|ESPY Q's: Advice for LeBron
Page 2 staff
Over the past couple of years, Page 2 has proved that we're willing to ask the big stars some mighty strange and provocative questions.
Perhaps that's why they always keep us in the "back" section of the backstage at the ESPY Awards.
When we hit the Kodak Theater for the big show this year, we did manage to corner some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment for our Burning Questions. We asked them about their most embarrassing moments, their secret addictions, their dream teams, the person they're the most envious of ... and, of course, the arrival of King James.
Here's Question No. 1:
Let's give LeBron James the wisdom of your age and experience. What the best piece of advice you can provide for the 19-year-old superstar?
Gary Payton, Los Angeles Lakers point guard: He's with me all the time because we've got the same agent, so I talk to him all the time. I just tell him to take his time and let everything come to him. He has been very patient. He has been doing a great job of just playing basketball and saying all the right things to the media. He's going to be a power to reckon with. Everybody is gunning for him, but he's a patient young kid, and I think he's going to be just fine.
George Lopez, actor and comedian: Lock your car. You're in Cleveland.
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City Chiefs tight end: I'm going to have to copy Charles Barkley and tell him to learn how to say NO. He's a young guy coming up and there will be all kinds of people wanting him to go into business with them. He will have to know how to tell people NO.
George Gervin, Pro Basketball Hall of Famer: Just go out there and have fun, and really appreciate where you are at a young age. And stay focused. I think the kid understands the game of basketball. I think he's a down-to-earth kid, and I'm proud of him.
Marcus Allen, Pro Football Hall of Famer: Patience, awareness. Realize that this is a great opportunity for you. You've been blessed. Take full advantage of it, and have great respect for the game and the people that you're playing with. There are going to be a lot of people coming after him, there are going to be lots of deals thrown his way, lots of women thrown his way, and he's just going to have to stay aware. It's always trial and error, but hopefully he won't make a big mistake.
James Worthy, Pro Basketball Hall of Famer: Well, hopefully, he just sticks to the support group that's gotten him this far. And remember that it's a business. And just continue to work hard and be a good listener. He should be eager to listen and slow to speak right now. He should confide in the veterans and take their advice.
Chuck D, hip-hop artist: Stay close to your family and try to stay rooted. I made a record called "Don't Believe The Hype," and he should try not to believe his own hype. I think he's gonna be fine. When it comes down to LeBron, I just don't want to see all the grown people around him losing it. The best player in the NBA is either Kobe Bryant or Kevin Garnett. Let's spend time giving those guys their due.
Omar Epps: Go to school specifically to learn how to keep your money. I mean, wow, what a world for him, from nothing to everything. ... Of course, that didn't happen for me. I'm an actor, man.
Warren Moon, former NFL quarterback: Just don't change. Be yourself. Seems like he has been raised very well by his mom and his dad. Seems like he's a very humble, very intelligent kid. He seems to have handled everything so well for a 19-year-old. The stage that he's on now, I can't even imagine it.
Serena Williams, tennis champion: Keep his nose clean. He's going to be, whether he wants to or not, a role model for so many kids. I think he can handle it. I think he seems like an old spirit.
Joe Maloof, Sacramento Kings owner: Stay nice. Be nice to people. It's very simple. It's a philosophy (my brother) Gavin and I were brought up with. Our Dad taught us that. To stay humble. He can rule the world.
Keyshawn Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver: Don't get worried because something goes wrong or someone says something bad about you or writes something bad about you. Just laugh it off. Then you'll make them feel bad by not even paying attention to what they say. That's the best way to get back at people who are taking shots at you -- just disrespect them right back. The expectation level is so high that he won't meet all those expectations. He just needs to understand that that's how it goes. ... He just needs to be patience, because he will eventually deliver.
Steve Lavin, former UCLA men's basketball coach: Surround yourself with good people who have your best interests in heart and mind. ... The true test is if people stay with you when things aren't going well in your personal or professional life. Who are the people who stand by when those aren't going well? When things are going great, everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon, but it gets pretty lonely on the down side.
Marcellus Wiley, San Diego Chargers defensive end: Remember where you came from. We all die broke, so don't let the money, the fame, the attention or the glory all go to your head or take you off course. We don't move the stars and we don't change the universe, we just play ball. So keep it in perspective.
Leigh Steinberg, agent: I would tell him to try to stand for something positive and to make his basketball career, from a role-modeling standpoint, to speak to some positive value. Kids across America are looking up to him. He really could affix himself to some positive role-modeling campaign and make a real positive impact on the world.
Roy Jones, Jr., boxer: Keep God first. Always remember where you came from, because you're eventually gonna go back there.
James Toney, boxer: Keep your head up. Keep your friends close. Keep focused. And watch the strangers.
Terrell Owens, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver: There are going to be naysayers out there, so you have to just go out there and be mentally strong.
Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks center: He comes from such a nice background and he is already very humble. I would just tell him to stay humble and to remember that everything comes from God. As fast as He can give it, He can take it.
Dennis Haysbert, actor: Keep your feet on the ground. Put in the work. Play the game. Don't get swallowed up with the hype.
Jacey, Hollywood bartender: Practice your free throws.