DEMETRIUS "HOOK" MITCHELL IS NOT A LEGEND BECAUSE OF THE FILM ABOUT HIS LIFE. HE WAS A LEGEND LONG BEFORE IT WAS MADE. THAT'S WHY IT WAS MADE. VINNIE BAGGADONUTS CHATTED WITH THE PLAYGROUND B-BALL LEGEND ABOUT HIS LIFE BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE FILMING OF HOOKED: THE LEGEND OF DEMETRIUS "HOOK" MITCHELL.
Vinnie Baggadonuts: Howís it going, man?
"Hook" Mitchell: All is well.
VB: How have things been?
HM: Mentally or physically? (laughs) Which one do you want to hear-- the good news or the bad news?
VB: Well, get the bad news out of the way, first.
HM: Man, the only bad thing is I canít do it all in one day, you know?
HM: You try to do so much, but canít get enough done in one day.
VB: Do you feel like youíve been playing catch-up for the last few years?
HM: Ummm... not so much catch-up, because what Iíve learned is to be patient and let things manifest themselves. But it is like Iím trying to get to a place Iíve never been before, recapture a few things.
VB: So, when did you actually first see the film [Hooked: The Legend Of Demetrius "Hook" Mitchell]?
HM: Lemme think... was it last July they sent it to us? Man, it brought tears to my eyes.
VB: How did it feel to see people talking about you in such a positive way, showing all that love for you?
HM: It was kind of hard to see, because I never knew these guys felt this way about me. I also never view myself as being a "star" on the basketball court. Growing up, I just wanted to constantly be better. I guess the hard work paid off.
VB: Have you been able to hook up with Jason [Kidd] or Antonio [Davis] or any of those guys since you got out?
HM: Actually, I spoke with Jason Kidd. Heís about to send some stuff to my foundation. I also spoke to Gary Payton. Young Teen Entrepreneurship designed some t-shirts for me, and we gave some of them out at a Gary Payton basketball tournament at the beginning of the school year. And Brian Shaw is coming to the screening weíre having tomorrow. So, Iíve spoken to them, but havenít yet seen any of them face-to-face.
VB: Is it hard to deal with people coming up to you on the street, asking for your autograph?
HM: Oh, man....
HM: Itís different. Itís real different. Sometimes, itís uncomfortable, but I have to accept the notoriety that I have; that Kicked Down Productions and Fader Films has allowed me to have. Who would imagine a 15-minute phone call from Michael Skolnik would lead to all this?!?
HM: I have people calling me from all over the world, speaking about my athletic prowess. And I donít know if youíve seen the Bounce magazine feature, but itís unbelievable!
VB: With all this attention-- the phone calls and projects and events-- is it hard to do something as simple as get some sleep?
HM: Thatís one of the reasons Iím under the weather right now, man. Iím trying to tackle all this stuff by myself. What Iím trying to do now is design a team of people to be around me, to help me out. Initially, itís kinda hard to get people to trust you and help you out. But now, I got vultures coming after me because of all the excitement. I saw the film on Amazon the other day, man. Itís all over the world!
VB: Is that helping Project Straight Path get off the ground at all?
HM: We really havenít been having too many donations, but Reebok has helped the program a lot. I donít know if youíve seen it, but you can go to their site and see me on there with 50 Cent and Allen Iverson. Thatís the most unbelievable thing Iíve been a part of! I mean, man, who could imagine after all this Iím on the Reebok International website with one of the best players in the league, as well as some of the top entertainment artists in the country.
VB: You seem to stay pretty humble despite all this stuff.
HM: I gotta stay humble, especially right now, because I canít let myself lose focus. When I got conscious of my situation, I said to myself, "The best thing that could come out of this success is being able to change lives, so kids donít have to go through the things I had to go through."
HM: What humbles me is when I receive letters from people in prison, and when I go back to my community and see people still doing the things theyíve always done. Also, to go back to the elders in my community and let them know that I finally got the message theyíd been attempting to provide for me all this time. You know, itís kind of something Iíve been all my life. A person just canít wake up one morning and say, "Iím humble now."
HM: Itís just something thatís incorporated into you. Itís not that Iíve become humble. Iíve just been humble.
VB: I read that you tried out for the Golden State Warriors.
HM: Yeah! I worked out for the Warriors. Right now what weíre doing is, they are hiring me on for a six-month trial basis. Iím gonna run basketball camps, and am on the NBA's Read To Achieve program. Thatís very unique, to me-- a person coming out of the situation Iím coming out of, having educated himself in prison.
VB: Whatís it like to have that opportunity?
HM: Kinda indescribable. As much as Mike Skolnik and Rob Stone donít want me to give them credit, as much as they say, "Itís all you, Hook," I tell them, "If it wasnít for y'all, all these great things going on in my life right now wouldnít be going on."
VB: Do you get to hang out with those dudes a lot?
HM: No. Itís kind of hard because Iím in Oakland, and theyíre in New York. We talk on the phone a lot. Even with their very busy schedules, I try and consistently call them. Sometimes, Iíll have so many things going on, that Iíll call them and ask them what I should do or how to do it! Itís like calling brothers.
VB: So, of all of your opportunities, which is the biggest that you want to pursue?
HM: The biggest thing I want to do, the first thing, is to just extend the humblest form of gratitude to God for allowing me to be where Iím at now. A lot of people donít make it out of that world I was in. The ultimate goal is to start up a recreational and educational program for kids that donít have the resources. I also want to write a book. When I was incarcerated I kept a journal from 2000 thru 2004. That could entail about two or three books.
HM: I even wrote about every time I played basketball! While I was incarcerated, I always had a pen and a dictionary in my hand. That was me educating myself. Thatís why I want the program to be about education and recreation.