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Kyrie Irving’s “Uncle Drew” could be headed to big screen, with Irving as star


Kyrie Irving‘s “Uncle Drew” made an awesome Pepsi commercial.

Would it make an awesome movie?

At least one Hollywood development group is betting that it would, and Irving is attached to the project, reports trade industry publication Variety (hat tip to Hollywood Insider Dan Devine of Ball Don’t Lie).

Sources tell Variety that Temple Hill Entertainment has acquired the feature film rights to Irving’s “Uncle Drew” Pepsi commercials. “Skiptrace” scribe Jay Longino is set to write the script and Irving is attached to reprise the role of Drew.

Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, and John Fischer will produce the film, described as a love letter to basketball. The original Pepsi Max advertisements showed Irving, in full make-up, playing a 70-plus-year-old man, Drew, who would show up to pick-up basketball games and school kids half his age, while also reminiscing about how the game used to be played…

Described as “Blues Brothers” in the pick-up basketball world, Longino’s pitch shows Drew and his old squad on the legendary Rucker Park basketball court in Harlem. Years later Drew is talked into returning to the courts to compete in a tournament and goes on a road trip to round the old squad up to play.

As long as they are talking the original Blues Brothers and not Blues Brothers 2000, we’re good.

As the hits and misses of turning Saturday Night Live skits into movies has shown over the years, turning short skits and bits into successful full-length movies succeeds less than the average Irving drive to the basket. But it has the potential to be great.

It may be a few years before we find out. Or six months after that when we all find out via Netflix.

PBT Extra: Knicks’ owner James Dolan can’t win war with Charles Oakley, can’t help himself


In a public relations battle between a popular former player and an owner seen as running a legendary franchise and brand into the ground, who do you think is going to win?

After Charles Oakley was thrown out of Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, the Knicks have kept doubling down, selling the idea that Oakley’s behavior warranted the move. What James Dolan and the Knicks don’t seem to grasp is that they cannot win the PR battle. Dolan just keeps digging the hole deeper, and he can’t help himself. For fans, Oakley will always be the hero.

I get into all of it in this latest PBT Extra.

Knicks’ owner Dolan says team will not opt out of Phil Jackson’s contract, don’t expect him to

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When Phil Jackson came to the Knicks, he got a promise from owner James Dolan that the meddling would stop. Dolan would be the owner, Jackson would have complete control over basketball operations. That in itself seemed like a major victory worthy of $12 million a season.

Three years into the Phil Jackson era, the Knicks are not near a playoff team and are feuding with their star Carmelo Anthony. There is real hope in the form of Kristaps Porzingis, but real questions about whether there is a good plan to build around KP or if Jackson has the ability to do so.

Both the Knicks and Jackson can opt out of their contract this summer, but it doesn’t look like Jackson is going anywhere.

Dolan was on The Michael Kay Show at ESPN New York and the YES Network — and interview where Dolan shot himself in the foot on the Charles Oakley issue — and said the Knicks are not opting out of the deal. Here is what Dolan said, via Ian Begley of ESPN and Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post.

On paper, Jackson’s efforts to look for a new home for Carmelo Anthony are the right first steps in reshaping a team around Porzingis. However, Jackson has gone about it in a way that has only angered Anthony and made him want to stay in New York — and since Anthony has a no-trade clause, if he wants to stay he stays.

It’s better for the Knicks to have Jackson in charge of the ship rather than Dolan — Jackson did draft Porzingis (he tried to trade the pick on draft night, but ultimately he did draft the future star), and he does know the game — but there could be better options than those two.

The Knicks just may not see those options for a few years.

Knicks owner Dolan digs hole deeper: Says Oakley banned, has anger and maybe alcohol issues


The last thing we need more of is another New Yorker with a lot of power, inherited wealth, thin skin, and an inability to let issues go even when he is clearly in the wrong. But here we are.

In the wake of Charles Oakley being thrown out of Madison Square Garden and arrested Wednesday night, the Knicks can’t win the public relations battle because it’s a beloved former player vs. James Dolan, an owner seen as running a premiere franchise into the ground. You can be sure Friday night at the Garden there will be loud “Charles Oakley” chants from the fans. The smart move for the Knicks would be to make this go away as quickly as possible, don’t keep digging the hole deeper. You can be sure that’s what people at the NBA league offices have been telling Dolan to do for a full day. Instead, the Knicks sent out a press release late Friday with 16 witness accounts backing their side of the story (that Oakley was abusive) and promising video later.

This is not good for the Knicks reputation and ruining their ability to draw free agents.

Yet Dolan can’t let it go. He has to make sure he’s heard and, he thinks, respected.

So Dolan went on The Michael Kay Show at ESPN New York and the YES Network and confirmed that Oakley is now banned from Madison Square Garden.

Here are the “highlights” from what Dolan said, via Ian Begley of ESPN and Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post.

Dolan misses the point. Might a frustrated Oakley have said some inappropriate things at last Wednesday’s game? Absolutely. Oakley said he didn’t, but it’s not hard to imagine a situation where the former NBA enforcer said some things aimed at Dolan, ones the owner thought crossed the line. However, the Knicks escalated everything from there. Ultimately, this is really all about perception — the Knicks handled calming him down wrong, throwing him out wrong, arresting him wrong, and not letting the issue go after the fact wrong.

This has other teams around the league shaking their heads.

It has made other current players — name free agent players, the kind the Knicks want to chase — mad and saying they don’t want to play for Dolan or Phil Jackson (because of how Jackson has handled the Carmelo Anthony situation). The Knicks are taking a bad situation and going out of their way to make it worse.

I just feel bad for Knicks fans. They deserve better.

PBT Podcast: Trade deadline preview with Sean Deveney of The Sporting News

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Carmelo Anthony is almost certainly going to remain a Knick past the Feb. 23 trade deadline.

But what about Serge Ibaka in Orlando? Paul Millsap in Atlanta? Jahlil Okafor in Philadelphia?

And what teams should we expect to be active at the trade deadline? Houston? Toronto? And if Toronto starts to act does that force Boston to make a move?

Sean Deveney of The Sporting News and I try to break down the trade deadline — what moves are likely and not likely over the next week — in this latest PBT Podcast.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (check there to see all the NBC Sports podcasts), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.