As Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving rehabs from a knee injury, it’s a safe bet that he’s eating his Wheaties. And honing his acting chops.
General Mills, the company that puts out the iconic cereal known as the “Breakfast of Champions,” announced Thursday that Irving will grace the cereal box later this month with a little Hollywood flare.
The 26-year-old floor general may be too hobbled to suit up for the playoffs, but he’s about to make a star turn on the big screen.
“Wheaties announced today that basketball superstar Kyrie Irving will be the next champion to appear on a Wheaties box, appearing both as an athlete and title character of the upcoming film, ‘Uncle Drew,’ from global content leader Lionsgate,” General Mills said in a statement.
Haven’t seen the previews? No sweat — General Mills filled in the blanks in their release.
“Uncle Drew, which will be released on Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label on June 29, is based on the fan-favorite digital episodic series, originally conceived by Pepsi, starring Irving as the iconic 75 year-old streetball legend known for his amazing handles and ability to go to the rim,” the statement said.
In the movie, a character named Dax drains his life savings to enter the Rucker Classic street ball tournament in Harlem but loses his squad to a rival. So Dax turns to Drew, played by Irving, and “convinces him to return to the court one more time. The two men embark on a road trip to round up Drew’s old basketball squad (Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, and Lisa Leslie) and prove that a group of seniors can still win the big one,” the release said.
Paula Kupfer, Lionsgate senior vice president of global partnerships and promotions, was bullish on the cross marketing blitz with General Mills.
“It’s truly incredible to have Uncle Drew featured on the legendary Wheaties Box,” Kupfer said in the statement released by the cereal giant. “We’re thrilled to be a part of a campaign that celebrates Kyrie Irving as an amazing athlete and Uncle Drew as a beloved big screen character.”
Her words were echoed by Kathy Dixon, marketing communications manager for Wheaties.
“For the first time in decades Wheaties will feature two great athletes on its box at the same time,” Dixon said in the statement. “Kyrie is a proven winner based on all of his accomplishments on and off the court, and the story of Uncle Drew reminds us that no matter your age, you can still have fun and be successful at the things you love to do.”
Irving helped lead the Celtics to a 55-27 regular-season record but as the playoffs approached, he was dealt a blow not even Uncle Drew could fix.
In early April, the Globe reported that Irving had developed an infection in his troublesome left knee, forcing him to undergo surgery to remove screws that were implanted during a 2015 procedure to repair a broken kneecap.
The surgery will sideline Irving for 4-5 months. The Celtics, meanwhile, were slated to play Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.Adam Himmelsbach of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.