The 3:10 to Yuma star co-owns an Australian rugby team, the South Sydney Rabbitohs
SI: South Sydney is the most successful team in Australian rugby, but you have not won a premiership since 1971. This year you qualified for the finals. How does that feel?
Crowe: When I was a kid this team was an indomitable force. In the years since, that reputation has been eroded. We want to bring the club back to when the red-and-green and the rabbit were symbols of power in the game. It's been kind of gratifying to see that culture grow around us.
SI: If the Rabbitohs are the Yankees of your sport, are you the George Steinbrenner of the National Rugby League?
September 9, 2007
Crowe: No, because it's not that sort of money. We are heavily controlled by a salary cap of $4 million.
SI: Are you close with any American pro athletes?
Crowe: I spent time with Jaromir Jagr before the making of Mystery, Alaska. Mike Piazza is another guy I got to know. We met through a car dealer I knew. Years ago I was friends with John Fina, who played line for the Buffalo Bills. I was in Arizona, and I was in a bar and we got introduced.
SI: What sport do you follow closest after rugby?
Crowe: If I'm in America during football season, I'm watching the NFL. If it's baseball or basketball season, I'll be watching them. If you are in England, you watch a lot of soccer. I like having a team in any league anywhere in the world.
SI: What do you consider your greatest athletic achievement?
Crowe: Getting out of Gladiator without getting killed [laughs].
SI: You can be one athlete for a day. Who?
Crowe: Jesse Owens running the 100 meters in Berlin in 1936. It's an extremely significant moment, a drawing of a line in the sand in terms of the racial idiocy that Adolf Hitler was promoting. The one thing that I would do differently is when Hitler was getting up to leave the stadium, I think I would have pursued him.
For more from Russell Crowe go to SI.com/extramustard.