Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio) is consumed by his life as a high school basketball star. Pressured by a wicked coach (Bruno Kirby) and a concerned mother (Lorraine Bracco), Jim develops an appetite for heroin. Soon, the mean streets of New York City have replaced the basketball court as his main destination. Jim and his friends scrounge, steal and prostitute themselves to score drugs. Jim's only chance to escape addiction may be Reggie (Ernie Hudson), a neighborhood friend and hoops companion.