Rapper-actor LL Cool J is teaming up with the ACE Brand for the “A” Game Challenge, a nationwide contest where young athletes ages 13 – 24 can submit videos showcasing their “A” Game for a chance to win cash prizes.
The NCIS: Los Angeles actor, 45, opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about his four children and helping them stay focussed on their goals. He goes on to give his best advice to kids who are struggling in school, and he chats about “the positive impact group activities and team sports have on our youth.”
CBS: Tell us about your involvement with ACE Brand and the After-School All-Stars new charity campaign.
LL: “When I first learned about the ACE Brand “A” Game Challenge, I thought it was a great idea, supporting an important mission and I had to be part of it. I’ve seen first-hand the positive impact group activities and team sports have on our youth through my work with After-School All-Stars as well as my Jump & Ball Tournament — an annual basketball tournament and summer camp that I’ve established in my hometown of St. Albans, Queens which the ACE Brand has also graciously supported.
I was honored to help kick-off the nationwide contest with ACE Brand and After-School All-Stars where young athletes ages 13 – 24 can submit videos showcasing their “A” Game for a chance to win cash prizes.
You can submit anything from a slam dunk to a great save – we want to see it all! To enter, visit ACEBrand.com/AGameChallenge. I’ll be judging the contest I can’t wait to watch the videos and help choose a winner for this great cause!”
CBS: Were you a sporty kid growing up?
LL: “My favorite sport growing up was football, and I am still a big sports fan. Like many kids, it was my dream to be a professional football player. Team sports are so important because in addition to the athletic and health aspects, it teaches teamwork and camaraderie. As I always say, ‘Teamwork makes the dream work!’ ”
CBS: What advice can you give to young people who may have difficulties in school?
LL: “Find your inner champion. Teachers recognize when kids put in an extra effort and will give them the benefit of the doubt – particularly when they are trying their best. Stay focused in school and it will all pay off in the end.”
CBS: You have four children — what are their interests? Do they want to be in the entertainment industry?
LL: “I always tell my kids that you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it, but to stay focused on your goals. I also stress the importance of working hard and that the sky is the limit. I am supportive of whatever they want to do with their lives as long as they are happy.”
CBS: What activities/sports do you and your family like to do together?
LL: “Every one of my kids is different, and it’s all about what they want to do. I make it about them.”
CBS: You’re a successful actor to add to your list of accomplishments. Did you ever take acting classes or does acting come naturally to you?
LL: “I’ve learned a lot about acting over the course of being in films and most recently through NCIS: Los Angeles. We just celebrated our 100th episode and I’m so blessed to have been surrounded by such great actors and to learn from them every day. I’m extremely grateful for all of the acting opportunities I have had not only on TV but also in film. I have a really exciting movie coming up with Robert De Niro called Grudge Match where I play his trainer and it is coming out this winter.”
CBS: Who are some of your favorite new artists?
LL: “I’m a hip-hop fan, but prefer purist, more traditional hip-hop. I like exploring different types of music by listening to Pandora and I get excited hearing new artists to add to my repertoire.”
CBS: Your track Give Me Love from your Authentic album features Seal. How did that collaboration happen?
LL: “I had a great time working with Seal for our song Give Me Love on my Authentic album. It is one of the several collaborations I feature on the record. It was really fun working with Seal and hopefully we can do it again in the future.”