Amy Poehler to Star in Basketball Movie That Mirrors Becky Hammon NBA Story With Familiar Sports Trope Twist

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In an instance of art imitating life, Amy Poehler will write and star in a movie called Balls, where she plays a down-and-out basketball coach who is asked to coach an NBA Team. The catch is that the team is doing it just for the positive publicity of hiring a woman! Think of this as yet another twist on the familiar sports comedy trope: owner hires bad coach and/or players to lose and or for purposes other than winning. (In other words, go watch Major League).


Of course the twist is exactly the wet dream/nightmare of male commenters around the globe! Just this past week, real-life NBA coach Becky Hammon made headlines for coaching the San Antonio Spurs summer team to a championship in the Vegas developmental league. In 2014, Hammon became the first woman to be an assistant coach of a professional men’s basketball team.





Becky Hammon

The comments on articles about Hammon feature many guys who are pumped and positive about her success, and many guys who are threatened and mad about every aspect of the Hammon story. She can’t coach, they say, because a chick can’t coach a man and to even run an ESPN article on this story is tantamount to some kind of assault on the eyes of guys who want to read about SPORTS! And their biggest argument is the very thing that the Poehler movie is using as its jumping off point: this is just another way the NBA wants publicity and to jump on some kind of feminist bandwagon!

(For more on the tenuous and dumb “bandwagon” argument, see Chuck Wendig’s response to a whiny reader who accused him of jumping on The Gay Bandwagon by writing a gay character).

To have this ignorant view you have to ignore facts and logic, such as that the Spurs were the defending NBA Champions when they hired Hammon, who they thought would be a good coach for men because… she’s a good coach. They also ignore actual statements by players. “It’s amazing. It was a humbling experience for all of us,” said Jonathon Simmons to NBATV. “I really love her, and I’ve only known her a couple days. She’s a real cool coach. She’s a player coach. That’s something we all like.”


Perhaps the movie foks ought to bring on Hammon as a consultant. Anyway, the comedy has a good pedigree. Poehler will write with Ike Barinholtz and his writing partner David Stassen. Barinholtz will also be seen alongside Poehler and Tina Fey in Sisters. Of course thanks to Hulu, Ike will continue to be hilarious as the ex-con/nurse Morgan on The Mindy Project. It should be fun to see what these deft comedy minds come up with, as well as which NBA stars make an appearance.

Alex is a lawyer and opinionated.

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