Kobe Bryant Declined To Play Jesus Shuttlesworth In “He Got Game”
Kobe Bryant is known by a lot of names.
Kobe. The Black Mamba. Vino. That guy who’s going to take the last shot for the Los Angeles Lakers.
But what if we had to add Jesus Shuttlesworth to that list? According to Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, it almost happened during the summer of 1997, but Kobe turned the role down because a playoff loss to the Utah Jazz was still fresh in his mind:
That summer Spike Lee begins filming He Got Game, a movie with Denzel Washington about a basketball prodigy named Jesus Shuttlesworth. “I want you to be part of it,” Lee tells Bryant. “Thank you but no thank you,” Bryant says. “This summer is too big for me.” Ray Allen lands the role as Shuttlesworth.
The history of the NBA almost went in an entirely different direction.
Had Kobe accepted the role, maybe Ray Allen wouldn’t have gone on to make more three-pointers than anyone else in NBA history. He wouldn’t have had that divine touch, and he certainly wouldn’t have been considering wearing “Shuttlesworth” on the back of his jersey in 2013.
Image via WENN/Splash