A new HBO documentary will explore the shutdown of live sports this past March. Directed by Antoine Fuqua (notably, the director of HBO’s Muhammad Ali doc that premiered last year), The Day Sports Stood Still will premiere in 2021. Chris Paul also serves as an executive producer on the doc, and will be the film’s central figure.
Here’s a brief summary, via HBO.
HBO Sports, Imagine Documentaries and Fuqua Films are in production on THE DAY SPORTS STOOD STILL, a feature-length documentary that tells the story of the unprecedented sports shutdown in March of 2020 and the remarkable turn of events that followed. Emmy®-winning director Antoine Fuqua (HBO’s “What’s My Name | Muhammad Ali”) will chronicle the abrupt stoppage, athletes’ prominent role in the cultural reckoning on racial injustices that escalated during the pandemic and the complex return to competition in the summer and fall. From producers Brian Grazer and Justin Wilkes, along with Fuqua, the film debuts next year and will be available on HBO and to stream on HBO Max.
At the center of the film will be the first-person account of NBA All-Star and NBA Players Association president, Chris Paul. An executive producer on the project, Paul, the point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, will relive his entire experience from being in the middle of the first game to be stopped on March 11, 2020 against the Utah Jazz, to suddenly living in quarantine, to his crucial role in helping re-open the NBA safely to playing in “the bubble.”
Featuring additional in-depth and emotional interviews largely conducted remotely, the documentary captures a broad swath of voices and experiences exploring how the pandemic pressed pause on their careers, but also changed their lives in dramatic and surprising ways. The film features everyone from an NFL Super Bowl champion who volunteers in the ER, to a defending WNBA champ who decides to sit out the 2020 season to focus on protesting racial injustice.
I’m sure we’re going to see plenty of documentaries announced in the coming months about live sports shutting down (and eventually restarting in vastly different situations) thanks to the pandemic. I do think that making Paul such a central part of the film could possibly skew its overall focus, but we won’t know more about that until more information is released.