Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 2/25/13
MIAMI They were handing out Oscars on Sunday night in Los Angeles while Ray Allen was busy 2,700 miles away at AmericanAirlines Arena drilling all three of his 3-point attempts against Cleveland.But one day might Allen instead be scoring at the Academy Awards?You never know, the Miami Heat guard said about whether he ever could win an Oscar. Crazier things have happened.Allen, 37, still has a few years left in the NBA. But whenever he retires he plans to become an actor.Oh, yes," Allen said when asked if wants to act. "Its just something thats going to keep me busy and something that can challenge you and keep you focused on a daily basis.Allen has Hollywood experience. He gained acclaim for playing a major role alongside Denzel Washington in Spike Lees He Got Game.Allen, who starred as basketball player Jesus Shuttlesworth, 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.Basketball has just taken precedent, Allen said in an interview with FOX Sports Florida about why he hasnt tackled any significant roles since He Got Game." I havent been able to find the time. That took my whole summer (of 1997 after his Milwaukee Bucks had failed to make the playoffs). Now, Ive been playing in the playoffs. Mostly, you go into June and that time is so limited."Not that Allen needed convincing he could go from NBA to screen star, but it sure didnt hurt when he ran into Leonardo DiCaprio a few years ago in Las Vegas.DiCaprio was said to have liked "He Got Game." He told Allen he should pursue acting when he retires.DiCaprio, hes a basketball fan, said Allen, the most prolific 3-point marksman in NBA history and a certain Hall of Famer. Hes a Lakers fan from growing up in L.A. I was hanging out with him in Vegas, and he definitely told me to keep trying and keep going. A lot of people have told me that I should keep going.For "He Got Game,'' Allen was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Male Performance. Film critic Roger Ebert wrote that Allen is that rarity, an athlete who can act.Its hard to find an NBA player who hasn't seen the movie, which featured Allen as a highly recruited high school basketball star and the son of the Washington character Jake Shuttlesworth, in prison after being convicted for the accidental killing of his wife.You ask any player and hell say that he nailed it, Heat guard James Jones said of Allens role.Miami guard Mario Chalmers called it one of my favorite movies. He said Allens teammates sometimes call him by his characters name.We do it sometimes during games when he catches a hot streak or he does something crazy, Chalmers said. Were like, Jesus. Sometimes he just looks over and smiles.Allen has been called that name plenty of times before. But while he has great memories of working on the film with Lee and Washington, he eventually would like to move on from acting roles related to being an athlete."I would like to do something outside of that realm, Allen said. I wouldnt want to be typecast as just being an athlete. You have to expand yourself and get out of your comfort zone.Allen, who did work with an acting coach for eight weeks before doing He Got Game, believes his NBA career also helps prepare him for the movies since hes used to performing under pressure and at a high level. He called it an asset knowing how to be coached and being part of a team.Theres also no doubting Allens charisma. Hes one of the NBAs most well-spoken players.Hes well-versed, Jones said. Hes very charming and charismatic. I think it will be an easy transition for him (to being an actor), and hell have the confidence to excel because hes been there before.Allens work ethic also could come in handy. Hes one of the best-conditioned players in the NBA and regularly arrives very early to games, practices and shootarounds to get shots up.Hes worked on his jump shots all his life, said Heat forward Shane Battier. If he worked that hard in acting, hell be a good actor. ...He did great (in He Got Game) for an athlete. Having no (long-term) formal training, its not easy to be featured in a full-length feature film. Hes got work to do, but I think hes got a leg up on the competition.There hasnt been much competition when it comes to NBA players in the movies. Shaquille ONeal was panned for his roles in 1996s Kazaam and 1997s Steel. Michael Jordan's Space Jam in 1996 wasn't exactly a slam dunk.Allen laughed when it was suggested he and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have turned in the best performances by NBA players. Abdul-Jabbar played pilot Roger Murdock in the 1980 spoof Airplane!One thing is for sure. No former pro athlete ever has won an Academy Award.Come back for a future Oscar night and maybe Allen will be the first to score one.Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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