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First look: NBA's proposed 'nickname jerseys' become a reality

Ray Allen – who played Jesus Shuttlesworth in the 1998 film He Got Game – will don the character-inspired nickname on the back of his jersey this season. (Spike Lee's Instagram)Ray Allen – who played Jesus Shuttlesworth in the 1998 film He Got Game – will don the character-inspired nickname on the back of his jersey this season. (Spike Lee's Instagram)

Some three months ago, the Associated Press reported that the NBA was considering a wave of uniform alternates of a different sort: those in standard team colors but bearing player nicknames across the back. We now have our first alleged glimpse of what one of the new nickname jerseys would look like, courtesy of full-time Knicks fan and part-time filmmaker Spike Lee.

How does Lee fit into all this? In the middle of his filmography, Lee wrote and directed Heat guard Ray Allen in He Got Game, a film navigating the relationship between blue-chip hoops prospect Jesus Shuttlesworth and his felonious, estranged father played by Denzel Washington. Allen co-starred as Shuttlesworth -- a name that has stuck with him in the 15 years since the film's release.

Lee posted the above picture to his Instagram account on Wednesday, along with the following message:

For A Few Select Games My Main Man Ray Allen Will Wear JESUS SHUTTLES WORTH On THe Back OF His Jersey. The Legend Of HE GOT GAME Continues To Grow.Da Greatest Joint About BALL Ever Made.YA-DIG? SHO-NUFF

Whatever you say, Spike.

Per the Associated Press' original report, Miami and Brooklyn had been eyed for the nickname jersey treatment all along, and the teams have three matchups left this season. The Heat will next face the Nets on Jan. 10, followed by games on Mar. 12 and Apr. 8. Allen was asked specifically about the possibility at the time of the original report and confirmed his intent to wear "SHUTTLESWORTH" across the back of his jersey:

"[The jersey promotion] shows growth in our league and it shows we do adapt to what's going on around us,'' said Allen, the Heat guard who plans to wear Shuttlesworth on his jersey, a nod to his character from the "He Got Game'' film. "And we're still kids, playing a kids' game. Even though we're now men playing a kids' game, we still remember where we come from. Everybody had a nickname and it's a way to let the fans in a little bit more.''
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