Five Fantastic Quotes From Grantland’s Oral History Of White Men Can’t Jump
White Men Can’t Jump hit the big screen in 1992, and, thanks to its humor, edginess, and Colnago hats, instantly became one of the funnest sports movies ever.
Grantland’s Thomas Golianopoulos has meticulously put together an oral history of White Men Can’t Jump, interviewing filmmakers, stars, and extras to paint a fuller picture of what it was like on the set. The whole thing is absolutely worth a read — seriously, go check it out – and we’ve compiled five quotes (and a bonus quote) that jumped out to us.
1. The Glove Compartment.
Ron Shelton (writer, director): I asked someone, “What happened?” This guy goes, “Jesse went to his glove compartment.” I didn’t know that “Going to your glove compartment” meant going to get a gun to settle a dispute. There was an argument about whether something was a block or a charge and he went to his glove compartment and shot a guy dead. I then moved my game indoors to the Hollywood Y.
2. Keanu Reeves: Not at all a baller.
Cylk Cozart (Robert): Keanu almost broke my neck going up for a layup. He was so wild. He was throwing the ball hard and throwing elbows. He didn’t know what he was doing. Ron stopped it, like, “OK, I’ve seen enough.” I thought, Wow, what was he doing growing up? He didn’t play ball? Ron also went to Chicago to meet with John Cusack.
Kevin Benton (Zeke): Wes, for someone who couldn’t play at all, came a long way. By the end, you weren’t going to put him on your starting five, but he went from a ballerina to someone who could maybe make a layup or shoot a jump shot.
4. The “Yo momma” joke that wasn’t.
Kadeem Hardison (Junior): I called back to New York and told everyone to send me all of their “Yo momma” jokes. I made a rhyme book for momma jokes. I called Biz Markie. I called everybody. Ron didn’t let me keep my favorite one, which I had gotten from Biz Markie. I tried. I did it again and again. It was, “Your momma so nasty, she keeps ice in her panties to keep her crabs fresh.”
5. A ruse.
Shelton: A lot of it was completely corrupt. Everyone was betting on everything. The place had gotten a little dirty, and I was part of it. The scene at the used-car lot where they stop in the night and Woody says he could dunk? Woody actually bet Wesley that he could dunk it. Wesley kept going off to his trailer and we kept lowering the basket. By the time the bet got high enough, Woody slammed it. Wesley didn’t realize that we lowered the basket a foot.
[Writer's note: I really tried to keep it to five quotes, but this was so freakin' funny]
Bonus: You’re such a pig, Woody.
Rosie Perez: I spoke to Ron about it and he said, “You will not do anything that you are uncomfortable with. As you know, as we discussed before you signed the contract, there is going to be nudity.” We choreographed the scene and then he goes, “Let us know when you’re ready.” I stayed in that bathroom forever. I just couldn’t come out. Woody knocked on the door and was like, “Are you OK?” I said, “Yeah, I just need a second.” He said, “Well, you know, you’ve been in there for 30 minutes.” I was like, “I’m going to feel weird because you’re going to see my body.” He said, “I have the utmost respect for you and love working with you and there is nothing but respect for you from the whole cast and crew and we’re going to take it slow.” I open the door and I’m standing there half-naked and he goes, “Oh my God, look at your tits. They’re beautiful.” I slammed the door. I started cracking up. I go, “You’re such a pig, Woody.” He goes, “I’m sorry, they’re huge and you’re so tiny.” I go, “Oh my God, let’s just fucking do this.” It was great. He took the edge off because he was so goddamn silly and he made it fun. I give all the credit to Woody and the director for that. The chemistry between us was there already.
- Yeah Whatever