Hall of Famer Spencer Haywood's journey includes cotton picking, supermodels, cocaine and the Supreme Court. That's why a new movie about his life, "Full Court: The Spencer Haywood Story," debuts this weekend at the Seattle International Film Festival.
"I said, Spence...I think I wanna make a movie about you. And he got really quiet. I'm like Spence, are you there? And he's like, I've been waiting 40 years for this phone call," says executive producer Dwayne Clark of Redmond's True Productions.
Haywood says his huge hands are best suited, not for basketball, but for picking cotton. The Supersonics legend didn't discover hoops until his mom MADE him a ball stuffed with cotton they'd picked together in Mississippi.
From that homemade ball, he went on to change the game forever.
"That has given Seattle a place in history...that created the Michael Jordans, the Magic Johnsons, the Larry Birds..all of the great players, Lebron James, Steff Curry," he says.
When Haywood was with the Sonics in 1970, he only played half the season because the NBA had a rule that required all players to wait four years after high school graduation to play. Haywood didn't think that was fair and made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to prove he was right.
This paved the way for thousands of subsequent players to join the basketball world's elite.
"Full Court" debuts Saturday and Sunday at Cinema Uptown at SIFF in Seattle.