Michael B Jordan isn’t really an athlete (even though his name sounds like a certain pro basketball legend), but he’s played one on TV—and in the movies. The former star of the hit NBC series Friday Night Lights as well as this fall’s smash Rocky spinoff, Creed, is a natural in athletic roles, thanks not only to his tall and lean physique but also his lifelong obsession with sports. The self-described “die-hard Giants fan”—and December 2015 Men’s Fitness cover model—spoke with us about his predictions for Super Bowl 50, Creed II, and how sports style can be high fashion.
MF: Where are you watching the big game?
MBJ: I’m actually still working out my ticket situation. Hopefully the box works out. I’m trying to get a Carolina Panthers jersey, so if Cam doesn’t feel like going a couple downs I can step right in there and pull out my best impersonation [laughs]. Or pull a Vince Howard [his high school player character on Friday Night Lights].
MF: Since the Giants are out of the picture, is Carolina your team in this game?
MBJ: Yeah. People want to see Peyton [Manning] win one more and ride off into the sunset, or you’re in the younger generation who wants to see Cam do it. And I’m in the Cam generation. He seems like a cool dude. A good role model.
MF: Any prediction for the game?
MBJ: Either it’s going to be a blowout by Carolina or the Broncos are going to win by field goal. The point spread… I want to say 35 to 33. You’ll know if it’s a blowout within the first five minutes of the game. If it’s not, then I think it will be close.
MF: Are your football predictions generally accurate?
MBJ: Last time I was on Sports Center I predicted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beating the Pittsburgh Steelers when they hadn’t had a win yet in the season. This was two seasons ago. My predictions are pretty spot-on [laughs].
MF: Being from New Jersey, the Giants are your team. How did you feel about their last season with [former head coach] Tom Coughlin?
MBJ: I felt like Coughlin contributed his best years with us. He cared about the players and the organization. I think he was humble enough to know when it wasn’t working out and it was time to go another direction. Hopefully before I turn 35 I’ll see the Knicks and the Giants take home a title [laughs].
MF: Do you see any new trends in how your friends support their teams with apparel?
MBJ: I remember when Under Armour came out—anything that stretched to fit your body was cool. Spandex! [laughs]. That evolved into the compression clothes that are popular now. The NFL wants their fans to be able to feel like their favorite players and be able to wear the same things they’re wearing, so they have a line of clothes that emulates that.
MF: What NFL apparel would you wear on the street, to a game, or to a workout?
MBJ: The old throwback jerseys. You can wear those anywhere. If you buy them small enough you could go to the gym and work out in them. You could wear them playing flag football or you could wear them to the club. But they also have shirts and long-sleeve tees you can wear on game day or on the weekends at the house. You can rock it to work on casual Friday or out when you’re getting something to eat. It’s a lifestyle type of thing.
MF: Your most famous role to date was Adonis Creed. Do you see the success of that movie spawning a whole new series of sequels, just as the original Rocky did?
MBJ: I think so. I love that world; I love the character. I think the people want to see him win a world title, and I love working with [director] Ryan Coogler.
MF: Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers [who played Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies] really increased their conditioning for every sequel. If you continue to play this character, do you plan on bringing a better body into each movie?
MBJ: Yes! And that’s something we thought about while making the first one. We didn’t want me to be super chiseled. I had to look like a guy who didn’t have a trainer, who learned to train on his own. That was the character. If and when there’s a second one you’re going to see me step it up.
MF: What tips do you have for getting into fighting shape now? For losing fat or gaining muscle quickly?
MBJ: I think the biggest misconception is that to lose weight you have to not eat. If you eat healthy and work out and drink enough water you’ll burn the fat off. And just be consistent. I think once you’re fed up you’ll make up your mind up. When you say, “I’m tired of being overweight,” that’s when it’s going to happen. It starts with mental strength.
MF: You don’t look like you lost too much of the swole since Creed.
MBJ: I’ve lost about 12 pounds. I’m still boxing. I get it in when I can.
MF: You’re almost 30. What are your plans going forward?
MBJ: Hey, man, relax! [laughs]. Hopefully, in my 30s, I’ll have a production company that’s a well-oiled machine. Ryan [Coogler] is pushing me to direct my own short. He’s been telling me there’s no right time, just get out there and tell your opinion, your perspective. I want to be involved in all facets of my industry, not just in front of the camera. Writing, directing, and producing—creating opportunities for other people.
Watch Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, February 7, on CBS at 6:30 p.m. EST, and pick up official NFL apparel at nflshop.com.