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Journalism Showcase: ESPN’s “SC Featured” Reunites The Director And Cast Of “White Men Can’t Jump”

Producer Zachary Budman on the reunion: “[It feels] like you were listening to three old friends talk about great times.”

Wesley Snipes, Ron Shelton, Woody Harrelson (Credit: Domenic Zanghi)

This Sunday, April 10, at 8 a.m. ET SportsCenter will debut an SC Featured to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the iconic 1992 film White Men Can’t Jump. The comedy focused on two basketball hustlers in Los Angeles who, despite their differences, join forces to double their chances of winning money on the street courts and in a tournament.

In a segment overseen by ESPN feature producer Zachary Budman, writer/director Ron Shelton reunites with stars Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Rosie Perez, and more to reflect on the film’s success and legacy.

Front Row recently caught up with Budman to discuss the reunion.

What is your connection to the film?
I was a teenager when the movie came out in 1992, and I played a lot of street basketball where I grew up in New York. It took the fun part of playground basketball and put it on the big screen. Plus, I’m a huge sports fan, and it’s a sports movie that hooked me right away.

What was it like traveling to the different film locations in Los Angeles and seeing how the locations brought such authenticity to the film?
We went to the locations where they shot some of the basketball scenes with Shelton, who wrote and directed the movie. We also brought along the supervising location manager, Kokayi Ampah. It was very compelling to hear these men tell stories of how they created some of these courts for the movie and how they improved the courts they used. You could see their passion for these locations and what it meant to highlight these communities and locations as genuine and authentic Los Angeles.

Its themes are very relevant 30 years later, and the comedy holds up.The movie touches on race relations, income inequality, and addiction which are all elements that are still a struggle for people all over the country to this day. — ESPN feature producer Zachary Budman

What was it like bringing together now, iconic actors and directors who have become pillars in the film industry?
The experience of working on a production with Snipes and Harrelson was something I’ll never forget. Both men were extremely nice, and you could see their love for this film from the second they arrived on set. Having Shelton there to help the conversation move made it feel like you were listening to three old friends talk about great times.

What do you think is the impact of this iconic film?
Its themes are very relevant 30 years later, and the comedy holds up. The director, the actors, and the production crew behind the scenes really loved making this movie and did everything they could to make it authentic to street basketball. I’ve re-watched it over the last few months, and I laughed just as hard now as I did 30 years ago. The movie touches on race relations, income inequality, and addiction which are all elements that are still a struggle for people all over the country to this day.

(L-R) Woody Harrelson, Ron Shelton, Wesley Snipes (Domenic Zanghi)
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