LeBron James Reveals The Fictional Basketball Player He Idolized As A Child

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The game of basketball lends itself to being the subject of a number of classic movies. While sports like boxing and baseball may be at the center of the sports movies that are considered the best in the genre, there are plenty of beloved works of film that involve the hardwood.

One such film is Spike Lee’s 1998 classic He Got Game, starring Denzel Washington and Ray Allen. The latter played Jesus Shuttlesworth, the top high school basketball prospect in the nation. In a bit of a surprise, it turned out Allen is actually a pretty good actor — he hasn’t done much acting since He Got Game, but in the role for which he’d always be known, anyway, Allen killed it.

He Got Game has been a favorite of fans at the intersection of basketball and movies ever since it was released. It turns out one of those folks was LeBron James, who met with the media on Thursday and said that he idolized the character Allen played in the film.

“Everybody wanted to be Jesus Shuttlesworth growing up,” James said. “For me, personally, I did.”

The irony in all of this is twofold. For one, James, like Allen, is an athlete who has done a good job when he’s appeared on the big screen over the course of his career. Far more fun, though, is the fact that James got the chance to suit up with Jesus Shuttlesworth when Allen suited up for the Miami Heat at the end of his career. Like any good movie, Allen’s tenure in Miami featured a fair amount of drama and a high point that no one will ever forget.