Parents' Guide to

Last Chance U: Basketball

By Marina Gordon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Inspiring, heartbreaking sport docuseries has some language.

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You know the formula -- an inspiring coach pushes a team to become better at their sport, but more importantly, better people -- yet somehow it works its uplifting magic again and again. As we've seen before from creator Greg Whiteley in Last Chance U (which focused on football) and Cheer, we come to root for these players who often have suffered many setbacks. In this basketball version of the Last Chance U franchise, your tears will flow for charismatic team captain Deshaun Highler, whose beloved mother died of cancer; he's the rock for his team, and his girlfriend Kiera is his rock off the court. The other player who gets the most airtime is Joe Hampton, who seemed to be on the path to the NBA in high school and at Penn State, but injuries, bad grades, and a jail stint sidelined him, and his cocky attitude and explosive temper may end his time on the ELAC team.

Coach John Mosley gave up a Division I coaching position to be available to his family -- he earns a lot less and still teaches spin class to other community college students and staff. He'll do whatever is necessary to motivate his team, whether that's yelling (a lot), or extended, uncomfortable silences, or praying with them (he's also a minister). Mosley says of his impact on the players, "It's probably most important that they're getting skills and habits that will help them function better in the world. But I wanna win." And they were likely on their way to winning the championship, when Covid lockdowns came in March 2020. The devastation the team experienced is heartbreaking, and a year later feels like a perfect time capsule of the early days of the pandemic.

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