Commentary

Allen proving he still has game

Updated: February 9, 2009, 11:12 AM ET
By Jessica Camerato | ESPNRISE.com

Ray Allen
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesRay Allen was a movie star and Big East Player of the Year before winning an NBA title last season.

Back when he was in high school, Ray Allen never dared to dream. He didn't dream of winning an NBA championship. He didn't dream of becoming one of the best shooters in NBA history. And he certainly didn't dream of starring in an iconic basketball movie. But well before playing New York City phenom Jesus Shuttlesworth in Spike Lee's "He Got Game," Allen was a high school star in his own right. After averaging 28.5 points per game as a senior at Hillcrest (Dalzell, S.C.) in 1992-93, Allen was named 1996 Big East Player of the Year while at UConn before becoming the No. 5 pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. Now an NBA champ and an eight-time All-Star, Allen still takes a practical approach to basketball and life. It's a big reason why the Boston Celtics guard still has game after all these years.

ESPN RISE: At what point did you realize you could make it to the NBA?

Allen: I never really thought about it or even worried about it in high school because it just seemed very unlikely in that part of the world. It was so unheard of for people to believe that they could get out of there and be successful. So my first step was just getting to college.

ESPN RISE: If someone had told you in high school that one day you'd star in a movie with Denzel Washington, what would you have thought?

Allen: It's a great dream, but it's very far-fetched. I was the type that never really talked about things or wanted to even express what my dreams or goals were because it was one of those things like, "Just do it -- just do it."You try to find the best way that you know to put those events into motion. I have a strong will at trying to get things done that I want done. And if you don't accomplish them, at least you have fun trying.

ESPN RISE: How similar was your high school experience to Jesus Shuttlesworth's in "He Got Game?"

Allen: Probably on a scale of 1-10, Shuttlesworth's was a 10 and mine was probably a two or three. It wasn't that intense. I didn't really have to deal with agents at the time.

HS FAVORITES

HILLCREST (DALZELL, S.C.), CLASS OF 1993
Sneaker: Jordan V
Dream Car: Ferrari
Song: "Scenario" by A Tribe Called Quest
TV Show: "The Cosby Show"
Movie: "Top Gun"
Actor: Denzel Washington


ESPN RISE: Who would win a game of one-on-one -- Ray Allen from high school or Jesus Shuttlesworth?

Allen: [Shuttlesworth] would because he was just a basketball player -- like just go out and play. I think in comparison to him, my game is more of a conservative style of basketball where you do what you can to help the team win. He was a New York City basketball player that had a little flash to his game. At some point in his career it was going to get to the point where he had to make a decision: Are you going to be you or are you going to be a winner? And I think that's just the evolution in all of us.

ESPN RISE: Are you surprised how popular "He Got Game" still is?

Allen: Not really. It's a Spike Lee movie, so most of his movies have a cult following. I remember growing up that when his movies came out, everybody was lined up at the movie theaters to go see them. And the young guys that come into the locker room now feel that way about "He Got Game."