September 30, 2022 | 12:06 am
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O’Shea Jackson Jr. says Kevin Durant’s Swagger is one of the best shows this fall season

O’Shea Jackson Jr discusses his role in Kevin Durant’s new TV show Swagger on Apple TV. Jackson plays a struggling travel basketball team coach who gets the DMV’s top prospect to join his team. Jackson dives into his love for the game, teasing KD, coaching influences and what makes this basketball show special from any other we’ve seen before.



Warren Shaw  00:00

What’s good everybody welcome to another episode of dope interviews brought to you by 19 Media Group and today we’re joined by actor extraordinaire and star on Apple TV swagger O’Shea Jackson Jr. is in the virtual building with good my brother How you doing?

O’shea Jackson Jr.  00:33

I’m good man chillin just waiting for the Lakers to start

Warren Shaw  00:39

I’m a Celtics fan so I can’t even, I can’t even rock with it

O’shea Jackson Jr.  00:43

Oh, this interview is over….

Warren Shaw  00:47

We got big-time beef. We got big-time well let’s jump right into it family. So you play a character by the name of lke for this great great series Swagger coming up on Apple TV. You’ve been lauded for playing and picking great roles in your career kind of what drew you to this role specifically?

O’shea Jackson Jr.  01:06

How real it was you know how close to home it was there’s so many reasons. Every role that I’ve chosen I look for something in it that I can connect with. Obviously my first role was by far the the biggest one to connect with but after that, you know, things like playing Seth Rogen his best friend and longshot you know all my friends we all hype you will hype each other up over anything you know whatever it is you can if I were to shoot a paper towel and a trash can my friend Romero be right in my ear You’re a monster greatest of all time just just so like I use that element when it comes to swagger I saw so much of myself when not only for the love of basketball but you know becoming a new father and everything that that entails you know the nervousness of an stress of so many people will depending on you and needing you to succeed it is a it’s something that as a grown man you take on you know there’s a there’s a bit in all of us that is made to provide like we are a program that like we got to get it done and when the world feels like it’s shrinking on you it can it can really damage a person and I felt like I was my most vulnerable character that I’ve played he’s he knows he doesn’t have it all figured out and he’s not scared to admit that and um yeah I really thought you know for this to be my first series that it’s it’s a great character arc and it’s a great real relatable piece of piece of art

Warren Shaw  02:56

I think it’s a great answer and you know I think for where you’re at right now and you know we kind of joke here in the beginning you know, obviously you do follow the game you do follow basketball so forth and so forth. But how do you prepare for a role like this you know, as a coach, I like that side of it too and entering this world which is very, very unique. There’s a lot of pitfalls kind of in the you know, a world so to speak. How did you prepare for this role who’s some of your coaching legends if you will be Vegemite and lift up to up

O’shea Jackson Jr.  03:21

my first coaching legend is my dad my dad was my coach for a while. I went on to coach my little brother at a point in my life. Um, obviously, you know, what type of Laker wouldn’t mention Pat Riley, or, you know, if I could be a mixture of Pat Riley and Phil Jackson, I feel like it’d be a great coach. Gregg Popovich obviously, the more of a drill sergeant, who you know, expects the team to lift one another up, I think would be the best example as far as I like. I’m just somebody who wants to Team recognize that without each other, we’re nothing. You know, it can’t just be one by one individual. We are a machine. And when we can’t have one, missing gear, we can’t have one missing piece, or the machine don’t work, you know, and at the same time, this isn’t all Kumbaya, we are in war. So out there and get it done. And I really feel that any leader of young men and women needs to be somebody who can be admired and can care to show not only the tough side, but also the vulnerability of a real human is someone that you can believe in and want to prosper as a coach the same way you would want the players to.

Warren Shaw  04:57

One of the things that strikes me about the show and I haven’t finished in this entire Ready just yet but there is a lot of realism to it there’s a lot of angles that are trying to touch on there’s COVID stuff going on in there as well too. How does that kind of just resonate with you you know that like center is trying to kind of touch on so many things throughout the course of a 10 episode series?

O’shea Jackson Jr.  05:16

I think that’s what’s gonna make us stand out is that um, you know, we speak on so many real and current things that happened that you know, you might it Swagger might come at you fast the same way that life does, you know, there might be things going down that you forgot, and it creeps back up on you, you know, the same way that it does in real life. And I feel that that level of relatability is is what’s going to make us stand out make us feel more of a representation of the current times for not only black America, but you know America as a whole and the things that youth all over the country have to deal with that don’t necessarily get a spotlight on

Warren Shaw  06:08

Somebody what you think you learned about this world, right? I mean, again, like you know about acting and you’ve been an entertainment world so to speak and everything like that for a very long time. But like I said at the outset like this is a very very unique world there’s a lot of shady people even from the coaches like you know, you kind of have an antagonist in the series you’re trying to get at you and still your players and that type of thing. What did you learn about that world so to speak, and even maybe a little bit more about the DMV so to speak.

O’shea Jackson Jr.  06:32

I mean, I’ve always heard whispers about you know, the shakiness of amateur basketball, amateur youth basketball, you know, where kids are no longer kids but pieces, you know, their pawns dollar signs, and you know, to to be in a project that firsthand shows and overly talks about shady under the table deals for kids is you know, it’s a unique opportunity to get people to speak on a subject and possibly put Swagger in a position that will make it more of an educational show, and a blueprint for kids to to learn how to see these red flags and to further protect themselves. And that should be what everybody wants.

Warren Shaw  07:30

KD is attached to this project and you know, kind of telling that story is often the DMV, did you get to interact with him at all was he onset throughout the course of this process as well?

O’shea Jackson Jr.  07:37

Um, Kevin was I believe he was nurturing that Achilles during that time so you know, a lot of that was spent on physical therapy getting ready for the season, getting back to being one of the top players in the world. And so you know, he was there for us virtually, you know, zoom meeting spoke with the kids all of that gave us his number he was able to be reached, and you know, reach for advice I had asked him about coaches that he’s dealt with. I asked him about, you know, what was his motivation having accomplished so much in his life? How does he still have that fire? And then I also asked him because it happened around that time. I asked him if he was aware that the Los Angeles Lakers had won the 2020 NBA championship or you’re that guy and yeah then I he stopped answering my text so I haven’t really asked him a question in the wild.

Warren Shaw  08:38

I saw these sometimes. There have been a lot of great basketball shows out there they’ve been some not so good basketball shows out there as well too. But one of the things I said that resonated with me watching the first couple episodes it’s just like the seems like there’s a lot of great onset chemistry but tell me a little bit about that like with your co-stars what’s that like you know you in that thing you dance and whatever like that I say got a little gooseneck on the shot as well. So what was it like on set with the fam

O’shea Jackson Jr.  09:05

um, chemistry is such a major part of it. Um, I know that every set that I go to I try to keep morale high I feel like great morale makes great projects. And I remember just wanting the kids to accept me um, there was a situation where I wasn’t always the lead guy and I was brought in late You know, and here I am coming in with people who already have set memories with each other already have this camaraderie and you know, I’m the new dude on and I had to earn that I had to earn and especially with young men, it’s something that you have to earn you can’t just come in and try to bark orders or pretend like you somebody’s Big Brother You know that you know, might get you cussed out, then right as it’s just about earning my stripes showing Um that you know I’m here to do work lead by example and you know any love and prayers that I got from my boys that was really that would make my day you know I miss them so very much I wish they all lived in LA we go grab some dinner or something or you know go to the movies but you know if Apple whoa no we can keep saying

Warren Shaw  10:27

That’s what I’m saying right that I mean it’s there’s a story there’s an arc to be told here you know how many seasons you think this thing could go bro

O’shea Jackson Jr.  10:38

Man until they stop hiring me that’s

Warren Shaw  10:42

Keeping it a buck I like that

O’shea Jackson Jr.  10:44

you know y’all try to replace me I’ll give a damn about your show no, it’s it It definitely has the potential to keep going. These are young actors um and yeah if they can make a deep run in a career out of the characters that they’re building on swagger. That is something that would mean a lot to me because I know that for most of them I was there in the beginning. And yeah, I got to see my god I got to see the young cubs give him you know, get you know, get a swagger on, it’d be great. You know, it would be an honor to be a part of the beginning of a lot of great acting careers.

Warren Shaw  11:28

What’s your favorite part of the series thus far and favorite character? That’s not you? Oh, God. Oh, probably. Not me. And I shoot nachi Okay,

O’shea Jackson Jr.  11:42

probably a Mussa. boy says my boy, Leo. You know, that’s my dog. That dude is like 38 He’s such a professional. It’s crazy. And he’s so serious about his craft. And, you know, all the things that he had to learn basketball-wise, and he he went at it, full force handled his business. And yeah, they do. Probably the best actor in the show.

Warren Shaw  12:18

The name of the show was swagger. So I got to ask you before we get out of here, what’s the most swaggy thing that you can think of that you’ve done in your life? What’s like the most you’ve flagged out you’ve ever been

O’shea Jackson Jr.  12:30

outperformed in Boston in a Kobe jersey. I was doing my pops. I went there and COVID Jersey. And Stan it. I was waiting for a bottle to hit me.

Warren Shaw  12:48

To be a little while I can’t even find on you with that. I knew that you swag enough for that. Listen, we’re running short on time. But you know, I want to say thank you again. And I know you have some screenwriting. That’s how you kind of started in this thing. You know, I mean, you’ll give Apple the nudge, maybe maybe they get you that, you know, getting the writing gig in season two, what do you think about that?

O’shea Jackson Jr.  13:08

Somehow, they’ll recognize that once you’ve let me in the door, it’s hard to get rid of O’Shea Jackson Jr.

Warren Shaw  13:17

I suppose. That’s all the time we have today. Thank you so much to my guests, the great O’Shea Jackson Jr. Make sure you follow him in all social media outlets. Make sure you hit up the show swagger on all Apple TV. I’m your host Warren Shaw. And this has been another dope interview. Thank you so much. Catch you next time.

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