Fitzgerald Cecilio

Ray Allen plans to pursue acting and chase an Oscar after he retires from the NBA.

The 37-year-old guard gained acclaim for his role as basketball player Jesus Shuttlesworth alongside Denzel Washington in Spike Lee's "He Got Game.''

When Allen ran into Leonardo DiCaprio a few years ago in Las Vegas, the latter told him he liked "He Got Game" and suggested he pursue acting when he retires. Film critic Roger Ebert wrote that Allen "is that rarity, an athlete who can act.''

The movie garnered followers among Allen's peers, with Miami guard Mario Chalmers calling it "one of my favorite movies.''

Allen filmed the movie following his rookie year of 1996-97 and it came out in 1998. Since then, though, his only acting credit has been a lesser role in the 2001 flop "Harvard Man'' in which he also was cast as a basketball player.

While he describes acting as something that can keep him focused on a daily basis, Allen just doesn't have time for it right now.

His appearance in "He Got Game" consumed his entire summer and was made possible only the failure of his then-team, the Miwaukee Bucks, to make the plaayoffs.

"Now, I've been playing in the playoffs. Mostly, you go into June and that time is so limited," he quipped.

Allen eventually would like to move on from acting roles related to being an athlete.

"I wouldn't want to be typecast as just being an athlete. You have to expand yourself and get out of your comfort zone,'' Allen said.

For "He Got Game,'' Allen was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Male Performance.

Asked whether he ever could win an Oscar, Allen replied: "You never know. Crazier things have happened.''








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