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He Got Game (1998)

R  |   |  Drama, Sport  |  1 May 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 34,332 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 109 user | 45 critic | 20 from

A basketball player's father must try to convince him to go to a college so he can get a shorter sentence.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Allen ...
Dakota Burns
Lala Bonilla
Coleman 'Booger' Sykes
Warden Wyatt
Uncle Bubba
Michele Shay ...
Aunt Sally
Thomas Jefferson Byrd ...
Big Time Willie
Coach Billy Sunday
Martha Shuttlesworth


Tells the story of Jesus Shuttlesworth, the most sought after high school basketball prospect in the nation. Jesus and his dream to make it to the big ranks in professional basketball are overshadowed by his father, Jake, who is spending his life in prison for killing Jesus' mother. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The father, the son and the holy game. See more »


Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, strong sexuality, some drug content and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 May 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tudo em Jogo  »

Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,610,663 (USA) (1 May 1998)


£42,999 (UK) (4 September 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


For the scene where Jesus and Jake play for the letter of intent, the original script called for Jesus to win 15-0. However, Spike Lee encouraged the actors to play for real. When the contest between Ray Allen and Denzel Washington began, Denzel scored 4 straight points as the crew whooped and applauded from the sidelines. Allen was furious and proceeded to score 10 points in a row, at which point Spike Lee declared Allen had won and the scene (and game) was finished. See more »


At first while D'Andre is touching Lala's neck, he's not wearing any ring - next scene he's wearing a silver ring on his ring finger. See more »


Jake Shuttlesworth: What are you studying?
Mary Shuttlesworth: Cells
Jake Shuttlesworth: Yeah, me too.
See more »


Referenced in The Tracey Fragments (2007) See more »


Grandfather's Story
from The Red Pony (1949)
Performed by The Philharmonia Orchestra
Aaron Copland, Conductor
Written by Aaron Copland
The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., Copyright Owner
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., Solo Publisher
Courtesy of Sony Classical
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Fantastic performance by Washington in film that doesn't quite support him
22 October 1998 | by (Providence, RI) – See all my reviews

I had to remind myself several times Denzel Washington was an actor and that he was playing a character named Jake Shuttlesworth--his performance is that good. I'd give him the Academy Award for Best Actor. I'm serious--he's amazing. In terms of the film, it isn't quite good enough to support his performance. (We are expected to believe there's no one looking out for Jesus [everyone in the film has an ulterior motive], and Jesus himself is too much of a saint.) Definitely worth watching, though--any Spike Lee film usually is. But I'm annoyed at Lee: he's too good a director to insert the MTV-style shots in this film. Unlike so many who have tried to cover basketball before, however, Lee knows the game. This gives (the all-white) Hoosiers a run for its money as the best basketball film… of course, there isn't much competition.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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