I don’t know if you’re a basketball fan, but this Friday the Miami Heat and the Brooklyn Nets are going to be wearing some special jerseys with their nicknames on the back. Of course, Lebron James’ jersey is going to embroidered with “King James,” but the jersey that really caught my eye was that of Ray Allen, whose jersey will read “Jesus Shuttleworth.”
Yep, that’s right. Allen’s jersey is going to have the name of the fictional character he played in the 1998 Spike Lee movie He Got Game. He Got Game was a great movie about a high school basketball phenom whose father (played by Denzel Washington) was temporary released from prison to convince his son to play basketball for the warden’s alma mater.
Not only was He Got Game one of the best basketball movies ever made, but it had a soundtrack done by none other than Public Enemy, which happened to be their last release for Def Jam records. The highlight of the soundtrack was a track of the same name of the movie featuring not only a sample from Buffalo Springfield’s political anthem “What It’s Worth,” but actually featured Stephen Stills himself. The song serves as a meeting ground between the turmoil-filled 60s and the equally turbulent projects where kids played basketball in hopes of escaping their neighborhoods.
With the smooth voice of Chuck D and Flava Flav being Flava Flav, “He Got Game” brilliantly brings that simple Buffalo Springfield guitar riff into the modern era as it plucked over a hip-hop flavored beat, but worlds really collide as Flav, Stills, and a gospel choir ride the song off into the sunset.
If you haven’t seen He Got Game, make sure you find it at your closest rental store (even if you aren’t a basketball head), and check out the Heat and Nets playing this Friday.