Reel stories

Sports Film of the Week: He Got Game

Denzel Washington? Yes. Ray Allen? Yes. A character called Jesus Shuttlesworth? Definitely.

Released: May 1998

Director: Spike Lee

Plot: Jesus Shuttlesworth (played by Ray Allen – then of the Milwaukee Bucks) is the number one high-school basketball prospect in America and being chased by every major college program in the country.

His father Jake (Denzel Washington) is serving a prison sentence for accidentally killing his wife and Jesus’ mother during a family feud years before.

But, he’s temporarily paroled by the governor (a former student of Big State University), with strict instructions to try and persuade Jesus to choose Big State as his third-level destination. In return, Jake will secure an early release.

However, it’s not as easy as it seems as the strained relationship between father and son threatens to derail the plan. Jake believes his tough love and dedication in helping Jesus develop his basketball skills as a child pushed him to greatness. But Jesus can’t forgive or forget that both he and his younger sister were forced to grow up without any parents as a result of his father’s temper.

A sports-drama that also taps into the trappings that young prodigies are faced with, it’s a terrific film and well worth a peak.


Jesus Shuttlesworth: Basketball is like poetry in motion, cross the guy to the left, take him back to the right, he’s fallin’ back, then just J right in his face. Then you look at him and say, “What?”

youngguru2000 / YouTube

Watch the trailer below…

TouchstoneOnDemand / YouTube

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