This article discusses the ending of the Netflix film Hustle (2022), which will contain spoilers.
Ready Steady Cut film critic, M.N. Miller, calls Hustle “A genuine crowd-pleaser.”
The setup of Hustle surrounds longtime scout Stanley Sugerman (Adam Sandler), a former star guard at Temple University who injured his hand during one drunken night and never played again. He is a grinder, and he hasn’t seen his daughter on her birthday in nine years. He has the respect of the Philadelphia 76ers owner Rex (Robert Duvall) and his daughter Kat (SNL’s Heidi Gardener), but not his son, Vin (Ben Foster). They often butt heads at scout meetings. When Sugerman backs off arguing about drafting a star German basketball player, the over pulls him aside to tell him never to do that again. Oh, and here is your new office. He has been promoted to assistant coach.
Stan shares the good news with his wife Teresa (Queen Latifa) and daughter (Jordan Hull). But when dropping his next of kin off the following day, Stan hears the news that the man he looked up to as a father figure has died. Vin takes him off the bench and puts him back on the road because he is far too valuable in scouting. However, Vin will put him back on the court if Stan can find that one prospect to put them over the top and make them a winner. That’s where Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez) comes in. A twenty-two-year-old former hoops player gave it up to raise his daughter. He also has an assault charge stemming from protecting her.
After Bo is rejected at a scouting event by Vin and the team of yes men he surrounded himself with, Stan quits and takes him to train him for the combine in six weeks. We learn a lot about Bo and Stanley during that time. Bo has tattoos across his sleeve and chest, but not on his left arm. He attributes that to his father, who was never in his life. Hence, he doesn’t deserve any ink remembrance across his skin. We learn he is also sensitive and is not impervious to trash talk. We think Bo has a handle on his emotions. However, it’s too much to bear when the number one draft talks trash about his daughter and blows her a kiss.
The combine is a disaster for Bo. Stan puts him back on a plane when he receives a call from his old star college teammate (played by Kenny Smith). He has pulled a few strings, and Bo has a spot for a pick-up game for scout and management only, no media. Our guy Bo finally graduates to the top prospect. He scores points, plays good defense, and most importantly, he handles himself professionally, never finding himself outside the moment. The scene ends with Kat taking over the franchising and alluding to Stan returning to the organization.
Netflix film Hustle (2022) ending explained
The film ends with an excellent tracking shot of Stan coming out of his office and walking the halls with the real-life 76ers head coach Doc Rivers. They enter the court, and the warmups have started. There is a live game. His wife is there, looking proudly down at him from the stands. Stan hears his name called by a player on the opposing team, the Boston Celtics. It is Bo, who the Celtics must have drafted. He is wearing Stan’s old number, twenty-two. He also hugs him. Bo’s old mentor tries to talk so trash to him, but Bo laughs because he no longer falls for it.
We now see a tattoo on Bo’s forearm, previously having none because of his father’s emptiness in his life. A tree with roots says, “Never Back Down.” That is something Rex taught Stan. This is something Stan taught Bo. Stan is the father figure Bo never had, filling a small part of his life that his mother, daughter, and basketball could not fill.
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