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
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.
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."