Anyone that knows me knows that I love watching some of the top high school players in the country before they become really famous. You can tell a lot about a player by how they act before the spotlight gets increasingly bright. Lebron James was always the type of defer to his teammates, which shouldn’t surprise anyone that he went to Miami to “play with his friends.” When Tim Tebow was at Nease high school, he played at least half the season with a broken leg. Again, behavior like that shouldn’t surprise you when he’s putting his body on the line in a preseason game with the Broncos.
The high school player I want to discuss is the one and only Jesus Shuttlesworth. The pride of Lincoln High School and Coney Island. Jesus grew up with his parents, Jake and Martha Shuttlesworth, and his younger sister Mary. Jesus grew up learning the game from his father and needless to say, under the tutelage of dear old Dad, by age 12 Jesus Shuttlesworth was already a pretty good player.
Little did they know that one night would alter their lives forever. During a routine practice session between father and son, tempers began to flare between the two alpha males. Jesus got so angry that he launched Jake’s basketball into the air and stormed off the court. Being that they lived in a less than middle class area, basketballs and money don’t exactly grow on trees so one can imagine Jake’s anger. Later on that night during dinner, the continuously disrespectful Jesus pouted and walked away from the dinner table without being excused. This forced Jake, as a parent, to take action. Martha Shuttlesworth decided to intervene and when she got in the way, she was accidentally thrown into the kitchen counter where she hit her head, suffered an aneurysm and subsequently died. Jake instinctlively tended to his wife and told the 12 year old Jesus to call an ambulance.
Now before we get too ahead of ourselves, lets analyze the situation. First, how can Jesus hold a grudge against Jake for what happened to his mother when anyone with two eyes and a brain can see it was an accident? Why would Jake have yelled for an ambulance if he had intended to kill Martha? That makes no sense. I can understand if Jesus was younger and couldn’t grasp and understand the situation. But at 12 years old, he’s gotta know its an accident.
Secondly, I think Jesus should be blamed for what happened to his mother. I mean, first he’s disrespectful to his father, he throws away a perfectly good basketball, continues to be disrespectful during dinner and Jake took action. What parent wouldn’t discipline his son when he’s acting that way?
Finally, let’s just be real. Martha Shuttlesworth was weak. Clearly, she was very brittle for a little bump on the head to kill her. Maybe she needed to take more vitamins. She’s a disgrace to people in Brooklyn. They’re tougher than that.
He Got Game – Trailer
Now, we fast forward a few years to see Jesus and his younger sister Mary have moved in with their Aunt Sally and Uncle Bubba. Jesus is now a senior at Lincoln High School, the same school that has produced Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson. Jesus at this point is the top high school player in the country and his serviced are coveted all around the country. Like many players before him Jesus is thrust into a situation that no 17 or 18 year old can handle. On top of that, he was the sole caretaker for his sister because his father had been incarcerated. So to make things even tougher for Jesus, on top of going to school, raising his sister, playing basketball and deciding his future, the pressure of his father’s release weighs on him.
The warden of the prison where Jake is incarcerated offers him early release if he can convince Jesus to sign with his alma mater, Big State within a week. Jake is released on what he calls a work release program and is given a place to live in a halfway house in Brooklyn. Meanwhile Jesus is busy trying to make up his mind about his future. High school coaches was trying to get an inside look into Jesus’ plans, neighborhood hustlers trying to convince him to play professionally, and agents vying for his services. On top of all this, unbeknownst to Jesus, his girlfriend Lala Bonilla had been cheating on him and he was being pressured by his family to go pro so they could mooch off of his success in the NBA. At one point, on a recruiting visit to Tech University, Jesus is enticed into having a threesome with two voluptuous women.
Throughout his recruitment, there are several violations no one seemed to bring up. First, who is the warden to be determining prison term length based on whether a prospect attends his alma mater or not? That just seems unethical. Secondly, Jesus had way too much contact with agents and unsavory individuals during the recruiting process. When Big Time Willie gave Jesus and Booger a ride to school one morning, that could be considered a gift and a big risk to Jesus’ eligibility. Lebron James’ eligibility was brought into question when his mom was approved for a loan to by a Hummer so naturally one can see the parallels between the two scenarios. Another thing that was never brought into question was Jesus’ living situation. How was Jesus able to afford to live on his own with his sister? Where was the money coming from to pay the rent and purchase essentials like clothing and food?
Now that Jake has tracked down Jesus and talked to him about attending Big State to aid in his father’s release from prison, the offer is on the table. All that was left was for Jesus to make a decision. In the end, Jesus decided to attend Big State, but past the deadline set by Jake’s warden. Jake returned to prison to serve out his sentence and Jesus went on to play at Big State…which was incredibly close to Attica State Penitentiary. Close enough to where Jake was able to throw a basketball from within the walls of the prison yard over into Big State’s basketball court. Perhaps this is just a sign of Jake Shuttlesworth’s superhuman strength, or maybe Attica is way too close to this campus.
All in all, despite his surroundings and his decisions, Jesus Shuttlesworth is by all means a high school legend. His success rivals that of Lebron James. The difference is that while Lebron would have rather defer to his teammates in a big spot, Jesus relishes the spotlight and always seems to put the team on his back, even though his supporting cast was way more talented than Lebron’s. Who in the country, let alone New York City, was good enough to stop Jesus Shuttlesworth, Booger Sykes, Sip, Mance, and that other dude playing center? No one. Thats who.