The Minor League Mecca, presented by Upside Collective, takes you through the history of Albany’s first professional sports team, the Albany Patroons. The story is told through the memories of former coaches and players that are still shaping basketball today like Phil Jackson, George Karl, and Rick Carlisle. The film was the perfect tribute for the original fans. However, the lack of any synopsis of the events will make it hard for anyone who didn’t live through the Patroons to follow, naturally hindering their legacy.
The use of transition animations and other forms of stimuli was most definitely the strongest piece of the film. When transitioning from talking about one player or event to another, there was always some form of visual be it a player’s picture, a game clip, or even newspaper articles. In order to make this project a success, the production staff had to pull hundreds of local articles out from the Patroons ten year run. In addition to these, humorously crude animations were used when telling the comedic stories. These small pieces that some people wouldn’t even notice stimulate the viewer so they are more focused into what’s going on during the substance of the film. It was apparent that the production staff worked hard on this piece and it certainly paid off.
The cast used provided incredible responses to the prompts given. Former coaches like Phil Jackson and George Karl were able to give insight on their past decisions and how it shaped their mentality going forward in life and basketball. For example, George Karl took us through how he changed in between coaching stints with the Patroons. This helps some fans who might have been put off by certain decisions or characteristics by letting them step a bit further into the person’s shoes than they could at the time.
This movie might not be very interesting to anyone that was born after 1987 though, as you never get a clear cut history of Patroons in the film. This is because everything is told from a first person perspective and focuses more on stories rather than the history. So unless you have lived or read up on the history of the Albany Patroons, you will most likely feel lost. I also found the order of the interviews a little questionable at times. I feel if they had put some of the stories in the season rather than after they had talked about the outcome of the season. It’s was really just a matter of ten to fifteen minutes that could’ve made the difference.
So if you grew up with the Albany Patroons, then absolutely go for it, this film is perfect for you. But if you don’t remember the Patroons when they were playing, and aren’t a lover of all basketball, then this movie might not be worth your time.