King James Comes to Hollywood

lebron2It is rare for a sports star to be just a sports star anymore; they also have to be multi-faceted entertainers. Shaquille O’Neil starred in the flamboyant “Kazaam” in 1996, and Michael Strahan is starring in the upcoming Fox sitcom “Brothers”. Now Variety reports that LeBron James is making his feature film debut in the appropriately named “Fantasy Basketball Camp”. The film, which is about five adults who come to Vegas to attend the LeBron James Adult Basketball Camp and tangle LeBron James up with their personal affairs, is a comedy from Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment. LeBron James plays himself.

Even big personalities like Shaq often have difficulty translating that personality to a script, but LeBron James, who is not quite as boisterous in real life, has proven that he can do comedy in his 2007 line of commercials called “The LeBrons”, in which he simultaneously played each member of an entire family. Eddie Murphy has done that schtick before (Jack Black made fun of this gimmick in “Tropic Thunder”), but LeBron, who thankfully did not appear as a female, managed to work a certain magic between his characters. And yet it was these characters, not LeBron himself, who were the focus. It will be interesting to see his acting ability when he is pulled into the spotlight as himself and not as one of his fictional characters. Producer Brian Glazer explains how he cast LeBron.

“I initially sought LeBron out because my 8-year-old son, Thomas, and I were just dying to meet him, but I felt that beyond being one of the world’s great superstar athletes, here was someone so relaxed and comfortable with himself that he would have the capability to be that way onscreen. Later, when I watched him host ‘Saturday Night Live,’ and saw his advertising work, it was clear he can do this.”

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