By Delinda Lombardo on
Hank Baskett, III, former NFL wide receiver, current reality television star (Kendra on Top) and Honorary Chairman of The Griffin Gives Foundation, has had a busy year in terms of giving back and balancing his personal life.
He and his wife, Kendra Wilkinson, are prepping for baby number two while Baskett’s father is recovering from cancer, yet the former NFL star has cut out a good portion of time to donate his efforts to aid numerous charities and host his annual Hank Baskett Golf Classic.
Most recently, via his Griffin Gives Foundation, Baskett has created a personal gaming console refurbishment program aimed at benefiting pediatric care centers and military service members.
Look to the Stars was eager to speak with the big guy about his charity work, inspirations, fatherhood, video games, and giving-back.
Tell us about the Griffin Gives Foundation and the refurbishment of gaming consoles, how did this come about?
I’m involved with a lot of video game companies and with the new Xbox 1’s coming out – the new PSP 4 coming out – there are going to be so many old units. And sure, you can go to a store and get thirty bucks for your console, but I thought why not do something to change someone’s life you know? So through the project we are doing now, individuals can go to our website, fill out a form, donate your old console, we’ll give you a $150 tax credit. Then you get to choose if you want it to go to a children’s hospital or to a veteran serving in our Armed Forces overseas.
When did this initiative start?
We started this two weeks ago and have had so many people reach out to us so far, even without a big media push – we even had one guy donate 20 consoles to us, which was amazing.
Can gaming be therapeutic?
Yes, that’s why when it comes to working with children who have been abused or have a debilitating disease at a children’s hospital, sometimes playing games helps. If you can give these children a chance to play online with all their friends, it helps them forget they are in a hospital ward. More importantly, another company I’m involved with – Over Dog – pits professional athletes against fans, so if you’re able to give a child the opportunity to play one game of Madden with Adrian Peterson, you never know what that little burst of energy and excitement can do for them.
How has being a parent changed the way you look at the world?
You really appreciate all the little things again because you get to see the joy of someone experiencing something for the first time. Now I can remember what I felt as a child when I see little Hank’s expression as he experiences something new, I love it.
What has been the most difficult part of parenting?
I want little Hank to be raised old school, the generation now has changed so much and I want Hank to be a respectable young man. I tell him constantly ‘always take care of mom, ’always be safe with mom,’ ‘always be nice to your little sister’, so its hard because you want to instill so much in them, you do your best to raise them right – and it’s such an amazing feeling when you see your son give his mom a flower.
So do you keep little Hank away from video games?
No, he’ll play Lego Batman on his iPad. I don’t let him see certain games yet. I’m against this whole ‘if a kid did something bad it’s because he watched a video game,’ cuz I’ve played every bad video game possible and I’ve never wanted to shoot anybody. It’s not the video games. People don’t want to own up to their actions, everybody wants to give an excuse for why something happened.
It’s a fine line but I think lack of parenting plays a big factor, letting your kids play video games all day is not good parenting. You have to be involved. I have every game Hank plays on my phone so if he has a question and I’m not there I can tell him how to do something. I want to be involved because I want to know what he’s doing.
If you could ask your fans to do one thing to better this world, what would it be?
I would take away the sense of entitlement. It seems that everyone feels like they are entitled to everything these days without having to earn anything. I don’t like that. Hard work is one of the best characteristics you can have in life – if you are willing to work for something. Kids these days feel like everything should be given to them, and I just don’t like that.
That must be difficult to balance that in your household?
It is, but Hank knows if he starts to not appreciate something, it gets taken away. Whenever Kendra and I talk to him, if he goes to time out or something like that, I make sure afterwards to talk to him and explain why he had a time out. I don’t just say that was bad – he doesn’t know what he did. You’ve got to explain to your children why what they did was bad, if they are getting in trouble all the time and don’t know why, that’s not good.
You must be doing something right, your parents did a great job with you.
Both my parents are amazing. My dad is the greatest person I’ve met in my life. I just wish he could meet every person in this world, that everybody could talk to him because everybody that does says the same thing, they walked away ‘enlightened’ by him. He’s just a great person and that’s why I knew he would beat lung cancer.
Which reality show, aside from yours, would you want to be on? Celebrity Apprentice, Survivor, or the Amazing Race?
Man I’d be on ‘Wipe-Out’. LOL. Amazing Race would be cool but I cant eat some of that stuff. Celebrity Apprentice would be awesome because if you can get in with Donald Trump and prove your business savvy to him, you’ve got a very good chance of succeeding – the man is very successful, that’s why I follow him on Twitter and stuff like that. He makes himself accessible, shares his knowledge and I like that.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
It would have to be a song that reminds me of my dad, R. Kelly’s ‘I Believe I Can Fly.’ He sang that at my state track meet when I broke the record in the high jump – he was literally singing it. I could hear him singing it over everyone and it was the most amazing feeling, he taught me to keep trying, keep trying.
For over twenty years, my dad has been the director for the Oasis Children’s Advocacy Center, it’s a very small nonprofit in Clovis New Mexico. He has the hardest job I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s the one that sits down with abused children to get them to open up about what happened because if you put them in court they aren’t going to open up in front of a bunch of people. So he has to get them to open up to him – it’s tough, but even though he was battling lung cancer, flying to Los Angeles to get his chemo, he would still go back and do whatever he could to help those children.
You have an awesome event coming up?
Yes, I am hosting an event at Crown Plaza SuperBowl Weekend. We booked the Crown Plaza in Times Square and are allowing fans, athletes, military personal, celebrities, everybody to just come in there and play games all day with each other.
For more information on how to donate your used gaming console, click here.
Huge thanks to Hank Baskett for taking the time to speak with us, and to Traci Coulter for making this interview happen. To find out more about Hank and his work, visit his official website.
Copyright © 2014 Look to the Stars