Kevin Durant and Fox are teaming up on a documentary about the San Quentin Warriors, a team of basketball players incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison in California, Fox announced Wednesday.
The idea, per a press release, sprung out of the Golden State Warriors’ annual visits to San Quentin, where they have faced off against inmates on the court.
“My first visit to San Quentin with my teammates was an unforgettable experience that moved me and made me want to bring it to a larger audience,” Durant said in a release. “This film shines a light on these individuals, their struggles and their connection through basketball.”
The film will be called Q Ball and will debut in early 2019. It will be directed by Emmy-winner Michael Tolajian, who also directed the acclaimed ESPN 30 for 30 doc Once Brothers, and will be produced by Durant and Rich Kleiman’s Thirty Five Media, as well as HEIST and Hunting Lane Films. Previously, Thirty-Five Media’s highest profile venture had been a partnership with YouTube to help young athletes launch channels.
Q Ball will represent the latest installment of Fox’s Magnify series, which has previously featured collaborations with celebrities including LeBron James (89 Blocks“), as well as Dwyane Wade and Chance the Rapper (Shot in the Dark). Next month, Fox will roll out a documentary on the 2016 plane crash involving the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense.
Fox’s dive into sports documentary films comes at a time when there’s a bit of a void in that space. ESPN has drastically slowed its production of 30 for 30s, releasing only two so far this year (one of which was available only through ESPN+), and no other outlet has fully filled the void. At a time when everyone and their sister network seems to have a behind-the-scenes docu-series, full-length sports documentary films have become hard to come by.
We’ve got a while to wait for Q Ball to debut, but the film sounds awfully promising. The San Quentin Warriors have previously received attention for their talent, their spirit, and of course their circumstance, including in an extremely compelling piece by Marcus Thompson of The Athletic last September. Clearly there’s a lot of content to work with there. We’ll see whether Fox and KD can turn it into a memorable documentary.