Los Angeles native’s pursuit of NBA dream featured in new Prime Video documentary

Los Angeles native’s pursuit of NBA dream featured in new Prime Video documentary

A new documentary on Prime Video is telling the story of several basketball prospects as they work to keep their professional hoop dreams alive by playing in the NBA’s development league.

“Destination NBA: A G League Odyssey” follows multiple players in the NBA’s G League as they grind through a season in hopes of receiving the elusive callup to join one of the league’s 30 teams.

Among those players featured in the series is a Los Angeles native who became a cultural phenomenon and is now trying to make NBA history.

Ryan Turell, born in Valley Village and a graduate of Valley Torah High School, is one of the league prospects chronicled in the documentary.

Turell was selected in the G League draft last season, breaking barriers by becoming the first Orthodox Jew to play in the NBA’s developmental league.

Ryan Turell provides an interview as part of "Destination NBA: A G League Odyssey" on Prime Video. (Courtesy of Prime Video)
Ryan Turell provides an interview as part of “Destination NBA: A G League Odyssey” on Prime Video. (Courtesy of Prime Video)

Turell starred at Valley Torah and shocked his family and many in the sports world when he opted to play at Yeshiva University, a private Orthodox Jewish university in New York, rather than commit to a high-profile school with an established NCAA-to-NBA pipeline.

Turell starred at Valley Torah and shocked his family and many in the sports world when he opted to play at Yeshiva University, a private Orthodox Jewish university in New York, rather than commit to a high-profile school with an established NCAA-to-NBA pipeline.

During his time at Yeshiva, Turell was twice named Skyline Conference Player of the Year and was indisputably the best player for a team that carried the longest winning streak in college basketball. Despite his collegiate success, accolades and being dubbed the “Jewish Larry Bird,” he went undrafted in the 2022 NBA Draft. He did, however, manage to be selected by the Motor City Cruise, the affiliate of the Detroit Pistons, in the 2022 G League Draft.

Many of his highlights became viral hits, as Turell utilized his formidable size and crafty ballhandling skills whenever called upon, all the while wearing a traditional Orthodox kippah on his head.

Ryan Turell dribbles during a workout on April 17, 2023. Turell is the first Orthodox Jew to ever play in the NBA G League.  (Courtesy of Prime Video)
Ryan Turell dribbles during a workout on April 17, 2023. Turell is the first Orthodox Jew to ever play in the NBA G League. (Courtesy of Prime Video)

Turell finished his rookie season in the G League averaging 4 points and 1.7 rebounds per game in 31 contests as a member of the Cruise.

Also featured in the documentary is Gabe York, who was born in West Covina and played high school ball at Orange Lutheran High School in Orange. York spent several seasons in the NBA’s development league before signing a two-way deal with the Indiana Pacers and seeing his NBA dream become reality.

“Destination NBA: A G League Odyssey” was produced by Religion of Sports and Ringer Films. Emmy award-winning filmmaker Gotham Chopra and sports journalist and podcaster Bill Simmons were among the film’s executive producers.

Promotional image for "Destination NBA: A G League Odyssey" on Prime Video. (Courtesy of Prime Video)
Promotional image for “Destination NBA: A G League Odyssey” on Prime Video. (Courtesy of Prime Video)

The documentary also features Scoot Henderson, the No. 3 overall pick in June’s NBA Draft, six-year NBA veteran Denzel Valentine, and former G League players who have successfully latched on with NBA franchises, including L.A.-born point guard Spencer Dinwiddie.

“Destination NBA: A G League Odyssey” premiere Tuesday on Prime Video, Amazon’s streaming service.

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