LeBron James, thespian?


From one king to another: “Oh sure, do a movie or two. Just make sure they’re better than ‘Space Jam.'” Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, left, shakes hands with Miami Heat’s LeBron James, right, after Game 4 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series in Charlotte, N.C., April 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

LeBron James is going Hollywood on us.

Not content to just be a four-time NBA MVP and two-time world champion, the basketball star is going to act in “Trainwreck,” a project directed by Judd Apatow (“40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up”) and written by Amy Schumer.

If the title sounds familiar, that’s because it’s been in the news as the next film for Barkhad Abdi, the actor who played a Somali pirate in “Captain Phillips.”

With Apatow, James should be in good hands, and he’ll be able to avoid the utter farces that haunt Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan to this day. No one’s forgotten about “Kazaam,” Shaq. And “Space Jam,” Michael? How did both of those manage to avoid the distinction of getting nominated for a Razzie? Also noteworthy in 1990s NBA side jobs: Kobe Bryant’s regrettable attempt at a rap career.

James has appeared as himself in HBO’s “Entourage,” and he voices the character of Businessman on his animated series, “Meet the LeBrons.” Off the court, the camera loves him. The spots he’s done for Samsung, with the camera following him through a dramatization of his real life, have been hugely successful. When James is playing himself, he comes across as eminently likable. The ads tell a story, they feature his real-life family and they’re shot mostly in natural light in his home. He looks wealthy, but not ostentatious, in a way that’s relatable. Advertising Age called “LeBron’s Day” a “viral video monster.”

James is also doing a movie called “Baller” in which he’ll play Kevin Hart’s brother. The two have appeared together in — you guessed it — a Samsung commercial.

h/t Bleacher Report

Soraya Nadia McDonald covers arts, entertainment and culture for the Washington Post with a focus on race and gender issues.
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Soraya Nadia McDonald · May 8, 2014