The beginnings of Felipe López’s basketball career defied all expectations. Once hailed as the “Dominican Michael Jordan,” even appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1994, López became the top high school basketball player in the nation. And now, ESPN’s 30 For 30 series is poised to tell his story in the documentary The Dominican Dream.
“What drew me to the story of Felipe López and his family is that it’s a success story disguised as a story of failure and disappointment,” director Jonathan Hock said in a press statement. “It’s a classic American immigrant tale.”
The Dominican Dream is described as a portrait of Dominican immigrants of New York in the 1980s and 1990s—seen through eyes of López. His career is one that started with him being painted as a hero at a young age, with high expectations followed by a letdown when he didn’t live up to these, only to have his career cut even shorter after a knee injury. The documentary, set to premiere on April 27 at the Tribeca Film Festival before airing on ESPN, will show how López would “rise unimaginably high, then crash and burn, only to rise again.”
The trailer shows old footage of López playing in court, at one point waiving a Dominican flag while sitting on the basketball hoop, then walking in Washington Heights while greeting people in Spanish.
“Anybody who bounces a basketball in New York City, should understand the legend of Felipe López,” the documentary says.