Adam Sandler Hustle Shot a Key Scene in a Real NBA Game, Where and How They Did It


Adam Sandler has a long history of working with the streaming giant Netflix, although his products are quite successful for the company. As you can see from our rating of every Adam Sandler movie on Netflix, for every Murder Mystery movie (with the charming Jennifer Aniston) there is a Halloween Hubie waiting for the ratings curve to drop. Sandler, however, has in his hands an alleged hit with NBA-themed Hustle, a film that is a great success with critics and fans and earns a large number of fans thanks to the appearance of several NBA superstars. And for those who watched the movie, there are even a few shots taken during the official NBA game, and Hustle director Jeremy Tan told the CinemaBlend ReelBlend podcast how it happened.

The rest of this story will contain light spoilers for Hustle. Stop reading now if you’ve come this far and don’t want to know anything about the movie at all.

In Hustle, Adam Sandler plays a Philadelphia 76ers talent scout named Stanley Sugarman, who discovers an extremely gifted basketball player (Juancho Hernangomes), and then trains him to participate in the NBA Combine and Draft. By the end of the movie, Stanley gets a job as an assistant coach of the Sixers, but his client Bo is chosen for the Boston Celtics. During the final credits of the film, Stanley watches from the bench as Bo meets with the Sixers, and Jeremiah Tan told the ReelBlend podcast that these shots were shot during a real NBA competition, of which Hernangomes was a part.

As the director explains:

This is a real game. So what we did for the credits sequence, we wanted to do because Juancho was traded to the Celtics (in real life) at the end, at the end of the season. And so… all the producers, we all gathered. And I’m like, “We need to take the game down.” And (my operator) is like, “Okay, okay. We’ll figure it out.”.. We brought Adam and Doc (Rivers) and the coaches, the real coaches, together to shoot the final scene. And one day we took Adam’s side, Doc’s side and Coach’s side. And then we went in during a real game and shot Juancho and the rest of the team. And then we just added Juancho’s new VFX number to his T-shirt. So this is the real game you are watching. And these are the real moments that you actually watch in the game.

Like most of the action in Hustle, these scenes are distinguished by authenticity, which is achieved through the use of real NBA players who have gone through trials to become a professional. Hustle co-star Anthony Edwards says the trash talk in the film isn’t as intense in a real league, and the sports scenes are more inspired by boxing movies than basketball movies. But showing real NBA players taking part in the game helps to take Hustle to a new level. In fact, Jeremy Tan said he captured moments with real Philadelphia Sixers players that he couldn’t fake. Next he said ReelBlend:

In fact, Matisse (Taibul) was taken – I don’t know if you remember it, the title sequence was one of my favorite parts of the whole movie. But when Matisse falls, he is knocked down, the whole stadium falls silent. Like, everyone was horrified that he really suffered. And then he got up and, like, they got involved, him and another player. This is a real moment that happened in real time during this game, just like all the other moments in this game. But it was kind of a moment when I thought: “Wow, it’s crazy that we’re filming this.”

You can watch our full interview with Hustle director Jeremy Tan below:

The director wants to continue making films with one of Adam Sandler’s colleagues, even if it has nothing to do with basketball. And why not? Reviews of Hustle have been solid, making it one of the best Netflix movies available on the streaming service this weekend. Catch up with Hustle soon if you haven’t seen it yet. That’s great!