NBA Players Who Became Hollywood Movie Stars

Last Modified: Mar 10, 2021

Perhaps more so than any other American elite sports league, the NBA is full of larger-than-life characters and men who seem born to perform. It is therefore no surprise that when many pro ballers hang up their sneakers for the last time, they jump at the opportunity to feature in everything from Hollywood blockbusters to TV drama series.

In this article we take a look at the former, dissecting the acting performances of some of the world’s most popular basketball players, who then went on to wow movie audiences with their on-screen magnetism. Here are the NBA players who shone and continue to shine on the big screen.

Many NBA stars make seamless transitions to the big screen (Image:

Kevin Garnett – Perfect Foil for Adam Sandler

You would think it easy to play yourself in a movie, simply turning up and acting exactly as you do every day of the week, and yet so many sportspeople struggle with this in movies, often delivering wooden and uncomfortable performances.

Not so with Kevin Garnett, who pulled off the perfectly understated cameo appearance of 2019 in Uncut Gems, the story of an NBA fan and jewelry store owner whose life quickly spirals out of control. Throughout the movie, Garnett is an almost calming on-screen presence compared to Adam Sandler’s at times delirious protagonist.

The former Boston Celtics great is also willing to poke fun at himself, especially when it comes to his character’s obsession with the magic powers of an uncut gem.

Whether you are a sports betting fan or love high octane movies that make you think, Uncut Gems is a must-see, and Garnett is a big reason for that.

Having performed in front of huge audiences for their entire careers, b-ball players are not intimidated by a few cameras and a director screaming “cut!” (Image:

LeBron James – King of Court and Screen

There is seemingly nothing that LeBron James cannot do, still delivering the goods for NBA bettors and finding time to voice his opinion on a wide range of matters as well as appearing in Hollywood movies.

So far, he has starred in titles such as Trainwreck and Smallfoot, although there is no doubt that he will make a slew of movie appearances when he finally calls time on his illustrious playing career. In the meantime, NBA betting tips and odds experts will continue to rave about The King’s on-court performances, with film critics waiting in the wings to do the same when he turns his hand 100% to movies.

However, never a person who likes to be referred to as a one-trick pony, Lebron is also in the business of producing movies.

Some of the upcoming motion pictures he will preside over include Friday the 13th and Hustle. Adam Sandler is slated to appear in Hustle, which will have movie aficionados wondering if the American comedy actor is becoming the go-to guy for NBA players who wish to make it in the movie business.

Shaquille O'Neal – Ain’t Nothing Shaq Can’t Do

When it comes to diverse interests away from the basketball court, the man affectionately known as Shaq, is perhaps the most curious and adventurous of them all. Since leaving the NBA parquet behind he has remodeled himself as a television studio pundit, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and of course, a movie star.

Thus far he has appeared in movies such as Uncle Drew, What Men Want, and Scary Movie 4. On top of all this, he has a longer TV series show reel than most full-time professional actors.

One thing is for sure, any NBA player who wants to know how to foray into showbusiness could do a lot worse than organizing a parlay with the big man.

Kyrie Irving – Now Known as Uncle Drew

While Shaq made fleeting appearances in the 2018 comedy Uncle Drew, it was Kyrie Irving who took center stage, outfoxing the opposition as an elderly baller who had retained all his moves.

The upshot was a hilarious take on heartwarming sports movies of yesteryear.

Tags : NBA Basketball players Kevin Garnett LeBron James Shaquille O'Neal Kyrie Irving