People: Aug. 25, 1997

DENZEL DOWN LOW

Even the N.B.A.'s off season can't sideline basketball's mouthiest trash talker. Spike Lee is calling the shots on the set of He Got Game. DENZEL WASHINGTON had to adapt his style to Spike's X's and 0's. Denzel's screen personas usually range from the inhumanly brave to the downright angelic, but in Game he plays the ultimate deadbeat dad. His character, Jake Shuttlesworth, is doing time for killing his wife. Freedom beckons, in the form of a Governor's pardon, if he can persuade his estranged son Jesus, a high school basketball star played by Milwaukee Bucks guard Ray Allen,...

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