May 21, 2015 5:57 AM EDT


Marv Albert is making LeBron James cry–from laughter. On the set of the Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck (July 17), the veteran sportscaster flubs a line and James is in stitches, which inspires an idea. In this scene James, who plays himself, has summoned Albert, Chris Evert and Matthew Broderick to an intervention for a sports doctor played by SNL alum Bill Hader. Director Judd Apatow has been asking James to show more sadness, so the baller uses the tears to his advantage. “Film me now,” he says, a play call that impresses the set. “Just working on my Oscars,” he says after the take.

This isn’t your average jock cameo. “We keep saying this is the Bruno Kirby part from When Harry Met Sally,” says Apatow, referring to the actor who played Harry’s head-screwed-on-straight best friend. So James had to hold his own with the pros, and he does. Could James carry a film like he’s carried the Cavs? In 1996, Michael Jordan led the Looney Tunes to victory in Space Jam. “Maybe this is the start of it,” says James, smiling. “We’ll see. We’ll see.”


This appears in the June 01, 2015 issue of TIME.

Write to Sean Gregory at

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