It doesn’t matter how much time goes by. Like Mike is a fantastic basketball movie, and it needs to be shouted from the heavens. An unsuccessful remake of the film, titled Thunderstruck and featuring Kevin Durant, came out in select theaters in 2009. It bombed at the box office, and the NBA superstar doesn’t even acknowledge ever being a part of it.
Featuring NBA players from a great era, the film is awesome. It came out back in 2002 and featured so many all-time greats. The plot wasn’t the best, but it was a feel-good story when all was said and done. If interested in talking about young stars, make sure to make some March Madness picks. In the meantime, let’s have a discussion about an elite basketball film.
The Cast Was Terrific
Lil Bow Wow served as the lead in the film, playing the role of Calvin Cambridge. He didn’t have a ton of notoriety in his career yet, but this helped him really take off. If they could have secured Michael Jordan in any kind of role for the film, they likely would have.
But having Cambridge stumble upon his sneakers at the orphanage he lived at was a great plot point. And then lightning strikes while he’s grabbing the shoes on a power line, and MJ’s abilities transfer to him.
He joins the fictional LA Knights, who also, of course, play at the Staples Center. There was no Shaq or Kobe, or LA Lakers in the movie, but they had plenty of NBA stars. Alonzo Mourning and Vince Carter made appearances.
David “The Admiral” Robinson and Allen Iverson made comical appearances. Jason Kidd had a nice moment in the film. Alonzo Mourning, during his Miami days, found his way in.
One of the funnier scenes was when Dirk Nowitzki asked for an autograph from Cambridge for his niece. Of course, her name was Dirk. He was seen with Michael Finley and Steve Nash when he made his appearance.
The Mavs awesome trio all showing together was cool. And it’s even more enjoyable looking back, that they were able to do it together. They seemed to have some chemistry with Bow Wow.
Morris Chestnut plays the star player on the Knights, who serves as a sort of father figure to Cambridge. A guy he always looked up to. They form a dynamic relationship as the film goes on. And Calvin’s best friends were played by future stars Jonathan Lipnicki and Brenda Song, who were the faces of a number of key franchises and tv shows at Disney.
Crispin Glover plays the role of caretaker for Cambridge and is one of the film’s primary antagonists. He did a marvelous job in his spot. Ox, played by Jesse Plemons, was the bully at the orphanage.
He’s a huge name in Hollywood now. And the late Robert Forster played the Knights coach. Eugene Levy as the team promoter.
It’s A Feel Good Story
The main premise of the movie is about an orphan with little to look forward to becoming an NBA star after a magical pair of Magical Jordan sneakers grace his feet. Standing less than five-feet tall, he takes the league by storm and becomes an instant success.
The issue is that as long as he was under contract with the Knights, he was not allowed to be adopted. It was negotiated by Bittleman, Glover’s character (the legal guardian).
He helps LA get to within one game of making it to the postseason. All they have to do is beat the Raptors, and the once-sorry franchise would have a chance to get in. Long story short, Cambridge serves as the hero one last time.
The team is able to perform and get the victory. He announced during the game that he would not be available for the playoffs. Sure, it kind of leaves the team in peril going forward.
But that isn’t Cambridge’s issue. He helped the team to the promised land. It wasn’t about a title for the Knights but being good enough to be a playoff squad. And he is also adopted by Tracy McDermott, the star of the Knights (Morris Chestnut’s character).
They were extremely close, and after not having a close relationship with his own father, McDermott became the legal guardian to not only Cambridge but his best friend as well.
This is a must-see film. The basketball is good. The soundtrack is great. The actors are the best.