Interesting article I happened upon at the International Film Channel website, featuring 5 NBA Stars turned actors. I don’t care to cut and paste the whole thing here, just go ahead and visit the site to read it all. What I AM going to do, is to repost the youtube vids of the movies discussed and then some.
Starting with Kareem and the one, the only, Bruce Lee and in their famous fight scene in The Game Of Death. If you’ve never watched it before, there’s something wrong with you.
Kareem was notably also in Airplane, but above vid is so much more cooler so I’m going with that.
Now we go down several notches as we feature Shaq in the movie ‘Steel‘, which, lets be honest here, is kind of a waste of time. I don’t exactly remember the plot or anything, but what I do remember is that for the first time, I could understand what The Big Bad Actor was saying, so props to the sound editing guys. Below is the Youtube clip, which you’ll probably not watch, but I’m putting here anyway just to make the record complete.
And now we go to Gheorge Muresan, to those uninitiated, a 7’7 Romanian behemoth who played for the Washington Bullets when saying the word ‘Bullets’ was still considered safe, from 1992 to 2003. Tied with Sudanese Manut Bol as the tallest man to ever play in the NBA, he had some highlights such as leading the NBA in FG% (.584 and .604 in 95-96 and 96-97 respectively), and was actually MIP in the 95-96 season.
Next we up the game quite a bit with Ray Allen in 1998’s He Got Game. Ray plays Jesus Shuttleworth, a UCONN star born in the Bronx struggling to decide his future when his estranged father played by Denzel Washington suddenly appears from prison, let out as it were to try to influence his decision.
It is no doubt a very powerful film with a very powerful message, and Ray Ray is impressive. I remember it for Denzel’s performance particularly in the scenes where he struggles with his need to make up his son’s mind for him while at the same time knowing he’s only doing it for the promise of freedom from prison it brings. There is also the scene where he is taking jumpshot after jumpshot in the prison basketball court, as important events unfold in the real world. Truly powerful stuff, that. I’ll never forget it.
Finally the article mentions the Worm with Van Damme in ‘Double Team‘, and once again I’m posting the vid here just to make this complete, even though you’re probably not gonna watch it. In fact, I’m hoping you don’t watch it, because it’s quite likely your IQ’s gonna go down a little bit watching stuff like this. The two teamed up again in ‘Simon Sez’, which I won’t link to because I’m positive it’s a crime to reference such horrible movies. Or if it isn’t it should be.
The article also mentions Elton Brand who’s become a movie producer, but that’s boring. What isn’t though is someone in the comments mentioning Rick Fox, and saying (and I agree) that he’s possibly the best NBA turned actor amongst all of them. So here’s a great video of him in his introductory episode on Ugly Betty along with then wife Vanessa Williams.