SXSW 2019: Jump Shot

Kenny Sailors in Jump Shot

Jump Shot digs into the back story of Kenny Sailors’ life as we learn more about the man who is credited with the invention of the jump shot.

Kenny Sailors did not live to see this documentary premiere.  The former college basketball start passed away in 2016 two weeks after his 95th birthday.  He did live to see his induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.  This film more or less serves as the needed evidence for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  The Hall of Fame is more or less incomplete without him.  This is an argument that gets made time and time again during the documentary.  It becomes so much of a point in which the 2015 finalists announcement becomes a major letdown for Sailors.  His name would never be announced.

If an induction ever comes for Kenny Sailors, it will be posthumously.  I’m a college basketball fan and will certainly agree with the many people who are featured in that he belongs there.  Before watching the film, I don’t think I would have recognized Sailors’ name.  While I’m a big college basketball fan, his name is a thing of the past.  But I agree with Dick Vitale and so many others in that he belongs in Springfield.  If you need some reading material, CBS Sports NBA writer Brad Botkin has a piece as a result of the 2015 induction campaign.

Former Wyoming coach Jim Brandenburg is among the coaches interviewed about Sailors.  Another person is basketball historian Jerry Krause.  Krause devoted a lengthy amount of time into learning who created the modern jump shot.  Naturally, all roads would lead Krause to Sailors.  Honestly, there are a lengthy amount of people who speak about Sailors’ life.  Whether it’s who he is as a person or what he meant to the game, Hamilton gets a lot of people talking on camera.

Sailors would become only the fifth-ever basketball player to be named the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 1943.  This came following Wyoming’s national championship.  Following this win, he would go on to serve in the United States Marine Corps during World War 2.  Marriage to late wife Marilynne would have to wait until Sailors finished his obligations.

If there’s one thing that Jacob Hamilton’s documentary might do, it’s help right a wrong.  Jump Shot doesn’t only introduce Kenny Sailors to younger generations but makes an argument for his inclusion in Springfield sooner rather than later.

DIRECTOR:  Jacob Hamilton
FEATURING:  Kenny Sailors, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Bobby Knight, Jay Bilas, Nancy Lieberman, Clark Kellogg, Brad Botkin

Jump Shot holds its world premiere during the 2019 SXSW Film Festival in the Documentary Spotlight program. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.