Walking into SIR Stage37 for the Reebok RealFlex launch event in midtown Manhattan, I didn’t really know what stood before me. I knew they would have us take part in some sort of stunt course with a couple celebrity appearances, but that was pretty much it. In the complex, I was privied to a spectacle straight out of a Bruce Willis action movie. Atop the stairs to my right a fight broke out. There were punches thrown and bodies shoved. From there, the action moved to the main floor with one participant sliding down a rail and another leapfrogging over the second-story banister. As the chase continued, the setting went from an outdoor backdrop with trees, boulders and logs to juke through and hurdle over, to a street background with an actual Taxi whose hood you had to shimmy across – a la Shaft.
The chase scene ended with a climactic leap through a window from a well-positioned trampoline; breakaway glass and all. Upon completion of this well-choreographed stunt exhibition, the media was greeted by Reebok’s Head of Advanced Innovation, Bill McInnis. In his presentation on the RealFlex running shoe, he touched upon the shoe’s 76 positioned sensors on the sole that allows for training on any type of surface, in any type setting. He added that its lightweight design promotes a more natural/barfoot feel to running, while still providing the necessary protection when weathering through the elements.
McInnis then introduced action stars Josh Duhamel and Ali Larter, who briefly spoke about their on-set stunt backgrounds in Transformers and Resident Evil, respectively. We then proceeded to the stunt course where Josh and Ali lived up to their action-hero status by testing out the shoes in the stunt-approved gauntlet we witnessed the professionals tackle earlier. After his third attempt at vaulting from the trampoline through the makeshift window, we were able to catch up with Josh, who happened to be a high school basketball star in Minot, North Dakota, and also fancies himself a Laker fanatic.
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Dime: I read somewhere that you wanted to play pro ball growing up, is that true?
Josh Duhamel: I thought that I was going to be a pro basketball player or a pro athlete of some type until I realized that I wasn’t athletic enough.
Dime: What drew you to basketball?
JD: You know, I’ll never forget. For two summers in a row all I did was work on drills that I learned from this Steve Alford video. He had those little short shorts – I think he had those U.S. Olympic team short – and he had these drills where he’d stick a broom inside of a folding chair and shoot over the top of that and he had these little dribbling exercises. I was religious about it for two summers and that’s when I thought I was going to be a big-time basketball player.
Dime: Who was your favorite player growing up?
JD: George Gervin, maybe. I used to have a George Gervin poster on my wall and underneath that George Gervin poster I had a Playboy centerfold.
Dime: Who’s your guy now?
JD: I got to go with Kobe, although Derrick Rose is unbelievable. But I remember seeing Iverson play. I saw him play against the Raptors in 2001 when they went to the Finals. I saw two games in that series; one game Vince Carter had 50 and one of the other games Iverson had 50-plus and I just remember seeing Iverson play. He’s one of my all-time favorites too, I just loved the way he played basketball. But he was so quick, there was no wasted movement. For a guy who was undersized and underweight, he made up for it because he was so efficient in his movement. Same with Steve Nash, he’s another one of my favorite players. Because they’re maybe a little bit shorter and not as quick as some of these guys, but you saw almost every move before it was going to happen, and that’s what I love about watching guys like them.
Dime: What is it that you appreciate about the Lakers?
JD: I’m a big Phil Jackson fan for one, he’s a North Dakota boy UND…so is Dale Brown by the way. But I love the history of the organization and I love Kobe. He’s just an assassin out there and I just love that. He’s an alpha-alpha male. If you were to take all the best players he’d still be the leader.
Dime: Do you think Phil Jackson is done with the Lakers after this year?
JD: It seems like it, it looks like it. You never know.
Dime: There’s been talk about him coming to the Knicks to finish his career full circle.
JD: Is that what he’s thinking about? I hate to see him leave but I’d like to see New York come back too and be strong again. They’re getting there.
Dime: How many Lakers playoff games do you think you’ll be able to catch live or on TV?
JD: I’ll watch a lot of it… I mean I’ll watch every game pretty much. How many will I go to, I don’t know but I’m definitely going to watch them.
Dime: Who would you like to see in the Finals this year?
JD: I like to see the Heat get beat. I didn’t like all the shit-talking last year. When they did the pep rally in Miami and all that… that was just too much. I like when teams like Chicago come out of nowhere, these young teams that aren’t all hyped. I’d like to see Chicago out of the East and out of the West I’d like to see the Lakers.
Dime: What about a movie or TV show where you play an athlete of some kind?
JD: Well that’s always been one of my dreams; to do it before I get too old. There’s always been a little desire to either play a football player or baseball player, even basketball although I don’t know how believable I’ll be as a competitive basketball player.
Dime: You mentioned when you were introduced that you like rocking the Reebok Pumps. Were those the shoes to have when you were growing up?
JD: Oh of course, who didn’t? You weren’t going to be any good at basketball if you didn’t have a couple pumps in there (laughs).
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