The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

"Hoop Dreams" father slain

By Benjy Lipsman in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 17, 2004 3:32PM

2004_12_sports_hoop_dreams.jpgArthur "Bo" Agee Sr., father of "Hoop Dreams" figure Arthur Agee, was shot and killed in a apparent robbery Wednesday night. A minister and clothing salesman, Agee was shot in an alley behind his home on 1400 block of S. Clarence Avenue in Berwyn while attending to merchandise in his garage.

Agee was featured in the critically-acclaimed 1994 documentary "Hoop Dreams," which profiled his son Arthur and William Gates as they played basketball in Chicago, following them from 8th grade through college. The documentary began with their recruitment by St. Joseph's Prep School to play ball and follows then through their high school careers as they strive to play college ball and hopefully reach the NBA. The film vividly documents the gritty life in the Chicago housing projects and the way sports are viewed as the way out.

While neither Agee nor Gates made the NBA, they were able to use their fame to better themselves and their families. With proceeds from the movie, they were able to move to better housing and improve their lives to some extent.

Seen buying cocaine in the movie, "Bo" Agee kicked the habit not long after its debut and became a minister a couple years later. "`Hoop Dreams' changed him and had an impact on his life," Agee Jr. said. It also changed the younger Agee--he has launched a foundation promoting higher education for inner city youth and plans to launch the "Hoop Dreams" sportswear line next year.

Gates has also risen above his earlier circumstances while giving back to the community as senior pastor at Living Faith Community Center in Cabrini-Green, where he works at the Kids' Club.

But their relative success has not insulated them from the violence that plagues Chicago's ghetto. Agee's death is just the most recent of many confrontations with death. On Thanksgiving morning 1994, Agee's older half-brother, DeAntonio, was gunned down at Cabrini-Green. In September 2001, Gates' older brother, Curtis, 36, was shot to death in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood.