Denzel Washington is “glad” his eldest son quit playing American football professionally to pursue an acting career, because he suffered countless concussions during his brief stint on the field.
John David Washington was a promising young athlete at Atlanta, Georgia’s Morehouse College, and went on to play for the St. Louis Rams for the 2006-2007 season, before moving to the now-defunct NFL Europa team, Rhein Fire.
He has since decided to follow his famous father into Hollywood, and Denzel couldn’t be happier the 33-year-old is working in a less injury-prone industry.
“He’s had I don’t know how many concussions, a broken collar bone, a torn up knee and Achilles (tendon),” Denzel told People.com. “I’m glad it’s over.”
John David landed his breakthrough role in 2015 on Dwayne Johnson’s hit sports drama series Ballers, ironically portraying a football star onscreen.
However, Denzel reveals his son was also a talented basketball player, and once challenged – and beat – American football legend Jim Brown on the court on the set of the Oscar winner’s 1998 film, He Got Game, when John David was just a kid.
“Jim Brown was in the movie so John David must have been 12 or something, and… he comes running into my trailer and says, ‘Dad, can I have $5?'” Denzel recalled on breakfast show Good Morning America. “I said, ‘Why?’ (He said), ‘Jim Brown wants to play me in basketball. I can beat him, easy, just give me $5!’ So he beat him! He didn’t pay me my money back (though)!”
John David is now promoting his new Spike Lee movie BlacKkKlansman, and Denzel is proud his son has established himself in Hollywood without having to rely on his father’s help.
“That’s my son, I love my boy and I’m just happy he’s his own man, he’s independent,” the acting veteran beamed.
“He’s really good at what he does, and the fact that he’s been fighting to make his own mark, he didn’t want any help from me, I didn’t help him get onto Ballers or anything like that. The only way I helped him get into Ballers was introducing him to football as a kid, so maybe that helped.”
“But I’m just proud of he and all my children,” added the father-of-four. “My wife (Pauletta Washington) did a great job, they are good kids. Humble, hard-working, not afraid of hard work, that’s all you can ask for.”