Interview with Taylor Sharp, Producer/Co-Director of HOOPS AFRICA: UBUNTU MATTERS

When I was still teaching, and just starting to get interested in the NBA, I became particularly intrigued by Basketball Without Borders. Forms of globalization, imperialism, colonialism and transnational mediation feature prominently in any study of contemporary culture, and the global or international dynamics of sports like soccer/football, hockey, baseball and basketball make for excellent case studies.

Basketball Without Borders never ended up making it into my lesson plans, but the global reach of basketball continues to fascinate me. As a Raptors fan who also has access to the Toronto International Film Festival, I had the good fortune of seeing the Giants of Africa documentary at TIFF in 2016 (, but that was more than a year ago now. I’m always hungry for more content about the relationship between sports, society and culture internationally.

It’s not always as easy to dive into this topic as I’d like. During the 2017 NBA off-season it seemed like sports media spent so much time on LeBron James’s Twitter activities that I had to go out of my way to find out about what NBA folks were doing outside the U.S. “China Klay” was about as global as the coverage I was consuming went.*

What this all means is that I’m super excited to see the documentary Hoops Africa: Ubuntu Matters from Taylor Sharp and Dan Hedges. I met Taylor Sharp at the NBA G-League Showcase in January 2018 and that’s how I heard about the film. It sounded compelling, and I knew other folks would be interested too, so I got in touch with Taylor about recording an interview for CFMU (93.3 FM/ He was kind enough to oblige, and now I’m sharing our conversation here as well.

HOOPS AFRICA: UBUNTU MATTERS – interview with Producer and Co-Director Taylor Sharp

Images from the making of the film

Interview Notes


00:00:00 [transcript]

Hi. I’m Laura Wiebe for CFMU.

This past January, the Toronto Raptors’ development team, the Raptors 905, hosted (for the second time) the NBA G-League Showcase. This is a multi-day event where players from around the league get to show off their talent and skills and their readiness for competing in the NBA.

While volunteering at this year’s Showcase, I met all kinds of interesting people doing interesting things. One of these folks was Taylor Sharp, Producer and Co-Director of a documentary called Hoops Africa: Ubuntu Matters. After the Showcase was over, I still wanted to know more about the film – how its story involved the championship-winning Boston Celtics, the non-profit organization Hoops 4 Hope, and more. And I wanted to help spread the word.

Fortunately, Taylor was happy to help. I had the chance to speak with him recently, and ask all about Hoops Africa: Ubuntu Matters. Here’s our conversation.


Interview begins

00:55 – Who is Taylor Sharp?

01:33 – The core message of Hoops Africa: Ubuntu Matters, Hoops 4 Hope, Ubuntu and basketball…

04:01 – A chance meeting between Taylor Sharp and filmmaker Dan Hedges leads to a documentary…

07:12 – Voices featured in – and that narrate – the film, including: Hakeem Olajuwon, founders and directors of Hoops 4 Hope, players of the Boston Celtics, current NBA players from Africa…  

09:12 – The next generation: the story of young Zimbabwean athlete Watida Mukukula…  

12:44 – The stories they had to leave out (but can release as additional content)…

14:49 – Challenges faced in the making of the film…

17:30 – The soundtrack… [] +[]

19:52 – What Taylor learned from making the documentary… practical lessons, learning the craft…

24:11 – Where/how can people view Hoops Africa?

25:40 – Hoops Africa: Ubuntu Matters merchandise and other ways to support the project…

26:51 – Toronto Raptors connections: Luc Mbah a Moute (in relation to current Raptor Pascal Siakam), Bismack Biyombo (former Raptor), Serge Ibaka (current Raptor), Masai Ujiri (Raptors current president, previously GM)…


27:47 [transcript]

That was Taylor Sharp, Producer and Co-Director of the documentary “Hoops Africa: Ubuntu Matters.” You can find more information about the film at their website, [].

Thanks for listening. I’m Laura Wiebe, and this is CFMU 93.3FM. Check us out online at


Original broadcast links:

* Admittedly, there’s far more sports media out there that I don’t consume, so maybe I just missed out on the international coverage. If I did, please tell me, so I know where to look!

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