It’s a bit hard to imagine Tony Hawk being starstruck. Aside from his famously chill demeanor (even when landing jaw-dropping tricks), he’s a skateboarding deity who deserves a big share of the credit for putting the sport on the map. But in our latest Being Honest interview, the legendary skater didn’t hesitate to say that one celeb definitely caught his attention: Jack Black. But it’s not just because Black is a movie star. He’s a skater, too.
“When I found out he was truly a hardcore skater in the mid-80s, that was a shock,” Hawk tells Men’s Journal. “Let’s put it this way, he skated Upland Pipeline. There’s a very small fraction of the population that even knows what Upland Pipeline is, let alone has skated there.”
Hawk has also encountered his fair share of autograph seekers and admirers, including some A-list celebs: Charlize Theron once got up from her table to meet Hawk when they happened to be having a meal at the same restaurant.
Of course, skating isn’t the only entry on Hawk’s resume. He’s also an accomplished businessman (as we learned in a previous interview), and has made a name for himself—literally—in entertainment. How many millions of kids got their first taste of skateboarding by firing up Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on Nintendo 64? He’s also appeared in films like Police Academy 4, which gave him the chance to explore all kinds of territory on his skateboard without interference from cops or security guards.
“We got to skate pretty much anything we wanted in Toronto,” he says, “because we had the weight and the budget of a movie studio behind us.”
Star-power aside, we also discovered Hawk is just a regular guy in many ways. For one, he has a soft spot for pop-country. Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” is a guilty pleasure, and also a key hype track for him and his crew.
“That became an anthem at our ramp for awhile,” says Hawk. “If you were trying something and you weren’t making it, someone would put that on to hype you up, and it almost always worked.”
And like your average dad, Hawk is always getting upstaged by his kids—even in the video game realm. Hawk’s not ashamed to admit it. He’ll sometimes choose his son Riley’s character when playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.
“He has better style all around. He has better style skating, he has better style in his fashion,” says Hawk. “He wins.”
Check out the full interview in the video above.
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