High school basketball doesn’t get any better than this!
UNITERRUPTED’s “Top Class” is back for season two which follows the 2021 men’s basketball team of Sierra Canyon High School. The docu-series showcases storms weathered in the midst of a pandemic, pressures both at school and home, and much more for star players including Amari Bailey, Bronny James, Ramell Lloyd Jr., and Shy Odom. These young men are on a mission to enter D1 programs upon graduation and fans get a firsthand look at the passion that goes into their love of the sport.
aspireTV sat down with the series director, Tevin Tavares to discuss the emotionally charged season, his passion for storytelling, and more!
Intimacy, Family Ties, and Emotion are just three words that come to mind when Tavares explains what fans can expect in the new season.
“It’s a very intimate experience that you’re going through with these kids,” he explained in an exclusive interview with aspireTV. “You’re watching them go from boys to men throughout the entire series and I feel like within six episodes those watching will be like, ‘Wow, I really watched them grow up before my eyes in the span of a few months.’”
The series is based in San Fernando Valley where the team has an impressive three straight Southern California regional titles under their belt. With the pandemic in full force, the team was robbed of nearly 12 months of practice, but the show highlights how the players managed to figure out just how stronger they are together on the journey to their next championship.
The Power Of Storytelling
For Tavares, there is so much power in storytelling and this season of “Top Class” is proof of that.
With an emotional ride ahead due to loss, victory, and just the woes of navigating life as teenage basketball phenomenons, as a filmmaker, he understands the importance of showing young Black men experience emotions that the world often tells them to hide.
As a creative, one body of work that stood out to Tavares is the film “Moonlight,” for the way in which it tackles the emotions of Black men.
“That was a film where you actually got to see a young Black man feel and I think that’s the same thing for ‘Top Class’ season one and two,” Tavares expressed. “You’re watching these young Black men feel their emotions as they grapple along with this world that they live in and the season that they’ve had to deal with. My filmmaking style is that I want the audience to be there and to be able to feel some of the emotions that these young guys are experiencing simply from watching from the comfort of their homes.”
Inspiration For Sharing Our Stories
During his senior year of high school, Tavares was quite the athlete himself until he broke his arm while playing high school football.
“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life or where I wanted to go, but I knew that I wanted to go to college,” he shared.
A Nike commercial starring LeBron James after winning his first championship with the NBA’s Miami Heat inspired him to tap into life as a filmmaker.
“I’ll never forget that this commercial had ‘I Want You’ by Marvin Gaye playing in the background and for some reason watching them go through those trials and tribulations within that commercial spot made me feel a way that I’d never felt in my life,” Tavares continued. “ I remember watching and thinking to myself that ‘I want to make people feel like this. I want to make content.’”
Thanks to that commercial and a budding filmmaker (Ryan Coogler) at the time that was from Tavares’ backyard, he was able to discover his passion for storytelling through filmmaking.
“If you pair that Nike commercial with Ryan Coogler who was coming up from the Bay Area at the same time that I was in high school, it made me go, ‘Okay, I can go out and actually do this,” he continued. “Not only did I now have someone to look up to who looked like me, but he was also from the same hometown as me and that gave e the blueprint into getting into filmmaking.”
Now, Tevin Tavares is well on his way to sharing more stories that can truly resonate and reflect people who look like him.
All six episodes of UNINTERRUPTED’S “Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers” are now available for free streaming on IMDbTV.