Former Loyola Marymount University basketball star Bo Kimble just wrapped his first film role--in "Heaven Is a Playground"--and feels "very confident" about acting as a second career. "As long as it doesn't interfere with basketball," adds Kimble, who was a first-round draft choice of the Clippers and is scheduled to report to training camp in October.
Kimble's contract called "for eight hours sleep every day and four hours of basketball in a first-class gym" during filming on location in Chicago. The 6-4 guard worked with former USC assistant coach and longtime mentor David Spencer.
In "Heaven," a drama about the world of inner-city pickup basketball, Kimble portrays a local superstar who considers giving up his chance at college ball until he's challenged by an older player (played by Victor Love). Michael Warren is the team's coach; D.B. Sweeney plays a young white lawyer trying to cut it on the all-black courts.
"I grew up playing playground ball (in Philadelphia)," Kimble says, "and the way it was portrayed in the film was very realistic."
Writer-director Randy Fried picked Kimble for the part after seeing how he handled a range of emotions--and media pressure--when Kimble's Loyola teammate and best friend Hank Gathers died during a game March 4.
What Fried didn't know was that acting was Kimble's second love--he performed in church plays as a child and took acting classes at Loyola, where he earned a degree in broadcasting.
Asked to assess "Heaven," Kimble already sounds like a Hollywood pro.
"The dailies," he says, "looked terrific."