Kenny Anderson is one of New York’s most successful hoops products. But in his new documentary “Mr. Chibbs,” his advice is simple: “Basketball is easy. Life is hard.”
A graduate of Archbishop Molloy High School in Briarwood, Queens, where his hoops prowess made him a legend, Anderson sees a void in guidance for young players, especially from the inner cities.
“There’s no more great mentors out there,” Anderson told amNewYork ahead of the “Mr. Chibbs” debut Wednesday at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village. “Some of these adults should be ashamed of themselves, taking advantage and exploiting some of these young, talented kids instead of helping them and telling them the truth.”
If anyone knows the truth, it’s Anderson. The film, directed by Jill Campbell and produced by Barry Greenstein, is a look at the former New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard as he continues to recover from the passing of his mother and a 2013 DUI arrest that cost him his high school coaching job in Florida.
The documentary is raw and honest, as Anderson discusses tough topics such as his arrest, parenting and being a victim of childhood molestation. Still, the 14-season NBA veteran found comfort in the project.
“It was like therapy for me,” he said.
With a wealth of experience under his belt, Anderson hopes to be a strong mentor for his children and others.
“It’s more rewarding, helping someone that’s trying to figure their way out,” he said.
But the issues facing young players are multifaceted. This is evident in the Big Apple, where the city’s standing as one of the sport’s epicenters has faded.
“I go back, there’s not too many organizations with mentors doing it the right way, leading these kids down the right path,” Anderson said. “[Players] move, they go to prep school, maybe because of the environment they’re living in.”
After opening a gym in the Tampa area, Anderson is more convinced than ever that being a life coach is his new calling.
“It could be worse for me, and I’m just blessed man,” he said.