Tony Hawk is one of the most celebrated extreme athletes of all time. He’s also a successful businessman who helped turn skateboarding into a popular and profitable sport. But just because you’re wealthy and also involved in sports are you also qualified to speak on important sports issues you’re unfamiliar with.
When faced with such quandaries you have two options. The first is to fake it with all your might, bluffing your way through the stopwatch in your head that’s ticking down the seconds until you’ve successfully wasted everyone’s time. The other, braver, option is to just say you have no idea what to say about that particular issue.
On Wednesday we once again saw this situation play out when Tony Hawk, creator of Birdhouse Skateboards and the Boom Boom HuckJam, was interviewed about the NCAA and the federal probe into corruption in men’s college basketball on CNBC.
How did this happen? In this world full of constant news, why did anyone look at the state of the universe and go “You know I bet Tony has something to say about Rick Pitino’s departure at Louisville.” Was there nothing else to talk about with him today?
Unsurprisingly, he does not have much to say about the ever-expanding federal investigation into how shoe companies and college coaches funneled money to student-athletes and their parents in order to sway them to attend particular universities.
“I haven’t really been following that story,” Hawk said. Knowing that was not the proper amount of seconds necessary to move on to another thing he has no real strong feelings toward one way or another, he continued.
“I haven’t really been following that story but I do feel like there is a… you know, machine, that is the team sport. Especially in college. And it’s more like you’ve got to fit into that pattern in order to be successful, and it may not be that the kids are enjoying it along the way. And I feel like you can’t let them lose that passion for it.”
Admittedly, it was a pretty strong effort. But what else do we have for Tony, the first person to ever land a 900? Hey he made a lot of video games, maybe he knows something about Esports? He’s asked about video games about 3:30 into the interview.
“I can’t pretend to understand it enough to be passionate about supporting a team,” Hawk said, making his Esports interest equivalent to the rest of America’s interest in the NHL. It was awkward as hell, but he did have a good joke about getting paid to play video games.
“I wish I got paid to play Missile Command when I was a kid,” he said, trying his best.
He was later asked about the tax code, something he as a wealthy fella may actually know something about. But he also declines to answer that with any real insight either.
Anyway, please invite Tony Hawk onto your television show and ask him questions about things he knows nothing about. It’s entertaining as hell and makes for surprisingly great television.