Home / World News / Bill Simmons on Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Athletes Turned Actors

Bill Simmons on Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Athletes Turned Actors

wesley morris

I’m Wesley Morris. I’m a culture writer at The New York Times. And today on the show: What happens when athletes decide they want to act?

Actually, actually, what doesn’t happen when they decide they can act? This is Still Processing.

Bill Simmons.

bill simmons

Wesley, you’re the one person I would hop on a Zoom with at 8 in the morning in my life and throw my contacts in, and it’s just always great to see.

wesley morris

Oh, it’s great to see you. You’re the author of “Now I Can Die in Peace” and “The Big Book of Basketball.” And you’re the holder of many opinions about the movies and sports.

Therefore, you are uniquely qualified to answer this question. What happens, Bill, when these great athletes decide they can act in a movie? What goes wrong?

bill simmons

Well, it’s the same thing that goes wrong if you’re going to ask actors to play in the N.B.A. or the N.F.L. It’s a little unrealistic. It’s two separate skill sets. Like, Kareem in “Airplane!” is probably our best case scenario for this, where it’s like, wow, that’s Kareem.

archived voice (kareem abdul-jabbar)

I’m sorry, son, but you must have me confused with someone else.

bill simmons

Oh, he’s not really playing Kareem.

archived voice (kareem abdul-jabbar)

I’m the co-pilot.

bill simmons

Oh, this is fun anyway.

archived voice (kareem abdul-jabbar)

Climbing to cruise at 42,000. We’ll report again over Lincoln. Over and out.

bill simmons

He’s not at it too much. He can’t really act, but it’s OK, and that’s where you want to get, I think.

wesley morris

Right, but that’s not how this really started with athletes acting in movies. You can go back to the 1950s. 1955, I believe, is “The Jackie Robinson Story” where Jackie Robinson basically plays himself.

archived voice (jackie robinson)

Well, I can be the first Negro to ever play in organized baseball, mom.

wesley morris

Not very well, I might add, but that’s not really the point of that movie, right? The point of the movie is to introduce Jackie Robinson at near the peak of his Jackie Robinson-ness as this American that everybody can feel comfortable with and love in some way.

bill simmons

Well, we also didn’t have social media back then.

wesley morris

Oh, this is a good point. Yes.

bill simmons

So I either saw Jackie Robinson at a baseball game, or maybe I saw him on the news for 20 seconds. But other than that I didn’t have any idea what he looked like, what it looked like when he smiled, anything like that. So I think they used, with boxers and baseball players, they would throw them in these movies because it was like another way to kind of learn what somebody was like.

wesley morris

Right. So after Jackie Robinson, you have this moment where the movies are changing. There is racism that is keeping Black actors out of acting schools, and then there is basic Hollywood racism that is keeping them from acting in the movies in an elite way. And the blaxploitation movement, the thing we’re calling blaxploitation, begins to happen.

archived recording

Can you dig it, baby?

wesley morris

And they need people to star in these movies. But they don’t go and hire people who graduated from Juilliard. They go to the N.F.L. and start just getting these retired football players. And the first person who achieves any fame going from sports to Hollywood is Jim Brown.

archived recording (jim brown)

Don’t sweet talk me, whitey. You know why I’m here.

wesley morris

“The Dirty Dozen” is the thing that sort of makes him a star, essentially.

archived recording (jim brown)

You don’t like the krauts, major, you fight them. Me, I’ll pick my own enemies.

bill simmons

That was a big deal that he was in that movie, and that was a huge movie. And that —

wesley morris

Oh, for sure.

bill simmons

— he was used kind of perfectly in it, you know?

wesley morris

Yes, yes. He’s kind of the muscle, right? And the appeal of him during the blaxploitation era was that in addition to him being the muscle, he also got to be cool.

archived recording (jim brown)

Nothing’s gonna going to happen to me. I’m Slaughter, baby, the baddest captain ever walked the earth.

wesley morris

But the cool was supposed to make him a magnet for women.

bill simmons

Mmm.

wesley morris

And so a lot of this was about the sex that Jim Brown was going to have in these movies.

archived recording (jim brown)

You know how to use this?

archived recording

You just squeeze the trigger.

wesley morris

Which also explains, then, why you have this influx of other former athletes playing the heroes in these blaxploitation era movies. There’s Fred Williamson, who is basically the Orson Welles of blaxploitation — like starring, writing, directing these movies. There’s Bernie Casey, who, one of his big blaxploitation era movies was “Dr. Black and Mr Hyde.”

bill simmons

Well, he was also “Brian’s Song,” which —

wesley morris

Oh, yes.

bill simmons

— I think was an incredibly impactful TV movie.

wesley morris

Yes. But basically, what all these guys have is their physical presence, right?

bill simmons

Yeah.

wesley morris

They’re tall. They’re well-built. They’re handsome.

They’re hot. I’m just going to say it. And you don’t give them more to say than you need to give them

archived recording

Shaft.

wesley morris

The other guy, maybe the most star-y one to me —

archived recording

Shaft.

wesley morris

— was Richard Roundtree.

archived recording (richard roundtree)

Can you dig it?

wesley morris

— who played Shaft.

archived recording 1

Hey, where the hell are you going, Shaft?

archived recording 2

Shaft.

archived recording (richard roundtree)

Right on.

wesley morris

And there’s just something about the swagger that he used to carry himself that was very, very appealing. And I mean, he wasn’t in the N.F.L., but he did play football at some point in his early life. And I just don’t understand why this man wasn’t a bigger star.

bill simmons

But you covered that before. Hollywood was super racist back then.

wesley morris

Right, I know, I know. So then there’s this other kind of movie that crops up during the 1970s.

archived recording

(SINGING) You’ve got to be a football hero.

wesley morris

That is a particular kind of sports movie, right, where they’re looking for a kind of authenticity to be brought to a movie that’s about sports by having actual athletes star in them.

bill simmons

Well, so it all starts with “The Longest Yard,” 1974.

archived recording

Burt Reynolds, the quarterback who will tackle anything.

bill simmons

An incredible movie that starts, we should mention, if you’re watching it and you’re going to fire it up with the kids, it starts with Burt Reynolds punching his girlfriend. And it’s kind of jarring to watch a half century later.

wesley morris

Yeah, not great.

bill simmons

Ends up going to jail and forms this football team with the convicts.

archived recording

He assembled the meanest, dirtiest team in history.

bill simmons

And why this is important is they decide, we’re going to actually use some real football players in this game, and they have Joe Kapp, who’s a pretty famous quarterback at the time. And he’s one of the kind of warden’s evil kind of sidekick guys. And then Ray Nitschke was —

wesley morris

Oh yeah.

bill simmons

— another, like, guard. So that was, like, gimmick casting. They’re playing football players. They don’t really have to act that much. But Joe Kapp is pretty good in it.

archived recording

The game that broke all the rules, all the records.

bill simmons

From that point, we’re off with like, oh, we’ll use some athletes in these parts where we can kind of keep them contained. They’re basically playing themselves but not really. But it’s fun to see them in the movie, and that’s the genesis.

wesley morris

So what would you say about going from “The Longest Yard” to something like “The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh?”

bill simmons

Oh, let’s do it.

archived recording (julius erving)

We got here, because our magic is made of sweat and strain and pride. That’s what I’m taking back out on the goddamn court.

wesley morris

That movie’s got Julius Erving, Dr. J, one of the biggest stars in the N.B.A. in 1979 when this movie comes out. And I will just start off by saying —

archived recording

It’s dazzling! It’s futuristic! It’s fun!

wesley morris

— this movie is terrible.

archived recording (julius erving)

I ain’t jiving nobody.

wesley morris

But it’s a great idea for a movie, right? You’ve got this team, this basketball team, that is sucking. They’re terrible.

bill simmons

Yeah.

wesley morris

And there’s like a kid who hangs out with the team.

bill simmons

Yeah.

wesley morris

At some point, the kid is giving Dr. J a lecture.

archived recording (julius erving)

Man, I’m not pulling my weight. I just can’t figure anything out.

archived recording (kid)

Why don’t just come off it? Can’t you see just one man alone don’t make a basketball team. You’ll beat the slump. I know you will.

wesley morris

And Dr. J is hearing this. And he’s like, thanks, you know? I’m a Pisces. I need that stroke every once in a while.

archived recording (julius erving)

I guess I should check my horoscope this morning.

wesley morris

The kid, a light bulb goes off over his head, and he’s like —

archived recording (kid)

Horoscope? Wait a minute now, you talking about astrology, right?

wesley morris

So he goes and consults an astrologer.

archived recording (kid)

They’re all Pisces.

archived recording (astrologer)

All Pisces?

wesley morris

And the two of them dream up this plan to fill this flagging Pittsburgh basketball team with nothing but fellow Pisces. And just to sort of stay with Julius Erving for a second, I’m from Philadelphia. One of the most important — he and Mike Schmidt are the two most important athletes from my childhood as a Philadelphian.

bill simmons

Yeah.

wesley morris

And I would say that having him in this movie should have been — you know, it should have made him a star. But there’s nothing in it to say that this person should be in another movie again, because all he really does is sit there and listen to people talk to him.

bill simmons

Well, I think there’s this boom starting with “The Longest Yard” where, for what, seven years? And then “Rocky” where every sport’s just getting three to four movies because they’re just trying to cash in on it.

wesley morris

Mm-hm.

bill simmons

O.J. was, I think, the only one who was like, I’m going to actually turn this into a career because you think like, he’s an “Capricorn One.” He’s one of the three stars.

wesley morris

Yeah.

bill simmons

But O.J. is like really acting in that. I don’t know. I like that movie.

wesley morris

I like that movie too! There’s then also this whole other group of movies that are built around professional athletes to lend the movie some kind of credibility, whether it’s a comedy or a drama.

bill simmons

Well, it starts with “Blue Chips.”

archived recording

You cannot win half assed. I wanna win this ballgame! Let’s go!

wesley morris

Right! “Blue Chips” from 1994.

bill simmons

And well, there’s two things going on. One is we have two decades under our belt of watching sports movies, right?

wesley morris

Yes.

bill simmons

So it’s the next generation learning from all the mistakes of the previous generation. One of the mistakes was we got to use these athletes better. They can’t be the star of the movie, but it’s good to have them in it. So how do we figure that out?

archived recording 1

What efforts are you and your staff making as far as recruiting is concerned?

archived recording 2

We got the inside track on some great ballplayers this year.

bill simmons

You have William Friedkin making “Blue Chips,” who is obsessed with Bobby Knight in the world of college recruiting.

wesley morris

William Friedkin, we should say, the director of “The Exorcist” and “The French Connection.” Yes.

bill simmons

Yeah, like a real A-lister directing this.

archived recording 1

I’m just trying to get you in college.

archived recording 2

If I couldn’t play basketball, would you be trying to get me into college?

archived recording 1

No.

archived recording 2

At least you’re honest.

bill simmons

And then he decides, I’m going to cast Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway and I think Matt Nover.

wesley morris

Matt Nover, yep.

bill simmons

I’m going to film actual games.

wesley morris

Yep.

bill simmons

And this is going to look like basketball. And it’s a revolutionary movie for a lot of ways. It’s also, like, for somebody like me, Shaquille is on L.S.U., but we don’t have the social media era yet. Penny Hardaway, barely know him outside Memphis.

wesley morris

Mm-hm.

bill simmons

And you see them in this movie. And it’s like, I actually think it really elevated their profiles in the right ways.

wesley morris

Huh.

bill simmons

Penny got Nike.

archived recording 1

Hey, Penny? What do they call these shoes anyway?

archived recording 2

Air Penny.

wesley morris

From this movie, you think?

bill simmons

I think it really helped. And you can see Shaq 30 years later as one of the biggest pitchman we have.

archived recording (shaquille o’neal)

For a great low rate and nearly 60 years of quality coverage, make the right call and go with The General.

bill simmons

Shaq is the biggest winner of this movie. He’s really good in it.

wesley morris

Oh, absolutely, yes. Absolutely.

bill simmons

It’s actually, like, pretty good acting. Not as good as Ray Allen in “He Got Game,” which is, probably for what our conversation is, Ray Allen in “He Got Game” is probably the — I would say the most important athlete performance in a movie.

archived recordin (ray allen)

And you ain’t deaf.

archived recording (denzel washington)

Don’t talk to your sister like that.

archived recording (ray allen)

Am I talking to you? Matter of fact, I don’t even know why you here. It’s time you get to stepping. And I appreciate you if you don’t ever walk through that door ever again.

wesley morris

The thing about that performance that makes it so good is that Ray Allen is basically, like, going toe to toe with Denzel Washington in a Spike Lee movie — a movie Spike Lee directed. And Ray Allen, it turns out, is a really good actor or, like, you know, better than you think he would be.

bill simmons

Totally.

archived recording (denzel washington)

Enjoy the Skittles, baby.

archived recording (ray allen)

No, you enjoy walking out that front door.

wesley morris

So we’re talking about 1998 here. This is a really interesting era for athletes. And if Ray Allen in “He Got Game” is kind of the creme de la creme, top of the heap, A number one, I would say the bottom is probably something like “Space Jam.”

archived recording (michael jordan)

Bugs Bunny?

archived recording

Eh, you were expecting maybe the Easter Bunny?

wesley morris

You’ve got “Kazaam” and “Steel.”

archived recording (shaquille o’neal)

Might get a little dangerous.

wesley morris

The Shaq movies. You’ve got Rodman in “Double Team.”

archived recording

The hell the hell? I kind of like trouble.

wesley morris

But there’s something happening where they’re the star of these movies. They’re not just additive authenticity elements.

bill simmons

Well, and it’s also — these are branding decisions.

wesley morris

Right. And I would say the peak of this kind of brand orientation — peak, meaning that it seems to have worked — is probably The Rock, right? Is probably Dwayne Johnson starring in “The Scorpion King.”

archived recording (dwayne johnson)

Sorcercess, I’m an Acadian hired to kill you. I find myself in a position where you’re more use to me alive. Don’t make me change my mind.

bill simmons

But do we count The Rock? Like, I feel like professional wrestlers are half actors anyway.

wesley morris

But let’s talk about that, right?

bill simmons

Yeah.

wesley morris

I believe in professional wrestling as a sport.

bill simmons

Me too.

wesley morris

Despite the rigging, I think they still have to go in there and do that stuff, sometimes for 45 minutes.

bill simmons

Right.

wesley morris

I feel like I want to count him, right?

bill simmons

It’s fair.

wesley morris

And there was something about The Rock. As a character from the beginning.

archived recording (the rock)

Finally, The Rock has come back.

wesley morris

I mean, he had a charisma that you could tell he changed the energy in these arenas when he’d walk into them.

archived recording (the rock)

But what The Big Show is, is a seven-foot 500-pound steaming, stinking, steaming, stinking pile of grade-A monkey crap.

ben simmons

He’s the best wrestler ever, if you’re talking about looks, charisma, personality, interviews, wrestling ability, ability to work the crowd.

wesley morris

100 percent.

bill simmons

He’s the best. So there was no doubt he was going to go into acting. I would have bet my house on it. I didn’t even have a house.

I would have bet my baseball card collection. You’re just like, there’s no doubt. He clearly had to be an actor.

wesley morris

Right. While he’s still wrestling, he appears as The Scorpion King in “The Scorpion King,” which is a big hit. And then he moves into these kind of — either they’re actual Disney movies or they’re Disney-like movies where he plays, for instance — oh, is he the tooth fairy?

I can’t remember now. But essentially, he’s cast with these kids because he’s, like, why would you expect a big cuddly guy to also be the tooth fairy?

archived recording (dwayne johnson)

Ah, mama fairy. There is your tooth. So you do with it whatever it is you do here in fairy world with your teeth.

wesley morris

And I don’t know. Where do you fall on the Dwayne Johnson scale of good star, good athlete?

ben simmons

You know, I wish he had taken, like three chances. You know, I just feel like there was a moment there when it felt like he was going to get the action hero championship belt where it was just like, this is going to be our action guy. And it just never really got there.

wesley morris

Yes.

bill simmons

“The Gridiron Gang,” he’s making movies like that. Or it’s like you can see, he’s looking at the landscape. He’s like, I’m going to do my inner city movie, but it’s like 10 years too late. He tries the kids movies thing. He basically just kind of checks all the boxes until he finds “Fast Five.”

wesley morris

I think part of the problem is the low expectations that people had of him. And what I think is going on is I think he’s very comfortable, like, basically just being The Rock. And nobody is asking him to do much more than that.

bill simmons

Now look, he’s — The Rock is just — he’s just gigantic, you know? And he’s 6 foot 4 or whatever he is, and he’s huge muscles. And I kind of don’t want to see him in a rom-com or things like that unlike Schwarzenegger.

wesley morris

This is — yeah.

bill simmons

Somehow, Arnold was able to navigate that and do all these different movies. But the Rock’s not like that. So he’s missing that one piece.

wesley morris

Right.

bill simmons

But I don’t know what he does. He’s so much bigger than everybody else. It’s not realistic for him to lose a fight in a movie, you know? Where it’s like, Bruce Willis is fighting in “Die Hard,” and it’s like, this guy might lose. He’s the underdog in all these fights. And “The Rock,” it’s like, who’s beating this guy? Nobody.

wesley morris

Yeah. But in some of the marketing for these movies, especially those kid-oriented action films —

archived recording (dwayne johnson)

Know this about the jungle. Everything that you see wants to kill you and can.

wesley morris

— he is in, too often for my tastes, in proximity to creatures of the jungle, to actual jungleness.

bill simmons

Oh, Jesus. hm.

wesley morris

I mean, “Skyscraper” is him literally climbing a giant building.

bill simmons

Yeah.

wesley morris

There’s a whole, like, racialization aspect of him that I don’t even know if he’s aware of. I don’t know if the movies know how comfortable they are seeing a Black and Samoan person climbing a giant building.

bill simmons

Yeah.

wesley morris

Even if it’s to save people. But turning him into King Kong is — that’s kind of a step too far for me. Keeping him in the jungle is a step too far for me. But he’s like really into, like, this aspect of himself as a persona that really isn’t about what kind of actor he is. It’s a brand extension move.

bill simmons

But by the way, it worked.

wesley morris

Yeah.

bill simmons

I mean, he’s one of the most popular people in the world, and he’s made a ton of money.

wesley morris

Yes.

bill simmons

And he did it correctly, but —

wesley morris

Yes, yes.

bill simmons

— I think you and I are disappointed just because we feel like there was probably a couple of great parts in there at some point for him, and he just doesn’t seem to care about that.

wesley morris

But can I just offer this one little thing about him that’s interesting? Wait, have you seen “Young Rock,” that NBC sitcom that’s about his life?

bill simmons

My son really likes “Young Rock.” He watched it. Yeah.

wesley morris

OK. I mean, it’s kind of for kids, and it’s real interesting that it’s for kids because the gist of the show is that he’s running for president in 2032.

bill simmons

I’m aware.

archived recording (dwayne johnson)

Are the people ready?

archived recording

They are not ready, but they need to see it.

wesley morris

It’s — I mean, Dwayne Johnson might actually run for office for real. And what better brand extension could this be than family friendly network situation comedy, where the situation is The Rock running for office?

bill simmons

This is a good thing for me to have for later if I decide to run for president. Idea for a show, and which is one of the reasons I don’t like it.

wesley morris

Ding diggity dog.

bill simmons

Yeah.

wesley morris

And it’s not just that, Bill. I mean, if you think about it, this is the answer to the question we’re asking about why he’s playing it safe — because he can’t take all these risks. He’s got this long game in mind. OK, I want to take a break. And when we come back, I just want to Zoom out a little bit more and just talk about why, why, oh, why we just don’t see that many sports movies anymore.

Bill, you and I have been talking about the history of professional athletes acting in movies, but we really don’t have sports movies for them to be in anymore.

I mean, you say it’s because athletes can just go on Instagram and TikTok to build their brand. I also think that one of the problems is that there are no movies for them to go into. You know, Will Smith just won an Oscar for playing Richard Williams in a movie about Venus and Serena. But really, the movie is not about Venus and Serena Williams. It’s about Oracene Price and Richard Williams raising these two girls into being the women that we know today. It’s a family drama that has sports flavoring, basically. So I’m just curious. Like, what happened to the sports movie?

bill simmons

Three things.

wesley morris

OK.

bill simmons

Sports documentaries, I think, took its lunch in a lot of ways.

wesley morris

Oh.

bill simmons

Second thing is all the ideas were done.

wesley morris

Hm.

bill simmons

We had 50 years of sports movies, and there’s only so many ways you can do “Rocky,” which is why I think we’re in such an interesting sports movie kind of range right now, where we’ve moved into, like, really well-done movies that happen to be about sports.

wesley morris

Yes, yes.

bill simmons

The Affleck movie, the basketball coach movie, “The Way Back — ”

wesley morris

“The Way Back,” yeah.

bill simmons

— I really liked that movie. That movie has the sports movie scene where you’re like, oh, it’s a sports movie scene. They won.

And then it’s like, no. We’re not done yet. We’re going to go 25 more minutes, and we’re going to go really dark.

wesley morris

Yeah, yeah.

bill simmons

And then I think the third thing is the sports movie was such an essential part of being a sports fan. We watched these movies over and over again. You know, we watched “Hoosiers” and “Bad News Bears,” “Breaking Training.” And the under 25 generation, they’re not doing that. They’re not watching movies like that over and over again because they’re on TikTok and Instagram and Snapchat and all these other places.

wesley morris

Yeah.

bill simmons

In 2022, I don’t think people watch sports movies the same way like that. So they’re less essential.

wesley morris

There is something to your point about nonfiction and people really just wanting to know the truth about the people that we’re watching.

bill simmons

Where does “Friday Night Lights” fit into all this? Because to me, that’s the one prestige sports show.

wesley morris

Hm, good question.

bill simmons

Now they didn’t use any athletes in that show, but that’s a show that it was ahead of its time. I think if it comes 10 years later, it’s a phenomenon. I think “Friday Night Lights” was a really important show, and it’s weird to me that there hasn’t been a pro-sports version of that where you could use real actors.

You could use real athletes. You could create a whole world and go into it. I think it would work.

wesley morris

I would really love that. I think the way nonfiction has infiltrated an aspect of sports culture is sort of robbing me, at least, of the pleasure of what you get from, like, even something as ridiculous as, like, “The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh.” I mean, you know, I watch a show like “Winning Time, which is that —

bill simmons

Yeah.

wesley morris

— story on HBO about the Lakers in the 1980s. And it’s told from the point of view of mostly Magic Johnson and Jerry Buss, who becomes the owner of the team.

archived recording (fred)

Oh hey, Dr. Buss. No breakfast this morning?

archived recording (dr. buss)

Nah, not today. I’m going to buy the Lakers.

archived recording (fred)

Ah, no kidding. Tell them to win a championship one of these days.

archived recording (dr. buss)

I’ll do what I can, Fred.

archived recording (fred)

You got it, brother. Welcome to sunny Los Angeles. Great for cans, shit for fans.

wesley morris

And you know, Adam McKay made it, who made “Anchorman” and “Don’t Look Up” and “Vice.” And I feel like the problem with that show is that it’s taking everything so seriously even though it thinks it’s a comedy. It’s like having characters break the fourth wall and tell us what they’re thinking in the way a person would in a documentary after you use some archival footage.

bill simmons

I thought “Winning Time” was entertaining as I watch it and I think about how they kind of bastardized some of the facts in really irresponsible ways. In this, like, the stuff they do to Jerry West and Pat Riley, it’s —

wesley morris

Yeah.

bill simmons

— so yeah, I think that’s a good example also of they didn’t use real athletes.

wesley morris

That is the thing that really drove me crazy about that show too, which is that they’ve got this guy who looks nothing like Magic Johnson playing Magic Johnson. And he’s got a little bit of what Magic Johnson has, but he’s so not Magic Johnson.

bill simmons

But how do you cast Magic Johnson? He’s like, you’re not finding him.

wesley morris

He’s Magic!

bill simmons

Right.

wesley morris

Johnson!

bill simmons

How do you find Kareem, this 7 foot 3 guy? There’s — you’re not finding Kareem.

wesley morris

It can’t be done. It can’t be done. I actually think that a really good example of where things could wind up for the role that athletes have in movies is something like Kevin Garnett playing Kevin Garnett in “Uncut Gems,” which is a thriller starring Adam Sandler.

He’s running a jewelry shop on Jeweler’s Row. He’s in a lot of gambling trouble. And Kevin Garnett is a character who’s coming into his shop.

archived recording (kevin garnett)

Why’s it got so many colors in it, man? What is this?

archived recording (adam sandler)

That’s the thing. They say you can see the whole universe in opal. That’s how [EXPLETIVE] old they are.

archived recording (kevin garnett)

Holy snap.

archived recording (adam sandler)

I’ve been telling you.

wesley morris

It’s really stressful, and Kevin Garnett’s function in it is well used.

archived recording (kevin garnett)

Imma destroy Philly tonight with this. This fucking thing makes me feel like I can fly.

bill simmons

They use K.G. perfectly in it. If you’re talking about a scale of 1 to 10, how well do they use a real athlete and all the pieces of him that you would have thought would work in a movie, this is about as good as you’re going to do.

wesley morris

Right.

bill simmons

I do have a prediction for you, though.

wesley morris

Oh, by all means. Lay it on me.

bill simmons

So Adam Sandler has a new movie that’s going to be on Netflix that I have not seen. I only saw the trailer. But Juancho Hernangómez, who was on the Celtics and the Nuggets and has been on a bunch of N.B.A. teams, he’s kind of the basketball player in it. And I think saying Sandler is a scout.

archived recording (adam sandler)

So let me ask you again. Do you love this game?

bill simmons

I’m really interested to see how this movie does because we are now in the streaming world. And as we’ve seen with the streaming world, they’re going to run stuff back that the algorithm says this works. Do more of these.

wesley morris

Yeah.

bill simmons

And my question is, will the algorithm tell a place like Netflix, like, just start making sports movies?

wesley morris

Hm.

bill simmons

Make sure you get one star. Make sure you get the cameo from the one athlete or the extended cameo or your version of “Blue Chips.”

wesley morris

Yeah.

bill simmons

Will this happen with sports movies? And if this does happen, will we get the renaissance that we had in the ‘70s and ‘80s of just people trying to make every kind of sports movie? Are we headed for another wave?

wesley morris

Oh, my God, that would make me so happy!

bill simmons

I just feel like we’re headed for that. I think that’s the next wave of this.

wesley morris

From Bill Simmons’ mouth to Flo Jo’s ear, I really do hope these movies come back.

bill simmons

Me too.

wesley morris

Bill Simmons, thanks for coming on the show. It means a lot. I appreciate it.

bill simmons

I had a great time. Let’s write a sports movie.

wesley morris

Oh yes!

That’s our show. You can listen to more Bill Simmons on “The Bill Simmons Podcast” and read all of his writing on The Ringer. It’s all over the internet, actually. Like, I read some of my favorite old Bill Simmons pieces just to get ready to have this conversation with him. “The Gridiron Gang,” which he reviewed ages ago, worth it. It’s out there on the internet somewhere. Find it.

“Still Processing” is produced by Elisa Dudley and Hans Buetow.

It’s edited by Sara Sarasohn and Sasha Weiss. The show was mixed by Marion Lozano and recorded by Maddy Masiello. Digital production by Mahima Chablani and Des Ibekwe.

Our theme music is by Kindness. It’s called “World Restart” from the album “Otherness.” see. You next time.

See you next week. Same time, same place, same clothes. Sike. Talk to you later.

About brandsauthority

Check Also

Residents escape shots fired at SA home

The occupants of a house have escaped uninjured after two shots were fired through a …

%d bloggers like this: