June 4th, 2008 – Dr. J-Water
Most of you will know Grayson Boucher as the And1 Streetball star “The Professor.” However, as of late Boucher has been making waves for his off the court talents as much as on. We are referring to his starring role in the upcoming basketball flick “Ball Don’t Lie.” Boucher stars with some heavy weight actors such as Ludacris, Nick Cannon, and Rosanna Arquette. Grayson Boucher is no stranger to the cameras and spotlight as “The Professor” has been involved with the media non-stop since his arrival on the streetball scene through the And1 basketball tour.
The Hoop Doctors (HD): Grayson, we gotta kick this off with some big thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions from The Hoop Doctors readers and of course a few thrown in from our writers themselves. We have received a lot of positive feedback on the movie “Ball Don’t Lie” (2008) from our readers on the trailer, and even some who caught the screenings at the Tribeca Film Festival. We are all excited for it to be released in mass distribution.
A lot of our readers are aware of the Rasheed Wallace interpretation of the phrase “Ball Don’t Lie” when he voices it after a missed opposition free throw on a disputable foul call. What does the phrase “Ball Don’t Lie” mean to you?
Grayson Boucher (GB): *Laugh* Rasheed is hilarious for that. For the film, what ‘Ball Don’t Lie’ means to the character I play in the movie (Sticky) is that basketball is the only thing in his life that’s real too him and its the only thing he has control over in his life. After all the rejection in his life in being shifted from 1 foster house to another over and over and being lied to numerous times, he knows that the only thing that won’t let him down in life is basketball. So that’s what ‘Ball Don’t Lie’ the phrase means to my character. For myself I think its everything. Its similarly symbolic in my life as it is to my character, and its also something I might say in the gym to someone who maybe calls a suspect foul, then has to shoot for it to be decided, then misses it. I’ll be the first to yell “See the Ball Don’t Lie!”
HD: All of our readers are huge fans of “The Professor.” Do you feel that The Professor is almost a character in itself when you are on the And1 tour? And if so, were you able to draw any parallels between The Professor and “Sticky”, the character you play in Ball Don’t Lie, that helped the transition from athletics to acting?
GB: Yeah I definitely feel like ‘the professor’ is a character on the And 1 Tour as is any person in entertainment who has a nickname and is on tour, or on a TV show. I think fans of the show ‘streetball’ think of it in that sense a little bit when watching the show and by us having character type nicknames it makes us much more identifiable to the fans. It kinda reminds me of how at one point, I think in 2005 internationally, And 1 released a whole line of gear that was comic booked themed and we were all cartoon characters on the t-shirts, shorts and shoes. Some of the stuff was pretty cool. ‘The Professor’ and ‘Sticky’ have very different lives and come from totally opposite upbringings but there were definitely parallels that I could draw that helped me when acting as ‘Sticky’. The major one was that I could relate to him in the sense that in the movie he is always an underdog as I often am in real life and always have been in my basketball career. Also, the simple fact that the characters huge and sole passion in life is basketball, which he practices constantly with a big work ethic as I always have myself and as ‘The Professor’. Overall, the Director Brin Hill told me to try to approach acting as I do basketball in the sense that I should practice my scenes and lines over and over until I have them down perfect just as I would on the court when practicing a move or working on my jumpshot.
HD: You worked with a lot of successful actors on Ball Don’t Lie; Christopher Bridges aka “Ludacris,” Nick Cannon, Rosanna Arquette, etc. Did their past success in the film industry intimidate you at all, or was it similar to basketball where playing with better players can help you raise your game?
GB: I think about a year or more before actually filming the movie, when I found out about some of the big name actors they were trying to attach to the movie, the thought of acting alongside those actors was a little nerve wracking. But as we got closer to starting to film I had rehearsed and worked on the script so much and came such a long way that I wasn’t intimidated at all. It actually helped me just as you said similar to playing with better basketball players, it raised my game.
HD: How was Luda on the black top? He got game?
GB: Entertainers aren’t the best basketball players as I’m sure you know. *Laughs* But for an entertainer, I thought that Ludacris was pretty good. I could tell that at some point when he was growing up he had played a little bit.
HD: How would you compare the atmosphere on set when you filmed the comedy “Semi-Pro” starring Will Farrell vs. the filming of a drama in “Ball Don’t Lie”?
GB: The set of ‘Semi-Pro’ had way more people involved being that the basketball scenes were in an actual arena while ‘Ball Don’t Lie’ was filmed in a gym with a couple rows of bleachers. But overall they were pretty similar though. I think what makes ‘Ball Don’t Lie’ unique is that hardly any of the basketball scenes are choreographed, a lot of it was just us guys in the gym playing pickup and it has such an authentic feel during the basketball scenes.
HD: Is Will Farrell as goofy and funny as he is on screen when the cameras aren’t rolling?
GB: Actually I found Will to be a real down to earth guy. Not someone who was always trying to be funny constantly when on set, when he is funny it comes out naturally which is great. When we spoke we didn’t joke too much, we talked about basketball a lot and I had told him how his costar in the movie ‘Blades of Glory’, Jon Heder, is also from my hometown Salem, Oregon. However, we have never met. He thought that was interesting.
HD: So you’ve now worked with two prominent hip hop stars in Andre 3000 and Ludacris. Who are your hip hop music influences? And if you could pick just one song to listen to for a pre-game pump up, what would that be?
GB: I like so many people in Hip-Hop its hard for me to narrow it down and say who my main influences are. I guess ill just say some of my favorites. Lil Wayne, Eminem, 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Kanye West. If I had to pick one song to hear to get hyped before a game it’s always different but right now it’d be ‘Milli’ by Lil Wayne.
HD: Our readers are aware that you are not just a streetball player, but also a successful conventional player having played in college, the Intercontinental Basketball League (IBL), and the Continental Basketball League (CBL). So with that being said I gotta ask: Blacktop or Hardwood? Preference?
GB: I don’t have preference for one over the other. I love whatever I’m playin at the moment the best. Right now I’ve just been doing a lot of streetball games so im feeling that most right now. The beauty of streetball is that you have the freedom to showout in front of hyped crowds who are waiting for that type of thing. But I love organized ball as well being that I’ve played it all my life at every level. If I were to choose whether i like playing indoors or outdoors better i would say it doesn’t matter, because there’s different strategy to both and that’s the beauty of it, you have to adjust to your environment.
HD: Growing up just outside of Salem, Oregon did you play other sports besides basketball, or was it all hoops all the time?
GB: Hoops 24/7. I ran track in middle school but that’s it. *Laughs*
HD: Okay Grayson, I hate that I gotta ask this dawg, but after our Ball Don’t Lie preview piece The Hoop Doctors received a bunch of random emails from our female readers like “The Professor is so hot!” So to ensure I cover all the angles and don’t receive complaints: Are you married? Single? Playing the field?
GB: *Laughs* It’s all good man, your funny saying you hate asking me that. I am single right now. I am on the road a lot of time out of the year so maintaining a relationship can be hard. I’ve done the long distance thing before and it’s tough.
HD: And for the male readers I gotta ask: Are there a lot of hoop bunnies hanging around after games on tour? Good parties? Or all business?
GB: There are chicks around a lot of times. It just depends where were playing at, a lot of cities vary. Guys on the team love to party, I don’t go out as much as I used to but I step out every now and then when it makes sense if we don’t have anything early in the morning.
HD: What do you do in the very little spare time that you actually have when not playing ball or acting?
GB: Im living in LA now so in my spare time I’m usually down there in preparation mode. Preparation for games and acting, I’m in the gym every day going hard working out and taking as many acting classes as i can. I always strive to improve my craft everyday if I can some type of way
HD: As your acting career no doubt starts taking off even more after the release of this film, will you keep playing street ball on the tour?
GB: Well you never know how my acting career will be in the long run, but no matter how much it took off I will never stop playing on tour. I love basketball too much to stop with the tour.
HD: What were you more proud of, being on the cover of Sports Illustrated for your streetball accomplishments, or being chosen for a starring role in a feature film?
GB: Im humbled to be on the cover of SI just as I am to be cast as the lead role for a movie. But I think that for me I was more proud to be cast as the lead for ‘Ball Don’t Lie’ because it was something that hopefully can open up doors for more opportunity down the road and out of all the actors in Hollywood they could have chose from, they chose to roll with me as the lead which too me is an honor.
HD: We have heard from you a few times in other interviews about how you have adjusted to all of the fame and being in the limelight. So for a different spin on it, how has your family adjusted to seeing you move from Grayson Boucher, to the famous player “The Professor” on the And1 Tour, and now “Sticky” on the big screen? Do they keep you grounded?
GB: Honestly I think my family has made all the right choices in raising me from a child to man. I aspire to raise my kids exactly as they raised my brother and I. I lived on my own since 18 and it gave me a chance to learn from my own life experiences, which I think was key. They love the fact that I’m acting now and are just as excited as I am. They definitely keep me grounded and are my biggest supporters. I think im lucky to have a family that is so supportive and always steers me in the right direction in life. Their advice to me is always super valuable and they always have my back.
HD: Alright man, thanks again for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer questions from The Hoop Doctors readers. We really appreciate it. Good luck with the And1 tour, conventional hoops, and acting! You gotta be the busiest guy in LA.
GB: You’re welcome. I appreciate you showing me love. Let me know if you guys ever need me to do anything else for The Hoop Doctors and your readers.