Year released: 1998
Director: Spike Lee
Since its release, Spike Lee's classic film, He Got Game has stood out as one of Lee's strongest joints. Telling the story of Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen) and his strict father, Jake (Denzel Washington), the film follows Jesus—the No. 1 high school prospect in the nation—as he tries to decide where to play big-time basketball without anyone reliable to guide him through the process. He Got Game isn't afraid to tread into the shadier territories of recruiting, father-son relationships, and the importance of athletics in America as we see Jesus constantly at odds with those trying to influence him one way or another.
Is it a tad long? Sure. But like any of Lee's films, it loves to focus and harp on the themes of the film in a way that will allow everyone to connect with the larger stakes at work. He Got Game isn't just about basketball, it's about life.