July 11, 2008
As he prepares to host the ESPYs, singer/actor Justin Timberlake talks about his golf obsession, Jason Giambi’s mustache and why he can never play soccer again, the Tribune’s Luis Arroyave reports.
I grew up a sports nut. I watched football, I was a religious basketball player and I played soccer in school. I get to be in a room with people I looked up to for ages.
I know Ray Allen pretty well. I’m excited to say congrats to him. I’ve never met Danica Patrick. I’d like to meet Danica. I think she’s talented. One of my friends is coming. He’s from Boston. If he meets any of the Celtics, Red Sox or Patriots, it will be fun to watch him respond to them like a 22-year-old blond responds to a New Kids On the Block reunion.
When I was a kid, my idols weren’t Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. It was Michael Jordan.I was convinced I was going to be a basketball player but I never grew. But I think I’m doing OK.
My handicap goes from 4 to 10 depending on if I’m on tour or not. I haven’t been on tour this year, so I’ve been able to play a lot. It has been fun. I did the Torrey Pines challenge. I don’t know why I subjected myself to such torture.
When I was 11, my dad tried to get me into golf. All I cared about was basketball. Golf seems too slow at that age, like it would to any 11-year-old. I heard the golf course where my dad first taught me how to hit a golf ball was changing to a suburban development. I scooped in and bought the golf course.
In recent years, I would say Tiger Woods. When I was growing up, Michael Jordan was my favorite athlete. I think Tiger Woods is the Michael Jordan of this era. The most recognizable athletes are probably him and David Beckham. I would probably say my favorite athlete is Tiger Woods.
Ask me what profession I’d trade my piano and guitar for and it would be a nine iron.
I was in San Antonio for the Kansas-Memphis game (The 2008 NCAA tournament championship last April). That was a heart-breaker. I keep very close track of the Tigers (Timberlake was born in Memphis, Tenn.).
I have the utmost respect for goalies after learning how to play a goalie in that film (The Love Guru). I got a crash course in hockey. They’re probably the most physically adept and coordinated athletes to be able to skate as quick as they do. Until you stand on the rink and watch how fast they move, you can’t appreciate it.
Mine (Timberlake’s mustache in the film) was a lot more obnoxious than his. He kind of has a Mike Schmidt-meets- Don Mattingly mustache. I think it works for Giambi. If he wasn’t such a brute, I don’t know if it would work. I don’t think he should shave it as long as he keeps cranking out homers.
I recently did «Fact or Fiction» on SportsCenter with Mike Myers. It was one of the finest moments of my career. I watch SportsCenter all the time. I don’t watch TV all the time. I watch one show–SportsCenter. I traveled all the way to Bristol, Connecticut, just to sit in the SportsCenter studio.
I was pretty good at soccer. I was fast. I played forward. I could get up and down the field. You couldn’t pay me enough to do that now. It’s a year-round commitment. I don’t know if I have what they have to run up and down the field. I’m too used to the vices that come with being a musician.
Probably my jumper on Kenny Smith (What’s your proudest achievement in a celebrity All-Star game?), which Barkley won’t let him live down. He never saw it coming. It was a legit 12-to-14-foot jumper in Kenny’s face. It happened. Nobody can ever take that away from me.
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