It’s been a busy week for Kyrie Irving. Over the weekend Irving’s Flat-Earth belief stirred up the NBA and the internet, prompting everybody from the KSR comments section up to the NBA commissioner to comment on whether the shape of the Earth. While this was certainly an entertaining aside to the All-Star weekend, the more interesting Irving story was the news that broke on Thursday. Irving’s Pepsi commercial character Uncle Drew is getting a movie. Reported by ESPN’s Darren Rovell and confirmed by Pepsi, the movie is actually happening and already has a writer, a loose plot, and Baron Davis. In a weekend where Irving was on top of the ridiculous totem pole, this may actually take the cake.
First things first, it’s egregious that Uncle Drew is making the jump from commercial to movie when the greatest NBA pitch man never made it past the small screen. That of course would be Lil Penny who dominated the scene in the mid-90s. Fox Sports did a great Lil Penny retrospective last year which can be seen here , but in case you forgot…Lil Penny was a legit star. Superbowl commercials, music videos, and he was even designed by the company run by Mythbuster Jamie Hyneman. Uncle Drew is a good gimmick, but Pepsi went that route with a few sports figures (Jeff Gordon and Kevin Love) to create a sort-of “viral” feel to the ads. There was only one Lil Penny and he deserves his shot.
The next reason why this is so ridiculous is the extremely bad history of NBA players starring in movies. I’m not talking about Space Jam, it’s a classic which I will never disparage. It, along with He Got Game, are also anomalies. Along with their NBA stars, those two movies featured solid supporting casts and are entertaining. Other NBA player movies have not fared so well: anything Shaq starred in (Kazaam, Steel), Thunderstruck featuring Kevin Durant (and Mark Krebs)
, and My Giant (Gheorghe Muresan) all come to mind. Along with Irving there will probably many other NBA stars which jump in for bit parts in the Uncle Drew movie. Baron Davis is already attached and everybody knows Lebron likes to expand his brand when possible. Kevin Love will probably show up in his old man makeup as well. In any case, this has the makings of a pretty bad acting cast.
Ultimately, an Uncle Drew movie will serve the same purpose the Uncle Drew commercials serve: promote Pepsi. I can’t imagine how paying the cost of a feature film would be profitable, but it might work. Could a bunch of NBA players in old man makeup be a funny movie? Probably not on their own. If they wanted to do this as part of Grown Ups 7 then it might be worth checking out, but anything else will probably be pretty awful. In the meantime I think the KSR crew needs to start on their own Drew movie called Earned, Not Given. Don’t worry, I’ve already prepared the synopsis:
A young man trying to break into the world of sports journalism falls on hard times as his gambling debt causes him to miss his big opportunity. Just when he thinks his dream is over, an old curmudgeon sees a glint of talent and offers him the second shot he so desperately wants. As Drew starts this journey to redemption, it’s up to him to learn that success in life is truly…earned, not given.