Is Kevin Garnett the Next Basketball Star to Make the Leap Into Acting?

He’s earning great reviews for his role in “Uncut Gems”

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett during his days with the Boston Celtics.
Keith Allison/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / December 14, 2019 7:14 am

Numerous professional athletes have opted for a second career as actors. For some, the transition from the athletic world to the onscreen one was seamless: Terry Crews and John David Washington are but two examples of actors who have adapted to their current careers seamlessly. Might Kevin Garnett be the next to join them? 

In an article for Vulture on Garnett’s work in Uncut Gems, Hunter Harris makes a convincing case that Garnett’s acting chops are every bit as impressive as his talents on the court. “Gems takes place in 2012, during the Eastern Conference semifinals, and the movie establishes early on that basketball is important to the narrative and to the movie’s main character,” Harris writes. “Garnett isn’t a cameo to set the scene or show clout — he’s really acting, and he’s really great.”

Harris argues that Garnett magnetically conveys his obsession with a particular opal, which sets the film’s plot into motion. 

Over the course of the movie, through Garnett’s four scenes (with a little game footage from the real Celtics–76ers games that year), he’s obsessed with the gem in a way that makes you obsessed with it.

For whatever reason, more than a few basketball players have done solid work in their forays into acting — arguably more than alumni of any other sport. LeBron James has had a presence in a number of recent films, including playing himself in Trainwreck. He’s set to star in Space Jam 2, scheduled for release in 2021. James also lent his voice to the animated feature Small Foot, a film which inspired one of the greatest videos ever created. 

Elsewhere, Ray Allen held his own opposite Denzel Washington in Spike Lee’s He Got Game; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also did fine work in various roles on the small and big screen. So if Uncut Gems isn’t the last we see of actor Kevin Garnett, there’s plenty of precedent for it.

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