Samuel L. Jackson to host ESPYs

Nicklaus to be honored at ESPYs

Samuel L. Jackson answers your questions

Actor Samuel L. Jackson, host of the Feb. 12 ESPY Awards in Las Vegas, answered email questions from users and others about the awards, sports and his career. Jackson also was host of the 1999 ESPYs.

Read on and find out if John Travolta could take him in a basketball game and where, ideally, would be his final resting place.

Jackson hosts the ESPYs for the second time in three years.

If you had one opportunity to watch one athlete which one would it be and why? -- James Shumate, Kansas City, Mo.

Samuel L.Jackson: Tiger Woods. Because I'm amazed at the amount of skill. Because I'm amazed at the amount of skill he had and as I know it to be basically one of the hardest games to play, and the individual accomplishment and dedication it takes to get to that level to watch him do it over and over again consistently is amazing.

How does it feel to host the ESPYs? It would be a dream come true for me -- Jason Allen, Chandler, Okla.

SLJ: I get to stand in front of a lot of people and be silly! I actually get to get up and personal with all these guys we look at as heros. I'm a sports fan and I like being that close to those guys. I like being able to express my opinions about certain things and certain players and have fun doing it. And as you all know, I'm a show off.

I've been a fan of yours since you were in "School Daze" and I would like to know where did you learn to cuss so good? Most of the time I'm not aware that you are using profanity because it flows out of you so good. -- Theo, Dallas.

SLJ: Amazingly enough, I guess in a very interesting sort of way, I heard my uncles and great uncles and cousins. I grew up in Tennessee and it was a very natural kind of flowing part of conversation. It wasn't like you need to overemphasize them, they were just part of the conversation. They were descriptives, or they defined certain things, so you just go ahead and say 'em and not try and make it so special.

What is your favorite "Hollywood" sports related movie? -- Tim De Ghelder, St. Louis, Mo.

SLJ: It used to be "North Dallas Forty." But then I discovered this movie, "Dead Solid Perfect," a golf movie that almost seemed like an accurate description for what it was like to be on tour for a guy at a very low level.

If you got the starring role in a movie playing an athlete who would it be and why? -- Scott Martinson, Milwaukee

SLJ: That's hard. If I was tall enough, I'd guess it would have to be Bill Russell because come on, the man's got enough rings to cover both hands. He was an amazing player in college and on the Olympic team. He's an amazing intellect and a pretty great human being. And he survived in an environment in the NBA that wasn't the environment we have now, in a town that wasn't the most friendly place to be in.

Salaries in sports nowadays are outrageous. Some athletes can actually buy their own franchises. Who do you think are the real winners and losers in the economic landscape of sports? Is it the owners, players, or the fans? Some of which bleed their teams colors.-- Ramon Vega, Brooklyn, N.Y.

SLJ: Winners are definitely players, they get the money. Losers tend to be the ordinary fan that can't afford ten more dollars for that ticket because the athlete has to be paid. That's just the nature of it. I don't know what the solution to that is unless it is totally becomes a pay-per-view issue. That might ease the price. That's basically the answer. Players win, fans lose.

In this whole Kobe and Shaq feud, who is the "shepherd" and which one is the "tyranny of evil men?" -- Stuart Wexler, East Windsor, N.J.

SLJ: The shepherd is Phil Jackson. The tyranny of evil men happens to be the offense It's easier for Kobe to operate in that than it is for Shaq. They refined it last year and it worked. But it does not work at the end of the game. So until Shaq learns to sink free throws, the ball needs to go to Kobe at the end of the game.

Who would win in a one-on-one basketball game between you and John Travolta? Love your work! -- Kevin Sproles, Atlanta

SLJ: John Travolta.

You've worked with so many other great and big names in movies, what actor and/or actress is out there that you haven't worked with, who you would really love doing a movie with? -- Nathan Daugherty, Nashville, Tenn.

SLJ: Morgan Freeman.

How would you rate LT (Lawrence Taylor) as an actor? -- Mike, Brooklyn, N.Y.

SLJ: I watched Any Given Sunday the other day. He was actually very good in that particular role.

If you had a shot playing as a pro, what sport, what position? -- Rick Bradley, St. Louis, Mo.

SLJ: There was a time when it would have been basketball and it would have been shooting guard. Now -- golf.

If you had to chose only one specific sporting event (i.e., Super Bowl XX) to watch over and over again for the rest of your life, what would it be? -- Aaron Segall, St. Louis, Mo.

SLJ: The basketball game when Michael Jordan had the flu against Utah. He kept coming off the bench!

Looking forward to hosting the ESPYs? Anything specific?

SLJ: Being in Vegas, playing Shadow Creek before the show. Hopefully talking to Tiger if he shows up to get all the awards we plan on giving him. Just generally hanging out and having a good time with these guys. Lettin' them know it's not a high-pressure event ... but a night to celebrate. It's not about who's better than who.. It's to celebrate everyone.

Have you met Tiger?

SLJ: We played St. Andrews together. He told me to stay out of the bunker and I did. I actually shot one of my best rounds of golf there. I shot a 79 at St. Andrews.

In '99, did you enjoy the show?

SLJ: I had a great time doing the show, watching the show, an incredible time meeting people. I did all the planned things and some spontaneous things and they were tasteful (throwing autographed balls into the audience, going to pick up Chamique Holdsclaw in the audience to escort her to the stage). I had a great time. I'm coming back again to see if I can have some more fun.

What stands out?

SLJ: Meeting Chamique Holdsclaw, me wearing my orange shoes and presenting.

Why couldn't you do the show last year?

SLJ: The day of the show was the first day of shooting of "Caveman's Valentine" (coming out March 2).

Are you a big fan?

SLJ: I'm a huge sports fan. some sports I don't have a particular favorite team. Take for instance, baseball. I used to be a huge Braves fan, but I learned better. I go with the flow. I will actually pick a side in a game 'cuz it's no fun watching it if you don't have a side. But there are those who are die hard. when we were in Liverpool shooting "51st State" (this fall) we shot at a football field one day, the home of the Liverpool football team and there were people standing there with family members spreading someone's ashes on the field because that's where they wanted their ashes spread.

If you had to spread your ashes on a sporting field where would it be?

SLJ: Pebble Beach.

Underdog or favorite?

SLJ: Sometimes underdogs are too hard to deal with.. sometimes you want to see the other team dominate.

What do you like about ESPN best?

SLJ: The news and information and the attitude. It's a real sports fan's attitude. They talk about the highlights the way we would.

What do you think you can bring to the show because you're a fan?

SLJ: My enthusiasm for the show. My appreciation of the accomplishments of the athletes that pick up the awards.My fandom. And my believing in my heart that I'm doing the show the way a fan sitting at home would want to do it.

What is the wildest thing you've done to get your sports fix?

SLJ: When we were in Liverpool I would go home and go to bed and set the clock for 1:30 so I could watch the World Series. I stayed up and waited for Monday night football on Tuesday night and not know what the score was so I could enjoy the game. I played golf in a driving rain storm when it was golfing sideways.

Two years ago when you were approached to do the show what did you think?

I assumed it was like anything else, ESPN wanted a host. I would do it that one time and next year you'd get someone else. I assumed it would be a one time thing. I didn't think I would turn into the Billy Cystal of the ESPYs.

Would that be OK?

SLJ: Sure.

Information about the ESPYs

The ESPY Awards -- for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly -- set the stage for the sports world to celebrate the year's achievements, relive the memorable moments and salute the best performers and performances. Overall, there are 34 categories, highlighted by 14 awards in which the best of the best in a variety of sports compete directly - including Male and Female Athlete-of-the-Year, Coach/Manager of the Year and Breakthrough Athlete of the Year.

In addition to the ESPY Lifetime Achievement Award, the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award is presented to an individual whose contributions transcend sports. Past recipients have included Jim Valvano (1993), Muhammad Ali (1997), Billie Jean King (1999) and Columbine High School coach Dave Sanders (2000).

The ESPY Awards annually support The V Foundation for Cancer Research, established at the inaugural ESPYs in 1993 by ESPN with the late Jim Valvano.  HELP |  ADVERTISER INFO |  CONTACT US |  TOOLS |  SITE MAP
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