Danny Ainge Wanted Role of Jimmy Chitwood in ‘Hoosiers,’ Warned Actor He Would Take His Spot


Danny Ainge, Jimmy ChitwoodHoosiers has been known to ruin many a weekend afternoon. No matter what chores or errands are on the to-do list, when the 1986 classic comes on TV, it must be watched to completion. It’s in the Man Rules.

Next time Hoosiers is on, drop that basket of laundry, forget to pick up the kids from soccer practice and watch it again, only imagine Danny Ainge in the role of Jimmy Chitwood.

In an outstanding find by WEEI’s Ben Rohrbach, the actor who played Chitwood claims that Ainge challenged him for the role. Maris Valainis, who portrayed Chitwood, appeared on the Beats & Eats podcast and offered a surprising anecdote. During filming, Valainis and the rest of the cast attended a preseason game between the Celtics and Pacers.

While running off the court, Ainge pointed at Valainis and said, “I’m going to take your spot in the movie,” according to Valainis.

Ainge replacing Valainis obviously would have been impossible at that point. Casting was complete, and Ainge, an NBA player, might have had trouble recreating the 1950s-era playing style from the movie. It is hilarious, though, to know that Ainge’s infamous competitiveness apparently extended not just off the court, but onto fictional players in movies that had not even been made yet.

Photos via Facebook/Jimmy Chitwood and  Facebook/Danny Ainge

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