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Lee Had Hard Time Finding Actors

April 27, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Athletic actors weren’t good enough for Spike Lee’s upcoming basketball film, ``He Got Game.″

Real athletes were even better.

``One of the reasons most sports films are so bad is because it’s very hard for an actor to play a believable athlete,″ the filmmaker and die-hard New York Knicks fan said in Sunday’s New York Times.

Lee, who directed ``Do the Right Thing″ and ``Malcolm X,″ wanted to avoid corny, unrealistic basketball scenes for his first film centered on sports.

``For an actor to play basketball, that’s taking a big step,″ he said.

Ray Allen, a 22-year-old guard for the Milwaukee Bucks, stars opposite Denzel Washington. The film also features NBA players John Wallace, Walter McCarty, Travis Best and Rick Fox.

Still, it wasn’t an easy layup for Allen: he had to submit to eight grueling weeks of acting classes.

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