Skip to main content

10 NBA Players Who Made It To Hollywood

10 NBA Players Who Made It To Hollywood

NBA players have always pursued alternative careers besides sports. Some create their own studios or simply record their own music, while others go into fashion, designing from clothes to sunglasses, to perfumes.

However, the most controversial attempts have been made when NBA players star in movies. Of course there have been a couple of good performances here and there, but the majority of said endeavors have produced hilarious results. As a Christmas present from us for you, here is a list of players who have played in movies:

10. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Movie: Airplane!

Date: 1980

Role: Roger Murdock

Besides being the all-time leading scored for the NBA with 38,387 points, Kareem has also performed in a couple of movies in his time. First came the movie The Game of Death in 1978, where he played Hakim, a high-kicking foe of Bruce Lee. for the NBA with 38,387 points, Kareem has also performed in a couple of movies in his time. First came the movie The Game of Death in 1978, where he played Hakim, a high-kicking foe of Bruce Lee.

His second attempt was in 1980, where he starred as a co-pilot in the comedy Airplane!, where a kid actually asks him if he is the real basketball player himself.

9. Dennis Rodman

Movie: Double Team

Date: 1997

Role: Yaz

Well, Dennis Rodman has done a LOT on and off the court, but this time he created a different kind of Big 3. He paired up with martial arts aficionado Jean-Claude Van Damme and Hollywood star Mickey Rourke in this film in 1997 when he was still playing in the NBA.
He portrayed a villain (of course) in this futuristic movie, but he also went on to participate in numerous reality TV shows after that. He also participated in the movie Eddie and also made a short cameo in a Baywatch episode.

8. Gheorghe Muresan

Movie: My Giant

Date: 1998

Role: Max

Standing over seven and a half feet tall (2.31m), he could not play anything other than a giant. Paired up with comedian Billy Crystal who played a Hollywood agent, Muresan was discovered living in Romania.

Billy Crystal convinces him to come back to the United States with him, in pursuit of a film career. It's not a very bad film, and it's not his only attempt at TV shows. He has also made commercials for Snickers, ESPN, and also participated in Eminem's My Name Is music video.

7. Kevin Durant

Movie: Thunderstruck

Date: 2012

Role: Himself

This is Kevin Durant's first and only attempt in participating in a movie, which was a family comedy about a boy that switches powers with him. Kevin Durant acquires the habits and talent of the teenager and goes on to act and play like one.

The former bench-warmer teenager goes on to become a basketball sensation for his high school team and eventually gets the girl that he wants.

6. Patrick Ewing

Movie: Exorcist III

Date: 1990

Role: Angel of Death

No, this is not a typo, Patrick Ewing actually played the Angel of Death in the 1990 movie Exorcist III, with black wings and all. The eleven-time All-Star was playing for the Knicks at the time, and he played alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Larry King who also made cameos in that movie.

Apart from that, Patrick Ewing also played in the movie Space Jam, where he was one of the five NBA stars to have his powers stolen by those aliens. The others were Charles Barkley, Muggsy Bogues, Larry Johnson and Shawn Bradley. Moreover, he participated in the movie Senseless and in the sitcoms Spin City, Herman's Head, Webster and Mad About You.

5. Michael Jordan

Scroll to Continue


Movie: Space Jam

Date: 1996

Role: Himself

Michael Jordan actually played a correct depiction of himself in this movie, but with a big twist. Some inter-galactic alien minions arrive on Earth in order to steal the Looney Tunes, who challenge the aliens to a game of basketball. The aliens eventually steal the powers of NBA players Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Shawn Bradley, Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues, and turn into the Monstars.

The Looney Tunes decide to summon Michael Jordan to help, as Buggs Bunny interrupts a game of gold between Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Bill Murray. He eventually decides to help them, and not only defeats the aliens, but he also restores the powers to said NBA stars, before making the aliens realize that they don't have to take any crap from their overlord.

4. Wilt Chamberlain

Movie: Conan the Destroyer

Date: 1984

Role: Bombaata

Wilt Chamberlain has only played in two movies in his career, a short cameo in the movie Any Given Sunday, and a really exciting part in the 1984 movie Conan the Destroyer. Conan was played by ex-California governor and former professional bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was on a quest to return a princess to her kingdom.

Where does Wilt come in? Well, he was the princess' hulking body-guard, wielding a spiked club of some sort. He was also a eunich, who had secret orders to kill Conan once the quest was completed. Exciting stuff!

3. Ray Allen

Movie: He Got Game

Date: 1998

Role: Jesus Shuttlesworth

This is probably the best attempt an NBA player made in the movies, as Ray Allen was actually really good. The movie also featured Denzel Washington, Milla Jovovich and Rosario Dawson among others, but more importantly, it was directed by Knicks' fan Spike Lee.

The movie ranks the highest among all others on IMDB (6.9 from 38,785 votes), and it is a must-see for any basketball fan. Ray Allen also made a brief appearance in the 2001 flick Harvard Man, but he is best known for his Jesus Shuttlesworth role, and he was actually annoyed by the fact that people called him "Jesus" for more than a decade later.

2. Rick Fox

Movie: Meet the Browns 

Date: 2008

Role: Harry

The three-time NBA champion has actually participated in a lot of films and series, even when he was still an active player with the Celtics and the Lakers. One of his biggest roles was in the movie Meet the Browns, but his filmography consists of a whopping 57 participations in numerous projects.

His career in acting started with the movie Blue Chips in 1994, where he acted alongside Shaquille O'Neal, Penny Hardaway and Nick Nolte. He did Eddie with Whoopie Goldberg, and also played in Spike Lee's He Got Game.

However, he has also made some really controversial choices, when he played in movies like Navy Seals vs Zombies, Sharknado and Killing Hasselhoff.

Read More

Top 5 Weirdest NBA Rules You Probably Never Knew Existed

Top 13 NBA Players With Multiple Jerseys Retired

Ranking The Top 10 Best Lakers of All-Time

1. Shaquille O'Neal

Movie: Kazaam

Date: 1996

Role: Kazaam

He probably has the richest movie career than any other NBA player, with only Rick Fox having participated in more projects than Shaq. However, Shaq's movies are by far the most recognizable, starting off with the Blue Chips. However, he actually starred in Kazaam, a family comedy that has him playing as a genie.

He went on to play Steel, where he is something of a poor man's Tony Stark, before making numerous cameos in films and series. Some of them include Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm, Scary Movie 4, Grown Ups 2, The Smurfs 2, The Lego Movie and Maroon 5's video clip for the song Don't Wanna Know. As you can see, his roles are as colorful as his personality.