THE ROCK, STAR
With his smash hit San Andreas in theaters, the 43-year-old launches the HBO series Ballers, in which he plays a financial adviser to athletes.
DAN PATRICK: Are there people who don't realize that you were a pro wrestler before you began acting?
June 29, 2015
DWAYNE JOHNSON: There's a large group of people who not only don't realize that I wrestled but also—to an even larger degree—that I played football down at the U [Miami].
DP: Who was the best player on your Miami team?
DJ: That's hard. I came in at a very special time. We were Dennis Erickson's first class . By the time I came, there were players who had won [the national championship] with Jimmy Johnson—Jessie Armstead, Gino Torretta, Micheal Barrow, Darryl Williams. The cupboard was full. But probably best overall player I played with ... it's between Ray Lewis and Warren Sapp.
DP: Who talked more, Lewis or Sapp?
DJ: It was probably equal. My first run-in with Sapp, we brought him in as a tight end. During spring ball the coaches decided to move him to defensive tackle. Russell Maryland had just left the program, and I was getting ready to compete for that position. Warren came in, looked at me and said, "I gotta tell you, man, I'm taking your spot." I said, "You ain't taking my spot!" And then about six months later he took my spot.
DP: Who [of the two] would have been the better WWE performer?
DJ: Both of them have big personalities. WWE was at its height during what we now call the Attitude Era, and we were recruiting [Lewis and Sapp] for a big WrestleMania match [against Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Undertaker]. We came close [to making it happen]. Both those guys would have done great in the ring.
DP: What's shadier, sports or Hollywood?
DJ: Oh, by far, Hollywood. Anytime that there's an extraordinary amount of money, there's the good and the bad. My history with sports really prepared me for Hollywood. At the end of the day there's still discipline and hard work. If you can apply that in Hollywood, it really helps.
DP: Did you ever have a wardrobe malfunction while wrestling?
DJ: I did early [in my career]. When I first got to the WWE, I had no money. Everything was pieced together; I had to borrow trunks. There was a wrestler named King Tonga who was affectionately known as Uncle Tonga. I had to borrow trunks from him. He was a massive man. His trunks were a lot bigger than my waist at that time. There was a little bit of a malfunction. Things had a tendency to pop out. You gotta just go with the flow and pop things back in.
Even at 53, former NFL running back Herschel Walker still trains in MMA and hopes to continue fighting. "I don't do stuff for money," Walker said. "I do it to beat people up." ... Indians skipper Terry Francona reflected on managing Michael Jordan in the minors with the Double A Birmingham Barons in 1994. "The one thing I found out with MJ is that when you messed with him, he liked it," Francona told me. "The more you treated him like a normal person, the more he loved it. I messed with him all the time. I still do." ... Paul Lukas, editor of uni-watch.com, a website that tracks sports uniforms, isn't a fan of the Clippers' new clothes. "It looks like a makeover for the sake of a makeover," Lukas said. "It certainly doesn't say Clippers. It may spell out the word Clippers, but it doesn't feel like a well-integrated brand."