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‘A Dirty Diaper Bag’: Here Are The Worst Movies Featuring NBA Players

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In its opening weekend, Trainwreck brought in $30.2, making it the third biggest film at the box office, behind big-budget flicks Ant-Man and Minions. It’s no small feat for Amy Schumer’s big screen debut, which has garnered great reviews to go with the millions it already made.

The film also features LeBron James in a supporting role, and, by all accounts, his acting is professional and believable. Which is great, because Hollywood has already given us plenty of examples of NBA players attempting to act in very bad films. Here, with the help of Rotten Tomatoes and its fantastic reviews, are the best of the worst, ranking from least to most tomatoes.

Dennis Rodman: Double Team

Tomatometer: 11 percent

Dennis Rodman plays a weapons specialist named Yaz, who teams up with ex-CIA counter-terrorist, Jack Quinn, played by Jean-Claude Van Damme. This was released when Rodman was at the apogee of his career relevance — having been on the title-winning Bulls with Michael Jordan the summer before and on the precipice of another in April of 1997 — when the film was released. Plus, JCVD wasn’t yet in on the joke about his career, so they’re both going full throttle, trying their hardest to be real thespians.

Best review:

If you’re honestly wondering whether this film is any good, I can’t help you.

Shaquille O’Neal: Steel

Tomatometer: 12 percent

Shaq has been featured or starred in more movies than any other NBA player including Blue Chips, Kazaam, Scary Movie 4, The Lego Movie and on and on. In Steel, he plays an ex-weapons designer turned superhero trying to stop gang violence. Of all the roles Shaq has played in the movies, Steel gets the nod for this line delivered to a younger member of his family. “You wanna know what you can do to help… don’t tell Grandma.”

Best review:

Has the distinction of being one of those movies that’s so bad, it actually has some solid entertainment value.

Gheorghe Muresan: My Giant

Tomatometer: 19 percent

Billy Crystal plays a desperate Hollywood agent that discovers the 7-foot-7 Muresan in a Romanian monastery. The former Bullets and Nets center actually has some acting chops. He was featured in a few other projects, including Eminem’s movie E.

Best review:

Do you know anyone who wanted to see a heartwarming story about Gheorghe Muresan helping Billy Crystal get in touch with his better nature? I don’t think I do.

Dwyane Wade: What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Tomatometer: 22 percent

Wade has a cameo as a contestant on a celebrity dance competition in this comedy starring Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, and Brooklyn Decker. Wade said in interviews that he nearly walked out before production began because he was so nervous. Perhaps he should have.

Best review:

A dirty diaper bag of sex jokes, sentimental mush, cartoonish claptrap and weary parent-to-be cliches.

Michael Jordan: Space Jam

Tomatometer: 35 percent

There were so many great cameos in this Looney Toons classic, but Jordan was very good starring as himself. Give him bonus acting points because the majority of his scenes were with animated characters. It was also great to see him able to poke fun at himself for the failed baseball career.

Best review: 

Visually, it’s a mess: The attempts to blend 2- and 3-D animation with live-action and computer-generated images produce scenes that are fuzzier than the storyline.

Penny Hardaway: Blue Chips

Tomatometer: 37 percent

Blue Chips starred Nick Nolte as a college basketball coach coming to terms with the idea that, in order to compete, he had to be willing to break NCAA recruiting rules. Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal are the prize recruits that Nolte’s school pays off in order to compete. Hardaway plays Butch McRae in the movie that made a lot of fans think twice about the recruiting process.

Best Review:

Not even an unsentimental basketball fan like director William Friedkin can wash away all the corn syrup.

Spud Webb: Forget Paris

Tomatometer: 50 percent

Billy Crystal plays an NBA referee in this 1995 romantic comedy also starring Debra Winger. There are a number of cameos by NBA players and coaches alike, including some pretty brutal attempts at acting. Reggie Miller, Charles Barkley and David Robinson all have lines in this one, but Spud Webb gets the nod in this one simply for being the straight man to Crystal in this scene.

Best Review:

This movie has such a naked desire to evoke the human condition, you want to throw a blanket over it.


BUT WAIT. They’re not all horrible! Here are two that were actually good films…

Ray Allen: He Got Game

Tomatometer: 80 percent

Allen was outstanding opposite Denzel Washington in the Spike Lee classic. Allen played the role of Jesus Shuttlesworth, a high school star deciding which college he will play for. While it seemed a bit of a stretch to imagine Allen still in high school, his performance in non-basketball scenes stood up to the rest of the cast. The name Jesus Shuttlesworth stuck with Allen as a nickname throughout his career.

Best review:

Shrewdly exposes the underbelly of college recruiting and the pressures exerted on talented high school basketball stars.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Airplane!

Tomatometer: 97 percent

The standard by which all NBA cameos will be judged. Kareem plays himself pretending to be airline pilot Roger Murdock in this comedy classic. When a boy recognizes him, we get a classic response from Kareem.

Best review:

There’s hardly a second that passes without an assault by a wickedly accurate spoof, cringe-inducing pun or inspired sight gag, and the years have not diminished the film’s dumb appeal.

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