NBA Pros on the Big Screen: Can These Stars Move?


Does every NBA superstar really want to act in movies? Given the long and checkered history of actors going to Hollywood (not to mention the amount of flops in the game today), you might think so. As a newcomer “Space Jam: A New Legacy” brings the burgeoning subgenre of films built on hoop skills into the age of remakes, here is a guide to the best and worst performances of professional basketball players starting in the 1970s.


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If we’re going to believe this stupid 1979 movie – and why not? — Basketball at the pinnacle of disco, where players do splits to celebrate buckets, coaching with astrology, and Dr. It meant that J was the coolest man alive. Much of its soft performance is shot in slow motion, adding to its mood. In one scene, he seduces a woman by taking her to the playground and draping her in street clothes by herself. In another, he enters a game in a hot air balloon wearing a sparkly silver uniform backed by funky soul music. If John Travolta ever had a sports colleague, this was it.


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Knick star Bernard King gives an understated, lived-in performance as a pool player in this casual drama about a coach (played at the height of his “Welcome Back, Kotter” fame). a silky jump shot. He keeps up with a group of players on the field without overshadowing them too much. Compared to the action video game aesthetic of “Space Jam,” this character-driven movie has a refreshingly human feel.


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There is no more famous actor cameo than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who plays himself by pretending to be a regular commercial airplane pilot. The idea that the ten-foot-tall superstar can be disguised even after being challenged by a young fan is one of the countless jokes in this classic comedy. But when disappointment must turn to anger, Abdul-Jabbar can’t get over his composure.

In the greatest basketball movie of all time, this five-time all-star makes a brief but impressive appearance as an angry man after running out of money and clears the courts with ineffective fury, swinging a knife. It’s so believable that you’d never know it’s famous for basketball, not acting.


publish hulu and extraordinary+.

This untold morality tale about a corrupt Bobby Knight-like college coach (Nick Nolte, as gruff as ever) is filled with performances by famous actors (Shaquille O’Neal, Larry Bird) and coaches (Rick Pitino, Knight). They all play versions of themselves, but the revelation here is Boston Celtic great Bob Cousy, who has turned into a morally unstable athletic director. This is a surprisingly guaranteed performance A Hall of Famer from the early years of the NBA

Shaq is the most charismatic tall man in history, as a funny and talking head on camera cameras, but as the star of his own movie, his track record is more like foul shooting. A year before making one of the most memorable DC superhero movies (“Steel”), he presented this very sarcastic performance as a rap genie in this raunchy fantasy. She yells, mugs, and even burps for laughs as she tries to grant the wishes of a bland, cute white boy with divorced parents.


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Despite winning three Razzie Awards For this Jean-Claude Van Damme flop, Dennis Rodman is actually a decent action star. He kickboxes convincingly, looks good in flashy disguises (lots of hairdo and leather), and sarcastically gives his personality stale lines. (“You’re crazier than my hairdresser.”) All of this movie’s camp humor comes from the twinkle in the eye, which he needed while presenting one of his many basketball references, despite the fact that he was supposed to be an actor. an extremely tall arms dealer.

Making your first big movie opposite Denzel Washington should be as daunting as going pro and protecting LeBron James in your first game. Radiating innocence and quiet charisma in the meaty role of Coney Island basketball prodigy Jesus Shuttlesworth, Ray Allen takes himself well, even if you never forget the moonlight. Convincing as a timid, paralyzed high school star with a deep rage against her father. A role player of a performance who executes the game plan deftly, sometimes with flamboyance.


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At 7 feet 7 inches, Romanian center Gheorghe Muresan was the tallest player in NBA history. That was enough for a solid professional career, especially if his early skills were unrefined. But for amateurs, acting can be more difficult than sports. In this Billy Crystal dude movie, he’s stuck in a crash. He can be difficult to understand (his first language is not English), and he may hold another record for reaction shots: the least impressive star in comedy history.

When it comes to movies starring the Brooklyn Nets, “Uncle Drew” starring Kyrie Irving is more flamboyant and funnier. But there’s nothing quite as impressive as Kevin Durant pretending to be terrible at basketball in this wholesome “Freaky Friday”-like movie, in which he accidentally trades his talents for a clumsy high school kid. A common metaphor for the genre (“Space Jam” also contains a plot where NBA stars lose their skills), Durant commits to being really bad, tweaking his form in subtle and consistent ways. It’s an eerie delight to watch this perfectionist journey make a crossover, an airball dunk, and repeatedly miss his patented midrange shot.


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You know that old man on the playground who everyone underestimates because he looks slow and out of shape, but then dominates the game with cunning moves and sneaky changes of pace. Kyrie Irving’s performance is a loving tribute to this figure, right down to his tracksuits. Most moonlight stars in movies play versions of themselves, so Irving’s attempt at an entirely different character is a bold move, doing a good job of turning his stance into a hunch and impressing a tired voice. And if it looks a little harsh, it’s not easy to act under such an elaborate makeup job.


Stream on Netflix.

Personality on the pitch is often not reflected on screen, but this is a notable exception. Playing an amplified version of himself, Kevin Garnett was just as intense and wild in Adam Sandler’s face as he was in Patrick Ewing.


Michael Jordan has enough star power to light up a commercial or a movie.Saturday Night Live” sketch, but the woodworking needed Bugs Bunny’s animation to make the original Tune Squad a powerhouse.


Stream on HBO Max.

Who is better: MJ or LeBron? This endless sports discussion about the greatest ever often focuses on stats collected and rings won, but there’s another metric we’re going to discuss now: Who is the best – or rather, the least terrible – lead actor? It comes close, but James stands out, showing more range in opposing cartoons, acting like an extreme sports dad, and acting like a goofy big boy corporate hero, even taking advantage of the sloppy feelings Jordan is hiding. breast-strong Hall of Fame inductions.


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