Skip to main content

“I made more than Al Pacino shooting ‘The Godfather’” — Bernard King recalls his first acting experience in ”Fast Break“

Bernard King couldn't believe that he got paid more than Hollywood legend Al Pacino.
Former NBA player and Naismith Hall of Fame member Bernard King

Bernard King

As soon as Bernard King stepped foot in the NBA, he showed off his scoring prowess. He didn’t just get the attention of his peers, he also attracted Hollywood agents who were constantly on the lookout for acting talent. They obviously thought King had a lot of potential as he was cast in the 1979 comedy “Fast Break” and was paid more than Al Pacino for his role in “The Godfather.”

Fast Break

In the summer after his stellar rookie season, King was approached by a producer who was working on “Fast Break.” The producer told King to do a reading which he agreed without much hesitation. He found himself in a room of around 50 actors, all waiting for their audition. Not long after, King learned that he got the part of a pool player named Hustler.

During the entire production, King was housed in a Beverley Hills apartment, where he received a weekly food stipend.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

$500 a week just to eat. Now this is 1978. How much money is that today?” King said, per wbur.

That’s around $2,000 a week in today’s money. It’s a lucrative sum given that it’s just meant to be for food. But King received more money and benefits than the stipend. He also got a car on top of his salary for the entire film.

I’m driving a Mercedes-Benz convertible, which they paid for, and they paid me $25,000. What the hell? Now, I learned many years later, I made more than Al Pacino shooting ‘The Godfather’ first movie. Yeah,” King says with a laugh.

Al Pacino

Various reports reveal that Pacino actually received $35,000 for playing Michael Corleone in “The Godfather.” So technically, Pacino had a bigger salary than King. However, Pacino didn’t have a stipend nor was he gifted a car. And so if you add up all the benefits that King received, he definitely made more than the Hollywood icon.

To be fair with Pacino, he wasn’t a household name then. Also, the studio executives weren’t keen on casting Pacino, claiming that he was too short for the role. It wasn’t until director Francis Ford Coppola showed raw footage of Pacino’s portrayal that the studios agreed. But during the shooting itself, Pacino claimed he was uncomfortable. He felt that he still wasn’t accepted by the production.

After the film, King focused on basketball, where he continued to establish himself as a premier scorer. Pacino, for his part, came to fame after “The Godfather.” Everything turned out pretty well for the two legends. 


Rob Pelinka’s big promise to LeBron James as contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers nears

The Lakers have been a bit trepid about making big roster moves recently, but they appear to have said what they needed to say to keep James in L.A.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan and golf icon Tiger Woods

“He’s scared, I’ll knock his brains out” — Michael Jordan revealed why Tiger Woods refused to play basketball

Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are both GOAT but while MJ plays golf and is good at it, Tiger wouldn't come near a basketball court.


"You would never have heard of Michael Jordan!"-John Salley reveals the crucial information he learned from "The Last Dance" documentary

In Salley's opinion, if the "Bad Boys" Pistons knew at the time what was revealed in "The Last Dance" documentary, Jordan would have never gotten past them.

New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose

Why Derrick Rose isn't your average superstar — “I hate fame. It's just not who I am.”

DRose's answer demonstrates how humble he is, despite all his achievements.