Sportsman's Daily


Actors Studio Honcho Says NBA Enables “Culture of Bad Acting”

James Lipton critiques the NBA’s worst over-emoters who are turning the game into “four acts of unspeakably bad dinner theater”

James Lipton

According to James Lipton, the insufferable boot-licking host of Actors Studio, NBA "acting" would embarrass even William Shatner.     

NEW YORK (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) — There was a time when drama meant a game that went down to the final seconds. Now, it just as often refers to the amateurish over-acting of NBA drama queens who wouldn’t know Constantin Stanislavski from Peja Stoyakavich.  James Lipton, the famously finicky host of Actor’s Studio, says that instead of working the refs, the NBA’s most blatant offenders should spend more time working on their “lamentably under-developed” acting chops. Lipton believes the “epidemic” of lousy acting is making an NBA game harder to sit through than a Steven Seagall movie.

“The so-called acting we’re seeing out there on the floor is just abominable – where’s the motivation, where’s the inner anguish…it’s all just externalized claptrap without the emotional ballast that underpins a credible performance,” sniffed Lipton. “The primal shrieks, girlish gasps, absurd flopping, the wide-eyed looks of disbelief, the ironic smirks…bad, bad, bad. Just abysmal.” Lipton shuddered as though he’d just wakened to find himself in a pornographic Ed Wood film.

Lipton’s critique comes on the heels of a New York Times story on “All-Star Acting”:

“…In part, the emoting is designed to deceive, with players trying to persuade referees they were fouled in the act of shooting, even if they were not. It is hardly a new tactic, but it has become a more popular one and is now as much a sound of the game as the squeaking of sneakers.”

“I’m not saying you can turn Shaquille O’Neal into Denzel Washington overnight,” said Lipton, “but with training, a Nicholas Cage-caliber performance is well within reach. Let’s face it, a Knicks-Heat game ain’t Shakespeare, but let’s not turn it into a poorly dubbed Japanese horror flick with turnovers, mental lapses and shoddy fourth quarter execution in the final reel.”

Lipton went on to offer brief, “Blackwell-esque” critiques of some of the NBA’s worst performers.  

Allen Iverson:  AI works the scowl like Jessica Simpson works her rack. But unlike Ms. Simpson, Iverson has more to work with than a set of shapely knockers. He’s got a remarkably expressive face – if he would broaden his palette and add a grimace, sneer or the occasional maniacal laugh to his repertoire, he’d be far more credible screen presence.

Manu Ginobli: As a fan of Spanish language soap opera, I’ll admit to a certain guilty pleasure in watching Ginobli overact to a phantom kick to the cojones. But unless his wide-eyed, writhing-in-pain theatrics are accompanied by three buxom Latinas showing bottomless cleavage, I’m not buying.    

Rip Hamilton: While the mask is inherently theatrical and suggests hidden reserves of emotive force, behind it is an actor of disappointingly narrow range. When I see Rip reacting to a hand-check like he’s been shot from a cannon, it’s an insult to every hard-working circus clown I’ve ever known.     

Lipton traces today’s bad acting to the roundly panned work of Bill Laimbeer and Vlade Divac, arguably the two most flagrantly bad actors of their or any generation. “Though I will give Laimbeer props for creating a truly believable anti-hero,” admitted Lipton. “He was always highly credible as a first-class prick.”    

In a written statement, Commissioner David Stern said the league was aware of the threat that overtly bad acting poses to the league’s integrity, and is putting together a special “task force” spearheaded by Spike Lee and actors Rick Fox, Ray Allen and Dennis Rodman to assess the severity of the problem and make recommendations for a more “believable product. ”  

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