Is The Crossover’s Filthy McNasty and JB Based on Real Basketball Players?

Image Credit: Alyssa Moran/Disney

Disney+’s sports drama series ‘The Crossover’ centers around twin brothers Josh “Filthy McNasty” Bell and Jordan “JB” Bell, who aspire to become NBA greats when they grow up. To fulfill their ambitions, the two brothers train hard under the supervision of their father and former professional basketball player Chuck Bell. Filthy and JB’s perseverance and talents help their school team to win the championship, which becomes the first stepping stone in their careers. Since they both eventually get drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, the show made us find out whether the two brothers are based on real basketball players.

Josh “Filthy McNasty” Bell and Jordan “JB” Bell Have Traces of Kwame Alexander’s Life

Josh “Filthy McNasty” Bell and Jordan “JB” Bell are not based on real basketball players. Both of them are fictional characters conceived by Kwame Alexander for his children’s novel ‘The Crossover,’ the source text of the show. Although the novel and the two protagonists are fictional, Alexander was inspired by his own upbringing to conceive the same. Like Filthy and JB’s father Chuck, the author’s father was a basketball player. Like the brothers in the series, the author was heavily influenced by his father, who had a set of rules and principles that he imparted to his son the same way Chuck does to Filthy and JB.

Image Credit: Alyssa Moran/Disney

Alexander also loves basketball immensely like Filthy and JB. However, when it comes to playing the sport, the author didn’t have many similarities to the two twin brothers. “I played basketball a lot, but I wasn’t good enough to be competitive. I excelled at tennis and talked a lot of trash, which I bring into the book,” the author told Charleston City Paper. Therefore, the similarities between the two brothers and the author are limited to their love for basketball and the experiences of growing up under the guideship of fathers who played the sport in the past.

As far as Alexander is concerned, ‘The Crossover’ is about familial connections and relationships. Although basketball is an integral element of the same, it was added to the narrative for a specific set of purposes. “Ultimately, this is a book about basketball but it is really about so much more. It’s about family and brotherhood and friendship and crossing over from boyhood into manhood. Basketball was just sort of a metaphor, it was a frame, it was a way to sort of get boys to pick up this book, was a way to get girls excited about this book. It was what I remembered liking when I was twelve years old and would have loved to have had a book that dealt with this subject,” Alexander told AdLit.

Image Credit: Alyssa Moran/Disney

Alexander’s words make it clear that he wasn’t inspired by any real-life basketball players to conceive Filthy and JB. Rather, he was inspired by the significance and relevance of basketball as a sport. In reality, basketball has given a sense of direction and ambition to several people, who did well in their lives after embracing and playing the sport. The history of the NBA is filled with personal stories of several such players. It isn’t any different for Filthy and JB. The two brothers deal with their father’s likely impending death by immersing themselves in the sport. For JB, basketball turns out to be an escape from the challenges he faces as someone who got diagnosed with ADHD.

The spirit and resilience Filthy and JB display to become the greats of the sport can be seen in several real-life basketball players of the present and future. That’s how the two characters and their saga succeed in becoming relatable and realistic.

Read More: Where is The Crossover Filmed?