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Michael Jordan refused to let Idris Elba play him in a biopic

Idris Elba really wanted to play Michael Jordan in a biopic about the sports star's life, but the NBA legend shot down the proposal.

Michael Jordan in The Last Dance

We’re sure there’s a long line of actors who would love to play legendary sports star Michael Jordan in a movie about his life, but the NBA icon wasn’t playing ball when Idris Elba approached him about taking on the project. There have been plenty of documentaries about Jordan and his illustrious career, but no one has managed to get a biopic off the ground yet.


The Netflix series The Last Dance is perhaps the closest we have got to the ins and outs of Jordan’s legacy, with the streaming service getting the man himself to open up across a ten episode miniseries. Apparently, Jordan just doesn’t want to be the subject of a biopic right now, no matter who is involved.

That’s a shame for Idris Elba in particular, who told the Complex Sneaker Shopping podcast that he had once approached the NBA legend and proposed the idea of a biopic about his rise to fame, with a particular focus on his business development. Jordan wasn’t keen on the idea though, and quickly shut the actor down.

“I even said to him one time, ‘I want to play you,'” Elba recalled. “He was like, ‘Hmm, I’m not ready yet.’ That’s what he said, ‘I’m not ready yet.’ I was dead serious.”

“In my head, playing Jordan wouldn’t be about playing the basketball player; it was about the businessman,” Elba added. “He is a very astute businessman, really smart. And his work as a philanthropist is, like, unspoken, but people don’t understand the work. He cares; he does a lot of work.”

“So that’s where I was hinting at. I wanna play Jordan – I’m doing that. He was like, ‘Ah, I’m not ready for that story yet,'” Elba concluded.

Maybe one day, Jordan will give the idea the greenlight. We would love to see Elba take on the role and he clearly feels passionate about it.