On Just Wright, you play Scott McKnight, a star player on a Nets team where Queen Latifah is the physical therapist. After such a terrible season, maybe your friend Rod Thorn calls you up to help them next year…
Common: (Laughs) Yeah, man. Next season I need to play in the NBA, and I would like to play with the Nets. Although my team is the Chicago Bulls, I would do it for the fans. They did support me in my movie career so it would be great if I could sign there and help the team out.
Recently you picked the Cavs to win it all, but after watching Rajon Rondo and the Celtics… Are you still sure?
C: I pick the Celtics!
C: Yeah, man. Who do you pick?
I pick the Lakers, but hey, if Rondo keeps playing like in the fourth game, who knows?
C: He’s unbelievable, bro. The rebounds and assists he had just at the end… He controls the game and he’s one of the best players in the league at the point guard spot.
He said he was surprised about the whole movie thing…. He said he was on set for like 12 hours and his actual shot was like thirty seconds.
C: (Laughs) He’s my guy. Yeah, you know, it takes a lot of work, a lot of time for things like that but we were glad that we had a cameo by him. It does make a ‘wow’… I was surprised enough the first time I had to shoot a movie… Getting to the set at 6 am and not leaving until 6 pm. When you shoot a movie, you gotta be prepared when they call your number. It’s time for you to be ready to do what you need to do.
So maybe there’s a different type of getting focused being a Hollywood actor or an NBA star.
C: An athlete has a certain focus and drive, you have to have your body in shape… You have to have a certain type of energy if you’re a professional athlete. But then the greats, they have a enormous amount of focus whether it is Kobe Bryant or Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan. You can see that their focus helps heighten their game. It definitely takes another certain focus to be a good actor because you’re put in situations where you’re asked to bring on different emotions and make it truthful. It takes a lot of hard work, and the greats… They end up prevailing. As a musician, you gotta train too. As a hip-hop artist, you gotta keep doing things to sharpen your skills. You have to realize there’s a lot of things: performance, free-styling, working on songs, lyrics…
Why number 19?
C: Actually, there were only a few numbers available. Originally I wanted number 9, but Yi Jianlian had it so number 19 was the next step. There is few guys in the league that wear that number and my father wore that number when he played in the ABA. That was part of his address where he grew up, 6119, back in Chicago.
Dwyane Wade said that your game is the most believable he’s seen in a movie. What did those words mean to you?
C: I was very grateful to hear that. I always had hoop dreams of being in the NBA, so just the fact that he could say that… It helped my hoop ego.
Wade has a bit role playing himself. He acts really good doing T-Mobile commercials with Charles Barkley… Do you think he could he have a shot as a movie actor?
C: I think he’s good. He’s very natural.
What does the game of basketball mean in this movie?
C: At first it’s just the backdrop. Guys get attracted to it because there’s real authentic basketball in it. It also serves as an analogy for true basketball in the comeback story. It’s really like showing the development of a guy who fears his career is done after going down.
There was no stunt double in the movie, which makes it really authentic.
C: Yeah… They did had to lower the rim a little, like five inches, for me on the dunks.
Which is your favorite dunk of all time?
C: Vince Carter had a great performance at the All-Star Game and I think he’s the best dunker ever, but I’ll go with Michael Jordan dunking on Patrick Ewing.
Tim Hardaway had his dribbling moves, Jordan his fadeaway jumper, Kareem’s Sky Hook… What’s your best move?
C: My penetration and mid-range jumpshot.
Have you watched VH1’s Basketball Wives?
C: I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard about it.
What do you think about NBA players and marriage?
C: You know, part of the story in the movie, there’s a woman that wants to be an NBA player’s wife. Regarding relationships, everything is about individuals. There’s NBA players married to women they met in high school, women that care about them. It’s not all about NBA players cheating on their wives. NBA players ain’t any different from any other man out in the world. Some cheat, some don’t. Obviously NBA players may have more women coming at them.