Untold: The Rise and Fall of AND1 2022 Movie Review
The Untold documentary series often focuses on controversies, scandals, and at times harrowing tales from the world of sport. However, Untold: The Rise and Fall of AND1, tells a different kind of story about the meteoric rise of a sports brand and how it all eventually fell apart. And herein lies the major problem with the documentary. A successful startup going out of business is not a fresh story, especially in 2022. While it might appeal to American audiences to an extent considering how popular AND1 was in the 90s, it holds very little intrigue to a wider global audience.
The production value of the documentary remains stellar, like the other Untold documentaries released so far. There are in-depth interviews with the founders of AND1 as well as the employees. The first part focuses on how the founders came up with an idea to compete with Nike and its Air Jordans, only for it to fail spectacularly despite the initial promise. But when Michael Jordan announced his retirement coinciding with the NBA lockout at the time. AND1 used this as an opportunity to provide sports entertainment through street basketball and mixtapes to accompany them. AND1 mixtapes sold like hotcakes, propelling the music and players to stardom.
As one would expect, the sudden influx of riches completely overhauled the lifestyle of all those involved with AND1. The street basketball players who were contracted with the company such as Philip Champion aka Hot Sauce and Grayson Boucher aka The Professor became overnight sensations. One might argue that they were as popular as some of the NBA stars at the time. So how did a brand with such a mass appeal fall? The documentary does try to point at several contributing factors, but it is not as fleshed out as one would hope. This renders the second half of the documentary less fascinating, in a production that is already held back by a run-of-the-mill story.
While the interviews with some of the founders Seth Berger, Tom Austin, and Jay Gilbert, and some of the employees are certainly extensive, there is very little information about how their lives panned after AND1 was sold.
Untold: The Rise and Fall of AND1 falter when it tries to get into the drama and controversy surrounding its collapse. It shines when it details the rise of the company and focuses on the local community that helped it become a major sporting brand, but unfortunately, it isn’t enough to make the documentary a compelling watch.