A Matthew Dellavedova biopic is now in pre-production

Matthew Dellavedova appears as
Matthew Dellavedova appears as “Boomer” in a scene from “Weekend at Bernie’s 3.” (Associated Press)

Milwaukee Bucks guard Matthew Dellavedova has become a fan favorite with his current team and the Cleveland Cavaliers thanks to his energetic style of play and the perception that he reflects the blue-collar character of the people in the crowd and watching at home on TV. The extent to which he deserves that reputation is up for debate — his race has certainly helped him — but it is an inescapable fact of his career. Dellavedova is extremely popular for someone who has never averaged 8.0 points per game in a season, and it’s because he is taken to be the low-athleticism underdog in a league of athletic freaks. Fans love hard work and they’re willing to let everyone know about it.

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Dellavedova’s narrative is a familiar one, and now it looks set to become the basis for a feature film. As announced by Dellavedova’s manager, Hollywood producers are working on a Delly biopic with plans to begin production in 2017. From Olgun Uluc for Fox Sports Australia:

Dellavedova and his Australian manager, Bruce Kaider, have joined with Los Angeles based producers, Zachary Green and Jason Shuman, to develop and produce a feature film based on the Milwaukee Bucks guard’s life and career.

The film will centre around Dellavedova’s struggles growing up in country Victoria, and his unlikely path to the NBA, where he won the 2015 NBA Championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers. [Note: The Cavs in fact won the 2016 championship, although Dellavedova first became a national figure in the 2015 playoffs.] […]

“I am thrilled to be working with this incredible group to tell my story to inspire kids around the world to dream big and that hard work and perseverance pays off.”

Production is set to commence in Australia in 2017, with the film aiming to emulate the likes of Hoosiers and Rocky, according to the release. […]

“Everyone dreams of the one in a million chance of playing in the NBA, but this clue-collar [sic] kid actually achieved it,” Green said. “I am looking forward to bringing his story to the big screen.”

A June 2015 story indicated that a Dellavedova movie was already in the works, although that project was supposed to focus on four characters looking to move from Australia to the NBA. This one appears to be Delly-centric, which gives it a more obvious hook.

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Dellavedova’s story should be a terrific fit for the underdog sports movie genre. Like Rocky Balboa, Jimmy Chitwood’s teammates, and Rudy Notre Dame before him, Delly is the classic no-talent two-time All-American honorable mention and WCC Player of the Year who overcame the shame of a two-year undrafted free agent contract to become a valued rotation player on a championship contender. The narrative has plenty of Hollywood beats, too — the low point of goading Al Horford into elbowing him in Game 3 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals, the high point of ably defending the stereotypically villainous Stephen Curry for several games of the NBA Finals shortly thereafter, and the very artistic anticlimax of seeing the court for a combined 13 minutes, including none in Game 7, during the Cavs’ four wins during the 2016 NBA Finals. The writers won’t have to reach at all!

It’s not clear if this film will receive a wide release anywhere but Australia, but it’s yet another example of Dellavedova’s brand taking off. Many players with far better career stats than Dellavedova, including many other NBA champions, could only dream of nabbing a signature sneaker and a biopic. Dellavedova is certainly living a dream.

So look for “He Just Plays Hard: The Matthew Dellavedova Story” soon. I promise that I will do everything in my power to put together a pre-release review.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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