White Men Can't Jump is an American sports comedy drama movie that came out in 1992. It starred Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as streetball hustlers. This article takes a closer look at the movie.
The focus of the movie is Billy Hoyle, played by Harrelson. He is a former college basketball player who makes a living hustling streetballers. He also assume that he cannot play well because he is white. The hustle is even more provocative because he appears to be "a chump" and "a geek." Sidney Deane, played by Snipes, is one of these black players who is humiliated by Hoyle, but instead of feeling resentful towards him, he begins to think of ways in which Hoyle could be useful to him. Throughout the film, the two engage in various basketball tournaments, but Hoyle keeps losing the money that he wins alongside Sidney for various reasons, the most notable one being after he bets Sidney is entire earnings from one hustle that he can slam dunk. After failing to do so, Sidney says the quote from which the film gets its name, 'White men can't jump.'
White Men Can't Jump required its two main characters to be top basketball players which Snipes and Harrelson were not. Bob Lanier, Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks legend and Hall of Famer, were subsequently hired as basketball coaches for the movie and was quoted as saying that that both men reached division III college basketball skill level. Many characters who feature in the film, often as losing competitors, were also former NBA basketball stars including Freeman Williams who plays the character Duck Johnson.
White Men Can't Jump was the 16th highest grossing movie of 1992 and grossed over $14 million in its first weekend at the box office. In total, worldwide, the film grossed $92 million. The film also received positive reviews and has a 78& fresh rating on rotten tomatoes. The New York Times film critic gave the film three and a half stars out of five at the time the film was released, whilst Wesley Snipes' performance drew positive reviews from everywhere.