Slam Dunk to the Big Screen: 10 NBA Stars Who Appeared in Movies

Discover 10 NBA greats who made their mark in movies. From Michael Jordan to LeBron James, explore their Hollywood journey.

There is an intriguing relationship between the NBA and Hollywood because many of the league’s best players have made movies at some point in their careers. Many celebrities have appeared in films over the years since the NBA gained media attention and started to be seen as an interesting sport. The athletes have excelled in their part-time professions as actors and have displayed their talents both on and off the court. 

Ten of the greatest NBA players to have ever made cameos in films either during or after their careers ended are listed here, including Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, and Michael Jordan.

10. Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley, a former NBA MVP and player who is now a TV broadcaster, is among the most well-known figures in the industry. He has appeared in several motion pictures, including He Got Game (1998), Space Jam (1996), and Forget Paris (1995). In addition to leading the team to their second NBA Finals trip in 1993, the former Phoenix Suns talisman was named the team’s MVP that year.

9. Dwight Howard

At one point in his career, Dwight Howard, a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and one of the best centres in his heyday, was also one of the most well-known figures in the media. The top vote-getter from the 2009 NBA All-Star Game made several film appearances, including The Three Stooges (2012), Just Wright (2010), and Free Birds (2013), where he voiced a turkey.

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8. Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin, who was once considered one of the NBA’s best dunkers, has always been well-known in the media. He has made appearances on TV reality shows, in movies, and on the big screen. In 2017, he was in the film The Female Brain, and in 2021, he voiced a character in The Mitchells vs. the Machines.

7. Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman, who is recognized as one of the most contentious NBA players of all time, had ties to Hollywood and, predictably, appeared in multiple motion pictures. He also starred in action movies including Simon Sez (1998) and Double Team (1997), and he hosted his own television program, The Rodman World Tour.

6. Kyrie Irving

One of the NBA players with the most social media following is Kyrie Irving. For a variety of reasons, he has frequently been in the public eye and is frequently mentioned in the media. ‘Uncle Drew’, the film in which he portrayed the title character, was his breakthrough performance in 2018. Uncle Drew was a character he had been appearing in Pepsi Max commercials since 2012.

In the sports comedy movie, Shaquille O’Neale, Aaron Gordon, Reggie Miller, and other former and current NBA players joined Irving. The People’s Choice Award shortlisted the film for best comedy film of 2018.

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5. Kevin Durant

When Kevin Durant’s first film, “Thunderstruck,” came out in 2012, he was already becoming well-known as one of the greatest players in the league. That year, he also guided the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals, where they were ultimately defeated by LeBron James and the Miami Heat. This sports comedy featured Durant in a role based on his own life.

4. Kobe Bryant

Both on and off the court, the late Kobe Bryant was a highly skilled and accomplished athlete. The five-time NBA Champion has made cameo appearances in a number of TV series and motion pictures. 

The Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film went to his short film Dear Basketball in 2018, which was inspired by a letter he penned after announcing his retirement from the game. This was the first time a professional athlete had won an Oscar.

3. LeBron James

Being one of the greatest NBA players of all time, LeBron James is among the most well-known professional sportsmen in the world of sports. The four-time MVP is very involved off the court, and on July 10, 2021, he will have his new movie, Space Jam: A New Legacy, released. Before that, he had been in four films in supporting parts; Space Jam is the first film in which he would play the lead.

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2. Michael Jordan

Due to his reputation as the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan has a huge brand outside of basketball. Because of his shoe deals and success as a player for the Chicago Bulls, he was one of the first NBA players to be recognized on a global scale. Jordan has appeared in a number of documentaries, TV shows, and movies in a variety of roles. In 1996, he was heavily featured in the first Space Jam movie, which was a box office success, earning over $250 million worldwide and becoming the highest-grossing basketball film of all time.

  • Shaquille O’Neal

One of the most well-known NBA players, Shaquille O’Neal is frequently featured in TV ads, talk shows, and motion pictures. He appeared in at least 20 films both while and after his professional basketball playing career came to an end.

In addition, Shaq has four albums of rap music. His most well-known roles come from The Lego Movie (2014), Uncle Grandpa (2014), Steel (1997), and The Smurfs 2 (2013).

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