‘Shooting for Home’ captures Bradshaw's journey
Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 11:38 a.m.
ESPN called him the most prolific scorer in Division I college basketball in the last 35 years. But to most, he was simply the answer to a trivia question.
‘Shooting for Home’
What: Documentary filmed in Gainesville about native basketball player Kevin Bradshaw
When: 6 and 8 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday
Where: Hippodrome Cinema, 25 SE Second Place
Info: 375-4477, wwww.thehipp.org
Gainesville native Kevin Bradshaw, playing for United States International University, scored a record 72 points against Loyola Marymount in January 1991. He was a record-breaker destined for NBA greatness, but he was black-balled and disappeared from the public eye for decades, until now.
Filmmaker Greg Kappy, who attended Buchholz High School with Bradshaw, directed and produced “Shooting For Home,” a documentary that captures Bradshaw’s tumultuous journey with archival footage and interviews with Bradshaw, his family, and his past coaches and teammates. The film will be screened publicly for the first time at the Hippodrome Theatre with screenings Friday through Sunday.
Kappy says at the heart of this film is a story of human transformation. Bradshaw’s younger years in southeast Gainesville were marked by drugs and violence, but today he is a counselor, teacher and coach at a San Diego school.
“His journey took him across the world and took 30 years,” Kappy says. “What I saw on the surface was drugs, anger and irresponsibility. Clearly that wasn’t his true self. Now he’s a wonderful family man. He inspires people every single day. It’s one of the most dramatic turnarounds.”
After high school, Bradshaw attended Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, which alienated him from his friends and family in Gainesville who expected him to play basketball for the Gators. Following that was a short stint in the Navy, and then a record-breaking career playing for San Diego’s United States International University. When the school went bankrupt and Bradshaw was left undrafted, he was forced to sleep in alleys and park benches. His life changed dramatically when he received a call to play professionally in Israel. There he met a woman with whom he would start a family and who would encourage him to reunite with his own family after 20 years.
Kappy says the film features actual scenes of Bradshaw’s reunion with his family in Gainesville, along with several other shots that locals will recognize. He says the film depicts Gainesville as culturally and economically diverse.
“The city of Gainesville in this movie is not just a setting — it’s a character,” he says. “A lot of talent comes from Gainesville — athletes, musicians, scientists — but for every person like that, there is a person living a tough life as well.”
Hippodrome Cinema Director Alisha Kinman says the film’s ties to Gainesville make it a perfect film to screen at the theater. “I understand that the film has local roots and the Hipp Cinema is a perfect venue for a film such as this,” she says. “We take pride in screening films that are relevant to our community.”
Rick Swain, Bradshaw’s former coach at Buchholz, is featured in the film. He says that after watching it he was amazed by how much he learned about Bradshaw’s experiences with racial tension.
“When I watched the film, I felt like I didn’t know him. I didn’t realize the discrimination those kids faced. Seeing how he came out is just amazing. I was so proud of him I teared up throughout the film. So many people would have given up and quit, but he never quit.”
Swain says Bradshaw’s past has prepared him for the life he has today, one in which he makes differences in the lives of San Diego’s young people.
“Kevin’s done a tremendous job figuring out life on his own. He’s a survivor. And what a wonderful person he’s turned out to be,” Swain says. “He’s a role model and has so much to offer young people who might be feeling the same things he did.”
Kappy says he hopes this film will inspire audiences to feel more confident about their abilities to affect change in their own lives.
“It’s never too late to rise up and right your wrongs or missteps. It’s never too late to forgive yourself and learn how to love yourself. It’s never too late to become comfortable with who you are,” he says.
To buy tickets for “Shooting For Home,” call the Hippodrome box office at 375-4477.