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andre080225_250.jpg By Ben Williams André Benjamin (a.k.a. André 3000) likes short shorts. Short basketball shorts, that is, the kind players wore back in the seventies, the kind that end perilously high up the thigh, the kind that Kobe Bryant recently said made him feel “violated” after the Lakers played a half in throwback uniforms. Benjamin pulls off the look with some flair in Semi-Pro, the latest sports-themed comedy to roll off Will Ferrell’s assembly line. He plays the inventor of the alley-oop, and “by the time we started filming, the shorts were like a second skin to me,” he says. “It seems like you can cut through the air a little bit better in them.”

Not only is Benjamin unafraid to show a little skin—“If you’re tough, and you don’t give a shit, the seventies were so cool,” he says—he’s also something of a sports-uniform historian. “If you look at old football pictures,” he says, “the jerseys were hanging, the sleeves were dangling, but now everything is tucked and tailored.”

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