Kevin Durant Is The Next Jesus Shuttlesworth

A lot of NBA players have opportunities to win. But not everyone can say they starred in a movie. Kevin Durant should soon be able to say that. The Oklahoman is reporting KD is nearly set to star in a major Warner Bros. film that will begin production sometime next month. As you all know, there’s this thing called the lockout going on, and any other September would probably be out of the question for the NBA’s heir. But this year, he’s taking advantage of his time off.

So what kind of movie could it be? It’s supposed to have some type of “basketball subplot”, which could mean it’s anywhere between Above the Rim and Air Bud. As the Thunder blog DailyThunder joked, maybe they should turn it into a film about the Durantula, a city-ravaging, people-eating, 10-story-tall spider who causes havoc all over the country. Maybe KD will do the easiest thing of all and just play himself. He has a good story, and someone could definitely turn it into a movie.

No matter what, it’s a sign Durant really isn’t satisfied being the little basketball player on the prairie as so many would have you believe. He might love playing in Oklahoma City, but he isn’t against making his name Hollywood and taking his celebrity to the next step, outside of the hardwood.

Still, he’s not the first. Plenty of big-name players have made the trek recently. Some will say, “He should just concentrate on basketball and do nothing else,” claiming it’ll have a negative effect on his game. Are they right? Here are three recent examples of NBA players making the jump, and the season that immediately followed film production.

Ray Allen (He Got Game released on May 1, 1998)
During the seasons that followed the movie’s production and then release, Jesus’ scoring initially spiked in his second season, and then dropped by 2.4 points a night in 1998-99, while his overall numbers suggested a dip in emphasis more than anything else. The team improved and actually made the playoffs where Mr. Shuttlesworth had three straight Lincoln-like games against the defending East champs, Indiana.

Since we still call him Jesus even a decade later, the movie was by and large a huge success. Also, he got to bang Rosario Dawson (technically…in a movie), which makes his decision to star in a movie a colossal win.

Michael Jordan (Space Jam released on November 15, 1996)
Perhaps playing with Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes gave him the juice he needed. Amazingly, there was a time when a few doubted Jordan would ever be the same player. Even he wasn’t quite sure. The Looney Tunes though, they always believed in him…and were rewarded.

After the movie ended (and actually, even during the film’s production), MJ was drinking a lot of his Secret Stuff. It showed the following season when he made some of the comp look like they actually did have their talents stolen. When you were a kid, was there ever a better CD? Actually, was there ever a more “mid-to-late 90s” album/soundtrack than this? I think not.

Shaquille O’Neal (Blue Chips released on February 18, 1994)
The Magic went from terrible to respectable in 1994. They too were swept in the first round by the Pacers, even as Neon played pretty ferociously in his first three playoff games.

But a few ugly trends started for O’Neal, including a run of being swept out of the playoffs five of six seasons, as well as a declining interest in rebounding and basket protection. He would never again average as many rebounds or blocks as he did in his rookie year, but that’s okay when you’re dropping nearly 30 a night, becoming a cultural icon and a future Hall of Famer.

What does all of this tell us about KD’s future? Basically nothing. But it does give us clues on what he needs to do to be a successful movie star:

1) Play himself, look cool doing it
2) Have a lot of basketball scenes, most importantly the climax scene
3) Get himself a solid sidekick and give him a cool name (Booger, Tazmanian Devil, Butch…is there any question James Harden MUST have this role?)
4) Either have a costar like Denzel or a cool bro like Nick Nolte, or be Michael Jordan
5) Get the girl and/or girls

But who am I telling? Durant will be a star no matter what, and we will find a way to love whatever movie he puts out, unless of course, he somehow struggles next season. Then we will all say he should never have gotten involved in a film, that it took too much of his attention and wore him down.

Still, with Durant being on a commercial/popularity roll right now, this stands to be a huge success.

What should KD’s movie be about? What should the plot be?

Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.