New Adam Sandler movie features cameos from two of Dallas’ best players


Adam Sandler is back. Although it’s become the norm for mainstream movie stars to develop projects directly for streaming services, Sandler made headlines in 2014 when he signed an exclusive development deal with Netflix. To the Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore star finally sold out? Amazingly, Sandler was the first to follow the trend, and now it’s hard to name a big star who hasn’t appeared on the service.

It’s not entirely fair to say that Sandler brought “respect” to the Netflix movie model. Sandler’s Netflix Comedies The ridiculous 6, Do it again, The week of, Sandy Wexler, Murder Mystery and hubie halloween make his much-derided 2011 comedy Jack and Jill look like The Godfather. To be fair, Sandler will occasionally cut things down and do a more personal project, including his latest release. Sandler stars as basketball scout Stanley Sugarman in new sports drama Hustle.

In the film, Sugarman has developed the skills to become a coach and is promised a job as a manager by veteran Philadelphia 76ers owner Rex Merrick (Robert Duvall). When Rex suddenly dies, the team is passed on to his villainous son Vince (Ben Foster). Vince has no love for Sugarman and eventually dumps him. But Sugarman finds a new passion project: Spanish rookie Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangómez). Sugarman notices Bo’s skills during a trip to Spain and decides to promote him to the NBA. Their journey together teaches both men to be a little more humble.

Hustle is more than the usual showcase for Sandler and his friends. It features cameos from some of the NBA’s most beloved players. Among them, Dirk Nowitzki, who continues to establish himself as an emblematic media figure after his retirement. If you’ve ever seen the funny videos that the recorded basketball star for the Dallas Mavericks’ social media handle, you know the 7-foot German player has a sense of humor. He even lent his voice to a sitcom The Cleveland Show and gave Conan O’Brien the “Dallas Citizenship Test” on Conan’s TBS show.

Nowitzki’s appearance in Hustle is actually one of the funniest moments in what is an unusually serious endeavor for Sandler. Sugarman tries to convince Bo that he wants to sponsor him, but the skeptical Spanish star has no reason to believe this mysterious American. To convince him he’s legit, Sugarman calls his old friend Dirk for a video chat.

Dončić has yet to achieve Nowitzki’s legendary pop culture status, but give it some time.

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Of course, Nowitzki is having a little fun with Sugarman. He jokes that he has “never seen that man in my life” before finally revealing the truth. His words of support to Sugarman help persuade Bo to start watching American professional sports. What better way to get into the NBA than to share a moment with the iconic Dallas player?

Nowitzki isn’t the only Dallas player to appear in Hustle. During a montage near the end of the film, various players record video messages expressing their support for Bo. Hustle is less about the actual games and more about the selection process; Bo tries to land a shot on any team that can use it. He receives a nice message from Luka Dončić, who has been talking about him since signing with the Mavs in 2018.

Dončić took over from Dirk in many ways. Dončić has yet to earn Nowitzki’s pop culture status, but give it some time. It’s still early in his career, and we have the feeling that Hustle is the first of many fun roles he’ll have in the coming years.

Dallas is also referenced in Hustle beyond cameos. While we all love Sandler, we’re not surprised the Brooklyn-born comedian had to make a breakthrough with the Mavs. When asked whether or not he believes huge Serbian player Boban Marjanović meets the age requirements for the draft, Sugarman joked that “Dallas thinks he is.”

Hustle is streaming on Netflix now and playing in select theaters. If you’re still hungry for Dallas Mavericks content, you can also check out the documentary Nowitzki: the perfect photo, For who Dirk himself hosted a screening at the Dallas International Film Festival in 2015.


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