Is Hustle’s Bo Cruz a real NBA player?

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“Hustle” is a Netflix original movie released in 2022 that tells the story of Bo Cruz, an exceptionally skilled international basketball player aspiring to join the NBA. Many viewers have wondered whether Bo Cruz is based on a real person and who the character Hustle is inspired by. In the movie, Adam Sandler portrays Stanley Sugerman, a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers. Although Adam Sandler’s presence in the film garnered significant audience attention, the central narrative revolves around Stanley’s quest to discover Bo Cruz and navigate the challenging journey of getting him drafted by an NBA team. However, it’s important to note that Bo Cruz is a fictional character and not a real individual.

Despite the fact that “Hustle” is not based on a true story, the movie blurs the line between fiction and reality due to its cast. Several NBA stars, including Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Dirk Nowitzki, Trae Young, and Luka Dončić, play themselves in the film, adding an element of authenticity. Additionally, other NBA players like Anthony Edwards and Kenny Smith portray original characters specifically created for the movie. Among these characters is Bo Cruz, the talented international prospect. Although Bo Cruz does not exist as a real NBA player, the role is portrayed by a professional basketball player named Juancho Hernangómez. It is worth noting that Juancho Hernangómez’s appearance in “Hustle” marks his first foray into acting, a fact that might surprise viewers and further connect him to the NBA community through his involvement in the film.

Juancho Hernangómez’s Pro & NBA Career explained

Juancho Hernangómez, born in 1995 in Spain, has had an impressive professional basketball career both internationally and in the NBA. He began his journey at a young age, signing a contract with CB Estudiantes in 2012 when he was only 17 years old. Prior to making a name for himself as the real person behind Bo Cruz, Hernangómez showcased his skills on the international stage. He played a pivotal role in Spain’s success, contributing to their bronze medal victory in the 2013 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship, as well as their silver medal finishes in the European Under-20 Championship in 2014 and 2015.

By the conclusion of the 2016 basketball season, Hernangómez had established himself as a rising star and was recognized for his outstanding performances. He received the ACB Best Young Player Award, acknowledging his remarkable contributions to the game at an international level. Inspired by his achievements, Hernangómez decided to declare for the 2016 NBA Draft, aiming to make his mark in the world’s most prestigious basketball league.

The Denver Nuggets recognized Hernangómez’s potential and selected him as a first-round pick and the 15th overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft. He quickly made an impact, becoming an integral part of the team as a valuable role player. Over the course of three and a half seasons with the Nuggets, Hernangómez appeared in 191 games and started in 37 of them. His skill set and contributions on both ends of the court earned him respect among his teammates and the fans.

However, Hernangómez’s journey in the NBA took him to various teams following his departure from the Nuggets. He had brief stints with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, and Utah Jazz, experiencing different environments and adapting to new systems. Despite these changes, he continued to showcase his versatility and determination.

In the summer of 2022, Hernangómez found a new home with the Toronto Raptors, signing a contract with the team. This provided him with another opportunity to contribute to a franchise and demonstrate his skills at the highest level. Furthermore, his success extended beyond the NBA courts. Hernangómez proudly represented his home country of Spain and was part of the national team that triumphed in the prestigious EuroBasket competition, solidifying his status as a key player on the international stage.

Juancho Hernangómez’s journey, marked by his dedication, talent, and versatility, serves as an inspiration for aspiring basketball players. From his early beginnings in Spain to his experiences in the NBA and international success, Hernangómez continues to leave his mark on the basketball world while representing both his team and his country with pride.

Hustle is full of NBA cameos

Hustle, the Adam Sandler movie, is brimming with NBA cameos, adding an authentic touch to the film. The storyline revolves around the genuine challenges faced by NBA scouts and prospects, making it fitting to have various basketball players make appearances. These cameos not only feature players portraying themselves but also include roles that contribute to the plot’s development.

One notable NBA cameo in Hustle is Anthony Edwards, the talented star of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Edwards takes on the role of Kermit Wills, the film’s antagonist. Known for his exceptional skills on the court, Edwards made a strong impression during his rookie season in the NBA and was even honored with an All-Rookie First Team award. His portrayal of Wills adds an intriguing dynamic to the movie.

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Moritz Wagner, a professional basketball player from Germany who plays for the Orlando Magic, also graces the screen in Hustle. Wagner portrays Haas, the prodigal import player. His involvement in the film showcases his versatility as both a basketball player and an actor.

Adding to the star-studded lineup of NBA cameos, the legendary Julius “Dr. J” Irving, a revered figure in Philadelphia 76ers history, makes a memorable appearance. Having retired from basketball in 1987, the 63-year-old icon participates in the “Boa Challenge,” a nod to a viral video showcasing Dr. J’s dunking prowess even at his age. His cameo not only pays homage to his remarkable career but also adds an element of nostalgia for fans.

Another NBA superstar who makes a cameo in the fictional movie Hustle is Dirk Nowitzki, a two-time MVP. Known for his incredible achievements on the court, Nowitzki lends his presence to the film, aiding Stanley in proving himself to Bo, a pivotal moment in the storyline. By having Nowitzki make an appearance, the film captures the essence of his basketball prowess and elevates the authenticity of the narrative.

The inclusion of these real NBA players throughout the movie adds a welcomed touch of realism and credibility to the heartwarming story. Rather than being mere gimmicks or fleeting moments, their involvement brings a sense of verisimilitude that resonates with both basketball enthusiasts and general audiences, making Hustle an engaging and immersive cinematic experience.

The entire Hernangómez family are basketball pros

The Hernangómez family boasts an impressive basketball legacy, making them a fascinating subject for a potential movie. While Bo Cruz, the character from Hustle, is not based on a real person, Juancho Hernangómez’s family background is truly noteworthy. One notable figure is his older brother, Willy Hernangómez, an experienced player in the NBA who currently competes for the New Orleans Pelicans. Their father, Guillermo Hernangómez Heredero, also left his mark on the basketball scene, having played for esteemed teams such as Real Madrid and Estudiantes in Spain.

Interestingly, the basketball tradition extends to the female members of the family as well. Juancho’s mother, Margarita Geuer Draeger, made her mark by representing the Spanish national team during the 1990s. Furthermore, Juancho’s younger sister is actively involved in basketball and currently plays for Estudiantes’ youth team. Unlike the fictional character Bo Cruz in Hustle, who is discovered playing street basketball, the real Hernangómez family has been deeply entrenched in the world of professional basketball throughout their lives.

The Hernangómez family’s collective achievements, spanning multiple generations and genders, are a testament to their dedication and talent in the sport. With such a rich and captivating history, it’s no wonder that their story could potentially serve as the inspiration for a compelling movie that delves into their remarkable basketball journey.

Juancho Hernangómez’s family convinced him to play Bo Cruz in Hustle

Juancho Hernangómez’s family played a pivotal role in convincing him to take on the character of Bo Cruz in the movie Hustle. Despite being an accomplished NBA player, Hernangómez had never considered pursuing a career in acting. However, during a press day for the Toronto Raptors in 2022, where Hernangómez was present as an NBA player, he disclosed that he shares a strong familial bond with his on-screen character. Both Hernangómez and Bo Cruz are family-oriented individuals.

During the interview, Hernangómez revealed that it was his family who initially persuaded him to audition for the role of Bo Cruz in Hustle. The idea to create videos and engage in a family activity during the pandemic led his sister to produce the audition video. Hernangómez recalled being at his brother’s home in Charlotte, where they found themselves bored and restless due to the lack of activity. In an effort to pass the time, they decided to create videos as a family project.

To his surprise, casting agents took notice of the videos, which ultimately led to Hernangómez progressing through the casting process. He underwent interviews with the director, an acting teacher, and eventually had the opportunity to meet Adam Sandler himself. The casting team saw potential in Hernangómez, recognizing either talent or some other quality that impressed them. Two years later, the movie Hustle was brought to life with Hernangómez in the role of Bo Cruz.

Hustle turned out to be a major success for both Adam Sandler and Netflix, largely due to the convincing portrayal of the fictional NBA player Bo Cruz by the real-life NBA player Juancho Hernangómez. It is a testament to his talent and dedication to the role. Moreover, it seems fitting that Hernangómez’s family, who are also involved in professional basketball, played a significant part in this exciting new chapter of his career as an actor.