NBA player Juancho Hernangome, a Utah Jazz striker, lives for basketball – now. But as boys, he and his older brother Willie, the New Orleans Pelicans Central Club, had different aspirations. Although both of their parents were professional footballers, “We wanted to be footballers like all children in Spain,” he said in a video call from his home in Madrid.
But then he grew to 6 feet 9. Then he said, “I just fell in love with basketball.” “That’s my only goal.”
So when her agent invited her to audition for Hurry, Adam Sandler’s latest film, which will premiere on June 8 on Netflix and in some theaters next month, Hernangome, of course, hesitated. “I didn’t know if I would be good,” he said.
Encouraged by his brother and sister Andrea, also a basketball player, he put the phone on the kitchen table and had a little fun playing the script. A few rounds of casting later, after which Sandler called Zoom, and the film’s director Jeremiah Zagar got the role.
In Hustle, Hernangomez plays Bo Cruz, a Spanish streetball player in Timberland boots pulled from obscurity by Stanley Sagerman of Sandler, a tired Philadelphia 76ers scout. Sugerman admits the potential of his undiscovered talent, but Cruz, who has an unstable character and raises a young girl, carries heavy baggage.
As for his career in Hollywood, Hernangome, who considers himself an “ordinary 26-year-old boy”, has no claims. “I can’t say I will never make a film because it’s not true,” he said. “It has to be the right movie.”
“But if this is my only film, I will die so happy,” he said, describing things that excite him outside the field – good wine, street art and classic cars. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
1. Wine tastings I like to go and learn more about wine with my family and friends. This is a connection. This is energy. Mood. I can talk with a glass of wine for hours. And I want to keep learning. I like to ask questions about the history of wines, why they do it in this place. Wine is a memory. This is expectation, patience.
2. Street art The director’s father, Jeremiah Zagar, his name is Isaiah Zagar, he is an artist in Philadelphia. He started doing it on the streets of the Branch, and there is something special about the whole Branch. I have the impression that artistic instinct is being killed in Spain. The education system is really bad, and they need to be changed, because America is developing a talent – to sing, draw or play the guitar, whatever that talent may be.
3. Discover new cultures Now, when I go to the city, I try to get up early to take a walk, just to see art or buildings, how people eat, how people drink coffee, how people talk. That’s good. Many of my teammates have never left America. I was told: “I travel a lot. I went to Mexico. ” And I thought, “Brother, but this is not a trip.”
4. Local cuisine Because we are NBA players, we go to fancy restaurants. But I told them, “I’m not going to eat in fancy restaurants. I want to go to a local restaurant. If I go to Italy, I want a dirty restaurant where they have been open since 1920, and they have spent a hundred years making the best pizza. When I go to San Francisco, I eat seafood there, even if you get dirty doing crabs.
5. Classic cars My dream is to have a 1968 Mustang, 1969. I’m still looking because it’s hard to find a good one. When I turn 70, I will give it to my son, his son will give it to his son – three, four, five generations, as a family. Classic cars, you take care of them like your children.
6. Track the economy We live in a world where change is happening very fast, so we need to be prepared. You see what happened to cryptocurrencies last year. Everyone went crazy. Now it is falling. I like to read every day what they say, how people anticipate things that never happen, and then people who [others] to speak were untrue when they were true. My dad always tells me that if you invest in something, believe me you lost it so you don’t regret it.
7. Hermanos Hernangómez basketball camp This is what I am most proud of. We set up camp, my brother, me and my sister, two weeks in Spain, in my hometown, and the kids are going to play basketball. But it’s not just about basketball. They go to the pool. They have art. They have English lessons. They play football. We go there every day. I love children very much, so I play with them. My parents always tell me, “It was the best week of his life.
8. Country music I didn’t hear the country until I went to Denver [to play with the Nuggets]. I went to Red Rocks and they gave a country concert and it was amazing. You see the sunset. It’s just the atmosphere. Red Rocks has something special that makes it even better.