where the game was actually invented, if you want to stick with historical fidelity.

The documentary may seem like its about the rules, but this is more about the farce that unchecked fandom can become.  Basically, it's amazing to see this fan just believe so strongly in this.  I mean, really, this guy invents a cause which he believes will mystically bring success to his team (or at least strongly implies it).  Then, he decides that, even when the school doesn't really seem to want them, he's going to do an end run and make sure that the school gets them for sure.

In the end, what has he accomplished?  He played on the emotions of an overly rich Kansas fan, who decides that the rules just maybe going to Duke would be a Fate Worse Than Death and that he's willing to bid, well, whatever it takes.  So a rich guy and this really dedicated, somewhat slimy-seeming guy get together and bring the rules to Kansas, where they will... sit under glass and high security for Kansas fans to pass and think about how great their program is.

I like sports, I like history, but this is just a farce.  It really shows just how ludicrously much money some people have, and how they're motivated by the same stupid crap the rest of us are, just that they have more money.  This is a few people displaying questionable judgement, and us watching them do so.  It's fascinating in that train-wreck kind of way, but it is not the earnest thing that the documentary wants it to be.

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