In the realm of basketball movies and that sport’s players aiming for mainstream appeal via the silver screen, Uncle Drew is leaps and bounds above what’s to be expected.

With the likes of hoops comedies Juwanna Mann and The Sixth Man preceding it, former Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving’s feature film debut didn’t have to jump very high to beat them. However, give Irving and the creative team behind Uncle Drew — director Charles Stone III (Drumline), along with actor-comedian Lil Rel Howery — for taking a threadbare concept and turning it into something that’s generally entertaining sometimes but overall unfulfilling.

The film takes every sports cliché from every practice and every pre-and-postgame news conference and rolls them into a bit of silliness as former NBA hoopsters (excepting Irving) — Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson and Chris Webber — get to don layers of makeup and renew their hoops dreams.

They, led by Irving’s Uncle Drew, portray members of one of the great, legendary street basketball teams to ever grace the court at Rucker Park in Harlem. But on the eve of their chance to cement their legend with a championship, they mysteriously didn’t show up.

Fast forward 50 years. Dax (Howery) is a struggling shoe salesman at Foot Locker. He is also attempting to live vicariously through a street team he’s assembled to enter Rucker Park’s annual tournament. Only problem: the team and its star ditch him for a better opportunity.

That sends Dax in search of a replacement team. Although he hears the legend of Uncle Drew, the alleged best baller to grace Rucker Park and New York City, he doesn’t believe it until seeing the now septuagenarian best a 20-something showboat in a game.

The legend proves true and Drew agrees to play on Dax’s team with Drew’s players and under the agreement that it’s his team.

That sends him and Dax on a mandatory road trip to recruit Preacher (Webber), Boots (Robinson), Lights (Miller) and Big Fella (O’Neal), and in the course of getting the band back together, they come to terms with past transgressions.

Everyone knows there had to be past transgressions, right?

For the record, their assorted atonements come rife with clichés as they work their way back to basketball perfection.

Yes, it’s patently ridiculous. Were it not for a few enjoyable moments, Uncle Drew would have been better served heading directly to a streaming service or disc.

However, Howery, with rubbery facial expressions and impressive comedic timing, shows why he’s earned his following. As for the players? They’re not required to do anything as difficult as guarding LeBron James, so they do little to harm the movie.

Ultimately, Uncle Drew doesn’t ask much of its audience other than to enjoy.

George M. Thomas dabbles in movies and television for the Beacon Journal. Reach him at gthomas@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook @GeorgeThomasABJ.