From his days as a long haired bicycle messenger to his recent days as a fashionable crooner, one of the constants for Robin Thicke has been his obsession with the Lakers, even though their roster has changed as drastically as his appearance over the years. I recently caught up with Thicke after he announced plans for a six-week, 19-city tour with Jennifer Hudson beginning March 31.
AM: I hear you’re a pretty good basketball player, how close were you to playing basketball for a living rather than singing?
RT: [Laughs] Not close. Obviously growing up in Los Angeles and watching Magic Johnson it’s hard not to stay a Lakers for life. I’m still a die-hard Lakers fan. My best sport was basketball but when I was about 13 or 14 I decided to become a singer rather than a full time basketball player because it took much athletic effort. I didn’t like running lines and hitting the gym and all that stuff. I was a little lazy to do the extra work for basketball but I was pretty good. That was my sport.
AM: Your dad is Alan Thicke from Growing Pains fame, and he’s a big hockey fan being from Canada, did he ever try to get you to play the sport growing up?
RT: Yeah, my dad is a big hockey fan so he always tried to get me to enjoy it as much as possible. He happened to be friends with Wayne Gretzky when I was a kid and I did have some hockey ties but I didn’t like playing it. I wasn’t a fan of the cold. I was always more of a take my shirt off and play a sport not put on a hundred layers and play a sport.
AM: I’m sure you’ve gotten to meet a lot of the athletes you looked up to growing with the success that you’ve had in music, any highlights or interesting moments?
RT: There’s so many moments that I’ve been blessed with being in the entertainment business. I’ve gotten to meet some of my favorite ballplayers. Obviously Michael Jordan being Michael Jordan when I got to meet him that was a highlight. A couple of years ago I was honored that he invited me to perform a concert at one of his events and to know that Michael Jordan is a fan of your music and inviting you out to perform for all of his friends you obviously feel a great sense of gratitude.
AM: What’s your take on all these athletes trying to be musicians, releasing CDs, starting record labels, when, let’s be honest, they should probably stick to their day jobs?
RT: The great thing about music and all forms of art is that people have passion for it, they have a feeling in their heart that they can’t explain and whether you love movies and want to get in the movie business or you love music and you want to be a part of the music industry, it comes from a connection and a passion for it. Once you become an all-star ball player and you have all this money in your pocket and you still have all this passion you haven’t explored I think it’s only natural for people to jump into that.
AM: Your music kind of sneaks up on you, it’s good but sort of unexpected, is there a team or player that you can compare your style to?
RT: [Laughs] I don’t know, I think a Kobe Bryant fadeaway is a lot like my musical style.
AM: Finally, I know you’re a Lakers fan so who do you got in the NBA Finals?
RT: I’m seeing another Lakers-Celtics Final and hopefully Kevin Garnett will get tired by then and the Lakers can take it.