Actress Sanaa Lathan says she almost walked away from her starring role in “Love & Basketball” — one of her most beloved roles.
Lathan shared the news recently during a sit-down with Jemele Hill for an interview on her “Unbothered” podcast.
“For the basketball players, they had to do the scenes and then do a basketball audition. Same with me. I’d do the scenes, then we would walk across the street, and I’d tribble the ball, looking crazy, because I had never picked up a ball,” she tells Hill.
“I mean I had my brother come out and go to the local court and I was just like you can’t learn basketball in a couple weeks or a couple months you know,” she continued. “These girls had been born, came out the womb with a basketball. And finally, she kept, every time I thought it was time to get to that next level to get the job, she would throw in another basketball player and that became very emotionally really hard. And it went on for months and months.”
In the movie, Lathan plays Monica, the childhood friend of Quincy (Omar Epps), who both aspire to be professional basketball players.
Quincy struggles to live up to his father’s legacy, Zeke (Dennis Haysbert), who plays for the Los Angeles Clippers. Monica is equally as competitive as Quincy, but her hot temper lands her in trouble on the court. The pair eventually fall in love, but after Quincy suffers a significant change in his home life, he begins to spiral — pushing Monica away and changes the course of their paths forever.
“Everyone in my life told me to drop out,” she adds. “She doesn’t want you, you’re not going to get the job.”
We are glad she didn’t pull out. “Love & Basketball” is loved across the globe — and the soundtrack is legendary too.