ROSWELL, Ga. — Even prodigious NBA fans may not know the name Jim Tucker, but two Roswell graduates are bringing the story of one of the NBA’s forgotten first stars to the forefront with their documentary “Let ‘Em Know You’re There.”
The film will be previewed Dec. 16 at Gate City Brewing.
The documentary is the work of 2006 Roswell graduate Field Humphrey who directed and edited the film. Humphrey worked on ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series before creating his own production company, Readily Apparent Media.
He was made aware of Tucker’s story by fellow Roswell grad Bernie Snow, Tucker’s grandson. The duo then decided to highlight the life and career of the often-forgotten man who now struggles with his own memory due to Alzheimer’s.
“The film focuses on what’s in a legacy,” Humphrey said. “It’s about a forgotten team and a forgotten player, but that is just the basketball portion of an incredible life.”
Though Jim Tucker may not be a household name, he holds three historically significant markers in NBA history, including a record that stands to this day.
Playing with the Syracuse Nationals in 1955, Tucker and his teammate Earl Lloyd became the first African-American players to win an NBA championship. That same year, the 24-second shot clock was introduced by the Nationals.
Adding to the historic season, Jim Tucker set the fastest triple-double in NBA history against the Knicks on Feb. 20, 1955. Tucker compiled 12 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in just 17 minutes. Tucker’s feat remains unmatched over six decades later.
Though Tucker was involved in significant moments in NBA history, his professional career was short-lived, but his tale was far from over. He later attended Harvard business school, at a time when African-Americans were still faced with segregation. He continued breaking barriers, becoming a top executive at Pillsbury.
“Everything he’s done has had an amazing impact,” Humphrey said. “For someone who could have had a lot of animosity for how he was treated growing up black in the South, he has an amazingly positive attitude.”
But now, Tucker struggles to remember his own remarkable story.
“Let ‘Em Know You’re There” highlights Tucker’s battle with memory loss, as well as his wife’s unwavering love for her husband.
Tucker’s wife, Jan, has created photo albums and videos, showcasing the people Jim loves, his past and his family. To start each day, the couple scan the photos and view the videos.
“He talks about these memories,” Humphrey said. “He still feels the emotion, he just doesn’t remember the events as much.”
Humphrey will preview his production in his hometown at 2 p.m., Dec. 16 at Roswell’s Gate City Brewing.
He said he is proud to bring the production to Roswell, where his journey to becoming a filmmaker began.
“It’s a big deal for us to be able to showcase this in Roswell,” Humphrey said. “I first got interested in filmmaking during a media tech class at Roswell High. It led me in becoming a filmmaker.”
“It’s our community, filled with our family and friends so we love the idea of being able to showcase this film there and make the city proud.”