Nineteen years ago today, “He Got Game” debuted, and the world met Jake and Jesus Shuttlesworth.
The film, stars Ray Allen and Denzel Washington and keyed in on the life of Jesus Shuttlesworth, the basketball star of Brooklyn’s Lincoln High School. Jesus is the most sought after high school basketball prospect in the nation.
Denzel Washington plays the role of Jake Shuttlesworth, Jesus’ father. Jesus’ story is overshadowed by his father who is doing a long bid in jail after accidentally killing Jesus’ mother.
Although in prison, Jake Shuttlesworth tries to earn himself an early release by talking his estranged son into playing basketball at the governor of New York’s alma mater, Big State University.
Simply put, Lee’s film gave the world a glimpse into the life of a blue chip athlete.
Actor, Hill Harper not only played the role of cousin to Ray Allen in the “He Got Game” film, but he also played the role of his teammate on that Rail Splitters team. At the time of the film, Allen was in the early years of his career as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, but way back then, Harper knew that Allen had something special.
So what stood out?
“His work ethic,” Harper told me on Scoop B Radio.
Check Out Hill Harper Chat With Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson on Scoop B Radio
“He had a work ethic. He was shooting and playing every day. He wanted to do well as far as the acting was concerned, wanted to do well as far as the basketball was concerned.”
Ray Allen went on to retire as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. He also won two championships with the Miami Heat during the big three era of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on South Beach. Harper is not surprised by Allen’s success, in fact he saw it coming even on set.
“People that I know who are successful and have longevity, they have work ethics and it comes down to that and he obviously had that. When he was acting, he wanted to be the best that he could be. When he was playing ball, he wanted to be the very best that he could be.”
With a budget of 25 million, “He Got Game,” made 22.4 million in the box office.
Check Out The Trailer