“Hustle” is one of the greatest sports movies in recent history


This past week the basketball based movie “Hustle” co-produced by LeBron James and his company “Springhill” hit Netflix. The show is about Bo Cruz (played by NBA player Juancho Hernanomez) and his path from poverty in Spain to the NBA. The man who discovers Cruz is Stanley Sugarman (Adam Sandler) a former college hooper turned scout/assistant coach for the 76ers. When the 76ers owner and Sugarman begin to have disagreements over Cruz as well as Sugarman’s job title, Sugarman quits his job, beginning an epic journey to get Cruz drafted into the NBA. 

The movie gives you a lot of your usual sports movie montage moments during Cruz’s grind to improve. He wakes up every morning at 4 AM (a tribute mentioned by Sandler’s character to the time Kobe Bryant said he’d wake up to work out) and gets to work on his shooting, dribbling, conditioning etc. During some of these scenes, we see some cameos from street ball legend “The Professor” and pro shooting coach Chris “Lethal Shooter” Williams. All of the grinding leads up to the draft combine, where we see Cruz go up against top prospect Kermit Wiltz (played by NBA star Anthony Edwards). Kermit gets into Cruz’s head and Cruz eventually shoves him to the ground before exiting the combine scrimmage game in fury after Kermit made jokes about Cruz’s daughter and her lack of a mother figure. Sugarman eventually catches up to Cruz late that night and almost gets into a physical altercation with Cruz before calming him down before the police came and arrested Cruz. After they talk things out, they are left with a major problem. Cruz is now labeled as a hot head from a poverty town that no NBA team would ever want. They seemed to have accepted this, and Sugarman gets a flight for Cruz back to Spain. That is until Sugarman’s old college teammate turned agent Leon Rich (played by NBA champion Kenny Smith) gets Cruz into a last second exclusive run right before Cruz’s plane takes off. Here, we see an iconic amount of NBA star cameos that featured Trae Young, Aaron Gordon, and Jordan Clarkson. Seeing all these stars together not only gets any basketball fan going “wow”, but also sets up a perfect Hollywood scenario where Cruz dominates the run and even gets revenge on Kermit for what happened at the combine. This run grabs the attention of Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens (playing himself), and he eventually drafts Cruz after a “five months later” flashback. To end the movie, we see Sugarman hired back by the 76ers as an assistant coach after Kat Merrick (Sandler’s friend) takes over for her brother as owner of the team. Cruz is also now playing for the Celtics, and they meet at half court and share a wholesome embrace. The movie then ends with a highlight montage of Cruz, then an amazing credit scene showing highlights of all those with cameos in the movie. 

Hustle was a great watch that I recommend for everyone, not just hoops fans. However, if you are a hoops fan, enjoy seeing all your favorite  stars in one movie. In fact, there were so many, I couldn’t even fit all of them into this article and the scenes they were in. I easily give hustle a 4.5/5, and think it is one of the greatest sports movies of its time. Be sure to see it, out now, on Netflix!