Top 10 Movies Featuring NBA Players
Top 10 Movies With NBA Players in Cast
It seems that it was too good true when it was rumored that NBA star and reigning MVP LeBron James was working with Warner Bros. on Space Jam 2 that would feature the King and the cast of Looney Tunes going along on many of the same adventures that we saw in the original in the 1990s. Much to the chagrin of people who love fun, though, reports were shot down.
Even if the sequel to a classic children’s movie isn’t happening, LeBron still has a movie in the works with comedian Kevin Hart entitled Ballers. According to reports, the plot of the movie is that Hart is the brother of LeBron who is (surprise) a pro basketball player. However, Hart gets the chance to step out of his brother’s shadow when he attends a “basketball fantasy camp.” The script is still in the works, though, and production is likely to begin this offseason.
However, James has a long history of NBA players in cinema to live up to. Over the past four decades or so, we’ve seen athletes try and make their foray into film. With the obsession with ideas of brand and image these days, it’s actually a miracle that we don’t see it more in the modern NBA than we already do.
While James has a history to live up to in regards to simply acting in a movie, there isn’t too terribly much for James to live up to in terms of quality performances. Shaquille O’Neal as superhero Steel comes to mind in terms of bad performances, as do a number of others. That being said, NBA players have starred in some quality and entertaining movies over the years. Here are the 10 best/most entertaining movies that have featured NBA players as actors.
10. “Double Team” – Dennis Rodman
Make no mistake about it, Double Team is far from being a good movie. However, anytime you can have Jean-Claude Van Damme and resident NBA crazy-man Dennis Rodman sharing the silver screen, you certainly have my attention.
9. “Conan the Destroyer” – Wilt Chamberlain
Conan the Destroyer was never going to win any Academy Awards, but the ultra-macho flick featured Wilt Chamberlain playing a foe of the great Conan. Chamberlain’s performance isn’t great, but the man-who-scored-100-points-in-a-single-game’s feature film role will keep you entertained enough.
8. “Thunderstruck” – Kevin Durant
It’s no Space Jam, but Kevin Durant does an admirable job playing himself in Thunderstruck and the movie is enjoyable enough to make you feel good inside, like a good family movie should. If nothing else, it’s a chance to see what it’d look like if Durant actually missed a shot every now and then.
7. “The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh” – Julius Erving
If The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh was made today instead of in the late 1970s, there would be a definite backlash for a ton of political-incorrectness and things of that sort. However, Julius Erving in the film’s leading role makes for an entertaining character and, if you can get past how dated the movie is, an enjoyable viewing experience.
6. “Bad Boys” and “Bad Boys 2” – John Salley
John Salley’s 11 years in the NBA weren’t the most productive, but he was in one of my personal favorite action movies in Bad Boys, as well as the sequel. Possibly the best part of Salley’s role is the sight of the 6’11” man playing a computer-hacking con. Nonetheless, Bad Boys is great and Salley was a part of it.
5. “Like Mike” – Numerous Players
You can tell me Like Mike is terrible all you want, but go watch it right now and tell me you didn’t enjoy yourself. There are a number of NBA players in the movie, but Dirk Nowitzki delivers my favorite part of the film when he asks for an autograph from Lil Bow Wow, made out to his niece: Dirk.
4. “Airplane” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Airplane is one of the most iconic comedies in movie history and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is pretty awesome in it. Granted, the curator of the Skyhook didn’t have a great deal to handle, but he did the most with the role that he did have to play. Honestly, it’s no wonder Kareem made a number of cameos on television and in movies after his role in this film.
3. “Blue Chips” – Shaq
Completely forgetting the fact that Kazaam ever existed, Shaq was pretty great playing a college prospect in the basketball drama Blue Chips. The movie moves a bit fast at times and is somewhat dated, but it’s overall a quality watch and something I’d recommend to most anyone.
2. “Space Jam” – Michael Jordan
If you were a child in the 1990s, there’s a strong chance that you hold Space Jam in the same regard that people who were teenagers in the 1960s hold The Beatles. Michael Jordan’s acting is actually pretty awful, but when you have one of the most beloved NBA players ever with the Looney Tunes in a basketball game to save the planet, it’s really hard to go wrong.
1. “He Got Game” – Ray Allen
He Got Game is, once again, a quality movie featuring a poor acting performance, this time from Ray Allen. However, it’s hard to deny that the movie that gave us Jesus Shuttlesworth, great Denzel Washington moments, a terrific plot and touches throughout the film, and one of the strangest and thought-provoking endings in a sports movie, isn’t the best movie with an NBA player in it and one of the best sports movies in general.