Comedy star Adam Sandler, whose love of pickup basketball games with Long Island locals has spawned a cottage industry of online videos, was playing hoops again Sunday afternoon at Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn.
Huntington native Robert Whitehorn, aka robobball3, who was also playing that day, posted a 44-second video on Instagram Stories showing Sandler, 54, competing skillfully with much-younger players. While Stories content cycles out after 24 hours, sports journalist Anthony Puccio obtained the video from childhood friend Whitehorn and posted two excerpts on Twitter early Monday. A 12-second clip had 2.6 million views as of Tuesday afternoon.
"I was playing on one side of the half-court and he was playing on the other," Whitehorn, 25, a mechanical engineer, told Newsday. "He walked in very low-key, and one of the people I was playing with said, 'That's Adam Sandler on the other end of the court.' I noticed the pink polo shirt with the baggy shorts and I wasn't sure it was him, but he turned his head and I saw his face and I knew immediately." After Sandler's team won their half-court game, they played another team full-court.
The original video, which was reposted by other outlets, shows the comedian at one end of the court, with Whitehorn writing in graphical text, "We out here hoopin with @adamsandler," followed by, "Yes it's actually him for everyone asking." As the action moves to the opposite basket, Sandler drives past half-court to the right corner, then passes to a player at the top of the key, who shoots and misses.
Puccio also tweeted a 6-second additional video by Whitehorn showing Sandler, the star of "Uncut Gems" (2019), "50 First Dates" (2004), "The Wedding Singer" (1998) and many other films, passing to a player in the right corner, who takes a baseline shot and misses.
Sandler, says Whitehorn, as a player is "very selfless, very humble, he's always looking to make his teammates look better, always looking to pass."
Some commenters on Puccio's feed noted that as Sandler dribbles downcourt in the first video, he appears to commit a "traveling" violation, also known as "walking," in which a player holds the ball and takes steps without dribbling. One person joked, "Yeah I saw that little hop, too. But who can call that on the wedding singer!?"
Former NBA star Baron Davis, who played a gym coach in Sandler's 2012 comedy "That's My Boy," tweeted admiringly of the comic's skills, "Adam Sandler is a baller. You want to be on his team in pickup. He throws dimes!!!," jargon for passing the ball to another player who scores.
Sandler, who is filming his latest Netflix movie at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, played with some teens in a pickup game in Port Washington last month. He previously played with locals in Morley Park in June 2017, with then 32-year-old Raja Singh of Hicksville, describing Sandler to Newsday as a "well-rounded" player with a "high basketball IQ." And in In June 2019, Sandler stopped by Hofstra University's gym in Hempstead to shoot hoops with comedian Rob Schneider and some students before his show that night at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater.
Last month, Sandler was the focus of viral TikTok video showing him gamely leaving a Manhasset IHOP after a host, who did not recognize the comedy star under a pandemic mask, told him there would be a long wait for a table.