In the 1950s, Earl "The Goat" Manigault (Cheadle) rises with the likes of Lew Alcindor, Wilt Chamberlain, and Earl Monroe on the hard cement courts of Harlem, matching their ability and promise. Though his basketball skills take him to college, strained relations with a hard-headed coach (Williams) combine with a single tragic event to send Earl off the rails. A harrowing descent into drug addiction foils his NBA prospects, yet Earl eventually breaks his self-destructive cycle and finds a way to redeem his life.
Originally aired on HBO and directed by actor Eriq La Salle, the tight, gritty "Rebound" recreates an incredible, little known true story with authentic period detail and a top-flight cast, including James Earl Jones as Earl's college mentor, and Forest Whitaker as an early role model who nurtures Earl's gift. Cheadle makes a magnetic Earl, as you'd expect. "Rebound," which features rampant drug use, is a worthy inspirational drama, but decidedly not for kids.