Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the center of the true story told in The Basketball Diaries. Jim and best pal Micky (Mark Wahlberg) were both part of the same inner city basketball team in New York. Their team was unstoppable and both players were being recruited to play college basketball. Although school wasn’t his forte and his coach was inappropriate, Jim found his comfort in basketball and poetry. When drugs were introduced into Jim’s life all of those dreams were thrown out the window. It started with an innocent use of cocaine with some girlfriends and eventually moved into heroin and the destruction of Jim and his friends’ lives.
Jim, Mickey and Pedro (James Madio) got consumed by their drug habit and knew they needed cash to support their addiction. They started by robbing innocent people and moved into full fledged robbery of local businesses. When robbery wasn’t an option Jim resorted to selling his body to prostitution to get his next high. Jim is eventually thrown out by his mother (Lorraine Bracco) and ends up next to death when he is found in the snow of an inner city basketball court. Jim is discovered by an old pickup basketball opponent Reggie (Ernie Hudson), who helps Jim through the painful process of detoxification. The bright light at the very end of the true story is when we discover that Jim is currently telling his story to audiences as a stage show.
The Basketball Diaries was an extremely well told story which was enhanced by the writing of Jim Carroll and narration of Leonardo DiCaprio. Check out some of the best quotes from the film highlighted below.
Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio): You gotta have presence on the court. Presence like a cheetah rather than a chimp. Sure, they both got it, but Chimpy gotta jump his nuts around to get it. The shy cheetah moves with total nonchalance, stickin’ it to them in his sexy, slow strut. Me? I play like a cheetah.
Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio): [narration] I felt dazed, like I just came out of a 4 hour movie I didn’t understand.
Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio): [narration] Just my own naked self and the stars breathing down, it’s beautiful.
Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio): [narration] All I’ve been doing is reading this diary wondering how the hell I’m still alive?
Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio): [narration] You’re growing up. And rain sort of remains on the branches of a tree that will someday rule the Earth. And it’s good that there is rain. It clears the month of your sorry rainbow expressions, and it clears the streets of the silent armies… so we can dance.
Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio): [narration] When I was young, about eight or so, I tried making friends with God by inviting him to my house to watch the World Series. He never showed.
Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio): [narration] First, it’s a Saturday night thing when you feel cool like a gangster or a rock star- just something to kill the boredom, you know? They call it a chippie, a small habit. It feels so good, you start doing it on Tuesdays, then Thursdays, then it’s got you. Every wise ass punk on the block says it won’t happen to them, but it does.
If you want to learn more about this excellent Leonardo DiCaprio movie check out The Basketball Diaries movie review. Check out the entire Leonardo DiCaprio filmography for a list of all of the talented actor’s movie roles to date.