Entertainment & Culture
The NegusWhoRead Movie All-Star Basketball Team

The day after the NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans begins a rare week in America where there are no professional sports (I know some of you are saying, “Wait. The NHL is still playing,” but this is a Black site, so until you see niggas in the park spinning 360 degrees and then crossing over on skates with sticks, yelling “Gretzky!”–Hockey doesn’t count).

Anyway, since basketball has a midseason hiatus and because it is Oscar Week we thought we’d propose an interesting question: What if there were an all-star team of the greatest movie basketball players?

Interesting question huh? We assembled a panel of experts to debate the question and came up with the following criteria:

  • Each member must be a fictional character So no Michael Jordan from Space Jam and none of the cast of Hoop Dreams
  • Only Black characters So Jimmy Chitwood from Hoosiers is excluded. So is Billy Hoyle from White Men Can’t Jump.
  • They must be from a major motion picture I call this “the mixtape rule” because every time I have a discussion about hip hop, there will always be a guy who brings up an obscure name that no one ever heard of. That guy will also tell you that ____’s best stuff was on his mixtapes. That guy will also be wearing a hoodie with a lot of lint, and a baseball cap covering a haircut that expired 4 days ago.

Point Guard: Quincy McCall (Love and Basketball)


Quincy is one of the few guys on this list to actually make it to the league. Although he was never an NBA superstar, his career was cut short by a knee injury. I’ve spoken to many scouts and front-office personnel, however, who believe that McCall never put the effort and energy into basketball to return after his injury. The question remains:

If you had Sanaa Lathan waiting at home, would you?

Shooting Guard: Sidney Dean (White Men Can’t Jump)

Like NBA players Rafer “Skip-To-My-Lou” Alston and Connie Hawkins, Sidney Dean made his name in streetball. Although he shined in 2-on-2 basketball, he was limited in full court because he was always reluctant to pass the ball to white teammates. Many say he could’ve played in the NBA but everyone was creeped out because he always wore biker shorts. Maybe it’s for the best. Had he made all that money, he probably wouldn’t have paid taxes on it anyway.

Small Forward: Jesus Shuttlesworth (He Got Game)

Jesus Shuttlesworth was one of the most highly recruited players coming out of high school and went on to win 2 NBA championships. He had range, size quickness, handles and–although many people don’t know this–his father was a great basketball player too. His father also fought in the civil war, was a legendary heroin dealer in New York, and was eventually killed after a long career as an undercover police officer in Los Angeles. King Kong ain’t had nothing on him.

Power Forward: Shep (Above The Rim)

Perhaps the least known of our all-stars, Shep is one of the few players who made the team on reputation alone. The only film we had of him was from one streetball game at the end of a Tupac movie. Some may say that isn’t enough to warrant a space on this team, but let me see if you can hit 3’s, dunk, throw no-look passes and rebound–all while being brutally fouled. Oh, and did I mention that he did all this in a pair of corduroys, a turtleneck and wrestling boots?

Bench: Neon Boudeaux (Blue Chips)

All great teams must have someone strong down low, and no movie center can come close to Neon Bordeaux. He got to play in the NBA, but some say he should have stayed in college an extra year. Although he did have a great career, it was marred by accusations of cheating. He never used performance-enhancing drugs, but after he retired they found out he had a genie named Shazaam, which might be the reason he led four teams to championships.

Bench Warmers

Monica Wright (Love and Basketball)

Monica led her team to the high school championship game, played at USC and led her international women’s team to a title. If the WNBA had been around during her time, she would have been a star here. She wasn’t very dedicated to the game, and quit early in her career to become a writer for a hip hop magazine.

Calvin Colbert (Like Mike)

It’s just too early to make a full assessment on this young player, but he shows much promise–even though he claims that he is not black. I guess he must be “dark white.”

Cornbread (Cornbread, Earl & Me)

Damn, they killed him Cornbread. He was a basketball star, a community figure, and icon. His death would inspire a young Laurence Fishbourne to grow up, change his name to Morpheus, and save the world by unplugging Neo from the matrix.

Jamaal Jeffries/Juwanna Mann (Juwanna Mann)

The only transgender player to make the list. The only player to play in both the NBA and the WNBA.

Teen Wolf (Teen Wolf)

I know you’re thinking,”but I thought only black players were eligible!” Obviously, you don’t know what Teen Wolf is about:

Teen Wolf is a movie about a teenager who discovers that he is a mixed race kid passing as white, but when the moon is full, his Black side comes out. As soon as he finds out he’s a teen wolf, he can play basketball, have mind-blowing sex, and he can dance. The white people at his school really love him because of his athletic ability and his coolness, but they are still kinda scared of him, because… you know.

But at least he made the team.


About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

Related Posts