After researching the history of basketball movies that never received a green-light for distribution, I was amazed to discover the following working titles that somehow missed the cut. Here they are, in reverse order:
5. Curious Georgetown (1981) John Thompson stars as The Man in the Yellow Hat, who hires an inquisitive monkey to officially scout players for his basketball program.
4. Alien (1995) A crew of scientists investigate a series of alleged alien sightings in the state of Texas, only to discover it was in fact Houston Rockets guard Sam Cassell. The role of Sam Cassell is played by Ronald ‘Popeye’ Jones. [Apologies to Sam and Popeye – I’m no oil painting myself!]
3. To Mock a Larrybird (1992) Set in French Lick, Indiana, this coming-of-age tale revolves around a severe case of Tall Poppy Syndrome. Larry Bird (played by Mackenzie Crook; The Office, UK) defies the odds and label of ‘hick’ to leave his small town and make it as a superstar in the NBA.
2. Diff’rent Strokes, The Movie (1993) Derrick Coleman stars as a petulant franchise player on the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. Trouble abounds when the team’s General Manager tries to convince him to alter his shooting style, leading to Derrick’s scene-stealing quote – “What you talking about Willis Reed?”
1. The King’s Speech (2010) LeBron James, suffering from a debilitating clutchness impediment, is suddenly front and centre on national TV, an event arranged by his handlers. King James decrees he is leaving Cleveland, taking his talents to South Beach (Miami). After an awkward beginning, he develops a seemingly unbreakable bond with his new teammates [the ‘decision’ to cease production of this movie paved the way for another movie, starring Colin Firth, to use this same title].
Are you aware of other such movies that are not on this list? If so, add them below in the comments section.