This holiday season, former Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett will be making his acting debut in the Adam Sandler film, Uncut Gems. This drama, which is centered around the 2012 playoff battle between the Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, prominently features Garnett and his interactions with Sandler's character, but this role nearly didn't happen. In fact, the writers of this film wanted to avoid the Celtics if at all possible.
According to an article by ESPN, the writer-director brothers in Josh and Benny Safdie originally penned this article with Amar'e Stoudemire in mind for the player role. The Safdie brothers are diehard New York Knicks fans, which made them less likely to cheer for the Celtics. "I hated Boston. I hated KG," Josh Safdie said.
As it turns out, the possibility of bringing in Stoudemire was reportedly shot down by the writers' agents. They wanted the brothers to aim for someone such as Kobe Bryant. Although that idea fizzled before the former Los Angeles Lakers star was even aware of the project.
Ultimately, the brothers met with Garnett after some hesitation and spent roughly three hours with him. They were reportedly impressed by his storytelling ability and how he was different in person than his media persona.
"I would always watch KG postgame because he was so entertaining," Josh Safdie said to ESPN. "But I realized after meeting him that I didn't know his real voice. I had to learn that voice. He's eloquent. He's a great storyteller. I wrote for that voice. And he worked really hard."
With this role acquired, Garnett set about preparing for his role in Uncut Gems. Given that his fascination with a black opal is critical to the story, a cameo was not possible. Garnett would be playing a major role and showing off his acting skills.
"Acting is preparation, just like anything else," Garnett told reporters recently. "I didn't want to fail them. They took a risk on me. When I showed up to set, I was ready. It took me back to, 'OK, it's Rasheed Wallace tonight. It's Tim Duncan tonight' – watching film. I took those same things coming in here."
With the movie's release still on the horizon, precious few have witnessed Garnett acting. The Memphis Grizzlies were given a private screening recently, but this was a privilege giving to a team with young stars. That being said, Garnett has drawn rave reviews for his ability to work with Sandler and steal some of the scenes.
(Photo Credit: Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences)