Sunday, December 29, 2013

Conversation with Lil Wayne's bodyguard

Me with Lil Wayne's bodyguard, Big John.
The following dialog is an interview I did with rapper Lil Wayne's bodyguard, Big John. We talked during the summer of 2008, a couple weeks after the release of Weezy's "A Milli" video. It was cool because Big John was actually featured in the music video.

He got a lot of face time in that video. I used to hit John up once every few months to see what’s good. He’s cool, funny, knowledgeable and very down to earth.

This was another one of my favorite conversations simply because Big John was really putting me on to some new knowledge. Take a look at some of the things Big John and I discussed a few years ago.

Anthony: Big John.What’s good, man?
Big John: Nothing much, bruh. How are you doing?
Anthony: (Smiles.) I can’t complain. I’m feeling pretty good right now. Let’s talk about you real quick. You got major face time in Lil’ Wayne’s latest video. How was that for you?
Big John: It was cool.Know what I’m sayin.’That was really Wayne’s idea. Most of the time I’m kind of laid back. I’m not trying to be in too many videos. That was really Wayne’s idea. But it was cool. It was like I was working.

Anthony: Is that kind of what goes down behind the scenes during a Weezy video?
Big John: Yeah, somewhat.It was still directed. That particular video was done in ONE TAKE. That was the kind of video Wayne wanted to do. He actually shot three videos that same day. He was actually leaving
one video before doing that one.You can see that at the beginning of the video.
Anthony: What’s it like to work for Lil’Wayne?
John followed Wayne throughout the video.
Big John: It’s a fun experience.He’s a really smart dude.He’s really about his business.He’s probably one of the hardest working dudes I’ve ever been around.
Anthony: How did you two come in contact with each other?
Big John: Um, I actually used to work for Juelz Santana and Dipset. I got hooked up with Wayne through Juelz. They used to hang with each other quite a bit. But I really got the job during a Chris Brown tour in L.A. I had a fight with four Samoans.
Anthony:  Say what?
Big John: (Laughs.) Yeah. Everybody left me out to hang. I guess they thought I was gonna take an L. I came out of that one.
Anthony: (Smiles.) That’s wild. I know that you used to play football, but what kind of training did you have go through to do what you do now?
Big John: I’ve been doing this for 14 years. I was doing this while I was playing football, during the summer time.
Anthony: Were you a bouncer?
Big John: No, it wasn’t really bouncing. I was working with other guys. My first job was with Mad Lion (Dancehall rapper). They would call me and my crew when they came to town.We would hold it down as
long as they were in town. It’s been since ’95.
Anthony: How much do you miss playing football?
Big John: It was a good experience, but I don’t really miss playing. I’m at a different time in my life. That was what I did when I was in school. Now, I’m into my career. I more so miss the guys I played with. I miss the people.

Anthony: How much did you come in contact with coach (Bighouse) Gaines?
Big John: I used to come in contact with coach Gaines quite a few times. I was trying to play basketball too. I was all right on the court. I wasn’t sorry. (Both laugh.) But, I talked to him (Coach Gaines) a lot. He was
always in the coaches office, and we would sit down and talk.He helped me with different things.
A n t h o n y : What’s the craziest thing you’ve experienced on the road in the last year?
Big John: One girl wouldn’t move her car. She parked her car right in front of the bus, like bumper to bumper. That’s probably the craziest experience I’ve ever seen. It’s not really a point of me seeing a lot. It’s really about me keeping Wayne safe at all times, because different people feel differently about Wayne in every city. That’s all.

Anthony: How do you have a personal life with your schedule and duties?
Bryan "Baby" Williams.
Big John: It’s hard. I’m married and I have kids. So, it’s difficult. But I do everything for my family and my kids.
Anthony: That’s what’s up.Hey, what’s Baby (Williams) like?
Big John: Baby is cool. He is real laid back. He’s the boss. He knows how to take care of things, and he keeps the same guys around him at all times. He’s like the people you see in movies. He’s the boss. It’s funny because people don’t think of Baby like that. He’s probably one of the most cool, laid back guys that you would ever talk to.He makes being there a lot better.
Anthony: I want you to tell everyone how much love Chris Paul (CP3 was a star for New Orleans at the time of interview) gets in New Orleans.
Big John: Man, Chris Paul has his face on the side of a building. He’s doing a crossover or something. Yeah. Right downtown.

Anthony: So, New Orleans is Lil’Wayne and Chris Paul?
Big John: Yeah. I would say that now it’s more Chris Paul because he’s physically there. Right now the city
belongs to Chris.
Here, CP3 poses with friends Game and Kevin Hart. 
Anthony: (Smiles.)Who do you keep up with the most from Winston-Salem?
Big John: I talk to Josh (Howard) and Chris most of the time. I also go back to see coach Blount every now and then. But I really don’t have too much time to keep in touch. I stay busy.

 Anthony: Are you treated like a celebrity when you go places nowadays?
Big John: Oh yeah, especially in the airports. A lot of people recognize me from the video. That’s the main thing. I honestly sign autographs and everything.
Anthony: (Laughs.) Speaking of that video. Where did the idea for the Mohawk come about?

Big John: I was getting a haircut. And, I was asking Wayne’s barber to give me a cut that makes me look big and crazy. He said that I was already big. He asked me if I would do the mohawk. (Both laugh.) I told him that I would try it. I’m going to keep it. Wayne messes with me about it all the time.
Anthony: When are you going to see Wayne again?
Big John: Actually, I’m going to L.A. on Thursday to do a video with T-Pain. I’ll see him on Thursday.

Anthony: Cool. What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t doing what you’re doing today?
Big John: (Laughs.) I’d be doing bail bonds. That was one of the things that I was doing.
Anthony: OK. Do you have a favorite NFL team?
Big John: Oh, I roll with the Redskins all the way.
Anthony: What? You don’t like the Cowboys?
Big John: Cowboys? Who are they? (Both laugh.) I have been a Redskins fan since I was a kid.

Anthony: I hear that. Let’s finish with free association. Uh, Big John.
Big John: Works hard.
Anthony: Winston-Salem State.
Big John: Best school.
Anthony: Coach Kermit Blount.
Big John: Great man and coach.
Anthony: Tory Woodbury.(Former WSSU QB)
Big John: Good player.
Anthony: Young Money Records. (Lil’ Wayne’s record label.)
Big John: The best.

Anthony: No doubt. That’s what’s up.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Conversation with CP3's mother

Here, Robin and Charles pose with a pair of CP3s during a launch in 2008.

Some people close to me know that I'm putting together a book with some of my favorite interviews from the last 10 years. I've done Q&As with famous athletes and sports personalities, but some of my favorite conversations took place while talking to non-athletes.

In May of 2008, I talked to one of my favorite NBA mothers, Robin Paul. Some of you know she's Chris Paul's mother. It was Mother's Day weekend, and CP3's birthday when we did this interview.

She’s also a big sports fan. I knew we could talk a little sports and have some fun. CP was a star for New Orleans Hornets at the time of this interview. Robin is a great person, with a huge heart. She's also very down to earth. It’s easy to feel like you've known her for years after a few conversations. I still hug her as if I'm a part of the family when I see her out.

Take a look at some of our conversation from a few years back.

Anthony: (Smiles.) What’s going on, Robin?
Robin: Not a whole lot. Just getting back from New Orleans.
Anthony: I hear that. And, CP and the guys are up 2-0 on the Spurs. You have to give me your thoughts on that.

Robin: Oh, that’s very impressive. We’re glad to be where we are right now.
Anthony: Let me ask you this.
Here, Charles and Robin Paul pose with CP during his Wake Forest days.
Robin: OK.
Anthony: How does it make you feel to see Chris highlights and commercials, or watch the reaction
of some of the fans when he does things during games?
Robin: I mean, we’re blessed. It makes us feel very proud. But you have to realize that we’re right there cheering with them. We’re cheering for the same player and team.
Anthony: When did you realize that Chris was pretty good?
Robin: You have to realize that I just see Chris as being Chris. We all know that he has a great talent. I just
look at it as being blessed overall. I can’t say that I realized Chris was good after he did this or that. My husband knew before I did. He has a great talent, though.

Anthony: Today (Tuesday) is CP’s birthday,
Robin: Today is his 23rd birthday. It sure is. As a matter of fact, he just called the cell phone. (Giggles.) Charles is talking to him now. We did a big dinner for him while we were out there. He’s real focused right
now. He’s on a mission.
Anthony: Sunday is Mother’s Day. And, I am sure you’re going to be in San Antonio (For the playoff game).
Robin: Yes, we’ll be in San Antonio. I’m used to it. I've been in a gym through a lot of Mother’s Days, dating back to AAU. We would be in a gym just about every Mother’s Day. We used to go out and buy roses to give to the other mothers. I see this as being no different. We’ll be in another gym this coming

Anthony: How are you able to deal with the crazy travel schedule?
Robin: That part can get hard sometimes. Like this morning, we had to get up at 3:30 to catch an early flight.
We’re back and forth (Between Winston-Salem, NC and New Orleans) so much.(Giggles.) But you have to get your rest and be ready to roll.
Anthony: Where’s the best place you visited within the last three years?
Robin: We don’t go to a lot of the away games. Mainly the home games.
Anthony: It doesn't have to be for basketball. Just name some of the places you've enjoyed.
Robin: Hmm. Let me think. I enjoyed Japan, when we went over with the Olympic team. That was another culture. I enjoyed that. Dallas, Salt Lake City and L.A (Now Chris is a standout for the L.A. Clippers).

Anthony: Have you met anyone that you've been in awe over? I know that you recently met Paula Dean.
Robin: Yeah, that was great. There were a lot of stars at the game last night. We met Danny Glover, Forest
Whitaker, Jackie Long (from “ATL.”) and Diana Ross’daughter (Tracee Ellis Ross).The one that’s on
“Girlfriends.” We met her the night before last.

Anthony: Oh, OK.
Robin: All of them are just real down to earth people. They do what they have to during the day, and chill and come to the game at night.
Anthony: Cool. What is your favorite thing to eat nowadays?
Robin: It’s probably gumbo. (Both laugh.)
Anthony: I know you make a killer dish of beans and weenies.
Robin: Beans, weenie and tuna. As a matter I cooked that on Friday when we were
in New Orleans. I sure did. Friday night. Tony Parker (Spurs point guard) came by the house and ate dinner with us. He enjoyed it.

Anthony: Do you have a good relationship with most of the players that Chris is friends with?
Robin: Yes, we do. We sure do.
Anthony: That’s one of the biggest differences between the new and old NBA. Guys really used to not like each other back in the day. Now, some of the best players are friends.
Robin: Oh yeah, they’re really close. This is their job. They have to get along with people they work with. It’s no different than us with our coworkers.
Anthony: What else is new Mrs. Paul?
Robin: Oh, nothing else is really new. We just need to go ahead and win this championship.

Anthony: No doubt. Uh, they announced that Kobe won the MVP a little earlier today. Is that disappointing to you?
Robin: (Laughs.) We were glad that Chris’ name was even mentioned. Here he is in his third season, for him
to be mentioned as MVP was a blessing. He’ll always be the MVP in our eyes anyway. He’ll get it one day.
Anthony: No doubt. Mrs.Paul, I need a pair of CP3’s.
Robin: (Laughs.) OK. I need a pair too. They’re all at the mall.
Anthony: (Laughs.) Oh, I can’t believe you’re going to do me like that. (Both laugh.) OK, let me get a CP3 T-shirt or something.
Robin: We can do a Tshirt.

Anthony: (Smiles.) That sounds good to me. Um, let’s finish with free association so you can enjoy the rest of your day.
Here, Robin, C.J. and CP3 pack goods for charity.
Robin: Oh, man.
Anthony: It’s gonna be easy.
Robin: OK.
Anthony: Charles Paul.
Robin: My husband and son. (Oldest son also named Charles, aka C.J.)
Anthony: (Smiles.) Winston-Salem.
Robin: Hometown.

Anthony: Robin Paul.
Robin: Charles’ wife. C.J.and Chris’ mom. Rhonda’s (Rhonda Richardson) sister.
Anthony: New Orleans.

Robin: Hornets.
Anthony: Charlotte Bobcats.
Robin: Raymond Felton. (Former Bobacats and UNC pg) and Michael Jordan.
Anthony: Favorite basketball player of all-time.
Robin: Michael Jordan.
Anthony: (Smiles.) All right. We’re done.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dating sites complicate DATING

The days of DATING SITES seemingly being for people that can't get enough attention when he or she is out in public are over.

Nowadays, most men and women are choosing to give love a try on either one or several dating sites. There's always going to be creeps, and people that you don't want to cross paths online. Same is true for the grocery store. And, that's kind of the approach that most people take when deciding to get on a site.

Don't you miss college, when you met a person that could potentially be your other half every semester? Just saying.

Anyway. One of my good friends, who will remain nameless, recently found a person he describes as his soul mate on a free dating site, which is completely out of the norm. A lot of other people tend to put more trust in paid dating sites, thinking that a person that is putting money into his or her search for love is more serious or likely to not just be trying to get a one night stand.

He swears that a site is a site. People are people. "Yo, just like in the club," my boy said. "You can only click with one. I was on a free site, and there were plenty of people I wouldn't talk to. But I was able to find my match, and I'm almost positive I wouldn't have met her at the spots I chill. Ya know."

I would have to agree... simply because I am very familiar with where he hangs most of the time.


So, this is where things to get complicated. I apologize for only being able to use one example here. But I think this holds true for anyone that finds a person they want to build with online.

After he met his lady my boy had to figure out what to do with the other women that he was trying to meet, get to know, figure out, take out, see how they clicked, and so forth.

"Ay, a couple of them seemed aight," he said."What should I do? Do I delete my page now?"


"What about the other women, bruh," he then asked. "I'm supposed to tell them that I'm sorry for seeming like I'm interested for the last few days only to say I don't want to communicate anymore. How lame is that?"

I sat back, and honestly felt him on that one. In most dating situations (unless you're a playa) you generally date and get to know one person at a time. Well, on a site, a person could be getting "hollared" at by four or five people are week.

"Man, I had at least five inbox messages a day," he said. "Some of them were straight, bruh."

Couldn't help but laugh after that one. Back to this blog. I think that's complicated. The easiest thing to do would be treating it normally. Like, me, I'm dating someone and I have stopped calling, responding and having dates with random female friends. Same should happen after finding a potential match online.

Things don't have to be complicated. Just be a man, or a woman and cut the other prospects loose. You're actually doing them a favor. Some of them are probably hoping things go further, whereas, you've realized you want to move forward with your MATCH.

Aight. I'm going to close out on this one. I need to go train someone. But I thought this was interesting after talking about it last night.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Missing Gridiron Grind

Stand up ALL present and former Enterprise Wildcats.

To be honest with you, it's not my accomplishments or pitfalls that I often think about from time to time. It's the essence of the game, and where it all started for me.

I think about wanting to play with Jabaar Johnson, Obie Watkins, Eddie Cole and my cousin Andre Hill during our days with the Mixon Cubs. I then wanted to be a star on the Ozark Bears squad. I wasn't very good back then. I obviously turned out to be a decent ball player later, as some of you know.

Football used to be about fun with friends and cousins.
Again, it's not the touchdowns or tackles I think about the most. It's the feeling I got when I got that call from my coach to let me know when the first practice was. And, the emotions that took over when I was given my first helmet. Man, I remember running around my front yard for hours, playing game after game in my head. Boy, you couldn't tell me anything after I got the whole uniform. You already know I was back in the yard playing with my uniform on, even on game day.

Then, I smile as I think about high school ball, especially with a reunion coming. I don't really think about college ball. Probably because my college career didn't turn out nearly as good as projected. But I got a great education, and discovered a new path.


I miss wearing my favorite khakis or jeans with my jersey on Friday.

Former teammate Mark Wilkerson, who's now married to Melissa Joan Hart. 
I miss riding with Nick (Colbert), Steven, Frank Jones, Mark Wilkerson, Cory Whitfield, and all of the nice girls that showed a brother love back then. (Smiling as I type this). I miss Thursday dinners. Friday morning devotion. I miss the steakhouse meals after ALL of our away games. We were the only high school that could get a steakhouse to stay open for us at midnight.  We did it big in Enterprise.

My childhood was good, as it consisted of a lot of football. Football taught me discipline, responsibility, accountability, and how to work toward ONE goal with a number of different individuals. Gotta love football, and it's done for us former and present football stars. Ya know.

Roll Tide!

Friday, July 19, 2013

What women want...

I was watching television the other night, and was amused as I watched a commercial advertising a new breakfast sandwich at Dunkin Donuts.

The commercial had a woman with a man. I couldn't tell if they were co-workers or dating. But the woman commented about how the sandwich was kind of hot (spicy), but not too hot and kind of referenced that same comparison to the guy.

I'm convinced that's what MOST women really want in their lives. They want a guy that's good looking, with a hot quality here and there. But not too hot that other women fall at his feet, and give them something to worry about when he's not around.

You know, a guy that's kinda HOT, but not too hot. LOL.


Doesn't it seem like your significant other is cooler, more understanding, creative and willing to do more of the things you like to do early in a relationship, or simply during that get-to-know-you period? Seriously.

When that person gets comfortable then the out of the blue questions, accusations and expanded curiosity begins... along with a number of other investigative tactics.

Why not simply keep everything going in the same direction things were seemingly progressing from the start? Why not always communicate freely, as friends do? When a person feels like he or she can't express something due to insecurity of a significant other is when bigger issues begin.

Communication is very key. We all know that. Simply remember to always keep it real with the people you want in your life, whether it be friends or significant others. Don't fake or front for anyone. Because the moment the act comes to end is when true attitudes, personalities and behaviors are exposed.

Like the voice in those FUNNY Time Warner commercials: "DON'T BE EXPOSED. Keep it real."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Couple thoughts on verdict... latest blog

Most of us have been consumed with the Zimmerman trial, verdict and opinions on everything related. The mass media has done a great job of making sure that was number one on our plates.

I'm definitely taken back a little after the not guilty verdict. Definitely.

I'm really sick of people trying to defend that verdict, and take the attention away from the obvious racial tone of this whole trial. I am not saying it's an issue to cause a riot. But this is definitely some bullshhhh. Really.

I don't want to hear about how O.J. Simpson got off, or how Michael Jackson was acquitted after being accused of having questionable communication with underage kids. Last time I checked, Zimmerman wasn't a former Heisman trophy winner or Grammy nominated artist.  Just some half-white guy in Florida. Nothing more, or nothing less. Not saying the situation would be justified if he were. Just noting the obvious difference with those cases. From what I can tell, a lot of REGULAR citizens have lost their case when trying to use the STAND YOUR GROUND law as their defense.

It's as simple as this: If it were ME on trial for chasing a black, white, hispanic or asian kid down a neighborhood street; and we got into a scuffle when I finally caught the kid... whether I was threatened or not, I am going to jail or being proven guilty of something if I ended up KILLING the kid. Hell, I would be praying for justice if someone broke into my house to rob me, and I had to kill them... hoping the jury believed I truly did the act to protect myself.

I would hate to be a law student, trying to debate all the cases that went the OTHER WAY when taken to trial. How are students going to justify this verdict when there are countless cases of the person on trial for murder going to jail or being proven guilty of SOMETHING even if they were dealing with this STAND YOUR GROUND LAW?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dating Divorced/ Seperated folks

One of the first things you learn coming up is to not fall for someone that already has sombody. I mean, you're really only setting yourself up to be hurt in the end because no matter how much you develop feelings for her or him... he or she is probably going to stay in their relationship.

The famous 80/20 rule is probably going to keep them at home. Everyone else is always a 20 until you get to know the other person well enough to see otherwise. That's if your present relationship is worth anything.

I was recently discussing this matter with a friend. He's in a relationship with a female that's going through a divorce. Actually, that's not the issue. The issue is her husband, baby daddy or ex-lover. In North Carolina, a couple has to be SEPARATED for a year before a divorce is final. So, the husband or ex-lover has been dragging his feet. From my understandings, was telling his wife or ex-lover that he's ready for things to be over.

Now that a year has come or whatever he's starting to realize that he doesn't quite want anyone else. My friend is just frustrated because that's leading to constant calls and text messages to his lady. I told him to just squash it. A dude is gonna do what he can to keep what he once had... sometimes even when he doesn't want her anymore. I told him that he would be OK if he trusted that his lady really loved him, or wanted to make their relationship work.

He seems to feel like she's down for him. But at the same time, he can't get over the fact that some dude that his lady used to love is pitching (trying to holla) at her on a daily basis. And, conversations that's supposed to be about picking up the kids turn into him trying to get her back and finding out where she may live.

I really am lost in this situation. I've never dated a married or separated woman. The only divorced women I've dated were females that hated their ex or baby daddy. So, I didn't have to face a jealous dude like that.

I really didn't know what else to say about the matter. So, I am asking if it's OK to even date a separated or divorced person SO SOON after their ordeal?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thinking BACK...

I sat back and started thinking while I looked at some of my old friends and/ or old classmates (via facebook) recently.

It's amazing how much some of us have changed through the years. I know I have my share of alterations as well. But I would like to think that my changes fit me today. I am not simply talking about physical changes.

The best football players I grew up around didn't make it to the league. A number of them didn't even make it out of college. One of those guys stick out in my mind more than the rest. I'm not going to say his name. But he was the best running backs I knew when I was younger. He and I used to always talk about how our lives were going to be different after we both made it to the NFL. Needless to say, neither one of us made it that far. His fall from glory is more of a surprise than my mine, though. Also, the best basketball player I grew up around ended up going to prison and gaining a lot of weight. He's living a normal, decent life now from what I can tell. But he's not in the NBA or balling like I imagined he would be when I was coming up.

Some of the prettiest girls don't quite look like they used to back in the day, to say the least. One of the smartest guys I knew turned out to be lose his way somewhere between high school graduation and his 22nd birthday. Today he's in a mental house. One reality that hurts me the most is to think about my little brother, who's everything to me. He's even made mistakes that have altered his life in ways I never could imagine. I never thought in a million years my younger brother would be in trouble with the law, be in prison or have a tough life.

It kind of makes me wish I could get in a time machine, go back to childhood and warn all of these people of the pitfalls they will face later. Give them advice on what to do to make it. Tell them all to stay focused and remain hungry for success.

There's so many examples that come to mind while I write this blog. Seriously. But there's no need to note everyone, or dwell on misfortunes. It's kind of one of those issues you wish you could bottle and deliver to younger people that may be dealing with things. You want to just show them the paths of some of the people from your life, and let them know that everything that glitters ain't gold, there's no guarantees or sure things. It also would help some of them realize that all things come to an end, no matter how great they may seem.

Everyone must make the proper audibles in life when things seem to be going the other way. Never give up or think things will change just because. DO SOMETHING. And, keep GOD first.