Thursday, March 18, 2010

Common Explains His Role In "Just Wright" New Movie

via AZ Central

You might have spotted Common, the Grammy-winning rapper and actor, at the recent Suns-Lakers game at US Airways Center. He also took part in the Suns Celebrity Shoot Out game.

And you'll probably be seeing trailers of the Chicago native's first starring role in a movie opposite Queen Latifah in "Just Wright," which opens May 14.

Common plays Scott McKnight, a franchise point guard for the New Jersey Nets. McKnight suffers a career-threatening injury and then finds himself falling for the physical therapist (Latifah) who is trying to rescue his career.

He's a pretty good fit for the part. His father, Lonnie Lynn, is a former pro basketball player who had a brief career with the Pittsburgh Pipers of the American Basketball Association.

The Heat Index caught up with Common to ask him about his new movie and whether he inherited his dad's hoop skills.

THI: Let's start with a synopsis of "Just Wright."

Common: "It's the story of a basketball player who gets injured and basically his career is almost gone. A physical therapist nurses him back to health and during the process he learns what love is really about.

"He has the total NBA wife. She has the cliché look of a pro athlete's wife and it becomes a love triangle and a Cinderella story.

"I love telling this story. We in America put so much on the traditional look of beauty. Women are supposed to be thin, have long hair, just this kind of shape. But beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and really it starts from the inside.

"And I said, 'Man, I better get this part playing an NBA player now. Pretty soon I'll be at the age where I have to play the coach.' "

THI: Is it true you were once a Chicago Bulls ball boy?

Common: "Yeah, my dad knew Rod Thorn (then the general manager of the Bulls) from when he played in the ABA, so they hired me. I was the ball boy from 1984-86 so I got to be there when Michael Jordan got there. And I got to meet guys like Magic and Isiah Thomas, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley."

THI: Did you learn anything from seeing those guys up close that helped with the character?

Common: "It definitely helped me understand a little more what NBA players go through, but what really helped was hanging around one of my guys, Baron Davis of the Clippers. I also talked to Rajon Rondo about it. I met him doing a show in Boston. I did a little freestyle on the Celtics and said something about Rondo. He happened to be there, so I guess it was a good thing it was positive!

"We had a good vibe. He's a good guy and I love his game."

THI: Do you have a basketball-playing background, other than the celebrity games?

Common: "I played all the way up to my junior year in high school and then I got injured. I got poked in the eye and it cut my eye. I was out for two months and that's when I started getting into music.

"When I came back, I wasn't getting any playing time anymore. I said, 'I guess I'll go over here and rap.' It's amazing how destiny takes you where you're supposed to be."

THI: How so?

Common: "My dream was to play in the NBA. I have this trainer I work with and he was telling me, 'You'd just be a mediocre guy in the NBA. You wouldn't be doing what you're doing.' He was absolutely right.

"As an actor, I get to become these different people. I'm very passionate about acting, but I also get to play an NBA player, so that's two dreams in one. And for a month and a half, I was in the NBA."

THI: Even if it was with the Nets . . .

Common: "Yeah, and the Nets could use a Scott McKnight right now!"

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