After featuring many iconic music videos in our “Moment in time” series, we wanted to dive into film – there’s no better than the fan-favorite, cult classic, Nike Swoosh-laden and fashion-forward “White Men Can’t Jump”. A 90’s classic, White Men Can’t Jump is everyone’s dad’s favorite film. Depicting Wesley Snipes (Sidney Deane) and Woody Harrelson (Billy Hoyle) in a movie centred around basketball hustlers, loyalty and betrayal, the movie is, simply put, about a goofy white guy who lures people to take their money after beating them on court.
The two protagonists both hustle ballers for their own reasons: Harrelson is a compulsive gambler, and owes some mobsters some money, while Snipes needs the money as his wife is on his back. Set in Venice Beach, Crenshaw, the setting – and costume design – has fuelled moodboards and halloween costumes ever since. The language, timing and chemistry, not only between Harrelson and Snipes, but between each and every cast member that all work so flawlessly together in an immersive experience, is what makes this film so iconic. The plot of the film is strong, but in reality without the aforementioned vibe and energy, we wouldn’t be talking about it nearly 30 years after its release.
The pair go on to work together to bolster their chances of taking home some cash, donning some of the most iconic outfits throughout: classic Nike basketball styles like the AJ6 “Infrared”, Air Command Force and Air Flight Lite are front and center, as well as Chicago Bulls jerseys, Kangol flat caps and the Colnago cycling cap we all know and love.From start to end, the duo are gambling – first, it’s $62, and by the end of the movie Hoyle is gambling $2000 of his girlfriend’s money. They win, but he loses the girl. Often overlooked is the fact that many of the victims of the pair’s hustling are ex-NBA legends: Marques Johnson, a five-time NBA All-Star, Duane Martin, and Freeman Williams also. The trash talk is impeccable, with some of the “Yo Mama” jokes echoing through time and being used today on the school playground.
The movie is a cult classic, garnering a massive $14 million in its opening weekend and enjoying successes ever since – not stopping there, the soundtrack for the film broke into the Top 100 charts, featuring Boyz II Men, Arethra Franklin and Queen Latifah. It isn’t merely a basketball movie: the film is a lesson on directing, relationships, comedic timing and race relations.