The Basketball Diaries

“Little kids shoot marbles
where the branches break the sun

into graceful shafts of light…
I just want to be pure.”

Jim Carroll
The Basketball Diaries

 
 

The Basketball Diaries is a 1978 memoir written by author and musician Jim Carroll

 
 

Movie poster

 
 

The Basketball Diaries (Scott Kalvert, 1995) is an adaptation of poet and memoirist Jim Carroll’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) juvenile diaries chronicling his kaleidoscopic free-fall into the harrowing world of drug addiction. As a member of a seemingly unbeatable high school basketball squad, Jim’s life centers on the basketball court and the court becomes a metaphor for the world in his mind. A best friend who is dying of leukemia, a coach (“Swifty”) who takes unacceptable liberties with the boys on his team, teenage sexual angst, and an appetite for cocaine and heroin all begin to encroach on young Jim’s dream of becoming a basketball star.

Soon, the dark streets of New York become a refuge from his mother’s mounting concern for her son. He cannot go home and his only escape from the reality of the streets is heroin for which he steals, robs and prostitutes himself. Only with the help of Reggie, an older neighborhood friend with whom Jim “picked up a game” now and then, is he able to begin the long journey back to sanity, which ultimately ends with Jim’s incarceration in Riker’s Island. After months in prison, he leaves and later does a talk show about his drug life, after turning down free drugs from his old friend, Pedro.

The film is set in the early 1990s, while Carroll’s actual book recounts experiences from growing up in the 1960s. Jim started out as a practice basketball player, and moved on to write The Basketball Diaries.

 
 

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Dancing Barefoot

Photographs by Steven Sebring

 

“She is benediction
She is addicted to thee
She is the root connection
She is connecting with he

Here I go and I don’t know why
I flow so ceaselessly
Could it be he’s taking over me

I’m dancing barefoot
Headin’ for a spin
Some strange music draws me in
It makes me come up like some heroine

She is sublimation
She is the essence of thee
She is concentrating on
He who is chosen by she

Here I go when I don’t know why
I spin so ceaselessly
Could it be he’s taking over me

I’m dancing barefoot
Headin’ for a spin
Some strange music drags me in
Makes me come up like some heroine

She is recreation
She intoxicated by thee
She has the slow sensation that
He is levitating with she

Here I go when I don’t know why
I spin so ceaselessly
‘Til I lose my sense of gravity

I’m dancing barefoot
Heading for a spin
Some strange music draws me in
Makes me come up like some heroine

Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you
Oh God I fell for you”

 

Dancing Barefoot is a rock song written by Patti Smith and Ivan Kral, and released as a second single from Patti Smith Group’s 1979 album Wave. According to the album sleeve, the song was dedicated to women such as Amedeo Modigliani‘s mistress Jeanne Hébuterne.

In 2004, this song was ranked number 323 on Rolling Stone‍ ’​s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. It has been recorded by many including U2, Simple Minds and Pearl Jam.

The version covered by Johnette Napolitano was included on the score of The Basketball Diaries (Scott Kalvert, 1995).

To watch a clip of this song performed by Patti Smith, please, check out The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC6sLQg3gkk