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‘I Was Dead Serious’: Idris Elba Expressed His Desire to Portray NBA Great Michael Jordan 

Idris Elba may still have his sights set on playing one of the greatest basketball players.

“The Harder They Fall” actor recently revealed that while his desire to play Michael Jordan has not come to fruition, the seed was planted more than a decade ago. Speaking with Complex, Elba said that he met the former Chicago Bulls star “once or twice” during the early 2000s. At that time Elba had already found stardom on the hit show “The Wire.”

Idris Elba (L) and Michael Jordan (R). (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage, Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Reflecting on the Jordan brand events he once frequented, Elba shared, “I even said to him [Michael Jordan] one time, ‘I want to play you.’” But his enthusiasm was met with Jordan’s not too interested “Hmm, I’m not ready yet.”

“I was dead serious,” Elba added. Unlike others who would probably love to portray the NBA great, Elba said he his focus would be Jordan’s endeavors off the court. 

“In my head playing Jordan wouldn’t be about playing the basketball player, it was about the businessman,” he explained. “He [Jordan] 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 getting at, I wanna play Jordan, I’m doing that. But he was like, ‘Ahhh I’m not ready for that story yet.’”

Jordan, 59, has been criticized throughout the years not using his platform to advocate for the Black community. In 2014, ESPN senior writer Scoop Jackson offered a rebuttal to those claims, instead highlighting how Jordan has employed scores of Black people, even naming some as president of his billion-dollar Jordan brand.

“Michael’s willingness to hire, support and promote minority leaders throughout his business ventures has been remarkable,” Larry Miller, then president of the Jordan Brand, told Jackson. “He has always been focused on creating successful and sustainable businesses and has empowered minority leaders, including myself, with the opportunity to grow and advance those businesses.”

Without a shadow of a doubt, the six-time NBA championship winner will have a movie made about his life, career, and the work he did after his final retirement in 2003 — but whether Elba will be cast is impossible to say. 

In the meantime, the British actor has not missed a beat when it comes to landing roles. Elba has been a fan favorite as the next James Bond. The British actor however, has said that his time to take on the secret agent role has passed. “I am 50 this year. Let’s say you sign up for three films – nobody wants to see Bond giving chase or beating up guys when he is 60,” Elba told “The Sun.” “I am probably too old to take on the role now,” he continued while suggesting that he may be a better fit as a 007 villain. 

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