Athletes have frequently experimented with activities outside of athletics. Like NBA picks, acting is a popular option. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a star in the WWE, underwent one of the more successful transitions from athlete to actor. Before joining the Fast and Furious franchise, Johnson started acting in a cameo role as his father on That ’70s Show.
Basketball players, in addition to wrestlers, frequently work in the film industry. The participants would either play themselves in the movies or pursue acting as a career.
Read to learn about NBA players who tried their hands at the big screen:
Michael Jordan was the Chicago Bulls’ go-to player in the 1980s and 1990s. Jordan played basketball unlike anyone had ever seen before, which led to the development of the Nike Air Jordan line of footwear.
Jordan played himself in the 1996 live-action/animated Looney Tunes mashup Space Jam. The story takes place from when Michael Jordan originally left the NBA in 1993 to his 1995 comeback after trying his hand at baseball.
Due to his propensity for starting fights with other players and officials, as well as his numerous tattoos and body piercings, Dennis Rodman earned the nickname “the eccentric bad boy of the NBA.”
Rodman appeared in Simon Sez and Double Team in the late 1990s. Surprisingly, in 2013, Rodman grew close with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and even engaged in combat with Hulk Hogan.
In the 1990s, while pursuing an acting career, Rick Fox participated in basketball with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Fox graduated from the University of North Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures. In 2004, he gave up playing basketball to concentrate on his acting career.
Despite having a long list of acting roles under his belt, Fox is most known for his cameo as Clyde “Sweetfeet” Livingston in the 2003 Disney picture Holes. Until 2019, Fox was also the eSports organization Echo Fox proprietor.
Blake Griffin is one of the most distinguished basketball players at the University of Oklahoma. Griffin signed up with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2009 to start his professional basketball career. Griffin missed the 2010–11 season due to a knee injury, but in 2011 he was named Rookie of the Year. He was also featured in the 2017 comedy movie, The Female Brain.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a successful basketball player and actor. In 1969, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Abdul-Jabbar first overall. He later played for the Los Angeles Lakers. Throughout his career, he played basketball in 20 different seasons.
Abdul-Jabbar had a golden opportunity to learn about acting while he was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. He co-starred with martial arts icon Bruce Lee in the 1972 film Game of Death and took on the role of a co-pilot in the 1980 comedy Airplane! Later, Abdul-Jabbar made guest appearances on Full House and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
The first basketball player to triumph in three different decades was Salley. While John Salley played for several NBA teams, he began his career in 1986 with the Detroit Pistons. Salley played his debut role with co-star Will Smith in the buddy cop movie Bad Boys from 1995.
Fletcher, a computer nerd, played by Salley, assisted Smith’s character in solving crimes for the Miami Police Department. Later, in 2003, Salley returned to the role for the follow-up to Bad Boys II.
In 1996, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Ray Allen first, but he was soon transferred to the Milwaukee Bucks. He willingly agreed to a $6.2 million deal with the Bucks, and in 1999, he inked a massive $70.9 million extension. His net worth soared when Allen acted alongside Denzel Washington in the 1998 Spike Lee picture He Got Game.
For over 15 years, people have argued over who plays basketball better between LeBron James and Michael Jordan. James made his NBA debut in 2003 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. James became the first Cavalier to win that year’s NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
James made a brief cameo appearance on the HBO series Entourage to kick off his acting career. Before taking the lead in Space Jam: A New Legacy, he first appeared in the 2015 Judd Apatow movie Trainwreck as himself. Michael Jordan didn’t appear in Space Jam: A New Legacy, which disappointed fans and received mixed reviews.