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Is Hustle on Netflix a true story?

Adam Sandler stars as a basketball coach in the film, which features appearances from real NBA players.

Published: Thursday, 9th June 2022 at 5:38 pm
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New Adam Sandler film Hustle has caused quite a storm since landing on Netflix on Wednesday 8th June – quickly making it to the top of the streamer's Top 10 movies list.


The film tells the story of down-on-his-luck basketball scout Stanley Sugerman (Sandler) who discovers an extraordinary player abroad and brings him back to play for his team, the Philadelphia 76ers, without telling them beforehand.

Given that real NBA player Juancho Hernangómez takes on a leading role, and that the film also includes appearances from several other prominent players past and present – including Seth Curry, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal – many viewers have been wondering if Hustle is based on a true story.

Read on for everything you need to know.

Is Hustle based on a true story?

In short, no – the film is in fact a fictional story based on a script by Taylor Materne and Will Fetters, and Bo Cruz is not a real NBA player.

While the Philadelphia 76ers is a real team – and is in fact one of the oldest franchises in the NBA – there is no such person as Stanley Sugarman, with Sandler's character being the invention of Materne and Fetters.

That said, the use of several real NBA players portraying themselves does lend the film a degree of authenticity – with the likes of Trae Young, Jordan Clarkson, Khris Middleton, Aaron Gordon, Kyle Lowry, Seth Curry, Luka Doncic, Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Dirk Nowitzki, Brad Stevens, Doc Rivers, and Sergio Scariolo all playing themselves.

Beanie Sigel as Himself in Hustle
Beanie Sigel as Himself in Hustle Netflix

Speaking to SlashFilm about his role in the film – and why it was important that the basketball looked accurate – Sandler explained: "It’s such a good opportunity, Hustle, and the premise of scouting and finding a real NBA player and bringing him to see if he can fit in the NBA and be a star there, and have a life there.

"That’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I think that the goal was to make sure the hoop looked as cool as possible, as real as possible, and a guy like me and a guy like Juancho watches it and goes, 'Yeah, that’s how it goes.'"


Hustle is currently streaming on Netflix. Visit our Movies hub for more news and features or find something to watch tonight with our TV Guide.

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