Adam Sandler’s love affair with basketball is now pretty well documented. Between his penchant for playing pickup with strangers and his starring role in 2019’s Uncut Gems, which largely revolved around NBA play and featured Kevin Garnett as a supporting actor, Sandler knows the ball.
So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that, while filming an upcoming Netflix movie in Philadelphia about a basketball scout, Sandler has started popping up all over the city’s basketball courts.
It’s not surprising, but it’s still really great.
Sandler’s profile in the area took off this week when he was filmed kicking off at Imhotep Charter in North Philadelphia alongside pros like Sixers forward Tobias Harris, former Sixer Boban Marjanovic , new Philadelphia villain Trae Young, and more:
Just a totally casual pickup game with NBA All-Stars and Adam Sandler taking place in a Philadelphia high school gymnasium. Completely normal day.
Sandler was also spotted in late August shooting (in both senses of the word) South Philly tourist destination Pat’s & Geno’s on the basketball court at the intersection of the city’s legendary cheesesteak mecca:
(For the record, this is where my Sunday morning team runs when many indoor courts and gyms are still closed or restricted. Solid court, good hoops.)
Harris, who has clearly developed a relationship with Sandler, was spotted on set with the soon-to-be 55-year-old actor in August. Harris has a guest appearance in the upcoming movie, which is called “Hustle”:
And you might recall that earlier this year, Sandler and the film’s makers were looking for “highly skilled” background actors and basketball players to flesh out the film’s basketball scenes.
It’s really cool to see Sandler jumping onto the city’s basketball scene. Looks like a cool guy, not a bad hooper.
If Sandler is reading this (of course he is) and looking for other places to hoop, here are some of my personal recommendations:
Lee Cultural Center – 43rd and Haverford
These courts aren’t in pristine condition, but what they lack in elite resources they more than make up for in character. The view of West Philly, aided by the elevated courts, is truly one of a kind, a unique look at downtown from a perspective many don’t often see. Plus, the row of hoops available means you can almost always show up and take pictures or jump in a game.
Marian Anderson Recreation Center – 18th and Catherine
Home to the long-lost Open Challenge, this location only has a full-length court and a quarter-court for those waiting to move on, but they’re worth the potential queue. The rear panels have been updated, the view of the city from South Philly is extremely pleasant, and the location on the corner of two busy streets makes for an extremely pleasant environment.
Ralph Brooks Park – 20th and Tasker
This course is often busy, especially on weekends, but when it’s empty it’s one of the most enjoyable courses I’ve played on in the city. You’ve got bleachers to one side for the inevitable crowd that will gather to watch Sandler’s ball, you’ve got updated backboards and rims, and you’ve got a nice, even playing surface, which shouldn’t be taken for granted when playing outdoors. Connor Barwin’s Make The World Better Foundation has done a great job here.