It is no secret that comedian Adam Sandler loves basketball. His newest movie, Hustlewhich is now streaming on Netflix, is his longest love letter to the sport yet.
The film is produced by Sandler’s Happy Madison Production in tandem with LeBron James’ The SpringHill Company. It is about a basketball scout who discovers a once-in-a-lifetime player with “a rocky past” (played by Juancho Hernangomez) and the path he takes to the NBA.
Spencer Beighley — the Head of Film at The SpringHill Company and an executive producer for Hustle — explained to For The Win why the movie was able to land so many big names for this project.
“You’re going to see a lot of excellent basketball players in this movie. It was never as easy to get cameos in any movie than it was on Hustle because when you say Adam Sandler’s name, people immediately perk up,” Beighley said.
“All these players, they not only grew up with all of Adam’s movies, but they know that he is a true basketball fan at his core.”
You’ll notice that many of the featured athletes have connections to the Philadelphia 76ers. That’s because, in the movie, Sandler’s character used to work for the organization. The film’s director (Jeremiah Zagar) and writer (Will Fetters) are both from Philly.
Meanwhile, in addition to many of the bigger names, there are also plenty of other non-NBA basketball players who played important roles (including streetball legends like The Professor, AO, and Main Event) as well.
“There are so many hidden cameos that sometimes go so ‘inside-basketball’ that only the dedicated fans are really going to notice,” Beighley added. “I think it’s those cameos that allow this story to feel like a love letter to the game.”
For example, TNT broadcaster Kenny Smith plays an agent named Leon Rich. In case you didn’t catch that reference, LeBron’s first agent when he came into the league was Leon Rose and his current agent is Rich Paul.
There are plenty of other similar nuggets (including Denver’s Aaron Gordon) and easter eggs sprinkled throughout the film to look out for as well.
Before you stream, you can watch a trailer for the movie if you click here. Otherwise, take a look at some of the individuals who you will see on the screen when you watch Hustle.
NOTE: Some of the images could be spoilers for the movie!
Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)
Seth Curry (Brooklyn Nets)
Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia 76ers)
Jordan Clarkson (Utah Jazz)
Aaron Gordon (Denver Nuggets)
Moe Wagner (Orlando Magic)
Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)
Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
Willy Hernangomez (New Orleans Pelicans)
Julius “Dr. J” Erving
Leandro Barbosa (Golden State Warriors)
Emeka Okafor (New Orleans Pelicans)
Matt Geiger (Philadelphia 76ers)
Bill Duffy (Denver Nuggets turned agent)
Billy King (former player, Philadelphia 76ers team president, now on 94 WIP radio show in Philadelphia)
Felipe Reyes (former Spanish player)
Elvin Rodriguez (college basketball)
Mike Foster Jr. (NBA G League)
Alex Abrines (FC Barcelona)
Pierre Oriola (FC Barcelona)
Grayson “The Professor” Boucher (streetball)
Aaron “AO” Owens (streetball)
Larry “Bone Collector” Williams (streetball
Lonnie “Prime Objective” Harrell (streetball)
Waliyy “Main Event” Dixon (streetball)
Mike James (former NBA player)
Zalia Avant Garde (basketball player)
Mark Jackson (former Golden State Warriors coach)
Doc Rivers (Philadelphia 76ers)
Dell Demps (Utah Jazz assistant coach)
Sergio Scariolo (Spain national team)
Dave Joerger (Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach)
Peter Dominguez (Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach)
Maurice Cheeks (Chicago Bulls assistant coach)
Bobby Verdun (Salem State head coach)
Aaron McKie (Temple University head coach)
Chris “Lethal Shooter” Matthews (shooting coach)
Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks owner)
Jaleel White (Actor)
Dan Patrick (Sports reporter)
Jeff Schwartz (Founder of sports management agency)
James Goldstein (businessman, huge basketball fan)
Beanie Sigel (Philadelphia rapper)
Freeway (Philadelphia rapper)
Tierra Whack (Philadelphia rapper)
Kristine Leahy (sports reporter)
Fat Joe (rapper)
Pat Croce (former Philadelphia 76ers president)
Fran Fraschilla (basketball commentator)
Ernie Johnson Jr. (Inside the NBA for TNT)
Brad Stevens (president of Boston Celtics operations)
Jay Wright (former Villanova coach)