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The Part Of Hustle That Makes Juancho Hernangomez The Most Proud - Interview

For his first-ever role in a feature film in "Hustle," real-life basketball player Juancho Hernangómez has a lot to be proud of. As streetballer-turned-NBA-phenom Bo Cruz, Hernangómez stands his own alongside seasoned pro Adam Sandler (who turns in an exceptional performance as the end-of-his-rope scout Stanley Sugarman).  The pair have an excellent chemistry together, and Hernangómez lands a complex emotional arc at the film's heart. To land such a talented performance despite his relative lack of Hollywood experience is a major accomplishment. One might think that's the part of it all that gives him the most pride. One would be hilariously wrong.

In an exclusive interview with Looper's sister site, Slashfilm, Hernangómez explains the part of his "Hustle" experience that he's most proud of — and it isn't what one might expect. Over the accolades, his high caliber performance, and more, he's most excited about an interaction with one particular NBA star who was deeply involved in the project. 

He was prouder to meet a modern NBA legend than anything else

One of the producers of "Hustle" is none other than modern basketball great LeBron James. As it turns out, meeting James was the highlight of Hernangómez's "Hustle" experience. In the interview, the pair were asked about their experiences with James, to which Sandler immediately chimes in, "He loves LeBron." Without missing a beat, Hernangómez adds, "Yeah, I love him." 

"Last night," Sandler continues, "when we saw LeBron and LeBron gave us hugs, Juancho was psyched."

Hernangómez explains, "Yeah, I'm more proud of LeBron knowing who I am and giving me a hug than all the movie, to be honest with you [laughs]. I got a picture with LeBron and I sent it to Adam. LeBron for me is like MJ. I grew up watching him, so he came to a game and he said, 'Hey, thank you for doing the movie, you're doing a great job!' I went home like, 'Man, LeBron knows my name!'"

Sandler, ever the supportive co-star, responds, "Aww, that's right, man," and Hernangómez says, "I was happy." 

LeBron James is a multi-hyphenate basketball phenom with millions of fans worldwide, and the "Hustle" co-star certainly ranks among them. As it turns out, meeting James ranked above accolades, the performance spotlight, and even sharing screen time with a screen legend like Sandler. It's a charming revelation, and one that adds a lot of earnestness to Hernangómez as basketball player and lover of the game.

"Hustle" is now streaming on Netflix.