There is a little bit of buzz building about Hustle, the Adam Sandler basketball movie based right here in Philadelphia that will be released Wednesday on Netflix. (It’s already screening in select theaters.) Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 90% on the Tomatometer — not too shabby.
There was quite a buzz in the city when the movie was filming last September. Sandler likes a good pickup basketball game and one was arranged to offer a break from the movie set. They weren’t just guys off the street who came to play with Sandler at Imhotep Charter’s gym, either. NBA star Trae Young was there, as was Jordan Clarkson. Former Temple standout Dionte Christmas played along with several other Philly basketball greats. Imhotep assistant coach Stan Williams helped arrange the game and was charged with keeping it a secret.
So how was the 55-year-old Sandler’s game? “I can’t compare him to anybody, but it’s very old school,” Christmas said. “Like my dad. It felt like I was playing with my dad or my uncle. He has a good YMCA game. He’d be a very good YMCA player.”
Heck resigns after 9 years with the Sixers
Chris Heck has been with the 76ers since 2013, serving as president and chief of sales and marketing in his time with the franchise. After nine years, he has decided to resign this summer. His decision to step down follows Scott O’Neil’s resignation in the summer of 2021.
Heck, who oversaw the Sixers’ day-to-day operations on the business side, handled the team’s relationships with basketball operations, the Wells Fargo Center, the NBA office, and the Sixers’ broadcast partners, NBC Sports Philadelphia and 97.5 The Fanatic.
A 1992 Villanova grad, Heck took pride in the spike in the Sixers’ popularity among younger fans during his tenure. “Seeing kids everywhere I go wearing Sixers stuff ... I think we were part of this movement that was started by the fans and we put the foot on the gas.”
Is it time to trust the kids?
One knock on Joe Girardi late in his Yankees tenure was that he could be reluctant to trust young players. That reputation continued with the Phillies as he showed little patience with some of the organization’s top prospects, including Mickey Moniak, Adam Haseley, and Bryson Stott. It’s inaccurate and unfair to pin the Phillies’ failings with young players on Girardi, but one thing is clear: If they are going to turn around their season under interim manager Rob Thomson, the kids will have to play a key role.
Speaking of kids, the Phillies’ top prospect, 2021 first-round pick Andrew Painter, is on the move in the minor leagues.
With the firing of Joe Girardi, Dave Dombrowski lifted a 10,000-pound burden from the shoulders of the team’s stars and also repaired the dysfunctional Phillies, Marcus Hayes writes.
Next: The Phillies open a three-game series in Milwaukee at 8:10 p.m. Tuesday (NBCSP). Ranger Suárez (4-3, 4.69 ERA) starts against Brewers right-hander Jason Alexander (0-0, 2.57).
It might seem as if the United States women’s national team got the biggest share of benefits with its new labor agreement with the U.S. Soccer Federation.
However, the USWNT was supported in its equal-pay efforts by the men’s team, which also signed its own agreement. One player in particular, centerback Walker Zimmerman, expressed his desire to avail himself of the child-care benefit now accessible to families of either squad.
Jonathan Tannenwald gets perspectives from members of both teams on the new agreements and the new cooperation between the national soccer teams.
Worth a look
Philly connection: Former Neumann Goretti basketball star Blaise Vespe is headed for Florida Gulf Coast, where new coach Pat Chambers is bringing a slew of players with Philadelphia ties.
NCAA baseball: It’s do or die for West Chester in the Division II World Series. The Golden Rams will play Southern New Hampshire in an elimination game on Tuesday.
What was the first sports film to win the Academy Award for best picture?
A) Raging Bull
B) Million Dollar Baby
C) The Natural
Send your responses (no Internet cheating) to: email@example.com.
What you’re saying about Rob Thomson
We asked you: What’s your take on Rob Thomson so far? Are you impressed or skeptical about his management skills?
“I will be impressed when he decides to take Knebel out of the closer’s role and insert Brad Hand and when he is unavailable, Seranthony Dominguez. It is obvious that a closer who has issues with finding the strike zone leads to trouble, and Knebel has walked too many opposition players. Luckily, the same player who made the error that caused the Angels’ ninth inning run to be unearned redeemed himself.
“If Thomson has them never quitting, that is a positive. But his use of the bullpen will be the key for me.” — Robert G.
“... Thompson has to play the hand he’s been dealt. He has only a few of the required horses to win the race, but not close to all he needs. The inept ownership/management saw to that. Right, Joey G? I hope for both him and the team, and mostly, the Phillies’ fans, that the team is successful.” — Richard S.
“Three games is hardly enough to judge a new manager, especially when he is a rookie. While he has gotten a great start, time will tell. That said, the team pitched in and flashed a glimpse of what they can do, in spite of the starting pitcher who can’t get passed the 4th inning (pitiful). Hopefully the team can grasp the weekend series and make something of it. Go Phils!” — William D.
“... This is a completely different team than the lethargic and spiritless one that is gone. Whether the Phillies can continue to play like this remains to be seen, but it is sure a refreshing change that gives we fans some hope.” — Everett S.
“... Suggesting that the results of the last three games against the Angels was different because Joe G was fired is ridiculous. The Angels are going through a down time. The Phillies were fortunate to catch that team during their slump. The sloppy playing by the players, and the Broad Street Bully type fans helped to cause this firing. To suggest that the hiring of the new manager made a difference in the outcome of these three games is pathetic!!” — Sandy L.
“I am impressed.” — Anna G.
“Hope the winning continues, but it’s unlikely that we’ll see anything better than a .500 team as presently assembled.” — Will T.
“Joe was tired. Thomson more enthusiastic, more encouraging. Before getting too excited, note that the only thing keeping Sunday’s game from being another Corey Knebel disaster was a 74 mph curveball thrown to a .150 hitter.” — Larry N.
We compiled today’s newsletter using reporting from Matt Breen, Scott Lauber, Keith Pompey, Jonathan Tannenwald, Brett Friedlander, and Sam Cohn.