The Top 10 Movie Performances By NBA Players

Shaquille O’Neal will be returning to Hollywood, as he will be joining Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Kevin James in the sequel to “Grown Ups,” creatively called “Grown Ups 2.” Shaq made a cameo appearance in Sandler’s recent box office bomb “Jack and Jill” and must have showcased some acting skills to Sandler that garnered him this role.

We all know Shaq is an actor extraordinaire, appearing in blockbuster films like “Kazaam” and “Steel.” It got us thinking what is the best movie performance by a NBA player?

Here’s Dime‘s top 10 list:

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10. Dwight Howard in “Just Wright”
Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis also made a cameo in the movie but Howard actually gets a small speaking role. Dwight plays himself, and really gets into the character, wearing a tight-fitting Ed Hardy shirt like the real Dwight Howard does.

9. Gheorghe Muresan in “My Giant”
Nowadays, Billy Crystal is mainly known for hosting the Oscars but during the ’80s and ’90s, he was one of the top comedy actors in the business. Pairing the diminutive Crystal with the towering Gheorghe Muresan does sound like a funny concept but unfortunately like his career in the NBA, Mursean seems awkward throughout the movie.

8. Dirk Nowitzki in “Like Mike”
There are a number of cameos by NBA players in “Like Mike” but Dirk Nowitzki’s is the best. Yes, the movie is extremely corny but how could you not laugh at this scene:

“Hey, Calvin! Listen man, could I get your autograph?”
“Sure, Dirk.”
“It’s actually for my niece.”
“What’s her name?”
“Uh, it’s, uh….Dirk.”

7. Dennis Rodman in “Double Team”
If you thought the pairing of Billy Crystal and Gheorghe Muresan was strange what about the pairing of Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman and Action movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme?

The duo does collaborate on an unintentional funny tag line for the movie: “Offense gets the glory…but defense wins the game.”

6. Darius Miles in “The Perfect Score”
Darius Miles had so much potential and could have been a star in the NBA. He should have followed in the footsteps of his co-star, Scarlett Johansson, who has come a long way from this movie.

5. Julius Erving in “The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh”
The soundtrack plays a large role in the overall feel and look of the movie and it fits Dr. J’s character Moses Guthrie perfectly. Although the game footage is obviously staged, it’s still amazing to see the flashy and athletic moves Dr. J could do back in the day.

4. Shaquille O’Neal in “Blue Chips”
As mentioned in the beginning of this post, Shaq has been in a number of terrible movies, but “Blue Chips” is not one of them. Playing Neon Boudeaux, Shaq plays a character that is basically himself and delivers a solid performance. Too bad he couldn’t translate this performance to future roles in “Kazaam” and “Steel.”

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in “Airplane”
This is one of the best movie scenes of all time:

Joey: “Wait a minute. I know you. You’re Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You play basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers.”
Kareem: “I’m sorry son, but you must have me confused with someone else. My name is Roger Murdock. I’m the co-pilot.”
Joey: “You are Kareem! I’ve seen you play. My dad’s got season tickets.”
Kareem: “I think you should go back to your seat now Joey.”
Joey: “I think you’re the greatest, but my dad says you don’t work hard enough on defense. And he says that lots of times, you don’t even run down court. And that you don’t really try… except during the playoffs.”
Kareem: “The hell I don’t! LISTEN KID! I’ve been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA. I’m out there busting my buns every night. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.”

2. Michael Jordan in “Space Jam”
What more can be said about Michael Jordan. The man is clutch.

1. Ray Allen in “He Got Game”
A Spike Lee joint, “He Got Game” is often viewed as one of the better basketball movies ever made. Ray Allen turns in a great performance as Jesus Shuttlesworth, which makes it surprising that he has only acted in one other movie (“Harvard Man”). Perhaps Denzel Washington taught Allen a thing or two about acting but Ray definitely taught Denzel a lesson on the basketball court.

From IMDB:
“For the scene where Jesus and Jake play for the letter of intent, the original script called for Jesus to win 15-0. However, Spike Lee encouraged the actors to play for real. The scene in the film reflects the actual game between Ray Allen and Denzel Washington.”

Who had the best performance among NBA players in a movie?

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