This weekend, the Safdie Brothers’ follow-up to their 2017 hit “Good Time” will release in theaters. “Uncut Gems” stars Adam Sandler, who plays Howard Ratner, a New York City jeweler who gets into the world of sports betting in a big and seemingly dangerous way. The film also stars 15-time NBA All-Star Kevin Garnett as himself — specifically Garnett during his time with the Boston Celtics.
Why is any of this relevant to a Lakers blog, you ask? That’s a fair question, and one that deserves an answer.
After the Lakers’ 101-96 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, Rajon Rondo told reporters that he was supposed to make a cameo alongside Garnett — who Rondo played with on the Celtics for six seasons — but he didn’t catch his flight:
Rajon Rondo said he had been cast for a cameo with Kevin Garnett in Uncut Gems but missed his 6 a.m. flight to filming. "First big role, too," he said. "I missed the flight and I was like, 'Shit, I don’t want to take a private (jet), about $95,000.' ... Fucked up my debut."— Bill Oram (@billoram) December 16, 2019
Rondo has had a pretty illustrious 13-year career — highlighted by his championship with the Celtics in 2008 — but because he missed his flight, he’ll have to wait to add “Best Cameo By An NBA Player” to his awards shelf. Admittedly, that award doesn’t exist, but if it did, Rondo probably wouldn’t have won anyway. Boban Marjanović literally played a giant assassin in “John Wick 3.” A giant assassin!
Rondo wasn’t the only Laker to miss out on an opportunity to star in “Uncut Gems,” though. Kobe Bryant was considered for Garnett’s role, according to Benny Sadfie, but Bryant was apparently too much for the Sadfie brothers to handle (via The Ringer’s “NBA Desktop”):
“Originally, the movie was Am’are (Stoudemire),” Benny Sadfie said. “It was 10 years, we spent working on this thing. Then we rewrote it briefly to maybe do a Kobe thing. But the game had to center around northeast games and coming to the city. Then our agents said ‘Kobe wants to act,’ then after a week and a half of slaving over the script, ‘he wants to direct, nevermind.’ I just rewrote the whole movie to try and fit Kobe’s persona.”
In spite of the two Lakers’ omissions, the film seems to be getting positive reception. It has a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.2/10 on IMDb. Perhaps Rondo’s cameo would have bumped it up to a whole nine stars, but unfortunately we’ll never know.