It was released on June 8 all over the world and, although ours is definitely a football-loving country, in Italy it quickly reached the top of the ranking of the most viewed films on Netflix. Perhaps it helped the recent end of the Italian championship, with the victory of Olimpia Milano, or of the NBA, with the triumph of the Golden State Warriors over the Bolton Celtics, but much of the success of Hustle it is thanks to a film that makes basketball lovers’ eyes shine but also excites those who barely know what a three-point hoop is.
If you love basketball, sport in general, or even “only” the stories of those who fight with strength and courage to try to fulfill a dream, in short, we recommend you to watch this funny “comedy sports drama” (to put it in his genre in English) without any doubts or hesitation. And if you are a fan of the NBA, then you should know that at the bottom of this review there is the complete list of the stars of American basketball who participated in this film, whose protagonists are Adam Sandler and the great forward of the Utah Jazz Juancho Hernangómez .
What the movie Hustle is about
Stanley Sugerman is a talent scout (and aspiring coach) of the Philadelphia 76ers, who travels the world in search of unknown young talent to hire via draft. After a series of disappointments and some doubts about a German named Haas (actually Moritz Wagner of the Orlando Magic), he goes to Mallorca to see a player who is injured.
Desperate, he goes to take two pitches on some pitch to distract himself, but the nearby pitch is surrounded by an absurd crowd. A challenge is underway, with a player too boastful for his skills, but in the end he finds an opponent who can put him back in line. This two-meter pale boy, with construction shoes, is a true prodigy, and enchants Stan with his “hustle” (which means the typical scam of someone who pretends not to be so good at a game or sport and then bet money and win).
So he decides to follow him home and after some resistance video calls Dirk Nowitzki who convinces the Spanish boy, who is called Bo Cruz and is indeed played by Hernangómez. And so he takes him to Philadelphia to introduce him to Vincent Merrick (Ben Foster), the new president who has taken the place of the recently deceased Father Rex (Robert Duvall, whom we will soon see again in Westworld), who had promised Stan a job as assistant coach.
Of course things will not go smoothly, also because otherwise it would be a bit boring short film, but we stop here so as not to spoil the whole plot of the film. However, we recommend that you see the trailer for Hustle also available on YouTubeso as to begin to become familiar with the atmosphere of the film.
Why see Hustle
It may sound like a generalization, but Americans are very good at making sports movies and TV series when it comes to it. Over the years we’ve all seen tons of baseball (and softball) movies, from The man of dreams to go down; about American football, and here the mandatory quote is Every damn Sunday; on basketball, the first titles that come to mind are Desire to win, Return from nowhere e Space Jam. They even made a fantastic TV series about football, Ted Lassoand then Hustle is also set (and mentions it) in that Philadelphia that was the cradle of Rocky…
In general, it can be said that these films work even more when behind there is someone who loves the sport we are talking about. In this case, it would be enough even to say that among the producers of Hustle there is LeBron James, but in reality what illuminates the film is the passion for this game that oozes from every pore of Adam Sandler, one who plays basketball on the street with strangers, of which videos of many years ago circulate on the net in he also played with his dog.
In practice, it is a bit like if an Italian football patient were given a leading part in a football movie in which there are the greatest champions in Serie A history. Yes, essentially that’s what happened to Lino. Banfi with A coach in the ballbut here the players have (been put in a position to be) decidedly better as the actors of Ciccio Graziani, Picchio De Sisti etc.
Above all, what is surprising is the performance of the aforementioned Juancho Hernangómez, fully at ease in front of the cameras even when he is not on his beloved parquet. Bo Cruz’s character captures the audience with his story and at the same time with his plays, and together with Sandler / Sugermen he creates a very enjoyable film from start to finish, which makes you really want to say “I love this game “.
The list of NBA stars in Hustle
In the credits of the film are the names of all the players, former players, coaches and managers of the NBA who participated in this film, which among other things can also boast Queen Latifah in the role of Stan’s wife. Almost all NBA stars are in their parts, obviously aside from Juancho Hernangómez and Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves) as Kermit Wilts and a few others, like Boban Marjanovic as a not-so-believable 22-year-old Serb.
Then there is the commentator and former basketball player Kenny Smith who plays the part of Leon, a friend of Stan. In minor roles there are two non-basketball stars, namely rapper Fat Joe (who does himself) and ex Steve Urkel Jaleel White. But let’s get to the list of NBA champions who participated in the film as themselves.
The list includes: Trae Young, Jordan Clarkson, Khris Middleton, Aaron Gordon, Kyle Lowry, Seth Curry, Luka Doncic, Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, Aaron McKie, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson , Dirk Nowitzki, Brad Stevens, Doc Rivers, Dave Joerger, Mark Jackson, Sergio Scariolo, José Calderón, Leandro Barbosa, Álex Abrines and Maurice Cheeks.