Joel Embiid Was Among The Players Considered For Kevin Garnett’s Role In ‘Uncut Gems’

Kevin Garnett is heading to the big screen. The future Hall of Fame inductee will play himself in the upcoming film Uncut Gems, which stars Adam Sandler and is slated to hit theaters on Christmas Day. Garnett is the kind of gigantic personality who seems like a great fit for a movie role now that his playing career is over, but as it turns out, he was hardly the only hooper whose name popped up when it was being written.

The film’s directors, Benny and Josh Safdie, appeared on The Ringer’s NBA Desktop to talk about their upcoming film. From the jump, they explained how Garnett was not their first choice when the film’s development began nearly 10 years ago. Instead, the two Knicks fans wanted to bring Amar’e Stoudemire on board, and there were conversations about possibly having Kobe Bryant linked to the project, but those fell through.

More recently, the pair had Joel Embiid tied to the project, but when the film’s production pushed into the regular season, he was off the table. Some issues bringing Stoudemire back eventually gave way to Garnett, which turned out great, even if the Safdies, both of whom are Knicks fans, needed to warm up to the idea a little.

“Instinctually, as a Knick fan, I saw his name and I was like, ‘I f*cking hate Kevin Garnett, we’re not writing the movie with Kevin Garnett,'” Josh Safdie recalls. “But that was a blindside, that’s where the Knicks fandom of me eclipsed my intelligence with filmmaking, where I actually couldn’t see that, actually, the fact that I hated him was a reason why he’s perfect for the movie. He’s a great actor, he knows how to perform.”

The brothers went onto explain that Garnett was an excellent addition to the cast, especially complimenting his ability as a storyteller. None of this is a particularly big surprise — as anyone who watched KG’s Area 21 can tell you, Garnett is an engaging personality when the cameras are rolling — and while Bryant, Embiid, and Stoudemire all would have been fun additions to the movie, “Kevin Garnett: Movie Star” has a nice ring to it.