We all know that Kobe Bryant won an Oscar for Best Animated Short for his project, Dear, Basketball, and while it was a REALLY big surprise and caused a bit of confusion, the film was actually quite good. Kobe’s Dear, Basketball had a more serious and inspiring tone to it, so we all know what we were going to see, but the entries on this list is a different story.
Before you root for either the Golden State Warriors or the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, here are some of our favorite cameos and main roles from some of the NBA’s finest players. Some were actually good, while some we’re just really bad, but regardless, it’s not every day you see an NBA player on the silver screen. Oh, and before we forget, we didn’t include Space Jam because we already know you can’t touch the G.O.A.T.
1. Kazaam (1996) - Shaquille O’Neal
The big Shaq almost gave fans a heart attack when he starred in the 1996 musical fantasy-comedy, Kazaam. Shaq has always been one of the NBA’s most motley personalities, but when we saw Kazaam, “motley” turned out to be an understatement. Watch the video above and check out the Shaq-attack delivering some sick flows. We can’t tell if this was a flop or a win, all we know is, it’s entertaining.
2. Like Mike (2002) - Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd
We tend to forget that Bow Wow was once called Lil’ Bow Wow and he once trash talked one of the greatest point guards of all time, Jason Kidd, not to mention getting asked for an autograph by Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, and Michael Finley.
3. Thunderstruck (2012) - Kevin Durant
NBA players and the film genre, family-comedy, clearly do NOT mix well, but you want to know what is good about this movie? It’s knowing that these mighty athletes also have their own struggles - it makes them look human. Despite being one of the league’s most talented small forwards, Kevin Durant was simply awkward throughout this film. It’s not just Durant, even Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller were in need of acting lessons in one particular scene. Oh, well, at least Durant has a Finals MVP under his belt and we can’t compete with that.
4. Double Team (1997) - Dennis Rodman
The Chicago Bulls’ resident bad boy, Dennis Rodman, teamed up with action icon, Jean-Claude Van Damme in this 1997 action comedy. It was the height of Rodman’s career as he won his sixth consecutive rebounding title during the 1996-1997 NBA season, and to top it off, he starred next to Van Damme in this really really bad film. Do we care that it’s bad? No, because we loved seeing Rodman dish out a lot of butt-whooping on some unsuspecting terrorists.
We just wish he did that on-screen instead because if you can remember, this was around the time Rodman was involved in a heated controversy after kicking cameraman, Eugene Amos, in the groin.
5. Scary Movie 4 (2006) - Shaquille O’Neal
Here he is again. Ok, now for some good entries! In this parody of the Saw film in Scary Movie 4, Shaq and Doctor Phil are trapped in a sticky situation that involves separation of limbs and Shaq’s greatest fear - free throws. We’ll always love the big Shaq-attack for having a great sense of humor. He never fails to amuse his fans, even if it means he’s the butt of the joke.
6. Trainwreck (2015) - LeBron James
Love him or hate him, you have to admit, the King did good in the 2015 romantic-comedy, Trainwreck. As the good friend of Dr. Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), LeBron plays himself in the funniest way possible. Unlike some of his fellow NBA stars, the King isn’t awkward, but he is a bit gullible in the movie which made up for some great chemistry with former SNL star, Bill Hader. Sorry, MJ. You may have more rings, but LeBron is a better actor than you. Yes. We said it.
7. He Got Game (1998) - Ray Allen
Spike Lee’s He Got Game is without a doubt one of the finest basketball films ever made with a real NBA player as an actor. Playing for the Milwaukee Bucks at the time, Ray Allen was chosen for the role of Jesus Shuttlesworth. Allen starred alongside Denzel Washington, who as we all know, is a brilliant actor, and he may have given Allen a tip or two about acting. The NBA star was even nominated for Best Breakthrough Male Performance during the 1999 MTV Movie Awards. He got game, that’s for sure, but Allen has acting chops too.