Lenny Cooke was supposed to be LeBron James before LeBron came along.
A can’t-miss streetball legend, Cooke had all the talent in the world, but for a number of different reasons, he never lived up to the talent. Cooke entered the 2002 NBA Draft, but he wasn’t picked. The money that he took while in high school — a number he said was $350,000 — made him ineligible for the collegiate ranks. So he toiled around basketball’s lower levels for a few years, before eventually settling in a small town in Virginia…as a cook!
Cooke is the posterchild for why buying into your hype at a young age is so dangerous. He’s a warning, in the flesh, for every elite recruit. And now there is a documentary, being shown at the Tribeca Film Festival, chronicling his downfall.