Does Adam Sandler Really Know How to Play Basketball in Real Life? – Jeremiah Zagar directs ‘Hustle‘, a 2022 American sports drama film based on a script by Taylor Materne and Will Fetters. Adam Sandler, Queen Latifah, Ben Foster, Juancho Hernández, and Robert Duvall star in the movie.
On June 3, 2022, Hustle was released in select cinemas, followed by a Netflix release on June 8, 2022. Critics praised Adam Sandler’s performance, and the picture garnered excellent reviews.
In pick-up basketball games across the country, Adam Sandler is a regular. Hustle, in which he portrays a rough-around-the-edges scout for the Philadelphia 76ers, is only the latest chapter in a lengthy love affair with the game.
While Sandler is a fantastic actor, and it’s no surprise that he effortlessly inhabits the role of Sugerman, the film makes us wonder if he understands much about the game in real life. Here’s what we discovered after a little digging.
Read Also: Is Hustle’s Stanley Sugerman Based on a Real Philadelphia 76ers Coach?
Does Adam Sandler Really Play Basketball in Real Life?
Yes, Adam Sandler is a basketball player, and his passion for the game is well-known. His enthusiasm for the sport has been included in a number of films, sometimes as a minor character attribute and other times as the plot’s driving force. In fact, ‘Hustle‘ isn’t the first time he’s played a character who has a connection to the Philadelphia 76ers.
“Basketball started for me [when] I was a young man,” Sandler tells Tudum. “I played with my dad, my brother and my uncle, who was 6-[feet]-6. And we had a telephone pole on our street… My father painted a little board brown, put it up on the telephone pole, put a rim on it. It was very small, so you didn’t have much backboard to work with. But we used to play hoops out there in the street, and when a car came by we’d have to stop. But I got addicted to it then.”
Sandler plays a jewellery store owner and gambling addict in the 2019 film ‘Uncut Gems,’ in which he gets into a pickle with Kevin Garnett when he bets on the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals between the Celtics and the 76ers.
While attending New Hampshire’s Manchester Central High School, Sandler joined the school’s basketball team, but by his own admission didn’t get much playing time. “I sat [on] the bench,” Sandler said on The Dan Patrick Show in 2019. “I was very slow, but I played guitar. My coach liked that, so he would have me jam during the basketball practices.”
Sandler developed a passion for basketball from a young age. He was a member of the basketball team at Manchester Central High School while there. He didn’t have the best skills, but he practiced and played a lot. The actor has polished his skills over the years, as evidenced by his popular footage of him shooting baskets. A video of him playing basketball with NBA players Trae Young, Tobias Harris, and Aaron Gordon became viral in the year 2021. All of these characters appear in ‘Hustle,’ which could indicate that it was filmed in advance of the film.
Shaquille O’Neal, an NBA legend who has worked with Sandler on multiple films, has likewise praised the actor’s abilities. “He’s the real deal.” On the Green Light Podcast, he claimed, “He’s not pro legit, but he’s absolutely LA Fitness, 24-Hour Fitness legit.” He also made a remark about Sandler’s customary outfit of baggy, loose clothing. “The guys who can’t hoop are the guys who have the perfect fit.” The guys that don’t care about what they’re wearing, on the other hand, are the ones you should be concerned about.”
Sandler is a New York Knicks enthusiast who frequently attends games at Madison Square Garden. He’s also declared his affection for Julius Erving, with whom he collaborated on the film’ Hustle.’ The ‘Murder Mystery’ actress has also been spotted shooting hoops in public. “I see a game in progress, and I know where the parks are.” “If I’m shooting in a specific state or city, I’ll ask around for some decent games and then show up,” he explained on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Sandler’s character in Hustle asks Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernández) a simple question: “Do you like this game?” Sandler has made it apparent that he believes this. He says to Tudum, “I lucked out getting into this movie.” “I’m a huge fan of the sport.” Growing up, I liked being around gyms. That was the only thing I had ever done. I used to play pickup basketball five, six, and occasionally seven times a week.” He’s had to slow down recently as a 55-year-old man. He admits, “I’ve been sitting back and watching hoops a little bit more than playing.” Hopefully, he will return.
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