Netflix’s ‘Hustle’ seems like the usual sports drama on the surface, but it goes beyond other films in the genre by bringing in a bunch of real-life personalities from the field of basketball. The central team is the Philadelphia 76ers, and we see not only the real players of the team but also its coach and assistant coaches. The presence of so many real people in the movie makes us wonder if the non-basketball people in the film are also rooted in reality, especially the main character played by Adam Sandler. If you are wondering whether or not the character of Stanley Sugerman is based on a real person, we’ve got you covered.
Is Stanley Sugerman Based on a Real Coach?
No, Stanley Sugerman is not based on a real Philadelphia 76ers coach. However, several points in his story might seem familiar to the audience. While Stan is known to be an indispensable asset to the 76ers, it is revealed that in his college days, he had been a rather promising basketball player himself. His career was cut short after he met with a car accident that permanently injured his hand. In real life, as well, there have been a number of upcoming and exciting players whose careers suffered, if not came to an abrupt halt, due to some injuries.
One of such well-known players is Jay Williams. After having a brilliant time playing basketball at Duke, Williams was set to make waves in the NBA. When he became a part of the Chicago Bulls, hopes were set high for him. However, he met with a motorcycle accident, the ramifications of which set the course of his career differently. He sustained severe leg injuries, the effects of which remained with him for so long that even when he tried to make a return to the game, he had to eventually withdraw from it completely. Now, he serves as an NBA analyst for ESPN.
Another player to have his career cut shot similarly was Bobby Hurley. After having a dazzling career at Duke, Hurley was drafted by the Sacramento Kings. It was during his rookie season that he had a fatal car accident while coming home from a game. While he survived the ordeal, things weren’t the same for him anymore. He returned to the game soon enough but was waived by his team after four years. Currently, he serves as the head coach for Arizona State Sun Devils.
While the car accident is a major part of his story, Stan Sugerman proves to be much more than his tragedy. He goes on to become a talent scout that has a keen eye for exceptional players. The Philadelphia 76ers had a similar scout and assistant coach in Jack McMahon, who got Maurice Cheeks from a small town in Texas to the 76ers. Similarly, Rod Baker has also served as a scout for the 76ers — bringing in fresh promising talent—while also testing his mettle as a basketball coach. In the same vein, former WNBA star Lindsey Harding also served as a scout for the 76ers, for whom she also worked as a player development coach.
While Sugerman’s story is not directly drawn from any particular basketball personality, it is a sort of a combination of the usual career arcs of scouts and coaches, not essentially including the tragedy.