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Russell Westbrook to executive produce documentary on Black Fives Era of basketball


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The time has come for the Negro Leagues to truly be recognized as part of basketball history. 

Through Russell Westbrook’s Zero World Media, he is developing a documentary focused on Black basketball athletes before the NBA.

The Black Fives Era will explore the untold stories of its past from 1904 to 1950, which is when basketball was first introduced to Black children until the first Black NBA player was signed.

The documentary will uncover all of the trials Black athletes had to endure including playing in church basements, armories and dance-halls, where there were often performances by jazz bands before and after the game because they couldn’t play in “whites only” gyms and athletic clubs.

Black Fives Foundation

The documentary “aims at capturing the stories of how the pioneering efforts of Black Fives Era players paved the way for the global appeal of the modern game against the backdrop of the cultural evolution of Black America itself.”

Westbrook, Donnell Beverly Jr. and Raynard Westbrook are executive producing through Zero World Media, alongside Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens and Valerie Idehen for Propagate. The team is also working with the Black Fives Foundation’s Claude Johnson.

“Propagate is dedicated to telling culturally impactful stories that both entertain and educate,” said Silverman, Chairman and Co-CEO and Owens, Co-CEO of Propagate. “The Black Fives laid the foundation for the modern game of basketball that we know and love today. We are proud to partner on this meaningful project with Claude Johnson, Russell Westbrook, and Zero World Media.”

Although the Black Five Era consisted of men there will be current and former NBA and WNBA stars participating in the project to tell their stories.