From World B. Free to Free Willy in 6 Steps
July 23, 2015 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Since LeBron James has made his film debut, it is now possible to link every player in NBA history to nearly every actor in film history through him in an expanded version of the Kevin Bacon Game. Sure, Kareem and Shaq, among others, might have bridged this particular media gap already, but they didn't have a web app making it easy to figure out how Russell Westbrook connects to Clint Eastwood or Dolph Schayes to Dolph Lundgren. (previously: Erdős-Bacon numbers and Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath numbers)

As a bonus, here's an example in case you were wondering how Kareem the NBA player links to Kareem the actor:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
played on the 1989 Los Angeles Lakers with...
Byron Scott
who played on the 1997 Los Angeles Lakers with...
Shaquille O'Neal
who played on the 2010 Cleveland Cavaliers with...
LeBron James
who was in “Trainwreck” with...
Marv Albert
who was in “Forget Paris” with...
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
posted by Copronymus (34 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I saw Kevin Bacon in my college's cafeteria once. He was unshaven and getting a salad from the salad bar, which he ate - alone - with a number of campus police working as a security detail in the nearly empty cafeteria. It was eerie and weird. If Kevin Bacon had knocked on your door at night, you wouldn't have let him in.

Anyway, the point being, since I saw Kevin Bacon this one time, we can play this game via Metafilter as well.
posted by graymouser at 10:56 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


As a bonus, we can relate it to the NBA since I also went to high school with Malik Allen.
posted by graymouser at 10:57 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay, but since LBJ has only played on two teams (albeit with three distinct eras) he can't be the best person to focus this on. Erdos-Bacon-Shaq, maybe? Erdos-Bacon-Mutumbo?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:59 AM on July 23, 2015


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar...
... was in Airplane...
...which was directed by David Zucker...
...who directed BASEketball...
...which featured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:01 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks in large part to to Tilda Swinton and Daniel Radcliffe both being in Trainwreck and providing a lot of the necessary connections, it is easy to connect Scottie Pippen to all of the actors who have played the titular character in Doctor Who in five people or less. The world is weird but this is exactly how I want to be weird.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:05 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Erdos-Bacon-Shaq, maybe?

Functionally, since Shaq and LeBron were both on the 2010 Cavaliers, Erdos-Bacon-Shaq is pretty close to Erdos-Bacon-LeBron, although you're probably right that Shaq is a better choice overall.
posted by Copronymus at 11:09 AM on July 23, 2015


I think I stumped it on my first try (no connection between Pau Gasol and Matthew Modine, apparently).
posted by The Gooch at 11:16 AM on July 23, 2015


(I take it back, user error).
posted by The Gooch at 11:17 AM on July 23, 2015


Shaquille O'Neal
who played on the 2010 Cleveland Cavaliers with...
LeBron James


Even just five years removed, this is still the weirdest part of that chain.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:19 AM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just connected Smush Parker to Cary Grant in 5 steps. This thing is awesome.
posted by The Gooch at 11:23 AM on July 23, 2015


Eric Montross
played on the 2001 Detroit Pistons with...
Mateen Cleaves
who played on the 2004 Cleveland Cavaliers with...
LeBron James
who was in “Trainwreck” with...
Bill Hader
who was in “Men in Black 3” with...
Nicole Scherzinger
who was in “From the Bottom to the Top” with...
Taylor Swift

This fact is of profoundly limited interest to anyone but myself, but it exists now and you can't make it unexist.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:27 AM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


The weird thing is that the NBA side has "on the same team" as the connection rather tha "played in the same game," which to my mind is a closer analogy to the film side.

I guess it was an easier data set to get or something.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:31 AM on July 23, 2015


What about Michael Jordan's appearance in the award-winning 1996 documentary Space Jam?
posted by Sangermaine at 11:37 AM on July 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Manute Bol
played on the 1995 Golden State Warriors with...
Donyell Marshall
who played on the 2008 Cleveland Cavaliers with...
LeBron James
who was in “Trainwreck” with...
Max Alexander
who was in “Man on the Moon” with...
Danny DeVito
posted by lmfsilva at 11:47 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Danny Green
played on the 2010 Cleveland Cavaliers with...
LeBron James
who was in “Trainwreck” with...
Method Man
who was in “Black and White” with...
Mike Tyson
who was in “Entourage” with...
Chad Lowe

That might the sharpest coolness drop-off you can find in something like this.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:57 AM on July 23, 2015


Oh and if you're like "how did that happen, are you just plugging in former Carolina Tar Heels with people on Pretty Little Liars" you obviously don't follow me on Twitter, because what else would I be doing?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:58 AM on July 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


No connection found between Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian, which I guess is technically true...
posted by AJaffe at 1:37 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know how it is set up but it seems Kim is not an option in the database, so to fix that obviously very important problem.

Kris Humphries
played on the 2009 Toronto Raptors with...
Chris Bosh
who played on the 2014 Miami Heat with...
LeBron James
who was in “Trainwreck” with...
Dave Attell
who was in “Scary Movie 4” with...
Carmen Electra
who was in "Disaster Movie" with...
Kim Kardashian
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:34 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't know how it is set up but it seems Kim is not an option in the database

I think the criterion is 5 English-language movies in IMDb, and she's only got 2 right now. Caitlyn Jenner is in there, though, so this should also be an acceptable sequence:

Kris Humphries
played on the 2009 Toronto Raptors with...
Chris Bosh
who played on the 2014 Miami Heat with...
LeBron James
who was in “Trainwreck” with...
Tim Meadows
who was in “Jack and Jill” with...
Caitlyn Jenner
[who was in "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" with...
Kim Kardashian]
posted by Copronymus at 2:50 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Manute Bol
. . . .
Danny DeVito


In case you'd like the reverse of this:

Muggsy Bogues
played on the 1999 Golden State Warriors with...
Antawn Jamison
who played on the 2010 Cleveland Cavaliers with...
LeBron James
who was in “Trainwreck” with...
Method Man
who was in “Scary Movie 3” with...
Dee Jay Jackson
who was in “Tooth Fairy” with...
Stephen Merchant
posted by Copronymus at 2:51 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bryant Reeves
played on the 2001 Vancouver Grizzlies with...
Damon Jones
who played on the 2008 Cleveland Cavaliers with...
LeBron James
who was in “Trainwreck” with...
Matthew Broderick
who was in “Family Business” with...
William Preston
who was in “Malatesta's Carnival of Blood” with...
Hervé Villechaize
posted by box at 3:34 PM on July 23, 2015


Mookie Blaylock played on the 2002 Golden State Warriors with...
Antawn Jamison who played on the 2010 Cleveland Cavaliers with...
LeBron James who was in “Trainwreck” with...
Tim Meadows who was in “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” with...
Eddie Vedder
posted by tonycpsu at 4:21 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


The highest I could find was 9.

George Mikan
played on the 1956 Minneapolis Lakers with...
Dick Garmaker
who played on the 1961 New York Knicks with...
Darrall Imhoff
who played on the 1972 Cincinnati Royals with...
Tiny Archibald
who played on the 1984 Milwaukee Bucks with...
Alton Lister
who played on the 1997 Boston Celtics with...
David Wesley
who played on the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers with...
LeBron James
who was in “Trainwreck” with...
Norman Lloyd
who was in “Limelight” with...
Cyril Delevanti
who was in “Lured” with...
Boris Karloff
posted by Veritron at 4:24 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I haven't been able to get any higher than 9 either, and that's with, like, guys from 1930s Bollywood and the 1957 St. Louis Hawks.
posted by box at 11:00 AM on July 24, 2015


I haven't been able to get any higher than 9 either, and that's with, like, guys from 1930s Bollywood and the 1957 St. Louis Hawks.

While I believe that there's no one who's more than 6 steps away from LeBron's basketball career, it seems wild that so many people can be linked to his 1 movie in under 4 steps.
posted by Copronymus at 11:34 AM on July 24, 2015


Damn, maybe 3 on the movie side really is the limit. Norman Lloyd by himself cuts through a ton of stuff since he's been in 60+ movies dating back to the 40s.
posted by Copronymus at 11:53 AM on July 24, 2015


Norman Lloyd connects LeBron to Buster Keaton in a single step which is nuts.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:16 PM on July 24, 2015


Although I have a working theory that we can push past three on the film side with someone from the world of international cinema, I haven't found anyone yet. Another approach might be trying people who were only in a very small number of movies, or in movies with very small casts.

"The list of actors is limited to those with five or more roles in English movies released before 2016 not classified as documentaries and shorts."

Oh, drat.
posted by box at 12:32 PM on July 24, 2015


I just cracked ten--thank you, Rollie Seltz.
posted by box at 1:44 PM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


And I went through some other cats who only played one season, for teams that went defunct after '49-'50--that might, might, be as far as it can be pushed in the NBA direction.

I still believe there's an eleven out there, though.
posted by box at 8:02 PM on July 24, 2015


Okay, I want to see this happen, and I don't want to do it myself. Find an eleven, and I'll donate twenty bucks to the charity of your choice (nothing too ugly), or buy you the cheapest thing on your Amazon wishlist. Not joking.
posted by box at 6:47 PM on July 25, 2015


Bingo! I'll admit that I was just typing dumb crap into the actor field and choosing names that struck my fancy, so when I saw Ai-Ai de las Alas, I was pretty curious, and here we go:

Rollie Seltz
played on the 1950 Anderson Packers with...
Frankie Brian
who played on the 1956 Fort Wayne Pistons with...
Chuck Noble
who played on the 1962 Detroit Pistons with...
Don Ohl
who played on the 1968 Baltimore Bullets with...
Earl Monroe
who played on the 1980 New York Knicks with...
Bill Cartwright
who played on the 1994 Chicago Bulls with...
Scott Williams
who played on the 2005 Cleveland Cavaliers with...
LeBron James
who was in “Trainwreck” with...
José Báez
who was in “Ted 2” with...
Sam J. Jones
who was in “Whiteforce” with...
Ruben Rustia
who was in “Romeo Loves Juliet... But Their Families Hate Each Other!” with...
Ai-Ai de las Alas
posted by Copronymus at 8:53 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Actually, there's a beautiful symmetry in using Zanjoe Marudo instead of Ai-Ai de las Alas, because Zanjoe played NCAA-level basketball (according to Wikipedia).

In trying to find another Filipino with basketball connections in their database, I came across Steven Jaworski, who also gets you to 11. Based on his credits, it looks like the two richest areas for further study are Filipino comedy and 70s porn.
posted by Copronymus at 9:10 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, Copronymous, that's awesome!

It looks like the two richest areas for further study are Filipino comedy and 70s porn.

Mostly.
posted by box at 9:39 AM on July 28, 2015


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