Kevin Durant’s ‘Like Mike’ Knockoff Wasn’t Nearly as Popular

By all accounts, Kevin Durant has had a successful career. As a basketball player, he’s won championships and an NBA Most Valuable Player Award. He’s also the producer of ESPN’s The Boardroom, a show that takes an insightful look at sports. But for someone who’s been a high achiever throughout most of his life, Durant has one area in which he failed to make a mark. 

Did you know Durant had a short stint as a movie actor? It came nearly a decade ago in a film you’ve likely either long forgotten or never knew existed. Here’s the story of Kevin Durant’s Like Mike knockoff that didn’t achieve nearly the same success. 

Kevin Durant looking on during a Thunder game
Kevin Durant back when he played for the Thunder | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Career overview

Kevin Durant currently plays for the Brooklyn Nets, though he has yet to suit up for the team due to an injury suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals. Prior to that, Durant played for the Golden State Warriors. He helped lead the Warriors to two NBA titles as well as a third NBA Finals appearance they lost. 

That isn’t where his NBA journey started, however. Durant played one season collegiately for the University of Texas. Because of his otherworldly potential, he entered the NBA Draft early.

In 2007, the Seattle Sonics made him the number two overall selection behind only Greg Oden from Ohio State. Injuries derailed Oden’s career, and Durant has become easily the best player from that draft. Soon after drafting Durant, the franchise relocated from Seattle to Oklahoma City, where they became the Thunder.

Durant spent nearly the first decade of his career in Oklahoma City, cultivating a great relationship with the city and organization. He even starred in a film that tied back to his affiliation with the team. 

Kevin Durant’s ‘Like Mike’ knockoff that underperformed at the box office

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In 2012, Durant starred in the film Thunderstruck. The IMDb description of the film reads as follows: 

“When Brian, a hopelessly uncoordinated young fan magically switches talents with his hero, basketball star Kevin Durant, he becomes the star of his high school team, while Kevin Durant suddenly can’t make a shot to save his life.”

It also starred Jim Belushi and Brandon T. Jackson. The film resembled the plot of Like Mike, a film about a child who inherits Michael Jordan’s basketball ability after wearing a pair of magic sneakers.

The “talent moving between bodies” element also harkened back to another Jordan-era film: Space Jam. Producers clearly hopped to tap into Durant’s star power.

The film did not come close to the box office success of either of those aforementioned films, however. It was only released in the U.S. and grossed $587,211. That’s a flop of epic proportions, no matter how you choose to look at it. 

How ‘Thunderstruck’ soured Kevin Durant on acting altogether

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The film’s performance obviously didn’t have much of an impact on Durant’s basketball career. At the time he was one of the NBA’s fastest rising young stars.

Now? He’s one of the game’s top players. It’s anyone’s guess how effective he’ll be when he returns from injury next season, but the last several years have solidified Durant as an all-time great.

What the film did do is sour Durant on the idea of a return to acting. TMZ caught up with Durant to ask him about his possible second act as a thespian. He shut them down quickly, saying that he was done acting. He also admitted Shaquille O’Neal’s film Kazaam was a better film. 

Judging by Thunderstruck’s box office performance — and Durant’s performance on the court — it’s no wonder why he’d want to stick to basketball.