This is the good, the bad, and the horribly ugly of when NBA players try to act.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Sometimes it turns our great and sometimes it is unintentionally hilarious and painful.
Most often when basketball player dabble in films it's in either comedic supporting roles or mushy feel-good stories. Rarely do these ballers take time to do any type of real preparation Hollywood actors do every day like studying at Stella Adler Studios in Los Angeles or the Tisch School in New York. These ballers traditionally know nothing of method acting, Stanislavsky, or even supplements like AuditionFocus geared to help actors be focused and mentally sharp with their memory and relaxation. Yet, NBA ballers dive in nonetheless and we have to watch the results. Some are surprisingly good, while others are cringe-wrothy as they crash and burn.
Most recently we had "Thunderstruck with Kevin Durant. This was the 2012 relase that was definitely in the latter category of "feel-good." The basic idea of the film is one we've seen many times before, but continues to excite. Kevin's skills get switched for a young fan. This leaves Kevin unable to play and his little fan with a dominating jumper. The classic Michael Jordan movie "Space Jams" would be another film that falls into this "feel good" category. These are films for the whole family and basically co-brand themselves with the NBA star that carries them.
Hollywood has long had a love affair with the big men of the NBA too. One of the originals to dip his size 23 toes into Hollywood was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the classic movie "Airplane" as pilot Roger Murdock. This is a situation where Kareem was put in a role where he could really shine comedically by not giving him more than he could handle. He comes off has hilarious and the movie succeeds both comercially and comedically.
Another big man who had a run in films is Shaquille O'Neal. He starred in movies such as "Blue Chips" with Nick Nolte, as well as Disney's Kazaam. Although some of Shaq's movies were huge flops, his role in "Blue Chips" was solid and adds to the general idea that basketball players do best when acting as basketball players.
The one notable film that breaks these predictable molds is Spike Lee's "He Got Game." This movie is carried equally by Denzel Washington and Ray Allen. Allen isn't given simply the traditional "easy" scenes we expect of basketbal players in movies. Lee wisely teamed up Allen with one of the strongest actors of our generation in Denzel and let them carry this film together. Sure, Allen isn't as strong as Washington is on screen, but who is? The point is the film works and Allen does a solid job doing more than just shooting jumpers on film, but actually telling the story of Jesus Shuttlesworth.