From The Court To The Screen: Five Basketball Players Who Starred In Movies

In around 12 months’ time, LeBron James will be going global once again. This time, however, it will be as the central role in the cinematic release of Space Jam: A New Legacy
It’s got us thinking of all the other times that basketball stars have traded the court for camera. Here we look at five of the biggest names to try their hands at acting. Can you guess them all?
Number 5. LeBron James
It didn’t take long for James’ name to crop up again did it? The upcoming Space Jam movie will undoubtedly draw comparisons with Jordan. However, it’s not the only place with the 16-time All-Star finds his name cropping up near the NBA legend with the two often featuring highly in the greatest of all time debate. LeBron’s career is not finished though and he is still ranked high in the NBA Odds 2020.
Besides that, James has some acting experience under his belt already in the shape of four movie appearances. His first was in the documentary film More than a Game in 2008 with his latest a voice role in Smallfoot alongside the likes of James Corden, Channing Tatum and Danny DeVito. He also had quite a funny role in the romcom Trainwreck, alongside Bill Hader and Amy Schumer. 
We still think he’s better at basketball though!!
Number 4. Shaquille O’Neal
When the 1992 draft rolled around Shaq dominated the NBA betting odds as favourite to be the number one pick after a standout time at NCAA level. What followed was 19 years at the top that proved the hype to be absolutely justified. 
He wasn’t all about basketball though and his larger than life personality has seen him stay relevant long after he called time on his NBA career back in 2011. Despite the fact his acting skills are, at best, questionable, he’s featured in no fewer than 20 movies where his roles have varied from being lead man – such as in Kazaam – to a voice role in Show Dogs. 
Number 3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
We’ve already mentioned the NBA G.O.A.T debate. This man features heavily in that discussion having amassed a points haul of over 38,000 and a record six league MVP honours to his name. 
On the acting front, he’s not the best but he was one of the first to make the jump to Hollywood. His first role saw him exchange blows with none other than Bruce Lee in Game of Death but, unquestionably, his biggest role was in the much loved Airplane! 
Number 2. Ray Allen
The 1995 round one pick that is Ray Allen had a marvellous career in the NBA making his mark with appearances in 10 All-Star games and winning two championships – and Olympic Gold – across a stellar 18 year career. On the big screen, Allen has been credited as not only an actor but a good one too, which isn’t always the case for athletes! 
A role in the flop movie Harvard Man probably isn’t a great example of his ability but starring alongside Denzel Washington in He Got Game is definitely deserving of an almighty pat on the back.
Number 1. Michael Jordan
It was obvious, wasn’t it? We started off talking about Space Jam 2 and that’s only possible because of the success the first film – which was released way back in 1996 – had. We know it wasn’t his only role in film but it was certainly the biggest. Jordan is one of, if not the, biggest names to ever grace the NBA and his profile helped the Warner Bros production rake in over $230m at the box office. 
The former Chicago Bulls hero played 15 years in the NBA and was named as an All-Star in 14 of them and scooped a combined 11 MVP awards; five league awards and six Finals MVP wins. It’s hardly a surprise that – spoiler alert – he helped the Looney Tunes to victory too.
There you have it, five NBA stars who took on the challenge of Hollywood. They’ve all done more than one movie too so they’ve obviously done something right!