Chop-Up: Maino talks hoops skills, 'Heard U', acting roles and more

Chop-Up: Maino talks hoops skills, 'Heard U', acting roles and more

Celeb Chop-Up

Chop-Up: Maino talks hoops skills, 'Heard U', acting roles and more


Maino will star in the new Tupaz biopic All Eyez On Me. (Photo: Getty Images)

Maino will star in the new Tupac biopic All Eyez On Me. (Photo: Getty Images)

Every time, without fail, when we host hip hop artists on the Celeb Chop-Up they always get around to proclaiming to be top dog when it comes to rappers who play basketball.

Maino, however, broke the proverbial mold.

“Back when I played, I wasn’t the star,” he said. “I was a role player, but I was OK with that. When you learn to play your position you have more success.”

He’s hoping his beloved New York Knicks will take heed to that concept; though he’s not ready to talk NBA Playoffs just yet.

“All I can say right now is we’ll see,” Maino said with a laugh.

We caught up with Brooklyn emcee to chop-it-up about everything from his new single Heard U to his role in the new Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez On Me to why he says he’d survive if a scenario like The Walking Dead actually went down.

Jason Jordan: I always like to gauge the sports backgrounds and experiences of all of my guests on the Celeb Chop-Up; what sports did you try coming up?

Maino: I grew up playing basketball in the crates behind the building. Everybody had hoop dreams.

JJ: That’s true and everyone had a shining moment too! Tell me about yours.

M: I played in PAL, which is a summer league here in Brooklyn, and I scored 12 points in one game and that was big for me because ball wasn’t my day one thing.

JJ: Nice, so you were more the role player than the “all I needed was a shot in the NBA” guy?

M: (Laughs) Yeah, nah. I was definitely a starter, but this is when I’m around 11 years old. I wasn’t the star player, I was the role player, but I was OK with that.

JJ: You’re from New York so I know you’re a Knicks fan. My question: Are the Knicks back?

M: Well, they always have a way of making us feel that way. When Carmelo first came everyone was excited, but all I can say right now is we’ll see. Hopefully we can get our groove back. I’m optimistic. I’m a New Yorker and I live and die by that!

JJ: Understood. Let’s take it random in 3,2,1… What do yellow traffic lights say to you?

M: (Laughs) That means hurry up and get through before the light turns.

JJ: What’s your biggest pet peeve?

M: Liars.

JJ: What competition based reality show would you absolutely win?

M: Man I can’t think of the name of it; I think maybe American Ninja, I’ve always wanted to do one of those courses. They look fun and you’re working your whole body out. You’re watching the TV like “Come on man, you couldn’t jump over that?” It looks fun.

JJ: Interesting. OK, you’re from New York, so tell us once and for all who has the best pizza in the city?

M: Wow, you know what, I’m gonna keep it all the way 100 with you; I love Pizza Hut!

JJ: Wow, you’ve probably just been spoiled by authentic pizza so long that you’ve resorted back to the chain.

M: (Laughs) You’re right! I just like that golden crust! But there’s a spot in Brooklyn called Grimaldi’s and the lines are always wrapped all around the block. The clientele on this pizza is out of this world!

JJ: President Obama’s Secret Service code name is Renegade; if you were President what would you pick your code name to be?

M: God! You’ve gotta protect God.

JJ: That’s a fact. Would you rather have the power to be invisible or the power to read minds?

M: Ooh wow! That’s a great question. I’m gonna say invisible; I want both though.

JJ: What was your worst pre-fame job?

M: I’m sorry to tell you man, but I’ve never had a job. Actually when I was in prison I had to work at the mess hall. That was the worst job ever. Hands down!

JJ: In the epic game of Paper, Rock, Scissors which object do you find that you get the most wins with?

M: Scissors. Trust me!

JJ: Everyone watches The Walking Dead; let’s say that scenario actually happened, how would you make out in that world?

M: Oh I think I’d be OK. See those zombies don’t walk too fast. I think I can make it because I know how to run. Really though, I’m just shooting all day long.

JJ: If you would 100 percent get away with it which crime would you commit?

M: I’d probably rob a bank.

JJ: If you could go back in time and see what really happened in any mysterious event in history which would you pick?

M: I’d like to learn about how the pyramids were actually built. We really don’t know 100 percent.

JJ: What sitcom intro song do you know every word to?

M: The Jeffersons! (Begins singing) “Movin’ on up, to the eastside…”

JJ: What random fact can you tell me right now?

M: The sun is just under 93 million miles from earth.

JJ: That’s impressive! If you could be any current athlete on the planet for 72 hours who would you pick?

M: Floyd Money Mayweather! Why not.

JJ: OK, we’ve got Yellow Tape, we’ve got movies and a lot of different things going on with you, talk about what fans have to look forward to from you.

M: Definitely, thanks again this was fun. We’ve got a lot of things going on; first and foremost we’ve got the single Heard U out right now and that’s doing really well. We just dropped a video for that that’s all over TV right now. We’re dropping a new EP really soon. I’m in the new movie All Eyez On Me, which is the Tupac movie and that’ll be out this year. I did another small acting role in another movie with Nick Cannon and Amber Rose too. Just branching out and doing different things and having fun with everything.

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY


More USA TODAY High School Sports
Chop-Up: Maino talks hoops skills, 'Heard U', acting roles and more
I found this story on USA TODAY High School Sports and wanted to share it with you: %link% For more high school stories, stats and videos, visit