Love & Basketball has become a cult classic in the repertoire of Black films to which we know all the lines, including the hum of the soundtrack. So it’s a bit shocking that star Sanaa Lathan said she had a tough time while filming the 2000 movie.

It centers on Lathan’s Monica Wright who falls in love with her next door neighbor, Quincy McCall (Omar Epps), as the two pursue their individual dreams of becoming basketball stars.

Lathan told CBS Los Angeles earlier this week that although screenwriter Gina Prince-Bythewood, who made her directorial debut with this film, is “one of my great friends now,” she questioned whether Prince-Bythewood actually wanted her to star in the film initially.

“I was miserable,” she said of her life while filming the 2000 rom-com. “I can laugh about it now.”

“I think Gina finally got to the point where she had to hire somebody. It’s almost like she hired me because she couldn’t find somebody else,” Lathan explained. “So there wasn’t a lot of joy, and there wasn’t a lot of trust in me.”

Love and Basketball
Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan in “Love & Basketball”

Still, Lathan said that at the time she understood since Prince-Bythewood “put her heart and soul into that script. There’s a lot of her in it.”

“It was her baby,” she continued. “It was a big deal for her, and here I am and nobody knows me really.”

Lathan went onto win an NAACP Image Award and a BET Award for her role in Love & Basketball.

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