Skip to main content

“Every shot I took was a brick” — Wesley Snipes opens up about how he got the role of Sidney Deane on 'White Men Can't Jump

Wesley Snipes basketball skills were far from Sidney Deane's but the director saw something in him that made him perfect for the role.
Wesley Snipes in White men can't jump

Wesley Snipes

Almost every old-school hoops fan is familiar with the name Sidney Deane and the 1992 classic basketball movie “White Men Can’t Jump.” In the film, Deane’s cocky character was portrayed and given justice by Wesley Snipes.

But did you ever wonder why the role seemed very fitting for the award-winning actor? Let’s hear it from the man himself.

Wesley was perfect for Sidney

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2017, Snipes said that “everybody who was anybody at the time and everybody who wanted to be somebody” came over for the auditions. The film’s director Ron Shelton wasn’t just looking for good actors but also actors who could play ball.

Indeed, passing Shelton’s auditions was so challenging that even big-name actors at the time, such as Keanu Reeves, did not make the cut as he was “not a basketball player.” Snipes himself is not a good basketball player as well but based on his assessment, he’s got “great handles, passing, and defense.” However, what separated him from the pack was his natural cockiness.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

I had great handles, great passing, great defense, but every shot I took was a brick, [laughs]” Snipes said. “Every time I shot it, even if it didn’t go in, I talked like it did. I made you believe that you were lucky it didn’t go in.

Attitude gets the job done

As it turned out, Snipes was telling the truth. In the same interview, Shelton echoed everything Wesley said about himself during the auditions.

According to the veteran director, Snipes “just had more attitude” than anybody. And it quickly captured his attention as that trait is something vital if you are playing Sidney Deane in the movie. And yes, Shelton confirmed that Snipes had the worst jump shot than anybody as well.

Wesley is not a great basketball player, but he is a great athlete — big distinction,” Shelton explained. “When he showed up to audition, he just had more attitude than anybody. He walked on the court trash-talking and it didn’t matter if he had any game [laughs]. He showed up with more attitude and less jump shot than anybody.

Looking back, Shelton was proven right about picking Snipes to play Sidney Deane, as most of us would agree that it was an epic portrayal. On the other hand, Wesley’s audition story goes to show that sometimes, all it takes is confidence and a little bit of attitude.

Kaith Van Horn

“I think he was pretty satisfied with what he had” – Keith Van Horn could have been a great player but chose not to become one

Based on Byron Scott’s description, Keith had what it takes and he often “worked hard” during team practices and gym workouts. However, he “never went the extra mile.”

American actor Ben Stiller

“I’ll be in my mid-60s by the time this team rebuilds” - Ben Stiller on being a New York Knicks fan

Stiller summed up the experience of being a Knicks fan: “Who would want this pain? Who would want to feel that frustration?”

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

The difference between Michael Jordan's and LeBron James' diet and workout regime

Michael Jordan and LeBron James' diets are similar to each other but the way they recover and workout is different.

Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird

"Score meant very little, but a lot of talking going on, a lot of fun." - Larry Bird learned trash-talking from black men working at a local hotel

In the process, Bird developed a genuine off-the-court relationship with most of them, particularly a guy whom he called “Slim.”

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant

Brian Windhorst on Kevin Durant potentially holding out — “I can see it. That’s what we’re headed towards”

Several recent developments turned Durant's potential holdout from unlikely to very possible.

Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings goes off on the state of the NBA - “It’s only a couple of guys in the NBA that love the game”

Jennings' opinions are certainly divisive, but it's clear that without change the NBA would get stale, and that's why it's necessary to continue exploring ways to evolve the game