Stanley Sugarman works as a talent scout for the Philadelphia 76ers, NBA team. Promoted to assistant coach by the aging president, he finds himself traveling the world scouting talent following the death of his mentor and his son’s relegation, who has taken charge of the team. During a trip to Spain, Stanley – whose playing career was cut short by an accident – discovers Bo Cruz, a factory worker in whom he sees a future champion. Taking him with him to Philadelphia, he will do anything to convince his team to believe in him, colliding with a world that doesn’t forgive him for his past and doesn’t believe in the skill of an athlete who came out of nowhere.
To draw up the list of all the players, former players, coaches, scouts, NBA executives involved in the project – starting with producer LeBron James – would take up all the space in the review: Hustle is the self-praise of a world of a sport, of a way of understanding competition.
Luckily the only one or almost the only one who is not part of the professional league of American basketball (and not only, given the presence of European players and coaches, including Sergio Scariolo) is the protagonist Adam Sandler, who helps not to make Hustle the simple extension of the motto of the NBA, “I Love This Game”.
Sandler, who ironically takes it out on football by saying just the opposite (“I hate that game!”), is actually the only reason of interest in the film, in a performance resulting from the tour-de-force of Diamonds in the rough , in which he brought his figure of an obsessive and failed adult to paroxysmal levels. Talent scout Stanley is the classic sportsman who is given second chances, which makes Hustle a predictable parable of redemption in which the stubbornness of the protagonist gives the story a certain degree of hysteria and ambiguity.
The rebirth of the hero – in this story written by Will Fetters and Taylor Materne and directed by Jeremiah Zagar, yet another director who goes from glossy indie (When we were brothers) to medium-high productions of streaming companies – is moreover double , because it also involves the unknown Spanish player taken to the top of the world: a scheme as old as the world recently also taken up by Creed, in which the clash was between outsider and establishment, coach and pupil, pupil and himself («Your opponent is you,” Stanley says over and over to Bo Cruz).

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