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Warriors’ JaVale McGee has added incentive to close out Finals

Backup center is investor in ‘All Eyez on Me’ and can make the premiere if there’s no Game 6

All eyes will be on the Golden State Warriors as they attempt to clinch a 2017 NBA championship in Oracle Arena on Monday night. If the Warriors eliminate the Cleveland Cavaliers, their backup center JaVale McGee will be free to attend the national debut of the movie in which he made a financial investment, All Eyez on Me, on Thursday.

“It’s June 16. If you love Tupac, you should go see it,” McGee said. “Even if you don’t know anything about Tupac, it tells you his story from the time he was a kid. It’s pretty good.”

All Eyez on Me is the story of the late rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur on his road to becoming one of the world’s most influential voices. The movie also delves into Shakur’s controversial days that included imprisonment, working for Death Row Records and his life tragically ending after a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. All Eyez on Me is directed by Benny Boom and produced by L.T. Hutton and stars Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Shakur. Former NBA All-Star Elton Brand is also one of the film’s producers.

“The actor that played Tupac is amazing,” McGee said. “He really looks like Tupac. All the scenes are really well set up. His mother really looks like his mother. The casting was really good, from my standpoint. I think the public is going to love it, especially since they have the rights to the music. It should be pretty good.”

McGee described Hutton as a friend who first showed him the script of All Eyez on Me two years ago. McGee said Hutton reached out to him as a possible investor for the film last summer. After enjoying the viewing of the movie, McGee made a financial investment that he declined to divulge.

“I’ve known the producer L.T. Hutton for three or four years now,” said McGee, who considered majoring in film at the University of Nevada, Reno. “We always talk about stuff and movies. And then he talked about the Tupac movie was coming up. I had to jump on it that summer.

“I’ve always been into producing stuff. I got put into a position where I was able to be more of a monetary producer in the Tupac movie. So I jumped at the chance, especially after I saw the movie. It’s a great movie. I think it’s going to be a good one.”

Shakur was shot in Las Vegas on Sept. 7, 1996, and died six days later. McGee was only 8 years old at the time, but he became a fan of his music as he got older. The huge fan of the rapper Drake says another great thing about All Eyez on Me is that Shakur’s original music is in the film.

“I’m a big fan of Tupac,” McGee said. “He was a great activist. It’s sad that he had to end his life so early. I was 8 when it happened. I didn’t really hear his music until I was more so in my teenage years.”

The Warriors own a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals over the Cavaliers. If the Warriors don’t eliminate the Cavaliers with a win in Game 5, McGee will be playing in Game 6 in Cleveland on Thursday night instead of eating popcorn.

“I hope I can make the movie premiere,” said McGee, who is averaging 2.7 points and 2.5 rebounds in 5.7 minutes per game in the Finals.

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for Andscape. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.