In the summer of 1997 Spike Lee made a coming of age basketball film. The film would center around the relationship between a son and his estranged father. “He Got Game” was the outcome. NBA newcomer Ray Allen played the son, the now iconic Jesus Shuttlesworth. Kobe Bryant was initially offered the role, but turned it down to spend the summer improving his game. Hollywood mega star Denzel Washington played the father, the intended heart and soul of the film. The reception was lukewarm. It received ho hum reviews from critics and failed to make back its 25 million budget at the box office generating only 22.4 million.
The story told was not a poor one, but perhaps a bit busy. Character motivations tug and pull in a variety of directions. While the end product is entertaining, it lacks the fiber necessary to hold itself together on the whole. This has not stopped “He Got Game” from developing something of a cult following. Now both Lee and Allen have their sights set on a sequel.
Zion Williamson is the youngster pegged as the spiritual successor to Allen’s Jesus Shuttlesworth. Williamson has expressed direct interest in being involved with a “He Got Game 2”. Casting the young star should not pose a problem to the production, and Allen’s ready involvement suggests strongly that he will have a large role in the film. The only hold out so far is Washington. Washington has shown no interest in participating in a sequel and in all likelihood will not be cast.
No plot points to the potentially upcoming film have been revealed. Lee has suggested that fans’ desire to pick up with their favorite characters twenty years down the road will influence that process. The potential film is still up in the air with no actors officially signed on and no script approved. The thought is in the ethos and diehard Shuttlesworth fans may have cause to flock to their nearest theater sooner than they think.