A FEW MINUTES WITH ... Wendell Pierce

“Treme” star Wendell Pierce talks about his athletic career, his musical aspirations and Super Bowl plans:

You’re a Ben Franklin graduate. The school is known more for its academics than athletics, but what kind of athlete were you?

I was a pretty good athlete. I played JV basketball and tennis in the NJTL (National Junior Tennis League) with the famous Pal Johnson. The football coach at BF was disappointed to learn I was going to NOCCA (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts). I was a great football player at Pontchartrain Park and Gregory Junior High.

What is your fitness regimen today?

I try to make it to the gym five times a week. I don’t always succeed. Obviously.

Treme doesn’t mention the Saints or Hornets too often. Will they ever get around to doing a sports-themed episode?

We have. Delmond watched the Saints in a famous NY Saints Fan Bar during the playoffs in ’06.

Speaking of which, when is Antoine going to play the National Anthem before a Saints game?

I opened the Hornets season two years ago with Rebirth Brass Band in person. I actually made my public debut with that performance.

Who was your favorite athlete when you were growing up?

I had several — (Muhammad) Ali, the Saints, Dr. J (Julius Erving).

Who is your favorite current athlete?

(Drew) Brees is brilliant. Whenever he has the ball I feel we can win. Every time.

What’s your all-time favorite sports movie?

“Bingo Long and the Traveling All Stars.” It was fun.

You haven’t had many opportunities to play sports figures. Is there a real or fictional character you feel would be perfect for you?

I would love to do the story of the Black Pelicans. They played in my neighborhood of Pontchartrain Park. So many stories untold about the Negro Leagues. Or Pal Johnson, the legendary coach from Landry. I knew him when I played
tennis as a kid.

Where are you going to be Super Bowl Sunday?

Working. I will have to tape the game. But I introduce the coverage on the NFL Network.

Are the Saints ever going to make it back to the Super Bowl?

A few times in the next five years. There will be a Two Dat!

Ted Lewis