A day or two after the NBA trade deadline had passed and the Utah Jazz had introduced their latest additions, it was revealed that newcomer Juancho Hernangomez had played a leading role in an upcoming basketball movie for Netflix called “Hustle.”
The Spanish big man finally got a chance to discuss the film, which is out June 10, stars Adam Sandler, and features cameos from myriad other NBA players, including Hernangomez’s Jazz teammate Jordan Clarkson.
“It was amazing. It was really fun. It was a one-time experience in life. I’m so glad I did it,” Hernangomez said.
He noted that he first got contacted about the movie in February 2020, shortly after being traded by the Nuggets to the Timberwolves. He told his agent to pass on it, as he was focused on his basketball career and not on becoming an actor.
So, what changed?
“Then the NBA stops because of COVID, and I was at home in Charlotte with my brother and my sister … and we were really bored!” he said with a laugh. “So bored! I did it more for my family to do something.”
It began with his family filming him acting out some scenes, then forwarding the videos on to the movie’s casting department, and it just spiraled from there into a most unexpected career pit stop.
”We recorded the videos just to do something, just to have fun. And they liked me, and we kept going to the casting [sessions], and after a couple months of casting session calls, it becomes serious and they offer me [the role],” Hernangomez said. “And I become an actor and I’m in a movie! It’s crazy how life goes.”
Nickeil Alexander-Walker is still getting used to … well, everything
NAW, the Jazz’s other trade deadline addition in the deal that made Joe Ingles a grudging member of the Portland Trail Blazers, was supposed to be the centerpiece of the Jazz’s return, but has gone from averaging 12.8 points in 26.3 minutes per game for the Pelicans this year to 1.8 points in 6.0 minutes per game of mop-up duty with Utah.
While he deftly circumnavigated a question about whether he was promised a spot in the Jazz’s rotation upon his arrival, he did concede the acclimation process has been difficult.
For starters, there’s the life-change stuff: “It’s been a lot. It’s been really fast. We just came off a pretty long road trip, and I’m trying to organize moving all my stuff, [while] living in a hotel. It’s just been a lot of stuff thrown at me that I’m not really used to, or in my comfort zone.”
Then, when I asked him about learning Quin Snyder’s playbook, which other players have claimed is as thick as a dictionary, he gave an honest answer: “Truthfully, the main thing is that it is a dictionary — in terms of language and understanding schemes; more so from a word standpoint, really understanding what means what. It has been different because it’s unlike any other team. Just studying it, it feels like I’m back at school.”
A beautiful anthem rendition
If you weren’t inside Vivint Arena on Wednesday night for the Jazz’s demolition of the Blazers, you missed a beautiful performance of the national anthem — the Ukrainian national anthem, that is.
Public address announcer Dan Roberts asked fans to “stand in solidarity with Ukraine,” following which violinist Gabriel Gordon performed a stirring and heart-wrenching version of “Shche ne vmerla Ukrainy i slava, i volia.”