Hustle (2022) | Transcript

After discovering a once-in-a-lifetime player with a rocky past abroad, a down on his luck basketball scout takes it upon himself to bring the phenom to the States without his team's approval. Against the odds, they have one final shot to prove they have what it takes to make it in the NBA.
Hustle (2022)

After being fired, pro basketball scout, Stanley Beren, is excited, for the first time in a very long while, when he serendipitously discovers Spanish amateur baller, Bo Cruz, playing in a park outside Madrid. Fueled with new-found purpose, Stanley makes it his mission to groom Bo for the NBA as he believes they both can make it.

* * *

[man 1 and security speak Serbian]

[man 2 in English] Taking me to see basketball or a cockfight?

[man 1] We do everything.

[man 2 chuckles] Okay.

[ball thudding]

[players speaking indistinctly]

Big boy.

He’s coming.

Do we back up? He’s gonna take us out.

Oh-oh!

[grunts, speaks Serbian]

Uh-huh. What? What did he say?

He wants to go to the NBA.

Yeah, that’s why we’re here.

Mm-hmm.

Very impressive. Tell him.

[translates to Serbian]

Just a big man who makes shots.

[man 1 translates to Serbian]

He would be in the rotation right now.

[continues translating to Serbian]

And be a force, he would be a powerhouse in the league.

I do have to ask something.

So it says in my files, you’re 22 years old.

Da. Da.

Yeah.

It’s accurate? You’re 22 years old?

Yes, I’m 22 years old.

The reason I’m asking… He’s speaking English?

Yeah.

You understand my English?

Because you can’t be in the draft if you’re over 22, if you’re from overseas. Do you have a birth certificate?

It was big fire.

[chuckles] Oh. Okay.

Who’s this?

It’s my son.

It’s your son?

[player] Yes.

How old is he?

He’s ten years old.

He’s ten years old. Okay. Okay.

[indistinct chatter]

[“The World is Mine” by Samm Henshaw playing]

♪ Set our eyes west Chase the sunset ♪

♪ Hint of wine on my breath And you got your hand on my hand ♪

♪ Lips to my ear Whisper, “Switch to 5th gear” ♪

[announcer shouts indistinctly]

[crowd cheering]

♪ Pull me closer, baby, don’t let go ♪

[man] What was going on on defense?

Did you smoke a little before the game?

[laughs] A little bit. Okay.

NBA, we need defense. You know that.

[laughs]

I know. Okay.

♪ Nothing in the rear view But wasted time ♪

♪ Steal my heart, I promise I won’t tell ♪

♪ And if I steal your kisses, baby Pay my bail ♪

[whistle blows]

[complaining angrily]

[crowd exclaiming]

[announcer speaking indistinctly]

♪ Please ignore the wanted posters ♪

♪ The weight of guilt might slow us down ♪

♪ We got the whole world ahead And the old world behind ♪

♪ Nothing in the rear view But wasted time ♪

Hey, pretty lady.

Where are you?

I’m in Greece enjoying the local cuisine. It’s very good.

[slurping]

Babe, you’re killing yourself.

Yeah, that’s the idea. I love you, I’ll see you soon.

♪ You’re the whole world And the world is mine ♪

[groaning]

Hey, Bubba.

[girl] Dad, when I said I didn’t get geometry, I didn’t want you to email my teacher. So embarrassing.

♪ We got the whole world ahead And the old world behind ♪

♪ Nothing in the rear view But wasted time ♪

♪ Steal my heart, I promise I won’t tell ♪

♪ And if I steal your kisses, baby Pay my bail ♪

How about you? You wanna play basketball?

[announcer speaking German]

[crowd chants]

[man] Stanley, you know how many scouts have come to see Haas play?

We would love to see him go to the Sixers.

Embiid. Maxey. Harris. Haas.

[announcer speaking German]

Dynasty. No?

I like the sound of that. Sure.

[crowd chants] Haas! Haas!

♪ And you’re the whole world And the world is mine, baby ♪

♪ Tail me, if you dare ♪

♪ Ride till there’s no road left ♪

♪ Coppers on our trail ♪

♪ Would you follow me… ♪

[pilot on PA] The local time is 7:42 a.m.

For those of you returning home to Philadelphia, welcome back.

♪ Let’s run for our lives ♪

♪ I’d rather be running Than run out of time ♪

♪ Whole world ahead And the old world behind ♪

♪ Nothing in the rear view But wasted time ♪

♪ Steal my heart, I promise I won’t tell ♪

♪ And if I steal your kisses, baby Pay my bail ♪

♪ We got the whole world ahead And the old world behind ♪

♪ Whole world ahead And the old world behind ♪

♪ You’re the whole world And the world is mine ♪

Hey, Stan.

Hey, guys.

Good to see ya.

[man] Yeah. Who you’ve been dating?

[woman] Yeah. Come on, Dad.

You’re not dating?

I’d never tell you who I was dating.

Just a second.

Okay.

Hi. Wow, you look tired.

I had a red-eye.

How was the German MJ?

I’m about to get into all that. You’re not staying?

I have an 11:30 call with Adam Silver.

You didn’t like the kid?

Oh… shit.

Good luck, Sugerman.

Please don’t go.

[woman laughs]

Okay. Goodbye.

[man] Kid can score at will. Makes shots from all over the floor.

A match-up nightmare.

His true shooting percentage, same as Steph’s was at Davidson.

You’re taking it too far.

He’s just reading the stats, Billy.

I think Doc will like the way this kid can pass.

You’ve seen him pass before? I’ve never seen him pass.

He’s playing with scrubs. His best chance to win is to shoot.

With us, he’ll adapt.

We’ve done the modeling. He checks every box.

In three years he could be an All-Star.

Rex, you want to win now, or in three years?

We want to win now.

Yeah… [laughs]

Offensively, there’s a lot to like, but I don’t think…

So what’s not to like, Stanley?

Berlin loses a lot.

Three games this guy didn’t show up to, they won.

They’re better off when he’s on the bench.

You check out the efficiency stats I sent?

I actually have the stats, Stan.

Thank you.

Everyone in Germany is saying this guy’ll be the next Dirk.

Dirk never left the gym. This guy shows up late to warm-ups.

The kid can defend all five positions.

He’s physically capable of it. He just gets bored out there.

I’ve been to Germany four times in the last two months.

I’ve yet to see him make a third effort.

He’s late on rotations.

Always bitching at refs, bitching at teammates.

He’s bitching because he cares. He wants to win.

We’ve all seen the tape.

Referring to the highlights his mother put together?

Like the Bargnani tape you tried to trade up with?

[others sigh]

[Billy] That’s too soon.

[man 2] Shit.

Listen, Dad, he’s a 19-year-old, 7-footer with a 35-foot range and a guard’s handle.

I see him in another team’s jersey, I’m gonna goddamn kill someone.

[Rex] Yeah.

Cool.

Yes, sir.

Get in.

Okay.

So, I’m not drafting Haas.

Your son’s gonna kill somebody.

Yeah, maybe you.

You shouldn’t have backed down to him.

No, no, no, I didn’t.

I didn’t back down. I was just trying to save everybody some time.

I remember when you were at Temple.

I think it was the second game of the season, and we were playing Saint Joe, and some guy took Leon’s knees out.

Marlon Daly. I can’t believe you remember that.

I remember you knocking him into the second row and then having to be held back from fighting that entire team.

That’s the reason I brought you in, because you never took anybody’s shit.

Rex, you’re right. I should have pushed back more.

I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.

No, it won’t.

Karl, could you pull around to the back, please?

After I bought the team, this was before your time, I gave this office to my Uncle Connie.

He helped out with everything, worked every day.

Sorry, I didn’t make it happen for you sooner.

I know it’s not on the bench, but it’s behind the bench.

So what do you think?

I can’t believe you made your uncle work in this closet.

Thank you.

Feels like I’ve been waiting my whole life to become a coach.

Come here.

Come.

Never back down.

Yes, sir.

All right?

I won’t.

Yeah. Yeah.

Right.

[woman] Look at the berries.

You need to zoom out so they can see the whole thing.

Mom, no one uses filters.

I can’t eat that whole cake.

Looks like you already did.

Wow, what a lovely welcome home. I missed you guys too.

Welcome back. Welcome back. Okay.

Not a side hug. What’s with the side hug? When did you stop hugging me?

Honey, you gotta be more gentle.

Your baby’s got titties now.

That’s disgusting.

I don’t want to hear about that. That’s between you two.

Dad, can I go to the cemetery tonight? They’re showing Evil Dead.

I told you I love that movie. Absolutely.

No, she can’t.

No, you can’t. Why can’t she?

She never finished her presentation on the Homestead Act.

Didn’t finish. Why?

I don’t know.

Okay, here’s what we’ll do.

You can go to the movie tonight.

Oh, wow.

Yes.

No. No, no. But all weekend long, it’s just you, your history books.

Sunday night, I want a TED Talk on the Homestead Act.

Fine. Yes.

[Stanley] All right?

Okay. Cool.

Thank you.

I love you. Now can I get a hug?

Love you too.

No.

No? No, hug. [chuckles]

Why would you do that?

Because I was happy she was actually excited about something for a change.

And to be honest with you, I… I wanted to be alone with you.

You think you’ll get some love after that bullshit you just pulled?

[scoffs] Hell, no.

[faucet turns on]

I have some good news.

You might even like me again once you hear it.

You are looking at…

Well, you’re not looking, but you’re going to look soon, at the new assistant coach…

[faucet turns off]

…for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Thanks for everything.

[kisses]

Oh.

[sighs] Stanley, Stanley.

Yep. Yep.

AC! AC!

We did it. We did it.

We did it. [laughs]

“No! Get down there!”

“Get your ass up! Get your ass here!”

That’s right.

[“The Seed (2.0)” by The Roots playing]

Yo, check this out.

This video is trending again.

Dr. J still dunking when he was 63. Isn’t that nuts?

Yeah, you should put your phone away, though, because you’re driving.

Yeah, that’s true.

But just look at the hops on that guy.

There was nobody like him.

[girl laughs]

That’s cool.

[Stanley] Mm-hmm.

What’s going on with school? How’s that going?

It’s, um…

Nothing. It’s fine.

In all honesty, what do we feel about college?

Is that something you want to do?

You talked about going to film school.

So many kids are applying to film schools.

They’re not going to pick me.

Oh, I’m not worried about all those other kids. I’m worried about you.

You against you, baby.

You can get it done. You just gotta do what you love.

Did you love being away from home all the time?

That’s what you got out of this.

[laughs]

[Stanley] Of course, I hated being away from home, but now that I’m coaching, I’m going to be around a lot more.

So we’re going to get your grades up. Together. Okay.

Love you. Bye.

I love you.

Have a good time with these guys.

Hi! I’m so excited! Hi!

No side hugs for them. That’s just for me? I love that.

Girls. I know you since kindergarten, none of you say hi?

[girl] Bye, Dad.

♪ Get your girl to make bail ♪

[Stanley yells]

♪ And get your ass out of jail ♪

♪ You should be gettin’ it Everything you want ♪

♪ Everything you dreamed of ♪

♪ Never have to front ♪

[on radio] Good evening, everybody, Anthony Gargano here,

I’ve got breaking news.

And it’s very, very sad news. I’ve just confirmed it.

I don’t even want to say it.

But Rex Merrick, you know our beloved Rex, owner of the Sixers, has passed away tonight.

I’m at a loss for words.

He was one of the great people.

He was one of our people.

He grew up dirt poor in Al to on a, Pennsylvania.

He was just like everybody else in his town.

He built great wealth, but he never distanced himself from us.

And this is why we lost a great one today.

So Rex, this is for you.

[line ringing]

[Rex on phone] Hi, I’m not here right now.

Leave me a message and I’ll get back to you when I can.

[indistinct chatter]

♪ Somethin’ goin’ on, I feel funny ♪

♪ Can’t tell me nothin’ different My nose twitchin’ ♪

♪ Intuition settin’ in like Steve vision ♪

♪ I still close my eyes I still see visions ♪

♪ Still hear that voice In the back of my mind ♪

♪ So what I do? I still take heed, I still listen ♪

♪ I still paint that perfect picture ♪

♪ I still shine bright like a prism… ♪

[Stanley] Leon.

Hey.

Julius.

Hey.

Rex loved you, man.

Thanks, pal.

I just, I can’t believe… I just showed my daughter footage of you jamming, and it just brought back so many nice memories.

You can’t let ’em forget.

Right, Stanley?

No, no.

I’ll let you old friends catch up.

Okay. Stay well.

Thank you.

Nice touch with the suit.

Yeah.

Leon, man, I can’t believe this.

Anything you ever need, call me, man.

Yeah. I got to make the rounds. I appreciate you.

Love you, bro.

Love you too, Leon.

Let’s talk soon, 22.

Trying to think of something to say to you besides “I’m sorry.”

It doesn’t seem enough.

I heard you’re moving to the bench.

Uncle Connie’s office. Dad was so excited for you.

“We need a spark, Katherine.”

No, man.

Your father, he mentioned it to me years ago, but with my past, you know,

I figured he’d rather forget about it.

He’d never forget about you, Sugerman.

[sighs]

So my brother’s going to be taking over the team.

You’re bailing on us?

No, I’m gonna keep my seat on the board.

Vin’s going to run the day-to-day.

[man] To your pops.

[men] To Rex.

He really wants this.

[indistinct chatter]

[mellow music playing]

[whistle blowing]

[indistinct shouting]

[man] Come on, Haas, make him work. Too easy, Haas, too easy!

Come on, Haas.

[blows whistle] Whoa, whoa.

No, can’t have your arm straight like that.

Put your forearm into T’s back, all right?

Dig it in there. Okay? You decide where you want him to go.

Like Jrue Holiday, bro.

Exactly. Take him out of his comfort zone.

[speaks German]

Huh? I don’t understand what that is.

Did you sleep last night at all?

Do your work early.

[Stanley] Let’s go again.

Ready?

Okay.

Come on, Haas. Make him work.

Don’t let him go baseline.

Hey, just focus.

Go again!

[man] Make him work.

Hey, Stan. You got a minute?

You want me now?

Yeah.

All right.

How’s he doing?

We’re working on it. He’s young. We’re going to get him there.

I fucked up. Shouldn’t have drafted Haas.

I wouldn’t say that.

To my face?

I would say it to your face.

[chuckles]

My father always appreciated your honesty. I’m working on it. I really am.

Cool.

I have one job, to maximize this team’s chances of winning an NBA championship by any means necessary.

Hell with the naysayers. Right?

You’re not wrong.

I’m glad to hear you say that.

Got the Hawks’ pick next year, we can’t afford to miss.

To be champion requires sacrifice.

Manu coming off the bench. That’s this. That’s you.

You’re valuable as a coach, you’re indispensable as a scout.

I don’t want to be out there anymore. I never wanted to be out there.

I’m not asking.

I haven’t been home on my daughter’s birthday for nine years running, Vin.

[Vin] Stan.

Find me that missing piece, you’re right back on the bench coaching.

[“It Never Entered My Mind” by The Miles Davis Quintet playing]

So what you gonna do, Sugerbear?

What can I do?

Call Vin right now and say,

“Kiss my fat ass and fuck your five-star hotels.”

You don’t need this.

It’s not as simple as that.

How can such a beautiful woman have such horrifying feet?

[laughs]

What is this yellow thing?

It’s a callus from exercise.

Remember exercise?

So you’re just gonna give up on your dream?

[Stanley] Guys in their 50s don’t have dreams.

They have nightmares and eczema.

There was only one guy who knew what I was capable of, and he died.

[woman in Spanish] Welcome to Mallorca, Spain.

The local temperature is 30 degrees Celsius…

[Leon in English] Yo, Double Deuce, I heard you back on that road, man.

I’m in Spain too, with a client, so let’s have breakfast.

Look at this pool. Check it out.

[Stanley] No, I can’t look at that.

[Leon] Yeah, you can.

No, that’s going to get me in trouble.

One look, just one look.

No. I’ll get in…

Teresa will kick the shit out of me.

I swear to God, I saw a Victoria’s Secret mannequin one time, and T was pissed off at me.

[laughs]

I came to talk to you about something.

Okay.

Why don’t you come and just be an agent with me?

Got an open spot, I got all the partners on board.

For me?

If I do that, then, there’s no room for growth. I still want to coach.

This Philly thing, there’s room to grow there?

At least I’m still in the league, you know.

Vin came to see me last week.

Talk about Zeke.

Talk about Zeke? He’s going one. We’re out.

He could trade up, package Embiid with that King’s pick.

That idiot’s talking about trading Embiid? Are you kidding me?

Look, nobody’s safe now.

Guy like Vin, he wants to put his fingerprints on the team.

Just think about my offer, Deuce.

Yeah, I know.

I appreciate you looking out for me.

Always, man.

And do me a favor, please look at these titties. I’ll take the blame.

Just check them out.

All right.

Those are my titties.

Those are yours.

Yeah.

They actually kind of look like yours.

I’m about two sandwiches away from those titties. Yeah.

So how long has our boy been off the injury reserve list?

Garcia’s knee’s swollen. He’s not going to play.

Swollen. Not gonna play. What am I doing here, then?

You don’t wanna talk to Coach?

What’s he gonna tell me?

There a place around here I can shoot some hoop?

[crowd cheering in distance]

[cheering continues]

[stirring percussion music playing]

[cheering]

[in Spanish] They can’t guard me.

[cheering]

[chuckles]

[loud cheering]

I’m guarding him.

I got him.

Who you guarding? Nobody!

[cheering]

[crowd exclaims]

[speaking Spanish]

[man] Tie game! Next point wins!

[grunts]

[in English] Here’s his chance.

[crowd groans]

Oh, my God!

[cheering]

What’s the big guy’s name?

I don’t know.

You don’t know?

[in Spanish] That was a bullshit foul.

Give me my money. That’s my money. I won that match.

That’s not your money.

Where’s my money?

That’s my money.

What do you mean your money?

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

[arguing continues]

[arguing subsides]

[insults in Spanish]

What are you looking at?

Me?

Do you know who I am?

You’re a nobody.

And you are shit.

[crowd booing]

You’re a clown.

[crowd exclaims]

[tense music playing]

You big piece of shit. Fouling me all game.

You and me, one on one, right now.

With those boots?

Yeah, yeah.

[crowd cheers]

Twenty pavos for three shots.

Three shots, he’ll never hit the rim.

[man] Don’t do it!

The big dude is hustling you!

He’s fucking scared.

[crowd jeering]

[both speaking Spanish]

[tense music continues]

[in English] There’s one.

[grunts]

God damn.

[crowd cheering]

That’s it.

[cheering continues]

Yo, yo, yo!

Amigo.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

[Stanley panting heavily]

I haven’t sprinted like that in 30 years.

Just waiting for my Achilles to pop.

Just…

Uno momento. I have an idea.

Are you really a construction worker, or is that all part of the hustle?

[app voice translating to Spanish]

I mean, I couldn’t take my eyes off of you.

It got me so excited.

You’re a fantasy for a guy like me.

[app voice translating to Spanish]

[bell clangs]

What? Did that sound dirty or something?

No, I didn’t…

I didn’t mean it like that.

I meant it like you’re an amazing basketball player.

[electronic music playing]

[dog barks in distance]

Why you follow me here, you fucking crazy?

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

You understand English?

I am a scout with the Sixers.

You know the Sixers, correct?

Iverson, Barkley…

[woman shouts in Spanish]

[Stanley] Uh… Mom… Madre… Hi.

Mi nombre Stanley Sugerman.

Yo soy un basketball scout.

Trabajo, eh, NBA…

Hijo… is muy bien. Muy… Muy bien.

[speaks Spanish]

[player speaks Spanish]

She called me an old man. Yes, I am an old man.

[family arguing]

Is that your daughter? I have a daughter. She’s older.

She doesn’t talk to me anymore. Hang on. Hang on.

I have an idea. Por favor.

Let me just call… I don’t know what time it is there.

I hope he’s there. Please, God, be there.

[line ringing]

Please. Please, please pick up. Pick up.

God damn it.

Uh, hello?

Hey, Schnitzel. I’m in Spain.

I wanted you to meet somebody.

Dirk Nowitzki. See?

How’s it going? How’s the retirement home?

They still feeding you pudding?

Who is this? How’d you get this number?

[chuckles] Yes. All right. I deserved that.

I don’t know you.

But I’ve never seen this man before in my life.

He’s starting to believe you, Dirk. Come on, help me out.

Ah… I’m just kidding, that’s Stan the man right there.

He’s a legend.

What’s your name, kid?

Bo, Bo Cruz.

Where you play at, Bo Cruz?

Nowhere. I just work construction.

Not for long if Stan is calling me about you.

That’s right. You see, this is mi amigo, amigo.

Thank you so much, Dirk, and say hi to your grandmother for me.

My grandma died.

That’s right. You told me that. My bad.

[woman 2 complaining in Spanish]

[women arguing in Spanish]

[“¿Porqué te vas?” by Jeanette playing on speaker]

[Stanley] There’s 450 NBA players, another 100 just waiting to get called up.

It’s my job to know every other great player in the world.

I’m very good at my job.

I never heard of you.

So tell me your whole story from the top.

He was a very strong baby.

Mama, no.

Good, I said from the top. This is nice. Go ahead.

A very sweet boy.

When he was ten years old, was his gym coach idea to do basketball.

And the club teams, they want him to play football.

The gym coach was smart.

Soccer is awful.

[mother] But with basketball, he played with the big kids when he was still small.

Biggest hands, though.

They tease him. The… The movie with the little alien.

Ehm…

Phone home.

E.T.

Yes. Very mean boys.

But also,

he kind of looked like an alien.

[chuckles] I bet.

He played every day.

After his father, well,

he went away. We don’t have him anymore.

I’m sorry. Losing your dad at any age…

Oh, no, he’s not lost. He moved to Portugal with whore.

Mama, la niña.

What? It’s true, she knows. After his father left…

Mi roble.

Roble? Que es “roble”?

My strong oak tree.

Uh-huh.

He played basketball all his time, so he no think of him.

He was invited to a club team in America when he was 15, but before he left, Lucia’s mother got pregnant.

So he stayed here for Lucia.

Right.

I’m gonna make a couple of calls so I can see you play with some guys on your level tomorrow.

I got to work.

How old are you?

Twenty-two.

Basketball years are like dog years.

We’re gonna do this, we actually got to do this now.

And how much money will you pay him?

To come to Philly?

It’ll be a prorated league minimum.

But you say he was great.

For great, you pay the maximum, no?

[chuckles] Yeah. Yes, NBA contract of any kind is maximum, no?

And how much is the minimum?

Minimum salary in the NBA is $900,000.

He will call in sick.

All right. I’ll text you the details in the morning.

What a pleasure.

Bo Cruz. Love the name.

[player grunts]

[conversing in Spanish]

[coach] Doing good, Stanley? You look nervous.

I’m not nervous. I’m just very excited, Coach.

When is your kid coming in?

Don’t know. His bus must be running late.

He doesn’t have a car.

Right on time.

Here’s my man, the Cruz Missile.

What?

What?

You don’t like that? I thought you’d love that.

No? I’ll keep thinking.

So I want you to meet Coach Scariolo.

You know him. Spanish national team.

¿Qué tal?

Hola.

Bo Cruz.

Felipe. Álex.

These guys are being nice. They’re gonna let you play with ’em.

Willy, José, Pierre. Bo Cruz.

Go on down and get laced up, stretch out a little bit.

We’re going to have some fun.

[in Spanish] You want to try?

[players discussing in Spanish]

[players exclaiming]

Willy, you’re off the team.

[in English] Yo, get some sneakers on.

Be careful.

[player] He can jump.

[Stanley] Yeah, he can jump.

[Stanley on speaker] You believe this? He hit 44 out of 50 from the side pocket.

He’s incredible!

You watch the workout?

[Vin] Of course, I watched. Kid’s impressive.

But there are other considerations.

Character, mentality. Playing within a system.

I sound like you right now.

Vin, this kid is the new Freak.

He’s a unicorn, a mythical creature.

The kid hasn’t played organized basketball in eight years.

There’s a reason for that.

Let’s see what he can do in the G League.

You fucking play in the G League, Blake.

All right, listen to me, Vin.

Nobody knows about him.

You’re going to see this guy, you’re gonna freak the fuck out.

I promise you, you have to see him live.

It’s not gonna happen, Stan.

I’m indispensable.

So valuable, right?

You told me if I wanted to get back on the bench to find the missing piece.

Well, here I am delivering him for no money.

And it’s not gonna happen?

I pay you to find players, not tell me what to do with them.

Pay me.

You got something to say, Stan?

[Bo] I don’t understand.

[Stanley] It’s all good. It’s just they don’t have a roster spot at the moment, but they love what they saw and want to see more.

And let’s just say a spot doesn’t open up, we’ll get your name in the draft.

So you play like you did yesterday, at the combine, you’ll be a lock.

They still pay me to come.

They’ll pay you for sure.

It might not come at once, but you’ll get the money.

I promise you.

Okay.

Giant body like yours on an eight-hour flight is gonna be rough.

You’ll take my seat, okay?

Oh, really?

Okay. Yeah, no problem.

[on PA] This is your captain speaking.

I’d like to welcome everyone aboard Flight 718. We’re currently cruising at…

[attendant speaking Spanish]

[whispering] Psst, Stanley. Stanley. Here.

Look what I got.

[Stanley] Oh, yes.

They are warm.

That’s good.

You want some?

Uh… I don’t want to start a riot back here. It’s cool, thanks.

One bite?

No, I’m trying not to, badly.

It’s really good.

Just give me a fucking roll. Thank you.

[man] Next, please.

[indistinct conversation]

[officer] Sir, I need you to come with me.

Oh, hey, that’s my kid.

Yo, excuse me. No, no, he’s with me. He’s with me.

[man speaking Spanish]

What’s up, Oscar? What happened?

He got flagged for an aggravated assault charge.

Beat up a guy pretty bad five years ago.

Ah, Jesus.

He needs to be very careful.

He goes in front of a judge for even running a stop sign, he can get his visa permanently revoked.

Right. Okay.

Are you looking at him for the draft?

Yeah. We’re all very excited about him. This is something I should have caught.

I don’t want the team paying for my mistake.

So keep this between us. I’ll cover your hours.

No problem. Just bring us back home a championship, right?

Will do, Oscar.

Good.

Thank you.

Fuck.

Anything else you need to tell me? Now is the time.

We all have stuff from our past, but having a criminal record’s a pretty big detail to leave out.

[sighs] No more secrets from now on, all right?

No big deal, moving on.

I got you this, for local and international calls.

You can talk to your daughter anytime.

Thanks, Stanley.

Philadelphia, baby.

You’re gonna love it. Best sports fans in the world.

Actually the worst, but that’s what makes ’em the best.

♪ We from P-H-I-L-A, period, P-A, period Eve, they hearing it ♪

♪ Believe they fearing it But loving it though ♪

♪ I hate the game, …the fame But I’m loving the dough ♪

♪ Oh, Philly, Philly ♪

[Teresa] He’s at that hotel all by himself?

[Stanley] Yeah. He wanted to call his daughter.

I gave him money. He’s settling in.

So when are you taking this, what’s his name again?

Bo Cruz.

When are you taking Bo across the river to train with the team?

I don’t know if I want to give them this guy yet.

Just wanna make sure I do what’s right for the kid.

What?

The Sixers don’t know you stashed him.

You don’t get it. The kid is like if Scottie Pippen and a wolf had a baby.

So what are you saying? He has a hairy face.

I’m saying if this kid puts it together, when he puts it together, he will be top ten in the league.

And being the guy who finds the guy matters in this business.

Won’t Vince fire you for this?

T…

The kid is… special.

Okay.

With the cheese or with the whole thing?

Yeah?

You should have stopped me again. This is fucking atrocious.

♪ Don’t try to claim things I haven’t earned honest, man ♪

♪ Slick Rick and OutKast is on this jam What kid? ♪

[song stops]

Yeah.

You’re looking for the big man? He ain’t here.

Where is he?

Make a right on 13th.

♪ Young… blowin’ old money ♪

♪ Spend a milli’, make it back ♪

♪ Made enough off a old hustle I don’t even gotta rap ♪

♪ Grind and I get it, stack and I spend it You know the routine ♪

Hey, what are you doing?

[crowd exclaims]

Careful, please.

[crowd cheers]

All right, that’s it. That’s it.

Take your money.

Goodness.

I see. We’re not here to hustle, man.

Why not?

Let’s go.

Good Lord.

Why?

[Bo] Hey, Stanley.

Have you ever tried these Ishkabibble’s?

Oh, my God. [sniffs]

Yeah, but you got five cheese steaks.

[Bo] Yeah, but each one is different.

[Stanley] But you only took one bite of each one.

You take one bite and you don’t eat it all, because if not, you get fat.

Why did you look at me when you said that?

Come on, Stanley, I don’t say that.

Okay.

What the fuck did you do to the minibar?

[Bo] Sixers are paying, don’t worry.

Yes, but we don’t eat $9 Pringles. A man must have a code.

I literally eat one chip. They are not that good.

It’s still $9. They don’t charge you per chip.

Okay. Anyways, I got some good news.

Um, an old friend, Leon Rich…

Leon Rich who played for Timberwolves?

Right. We played together in college.

He’s a power agent now, and he’s in Philly with a few of his guys for an open run.

Like, who are these guys?

College kids. NBA prospects getting ready for the draft.

It’s a scrimmage, but it gets serious out there.

So it’s like a real tryout?

No, no, no.

It’s just a showcase, not a big deal, just a step in the process.

The whole idea is to give young bucks a place to shine.

So you’re just gonna go out there, and you’re gonna shine, Bo Cruz.

Okay, let’s go.

♪ What you want now? I’m the one now ♪

♪ I gotta run now ♪

♪ Wait, wait, wait, wait ♪

♪ I’m the one now ♪

[both laughing]

♪ It’s a bird, it’s a plane No, it’s me, ha ha ha ♪

[indistinct chatter]

[Vin] Stanley.

Come here.

Hey, Matisse, Kyle.

‘Sup?

Bo. This is Vin Merrick. He’s co-owner of the Sixers, but he basically runs the team.

And Leon Rich, basically, he runs the world.

The Double Deuce told me a lot about you, man.

[Vin] Oh, yeah, Bo Cruz.

We certainly have heard a lot about you from Stanley, and Oscar Morales.

Our in-house counsel, he met you at the airport.

Yeah, they met. Go get laced up, bud.

Huge fan.

Thanks, man.

How you know he’s talking about you?

Come on.

Sorry, but I had to bring him.

You’re going to see why after you watch the kid play.

Good luck.

Appreciate it.

Fellas.

What is Kermit Wilts doing here? The guy’s a lock at two.

He thinks he should be number one.

[Stanley] He can shoot from anywhere. Just stay with him wherever he goes.

Don’t let him score in bunches. Don’t let him get hot. Okay?

He’s here to show off. Use that. Get physical with him.

You give Kermit Wilts the business, your whole world’s going to change overnight.

You got this shit, go get it.

Best of luck out there, man.

What’s your name?

Bo.

Bo. I like that. Strong, strong like a bull.

Let’s give these people a show. What do you say, Bo?

So, where are you from?

Spain.

Shit sounds wack.

Y’all like bull fights over there, right?

So, here’s what’s going to happen. You’re the bull.

I’m the motherfucker with a cape running your big dumb ass in circles. That’s cool.

Let’s get it.

[whistle blows]

Get up on him, baby.

Stay with him.

[crowd cheers]

We’re good.

Right here.

Go ahead, make something happen.

[whistle blows]

That’s it. Yes, sir.

Who’s this?

Stan brought him.

[Stanley] Nice vision.

[crowd cheers]

Welcome to America.

[laughs]

Hey, hey.

[players speaking indistinctly]

I don’t need no help.

[ball dribbling]

[crowd cheers]

That’s it. Nice.

I like… I like him. I like him.

This is gonna be good.

He’s got a lot of length. Does he have any control?

Yeah!

[Stanley] Nice swat! Way to get after it.

Good D.

[crowd cheers]

Finna hit you with a hazy, cross sidestep.

Think you can stop me?

[crowd exclaims]

Yeah!

Stan’s kid getting a lesson here.

You’re good. Don’t come over here.

Shit.

He’s like a giraffe on roller skates.

Shake that off. Shake it off.

You get it, right?

Step back three. Really can’t guard me, bro.

[crowd cheers]

Damn, you slow.

Hey, let’s take a seat for a minute.

No.

Just give yourself a breather.

[Kermit] Listen to him. Listen to your daddy.

Here comes a brick.

Oh, yeah!

You can see it’s getting to his head.

[unnerving music playing]

Oh! It’s okay.

I think the game’s too fast for him.

Nothing.

[both laugh]

Move out the way.

All right, kid.

[laughter]

[unnerving music continues]

[crowd cheering]

Olé, bitch!

Shit.

He had his moments. I saw it.

That wasn’t him. That wasn’t even close to him.

[sighs] It’s my fault. I rushed this whole thing.

Remember our freshman year, we were playing at Gonzaga, they put John Stockton on me?

You said watch out for this guy. I said nobody looking like an insurance salesman going to bust my ass.

Midway through the second half, 20 points, 20 assists.

None of y’all would look at me. Remember?

I remember.

Remember me playing like that again?

No, ’cause I never wanted to feel that feeling again.

So tonight’s a good thing.

Nothing was good about tonight.

That was some awful… [laughing]

Wanna grab some din-din?

I got to catch a plane.

You’re gonna have to pick up the tab on the Spanish kid. I’m not interested.

Time to get back out there and keep looking.

You’re gonna miss another one of your daughter’s birthdays.

The Sixers will send something nice for her.

Hey, I never asked you to pick up the tab on him, Vincent.

Frankly, I’m not interested in working for a smug, born-on-third fucking bitch.

So how’s this?

Kiss my fat ass, and fuck your five-star hotels.

I quit.

So Stanley’s not coming to dinner?

I really wish he was now.

[laughter]

[Blake] Stanley knows how to fuck up his life.

Another bad decision in the books.

The combine’s in six weeks.

Can you get my guy in?

I’ll work on it.

Don’t have a heart attack, man. Come on, 22.

I fly home tomorrow.

Is that what you want to do?

You come all this way, have one bad day, and you’re ready to back down?

No, but I suck.

Do you love this game?

Love it with your whole heart?

Because if you don’t, let’s not even bother.

Let’s not open that door. They’re gonna slam it right in our face.

I love this game. I live this game.

And there’s 1,000 other guys waiting in the wings who are obsessed with this game.

Obsession is gonna beat talent every time.

You’ve got all the talent in the world, but are you obsessed?

Is it all you ever think about?

Let’s face it, it’s you against you out there.

When you walk on that court, you have to think, “I am the best guy out there.”

“I don’t care if LeBron’s playing.”

So let me ask you again. Do you love this game?

Yes.

Is there a newborn kitten purring in here right now?

I couldn’t hear you.

[shouts] Do you want to be in the NBA?

Yes!

Let’s make that happen.

Never back down.

[soft music playing]

[phone vibrating]

Hello.

[Stanley] Buenos días, Bo Cruz. I’m out front.

Stanley, it’s 4:10, man.

[Stanley] Come on downstairs. Bring your shit.

Kobe used to get up at 4:00 a.m. so he could practice before practice.

I got you a gift.

[Bo chuckles]

Kobes.

That’s right, for inspiration.

Let’s get to work.

[engine starts]

The combine’s in a month and a half.

It’s a televised game, so the whole world’s gonna get to see you play.

We got to get you ready.

[groans softly]

So you see this hill?

Average professional biker can get to the top of this hill in two minutes.

We’re gonna come out here every morning till you get the top, running, minute-45.

Shit.

Yeah.

And three, two, one.

[car horn beeps]

Let’s go. Move it, kid. Yup.

Looking good.

That’s it, man. That’s it. I like it.

Go, go, go!

Pump it.

Pump those arms.

[inspirational music playing]

Whoa, whoa, whoa. What are you doing? Don’t stop. To the top.

Oh, we’re going to be here a lot, bud. Let’s go!

Keep going, come on. Find it in you.

You got to push it, bro. I’m telling you, I’m gonna hit your heels.

Oh, my goodness gracious.

[coughing]

Okay. All right, so that’s time.

I had no idea this stopwatch went that high.

I’m not shitting you.

When we were teaching my daughter to walk, she got up this hill faster than you.

Just get in the car.

Whew. We’ve got a lot of work to do, baby.

Ah, you’re getting sweat in my Malibu.

[Bo sighs tiredly]

[laughs] Oh, all right.

Bo.

Hi. This is my daughter, Alex.

This is Bo.

Nice to meet you.

Hi.

She’s going to be shooting us today.

Are you ready, kid?

Alex.

Yes.

All right. All right. I’ve never seen her like that.

That was funny.

All right.

Get this. Alex, get this round. Initiate contact.

Don’t get jammed. Get past that.

Drive. Use your legs. Downhill. Down. Finish…

[grunting]

Come on. All right.

Your first year in the league, no calls.

You need a hand up?

Get out of here. Don’t look so sad.

Go ahead. Zoom in on that sad face of his right now.

I want you to finish through it. Let’s go.

All right, shoulders down, that’s right. Go!

Okay. All right.

You absorbed the contact. I need you to finish through the contact.

Alex, you get that? Okay, we’re getting there. Go, go, go!

Cut. Move. Go downhill! All the way, now finish it.

Oh! That’s how you take it to the rim.

What happened? Were you on me? Always on the money, sweetheart.

Good God.

He is mad because he’s hungry.

[laughs]

What’d he say? Because I’m what? He made a fat joke?

[chuckles, sighs]

[man] He’s special.

[Stanley] Special, right?

What’s that baby chick about?

Um…

That’s for my daughter, Lucia.

We call her Pollito. It means little chicken.

So all these are for my mom and my daughter.

They mean everything to me.

What about your dad?

All these are for him.

[Stanley] Don’t think, react!

She did it.

[Bo] She’s good with camera.

She’s good. She didn’t have to put her name on your… But that’s fine.

Okay. This ain’t Europe, baby.

It gets quick here. Offense takes skill.

Defense takes balls, baby. That’s right.

Oh! Stop that shit!

Game gets quick! Okay, here we go!

Oh!

Took the charge!

[Bo] Come on! Hell fuckin’ yeah!

So, how do you think you did?

They scored a couple times, but I think I did pretty good.

Three guys were running at you full tilt for five minutes straight, and they scored a couple times.

You crushed it.

[chuckles]

The only thing in your way is that big brain of yours.

You’re sensitive. I get that. I’m sensitive too.

I cried at the end of Titanic, but I’m not in the NBA.

You? You can never be soft again.

I’m not soft.

Please.

Kermit, a guy named after a frog, said some mean words to you, and you wanted to take your ball and run home.

It was a trick. It’s never gonna happen again.

Nothing he said bothered you?

No.

Kermit?

Okay, my bad.

I’m over thinking it, I guess.

So, uh, take 20 threes. Every miss, you’re gonna run the bleachers.

[Bo tuts]

Oh, nice.

Nice.

Your mom’s a whore.

What?

What?

What was that?

Just said some words. That’s it. Hey.

It’s not cool, man.

What are you still standing here for? Let’s go.

[Bo tuts]

You know what’s not cool?

A grown man letting another grown man hurt his feelings.

Players are gonna try to get in your head every time you step on the court.

You gotta be an iceberg out there, all floating around and sharp and taking down ships.

When I played college ball, every time I took a shot, somebody tried to insult me. They called me short or slow or chubby.

You know what I did?

What’d you do?

I started passing ’cause I couldn’t shoot for shit.

But you don’t want my career.

You wanna be Bo Cruz, All-Star, Hall-of-Famer.

So, let’s do this.

Your sweat smells like piss.

Good. Good. Good.

[in Spanish] Son of a thousand sluts.

[in English] Stanley been working on his Spanish.

Yeah. Right. I looked it up so I can insult you, my friend.

[in Spanish] Get fucked by a fish, dumb-ass.

[in English] I love it.

Yeah. All right. Good.

Your mom’s not a whore, by the way.

Thank you.

Yeah. Whores get paid. She gives that fat ass out for free.

[Bo] What?

[grunts]

Come on! We’re building a callus!

[laughs]

Get outta here!

Whoa! Whoo-hoo!

[Stanley shouting in Spanish]

[laughter]

Smells good.

What’s all this?

Two hundred dollars’ worth of Pringles? These are meals for the week.

Tell him to rinse the containers, so I can reuse them.

And also, tell him pornography is free on the Internet.

He’s paying for porno?

And who is Paula Serrano?

[grunts]

You’ve been wiring her $500 a week.

“Paola.” Paola’s Bo’s mother.

They live check-to-check, so I had to. He’s got a daughter to support.

You got a daughter to support.

Right.

Just tell him to pump the brakes on the Pringles.

At least until the Sixers start picking up the tab.

Yeah, so I wanna talk to you about the tab.

[Teresa growls]

It’s gonna be fine. Don’t worry.

Worry? Why would I worry?

You’re just unemployed, spending money on some man I’ve never…

He’s an investment.

We don’t have money to invest.

You told me to quit.

And I meant it until you actually did it.

Now I’m freaked out.

Well, I’m not.

I know what I’m doing. You’ll see. I’ll show you.

Yeah, you do that.

[door shuts]

[lock beeps]

[Stanley in deep voice] Hey! Hey! Hey!

Rise and shine, Marine!

[in normal voice] Sorry. Sorry.

Okay.

Stanley, what you want, man?

It’s 3:30.

There’s two weeks left to the combine. We gotta get rolling.

What happened here? Was there something wrong with this?

I told you, just one bite.

On a $40 steak?

You’re gonna throw $39 away. I don’t know.

Here. This is for you.

What’s this?

That’s your meals for the week.

My wife made them, so they’re healthy. You can eat the whole thing.

I got a notice from accounting. Scale back on the room service.

I’m sorry, Stanley. I didn’t mean…

No. It’s all good.

They also mentioned they’d love you to stop with the porno.

Porno? It wasn’t me.

Then who was it?

Okay, it was me. Fuck.

Get ready. Downstairs. Five minutes. All right?

We’ll have fun, but we’re gonna kick your ass today.

Try not to whack off while I’m gone.

[chuckles]

[door closes]

Okay.

So, what happened to your hand?

[Stanley] My hand?

It was a freak thing. Car accident. A long time ago. No more stalling.

Run.

[“Runnin'” by David Dallas playing]

Always running.

Go get ’em.

[car horn honking]

Okay.

We’ll work on you driving in and escaping out.

So as you take the cone in and place it down, those fans are gonna blow it at you, so you gotta escape trouble, quick.

Yeah, I know it’s tough.

Knees up! Let’s go!

Okay. Bring out the big guy.

You gotta work on your precision, hit small targets out there.

We gotta get right through this. Don’t think about it.

Go, go, go, go.

Down low. Athletic. Athletic. Athletic.

Come on. Yeah. Let’s go. You’re an athlete.

Let’s turn it around.

Go! Go!

Eh!

[sighs] 2:22. It’s you against you out there.

And right now, you is kicking your ass.

♪ They ain’t got no muscle, no hustle ♪

♪ No backbone, I stand alone ♪

♪ Not tripping, just saying I’m different ♪

♪ Ain’t hanging on the coattails Of the next man ♪

[Stanley] Go! Go! Move it!

Let’s go, baby!

[trainer] Push. Let’s go! Yes!

Come on! Forty seconds. Let’s go! Go! Go! Go! Come on!

[Stanley] Yeah. Stay low. Low. Low. Low. Low.

Hands and feet work together. You’re thinking too much.

Come on. Hey. Hey. Hey.

Gotta do this in under five. Remember that.

Come on. Pound it.

Oh!

Run for me. Let’s go.

♪ Get it while I’m living ♪

♪ All I ever hear Is the clock tick, tick, ticking ♪

♪ So I’m ’bout my business And I’m runnin’, I’m runnin’ ♪

[Stanley] Yep! That’s it!

Get outta the fucking road!

Push it! Catch that prick!

[Stanley groans]

We’ll get there.

Let’s go again.

The hips low. Yeah. Right. Use that.

¡Vamos!

[Stanley] Hey. Let’s go.

I don’t care about that shot. It’s about the next shot.

And the next shot. And the next shot.

Okay. Yes, sir.

Now, see how he explodes. Explodes. You gotta explode right off.

Yeah, that’s it.

All right.

♪ Baracus, that BS, that whackness ♪

♪ Get no play in my axis Make ’em jump like AJ Hackett ♪

♪ Guarantee you in these boots ♪

[Stanley] That’s it, all in the wrist. Come on. Lower the hip.

Feel the fire. God damn it, yes.

Push! Go right through him! That’s it!

Track two. Go. Push this little asshole, come on!

♪ Music from the soul Don’t need them to help me ♪

♪ If they fiending for the flash They should take another selfie ♪

[honks horn]

[Stanley] Yeah!

We’re moving forward. Let’s go again, though.

Hard, hard. Nah, you don’t have to put it down so soft.

It’ll be okay.

Let’s go again. Let’s go again.

Let’s go. Come on! Come on! Come on!

[Stanley] Keep going to the top! You’re not done.

Pass clean. Pass clean.

Come on, man. Easy.

[Stanley] You’re running out of steam, pal!

♪ Running with them, yeah ♪

♪ They don’t wanna give it up We gon’ make it out ♪

[song ends]

[panting heavily]

[Alex] What are you gonna say to him?

[Stanley] Nothing, kid. He’s gotta tell himself.

[trainer] Settle.

Come on, man.

Let’s go. Back in. Back in. Back in. Back in.

No stopping. No quitting. No quitting. Let’s go.

[Stanley] Let’s go. That’s it. Right through. Right out.

Come on. Think about it. Let’s go. Down now.

Right through. Finish that shit. Whoa! That was nice. Okay.

Switch it back. Getting good, bud.

[Bo] Almost, Stanley! Almost! Cool!

You’re getting good. Let’s go.

[Bo] Pretty close.

[Stanley] Better than yesterday, baby.

[Stanley practicing Spanish insults]

Ah! You’re crispy today, cabrón!

[Bo and Stanley laugh]

A good player knows where he is on court.

A great player knows where everybody else is.

Get to it. Get to it. That’s it. Go. Go.

To the red. Then to me. Let’s pick it up. You got to be faster.

Look good, man! Cruz-ing!

All right, Bo. You always wanna be low and have good balance.

Guess who? Attack! Step back! And finish!

[man] Good.

Always staying low.

Stay low. Handle the pressure. Let’s go. Grab that.

You can get more than that. That’s it. Stay strong.

Good. Good. Good.

[Stanley exclaims]

Hey! Be bold, man! Be bold!

[Stanley] Yeah, baby.

Go! Don’t stop, baby! Go!

Right through it! And, Bo!

2:01! We’re getting there, baby! We’re on the right track. Let’s go!

[trainer] Eight, nine.

[Stanley] ¡Mi roble! Let’s go! ¡Mi roble!

Damn. Smells like a truck full of shit emptied itself into your mouth.

Nothing affects this young man. I like that. Hey. Nice.

I’m gonna catch those feet!

[horn honks]

Oh, look how scared he is!

[Stanley laughs]

[motivational music playing]

[laughs]

[ticking]

[trainer] No stopping. Got nothing for you.

That’s what I’m talking about.

[Stanley] Yes, sir! Yes, sir! Yes, sir!

You know how much I love that. Hard work, baby.

I knew when I saw you. That’s a hardworking fool.

You’re going somewhere.

[Bo] We’re going together.

[Stanley] We’re going together. Whoo!

Okay, good. Look around. Who’s open? Be patient. Now! Attack! Go! Go! Go!

Okay, retreat. Yeah, that’s good, man. That’s it. Wait.

You’ll find times you go down there, and nothing’s open, wait, you’ll find it.

You’re hot, baby! You’re hot.

Bo Cruz coming down!

Low, yeah…

Gotta make passes under pressure.

That’s it! Okay, nice. We’re cooking. Last one.

Push it! Get into the next gear! Go! Go! Go!

Jimmy Butler’s up on you. Now what? Now what?

We’re doing this ’cause nobody else is doing this.

Come on! Whoo!

That’s it. Back. Pass.

Let’s go, Bo. Finish that. Come on now, Bo!

Good, Bo! Yeah, Bo! Use that clock! Use that clock!

Find a shooter! That’s it! Hit that!

Whoo!

You’re ahead, baby! Now!

On your right! Kick his ass!

Leave him in the dust! That’s right!

Drive! Drive! Drive! Drive! Drive!

Yeah! Yeah, suck it, baby!

Go! You’re gonna get this! You’re gonna get this!

That’s it, brother! Yes, sir!

Minute forty-four with room to spare, baby! Yes!

The Cruz Missile!

You know you like that!

Look at him go!

That a baby!

[Bo] Stanley!

We did it!

[Stanley] Yeah! Rocky!

[Bo] Yeah!

[Stanley] Love it!

[typing on phone]

[Stanley] For God’s sake, get the kid more butter.

I mean, it’s almost the whole stick of butter.

[laughing]

Hey.

What do you think of the Cruz Missile as a nickname for…

The Cruz…

He doesn’t like it.

That nickname is stupid.

He says it’s stupid.

[laughter]

[Teresa] Don’t be rude.

So, do you have any pictures of Lucia?

I miss her so much.

[Teresa gasps] Aw!

She has your eyes.

Yeah. She does. They’re beautiful.

Easy, tiger.

[all chuckle]

No.

So, have you ever been away from her this long?

I’ve never been away from her.

Never? Oh, my goodness.

So, anyway, Mrs. Sugerman, tell me how you met this guy.

“How’d she become so lucky?” He’s asking.

Okay. All right. Story time.

So, I was on the women’s track team, and we had a meet at Virginia Tech, and it was the same time that the men’s basketball team had a game.

And, unfortunately for us, our bus broke down. So…

Mm-hmm. I paid the bus driver.

We had to bum a ride home with those fools.

Stanley sat next to me for three hours, the entire ride home, and he didn’t say one word.

I didn’t think she wanted to talk to me. I was scared.

And then, as everybody is walking off, he just says crazy loud, “One day, I’m gonna marry you, and we’re gonna have very athletic children!”

I’m like, “What?”

You really say that?

I did. Yeah, it worked. Right? Look, I do. We both have a…

Well, not athletic at all…

Hey! What the heck?

Not even badminton. Not Frisbee.

[Alex] Okay.

Playing checkers, she falls down.

I’m just saying.

[Teresa] Oh, my God.

[Alex] Oh, my God!

That was when you played at Temple?

I played at Temple. Yeah. How’d you know that?

Come on, Stanley. You follow me to my home, offer me, like, crazy money, you don’t think I’ll look you up on Internet?

Number 22. Double Deuce.

Uh-huh!

Somebody did his homework, unlike somebody else.

Well, Stan can ball. You do know he can handle the rock.

Stanley?

If he didn’t get hurt, it’d have been a different story.

Who wants coffee?

You want coffee? I’ll get coffee.

Spanish coffee, please.

[Stanley] Okay. I’m gonna go to Spain. I’ll be right back, guys.

[muffled chatter]

[phone rings]

Yo. Leon. Thanks for getting back so quickly.

[Leon] I’m sorry. The list is locked.

[Stanley] What? I thought you said you could get it done.

You should’ve told me about all this shit before I called all around the league, vouching for this guy.

Shit. What? What shit you talking about?

He’s got an assault charge. And Vince is all over TV talking about it.

[Anthony] And joining us now, the co-owner of the 76ers, Vince Merrick.

Vince, thanks for being here tonight.

Thanks for having me.

So, Vince, is it true the Sixers brought in Bo Cruz, who has a history of assault, to play in the combine?

[Vin] No. Bo Cruz has no affiliation with the 76ers.

He was brought over here by a disgruntled employee, Stanley Sugerman.

I specifically told Mr. Sugerman not to bring him over.

He lied to the organization and to this young man.

Mr. Sugerman’s selfish behavior has been part of his track record.

He’s been let go. He’s no longer part of the 76ers.

[door shuts]

[Anthony] Vince, we loved your father. Thank you for bringing this story to us.

Hey, Bo. Just get in the car, man. Let me talk to you.

What are you gonna do? Walk to Spain? Just please, let me…

You fucking lied to me!

I know.

You lied to me.

All right. He’s all right.

I quit my job for you! You said “trust,” and I fucking trust you.

I’m sorry.

You gambled with my life!

It wasn’t a gamble. It was a sure thing.

It’s fucking over.

You and me is fucking over! You hear me? Over!

Hey. No. Just stop. Right now. Please.

[police siren whooping]

Don’t throw it all away.

I’m begging you, just let go of me. Get in the car. It’s not worth it.

I’m not worth it. Just stop. Okay.

All right. Get in the car.

[officer] Everything okay here?

Hey, guys. Yeah. Everything’s good.

When Lucia was two…

Her mom, Maria, asked me for her.

She didn’t wanna share custody anymore.

I asked her, “Why?”

She told me it was her boyfriend.

He told her they can get money from the government if she got Lucia.

So… I went to his home.

I swear, I just wanna talk to him.

I know I make a mistake.

But I’m not how they say I am.

I get it.

You don’t get shit, man.

You live in your perfect world, with your perfect family.

[Stanley] Mm.

One night, after a game at Villanova, we went to a party.

Me and Leon.

And on the way home, I… I had a few drinks in me.

I looked down at the radio.

When I looked back up, I saw a telephone pole.

I shot my hand out to stop Leon from flying through the windshield.

He still got banged up a little bit, but my hand was pulp.

I cost Leon and all my teammates a shot at the NCAA title that year.

I got to think about that.

I mean, really, really marinate in it for six months in jail.

Everything I worked for.

My whole life.

Everything I wanted.

Gone.

[Stanley] Half the fucking list are favors!

I’m not asking for a favor. This guy can play!

Everybody keeps saying that. That…

But you don’t know the whole story.

He’s… Meet the kid!

Just set it up! I’ll bring him anywhere! Anywhere! He’ll play anyone!

Will you… Yes. Ryan!

Yes, I know. I know.

And you almost didn’t let Damian Lillard play!

Right! So, you do make mistakes!

Don’t make a mistake on this kid. I’m begging you, pal. For…

For your sake, not just mine!

God damn it. I spoke at your father’s camp every year!

And I never asked for anything back! Okay?

So I’m asking you now for something! Please help me!

[phone clatters]

Jesus Christ!

You know what? I have…

Been in this league for 30 years, and it’s like I’m nothing.

[breathes heavily]

It’s like I wasn’t even here.

Stanley, it’s not about the last play.

It’s about the next one, right?

That’s if you’re in the game, T. I wasn’t even in the game.

[softly] It’s okay.

It’s okay.

Hey. Wake up.

You fell asleep in the chair.

[sighs]

Yeah?

Okay.

[typing]

Hey, Dad, I was thinking…

Just a second, let me finish this.

Stan, you’re gonna give yourself a heart attack.

People just need to see him play, right?

Certain people. Yeah.

Well, remember that video you showed me of your doctor friend?

[Stanley] My doctor friend?

[Teresa chuckles]

We take the right one home from the hospital?

[Teresa] That’s Dr. J. He’s not a real doctor.

Oh. Well, whatever.

That video has, like, two million views.

I was thinking…

I can’t ask him to do that.

Well, I can.

[Stanley] No, no.

[Teresa] No, I’m gonna ask him.

Hey, sweetie. It’s T.

[ball dribbling]

[indistinct chatter]

This is gonna be good.

[man] Hey, guys.

I was hoping you could help us out with something.

Yo, is that who I think it is?

Yeah, that’s Dr. J.

[boy] Yo, Doc! Say “what’s up” for my story!

Yo. That’s my friend Bo Cruz over there. They call him the Boa.

You know why they call him that?

Because he squeezes the life out of his prey.

[Stanley] So, guys, here’s the deal.

I got money here. He’s gonna go out on the court.

Somebody gets a shot off him and can hit the rim, I’ll give you 50 bucks.

If you put a bucket in against this guy, we’ll give you 100 bucks.

If you beat him in a game of one-on-one to five, we’ll give you 1,000 bucks. What do you say?

[excited chatter]

I got next.

All right. Let’s go.

[“Partiéndonos la madre” by Zarcort ft. Kairo playing]

[crowd exclaims]

[inaudible]

[crowd chanting indistinctly]

[crowd exclaims]

♪ Playing to be something more than gods ♪

♪ We trying to find another way ♪

[crowd exclaims]

♪ What are you feeling? If we are flying or falling ♪

♪ We are into a dream of loving again ♪

♪ We trying to find another way ♪

♪ What are you feeling? If we are flying or falling ♪

♪ We are into a dream of loving again ♪

[cheering]

We got one!

We got one, baby!

Holy shit. Bo Cruz. Where did this kid come from?

Yo, Bo Cruz. I wish I had you on my Rutgers team in the ’70s.

We talkin’ about practice? Man don’t need no practice.

A legend in the making. You heard it from your man AI.

[crowd exclaims]

[crowd exclaims]

If you not here, you not nowhere.

♪ Playing to be something more than gods ♪

♪ Loving again ♪

[crowd] Oh!

[crowd cheering]

[cheering]

[Dan Patrick] …been taking on street ball legends, NBA players. Doesn’t care.

Why aren’t they inviting him to the combine?

That’s why you have the combine for players like this.

Let the world see this talent.

It’s ridiculous what he’s doing out there. This ain’t no gimmick, this real.

The Boa needs to get to the combine.

As much as it pains me to say this, you two guys are right.

This kid Bo Cruz is special.

Bo Cruz. How does it feel getting into the combine?

The combine? I’m in the combine?

You are as of 30 minutes ago.

Have you thought about what team you wanna play for?

It’d be an honor to play for any team.

I tell you what.

He could be playing for the Sixers right now, but Vince Merrick didn’t want him. He specifically said that. You remember?

Anthony, you remember that, right?

You were interviewing him.

That’s right.

He’s 22. You’re messing with his life.

What kind of ballplayer…

Hang on.

Have some respect for your profession. Get the whole story next time.

What kind of ballplayer… I’ll answer that question.

This guy is as if Scottie Pippen and a wolf had a baby, and Lisa Leslie raised him.

And Allen Iverson was the babysitter.

[laughter]

It gets weird, that stuff. But you handled it great.

What else is bothering you? Tell me.

Nothing. See you tomorrow.

Yeah.

[Teresa] So, he got into the combine, and he’s not excited?

He’s in his own head. He’s not telling me anything.

[sighs]

Well, maybe he’s just sad.

Eh. I think he’s overwhelmed. The pressure’s getting to him.

Mm-mm. I bet it’s the kid. Lucia.

I mean, he’s never been away from her.

Like ever.

[indistinct chatter]

[Stanley] Okay, here we go.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Superstars don’t carry their own bags. I got this.

[sentimental music playing]

I’ll meet you in the lobby in one hour, okay?

This is very, very good.

[indistinct chatter]

Ray Hancock can’t stop working his ass off.

Come on. Come on. Come with me.

Hey.

When you train for a marathon, you don’t run 20 miles the day before the race.

You do nothing.

All we could do now is get you hurt or wear you out.

So we’re gonna do this.

[Bo] Lucia!

Papi!

[Paola laughs]

[Bo] ¡Hola!

[Stanley] Boa challenge is still trending.

People are excited to see what you’re gonna do tomorrow.

Look at this. Look at this.

You think I know that many people? This is all for you, pal.

That’s for us.

Okay, it’s for us. Let’s get ’em.

Tomorrow, they’re gonna be watching you. Every move you make, the camera’s on you.

And it’s not just about how you play. It’s the intangibles.

More important than making a shot is how you handle missing a shot.

Shit’s gonna go wrong. So what?

You’ve dealt with adversity your whole goddamn life.

Yeah.

[Stanley] It’s Bo’s turn.

You’re nervous, huh?

It’s all right.

Hey. Clyde Drexler used to get so nervous before games that he’d actually faint.

I’m not kidding you. The guy did it so much his teammates followed him around so they could catch him.

It became kind of a ritual.

It’s good to be nervous. It means you give a shit.

All right?

All right.

Mama, you’ll get him to sleep?

Okay.

Okay. Lucia, go easy on the Pringles.

All right. Adiós.

[Paola laughs]

[Paola] Adiós.

Bo Cruz.

You’re gonna Cruz-ify them tomorrow. Huh?

It’s still not funny. Get out.

It’s no good?

Good night, my man.

Good night.

Crush ’em.

[woman] So, this is their shot?

[man] It is a big deal to be here.

[woman] What kind of advice do you have for this guy?

[man] This guy? Yeah, I’ve seen him play. He’s got a lot of talent. He’s got it all.

He can do a bit of everything. I don’t think he needs any advice from me.

Yeah, most guys in your position would not be here.

You’re already a lottery pick. So what’s your goal?

Just gonna tear it up and dominate and let the world know.

You like that, Khris?

Cocky bastard, ain’t he?

Yeah.

You against you. All right?

We’ve done this a hundred times. It’s just another workout.

You’re an iceberg.

Focus. Kick some ass.

[speaks Spanish]

Te quiero, papá.

That’s good.

[Stanley] Madre.

Te quiero, mama.

Have fun out there. Where do you wanna sit?

Double D! I see you!

Yeah! Hey, Leon.

Come on, guys.

[upbeat music playing]

[countdown timer beeping]

3.04.

Hey, yo, Stan. He can fly. Damn. He can fly, man.

Tell Coach. [chuckles]

Yes, sir.

Thanks, Khris.

[countdown timer beeping]

[crowd applauds and cheers]

It’s from football.

Okay. Well, then, soccer is good.

I hate soccer. I can’t say that. I really do hate that sport.

He’s quick, but can he shoot?

He can shoot.

[crowd cheers and applauds]

Olé, bitch.

[whispers] Calm.

[music playing on TV]

Fran Fraschilla here at the NBA draft combine.

Bo Cruz and Kermit Wilts crushed it yesterday, blowing the roof off with the speed and agility drills.

I cannot wait for this match-up.

We’ve been watching Kermit since his AAU days.

We know he’s gonna be an NBA star, but this kid, Bo Cruz, he’s come out of nowhere.

I thought I knew every international player on the planet, but this kid is a revelation.

It’ll be a good game.

Of course he’s nervous, but I told him the whole Clyde Drexler fainting-before-every-game story, and that calmed him down.

Clyde… That was me who fainted before every meet, not Clyde Drexler.

That was you? Sorry. Just…

Either way, it worked. He’s… He’s feeling good.

My wife says hi. My wife says hello.

Oh, hi.

Hello, hello. They’re excited.

Okay. I love you. I’m gonna watch the game.

[rousing music playing]

Strong like bull, huh?

My bad. It’s the Boa now.

Hashtag Boa.

They call you that ’cause you swallow anything, right?

Unhinge that jaw. Hey.

Hey, you hear me? Hey.

And we’re off. Here we go.

That’s it! That’s it!

[cheers in Spanish]

Good start, Bo.

On your left, Bo. On it.

[crowd cheers]

That’s all right.

Let’s get out and go. Get out and go. Run wide.

I’m good. I’m good.

That a baby!

[laughs]

Oop.

Go get it. Go get it.

Ooh.

[whistle blows]

[man] Time out!

These guys behind us are drooling over him.

Go, Papa.

[tense music playing]

That your little girl over there? What’s her name?

Easy, boy. Acting like I asked her out or something.

Just trying to get to know you.

Oh, shit.

Where’s her mom at?

Oh, okay. I see what’s going on. That’s your mom.

Is it legal to have a kid with your mom in Spain?

We don’t roll like that out here.

Hey, I know you hear me. Hey.

[tense music continues]

Yo. Greg. Greg.

[crowd cheers]

Communicate to each other.

Give my kid a breather.

[whistle blows]

He pushed me.

Take him out. Give him a rest.

Stanley, we got it.

You don’t have it.

[softly] Jesus Christ.

Don’t got it. All right.

[chuckles]

Where’s her mama anyway? How come she ain’t here?

She probably shackin’ it up with somebody else.

Tell her to shack it up with me.

I’d be a great stepdad. Give her a real man to look up to.

Huh? What you got?

Keep coming. Keep coming.

Good. Good. Good.

Look. She likes me.

[whistle blows]

Hey! Bo! Bo!

[yells]

[Stanley, echoes] Bo!

Get off me.

[Anthony] I’ve been coming to the NBA draft combines for a long time, and what you don’t wanna do is show the NBA scouts and GMs that you can’t keep your cool.

This is gonna hurt him. This is a problem. Kermit’s really…

They got him labeled now. “Violent kid from a violent neighborhood.”

You know how it works.

Ron Artest?

He beat up the entire city of Detroit, and everybody loves him.

Just give it some time. That’s all it takes.

You know, everybody loves a redemption story.

Some people don’t get one. Just keep falling.

Shit, he was playing too. God damn it.

[Leon] Hmm.

[in Spanish] You played marvelously.

Mama, don’t.

Look at me.

Don’t you see how incredible you are?

You carry this weight.

All that you do for Lucia, for me, it’s never enough.

All this love…

And no love for yourself.

When I first saw you here…

The day we arrived, you looked…

Different.

You looked lighter, like the weight was lifted.

And I think that Stanley does for you what you do for us.

He put all the weight on him so you can be you.

He is your oak tree.

You can say goodbye to pro basketball here, but you don’t need to say goodbye to what this man has given you.

[“Heaven” by Tierra Whack playing]

[Stanley sighs]

[Stanley] Sorry I couldn’t get you guys all on the same flight.

[Bo] It’s fine.

So, if Sixers weren’t paying, who was paying?

[sighs] Me and… Me and T.

[Bo sighs]

I ate so much minibar.

On top of the porn addiction, yes.

I… I’m gonna pay you back.

[Stanley] What? No.

Coaching you.

That was the best month of my life.

[sentimental music playing]

[Bo] You can return it.

Thank you.

Okay. All right.

Mr. Cruz Missile.

Now you like the Cruz Missile?

[chuckles] Nah.

Still stupid.

[chuckles]

Get out of here. Don’t miss your flight.

Couldn’t give me just one, huh?

[phone rings]

Big I, what’s up?

[Leon] I got a game for you.

Open run. Last-minute, very hush-hush.

No press. Just players and front office.

Lot of front office.

No, no, no. We… We can’t.

Oh, yes, you can.

‘Cause I had to grind to put your damn names on the list.

There’s a list?

What’s up, Leon?

Of course there’s a list. Look.

Cardinal Hayes High School, 650 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

They start at 5:00. Don’t be late.

We’re… I’m at the airport, man.

Bo’s not even with me. It’s too late.

Is the plane in the air?

No.

Then what the fuck are you still talking to me for?

Sorry.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

Okay. Excuse me. I’m sorry. Sorry.

[uplifting music playing]

[accelerating]

[tires screech]

[engine revs]

[tires screech]

[brakes squeal]

[Stanley] Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go.

Yo, yo, yo, yo. Did it start yet?

What’s your…

They’re good. They’re with me.

Okay.

Y’all are good.

I still need that. Your phone.

The phone?

Relax. Gonna take my phone too?

No, well, I don’t trust the big one. He’s beating people up.

[indistinct chatter]

[ball dribbling]

Yo.

Stan.

Hey, Mark.

Good to see you.

How are you? Right on. Aaron.

Good to see you. Staying in shape, I see.

My man Bo.

All right. Show us what you got, fella.

Yes, sir.

Look who’s here.

[Stanley] You know what? He just said the same thing about you.

And I’m gonna say one last inspirational thing to you.

They can’t kill you if you’re already dead.

[inspirational music playing]

Hey.

[players talking indistinctly]

Trae. Trae. Trae.

[cheering]

God damn.

Good pass!

All right. Let’s go, baby. Come on!

All right, big fella.

I got it.

You got it? You sure?

I got this.

Well, come on.

That dude is waving off Trae Young.

How old is he?

[Leon] I don’t know.

But the Mavericks think he’s 18.

[Mark laughs]

[cheering]

I saw. I saw.

[cheering]

Move it around.

Right here.

[Stanley] That’s it!

[Kermit] You’re trash.

[crowd cheers]

That’s a beautiful shot.

That’s nice.

That’s your boy, Stan?

Yeah, yeah.

Yeah, Mark. Yeah.

What you got? Let’s go.

Do what you do. Do what you do.

Stay with him.

[Kermit grunts]

Oh, yeah.

Bo. Come get it.

What you want?

Oh, yeah, baby! Yeah, baby!

Stanley lookin’ like a proud daddy.

That’s right.

Give me the fucking ball, man.

Ooh!

Who is that guy?

I don’t even know.

[crowd exclaims]

Yeah.

Looks like a guy that could impact winning at our level.

[man] Take it to him.

We need to get him up to Boston.

Absolutely.

Hey.

We’ll talk soon.

Okay, Brad. Nice seeing you.

“If Scottie and a wolf had a baby…”

You saw that?

The whole city saw it.

Well, luckily, Philadelphia sports fans are calm, reasonable people.

[player] Bo, get this.

So, what are you doing here?

I’m taking a more active role.

Vin is gonna share the throne with you?

No.

He made a big mess, and I could use some help cleaning it up.

I like that.

[laughs]

That’s it. Go. Go, go, go.

Finish it.

[crowd cheers]

[indistinct TV chatter]

[phone ringing]

Hey, Bubba. How’s the film school final coming along?

It’s good. We wrapped early, so I can catch the game.

You’re voluntarily watching a basketball game.

Well, now we gotta win.

[Alex laughs]

[knock on door]

[Doc] Let’s do it.

Yes. Coming, Coach. Gotta split.

Good luck. I love you.

I love you too.

Nice suit, Stan.

Just trying to look like you, Doc.

You think that’s working?

Uh, not even close. Don’t worry.

[laughter]

All right, gentlemen.

Very good.

[“Full Effect” by Freeway ft. Young Gunz playing faintly]

♪ Freeway’s in Full Effect ♪

♪ And all I need is one reason Just to pull this burner ♪

♪ ‘Cause, y’all taught me to go next ♪

♪ And I’mma be goddamned If I’mma give my turn up ♪

♪ Freeway’s in Full Effect ♪

♪ And all I need is one reason Just to pull this ratchet out ♪

♪ Y’all taught me to go next… ♪

[crowd cheering]

[uplifting music playing]

[Bo] Hey, Coach!

Twenty-two? I see you.

After we kick your ass, you should try to coach soccer.

Soccer?

Yeah.

I’ll move to Spain and shack up with your mother.

That doesn’t work anymore.

Aw. I thought I had you there.

Okay. Good to see you, son. You be aggressive tonight.

Play hard, all right? Don’t tell these guys I’m pulling for you.

[Bo chuckles]

Doesn’t miss. Doesn’t miss.

Hey, guys. Let’s bring it in. First play is V4.

Stepping up to set this pick.

Tyrese, if you can turn a corner, shoot it.

If not, get it to Tobias. He’ll be wide open. All right?

Let’s get it in.

Come on, let’s go.

“Together,” on three. One, two, three.

[all] Together!

Twenty-two, he goes to his right, he wants to get to the rim.

Left, he wants to get to his step back.

I got you, Coach. I’m ready for round two.

Be aware.

[crowd cheering]

[announcer] Give a warm welcome to your Philadelphia 76ers!

[man 1] Hernangómez drives speed, Reed with the step.

[man 2] That’s high percentage.

[man 1] And Juancho continues to be red hot.

[“Change Your Life (You Can Do It)” by Dan Deacon playing]

[woman] Harris, with the hammer!

[woman] Maxey baseline… What a reverse by Tyrese Maxey!

Speaking of making things look easy.

The steal artist Matisse Thybulle.

And a little extra-curricular activity after the miss.

[whistle blowing]

[man 2] Getting a little heated there.

[woman] Getting fired up.

[man 1] Anthony Edwards, that time he does finish.

[man 3] Smith looking for the three. He’s been on fire. It hits!

He’s tied the game. Kenny Smith…

[man 4] I think of the Doctor. Yes, he’s got it. Here he comes.

Wait. The Doctor made a sensational play.

[man 3] Nowitzki goes right at Bowen

and the foul! So Nowitzki to the line.

[man 6] Marjanovic.

[man 7] That was pretty Harlem Globetrotter-esque.

That was pretty funny.

[man 8] Iverson! He is the man!

Listen to this crowd as AI rejoices.

[man 9] Shaquille O’Neal.

[man 8] The Shaq Attack!

Hold on to the roof.

[man 10] I have never seen that.

[man 11] Barkley!

[man 12] He has 37, two under his playoff…

[man 13] It’s gonna take some Luka magic to save the possession.

[man 14] And he put it in!

[man 15] Wagner! Wow!

[man 16] Oh, me, oh my, Mark Jackson right down the throat.

[man 17] Kyle turns the corner, drives, got it.

Kyle Lowry…

[man 18] He got ’em!

[man 19] Trae drives it all the way and lays it in.

[man 20] Bingo! Trae Young.

[man 21] That was amazing! Aaron Gordon, you win!

[man 22] Jordan Clarks on, my goodness.

[man 23] Broken ankle. Wow.

Tough shot. Count it, for Clarks on.

[man 24] Driving all the way!

Khris Middleton in the face.

[man 25] Oh, my goodness. Oh, man.

[man 26] Calderón!

[“Change Your Life (You Can Do It)” by Dan Deacon continues playing]

♪ You can do it, you can do it You can do it, you can do it ♪

♪ You can do it, you can do it You can do it, you can do it ♪

♪ You can do it, you can do it You can do it, you can do it ♪

♪ You can do it, you can do it You can do it, you can do it ♪

♪ You can do it, you can do it You can do it, you can do it ♪

♪ You can do it, you can do it You can do it, you can do it ♪

♪ You can do it, you can do it You can do it, you can do it ♪

♪ You can do it, you can do it You can do it, you can do it ♪

♪ You can do it, you can do it You can do it, you can do it ♪

[man 1] And the crowd rising to their feet.

[man 2] Demps to the basket.

[man 1] Dell Demps with a dunk.

[man 3] With another three-point basket, his third of the game.

The owner loved it.

[upbeat instrumental music playing]

[uplifting instrumental music playing]

[music fades out]

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