Tuesday, November 27, 2001
Updated: November 28, 11:24 AM ET
The star of Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle" and Warner Brothers' "My Dog Skip," Frankie Muniz is also a knowledgeable, skilled hoopster, with a propensity for raining 3-pointers. Not everything is wine and roses in the life of this 15-year-old wunderkind, however -- Frankie's a lifelong Los Angeles Clippers fan.
Todd Gallagher sat down with Muniz for Page 2 at halftime of a Clippers-Raptors game to talk Boykins, Bird and black headbands. (Naturally, the Clips lost.)
1. Page 2: When did you first start playing basketball?
Frankie Muniz: Pretty much my whole life. My dad was always a big basketball player. I always played in leagues. Then, in fifth grade, I stopped playing, because I moved out here to do the show. Now, I don't go to school, so I can't get on any teams. I play in the NBA Entertainment league. The competition's pretty tough, but last season I averaged 13 points a game.
1a. We saw you in the Magic Johnson Celebrity Game at Staples. You've got a nice jump shot.
Muniz: Oh, yeah. But I only had eight points that game. I was so off. I usually only hit 3's, so I had to go inside. I took Snoop to the hole.
2. What's up with the headband? Is that some sort of tribute to the Clips? Are you trying to keep it real with Lamar Odom?
Muniz: I always wear a headband. I always wear my socks all the way up. I
usually wear an armband on my left elbow. In the NBA Entertainment league,
everything is official and all of our stuff has to match. Last season, we were the Clippers, and we wore all black.
2a. You were a Clippers fan before you moved out here?
Muniz: I was born in New Jersey, but I've just always liked them. I don't know why, I just do.
2b. We understand. The Clippers are the most exciting team in basketball, but it's just out here everyone's into the Lakers.
Muniz: I hate the Lakers.
3. How would you rank yourself in the hierarchy of celebrity serious Clippers fans? As far as we can tell, there's you, Kadeem Hardison and Billy Crystal. Who would you say is the most knowledgeable of the three?
Muniz: Me! Billy Crystal was, but he moved back to New York, so he doesn't count anymore.
3a. He's kind of a bandwagon fan.
Muniz: He only comes out when they're playing the good teams, when they're
playing the Lakers. Kadeem's always here, and I think he's been here for like eight years, so he's a huge fan. Maybe he's No. 1, I'm No. 2.
3b. If you could be any Clipper who would you be?
Muniz: Earl Boykins. Everybody talks about Shaq and how good he is, but he can't shoot, he can't dribble, he's just big. But look at Earl Boykins, he has to do everything 10 times as good as those bigger guys. Plus he's my size.
4. Would you rather be able to dunk like Vince Carter, pass like Magic Johnson or shoot like Larry Bird?
Muniz: I can dunk on the 9-foot rim.
4a. No, no, on the regular one.
Muniz: I can still grow and dunk on the regular one. I guess, dunk like Vince Carter. I can already shoot, I can already pass.
5. Are you going to work on your handle and try to play college basketball?
I'm going to play college basketball for & I don't know who, but I'm gonna.
5a. You've already got the shot. Seriously, are you going to work on the dribbling?
Muniz: We're doing an episode of "Malcolm in the Middle" right now where you'll see my dribbling. Actually, they yelled at me to "tone it down."
5b. Really? It wasn't believable?
Muniz: No, because I was like & I was too good. I was supposed to lose.
6. Have you ever played tennis with Jane Kaczmarek and her husband, Bradley Whitford?
Muniz: I haven't yet, although I used to play a lot of tennis.
6a. Is tennis for sissies?
Muniz: No, that's a hard sport. You've got to run. Everyone thinks it must be so easy, but a ball coming at you 125 mph is not easy to hit.
7. When's your contract up for "Malcolm"?
Muniz: In four years.
7a. Are you going to max out on the next deal? Are they going to be able to keep you under the cap?
Muniz: We'll see.
8. Would you rather be invisible, be able to fly, or have the strength of one hundred men?
Muniz: Invisible. Because then you can spy on people.
9. What's your favorite sports movie?
9a. Are you serious?
Muniz: Yeah. Whoopi Goldberg is the coach of the Knicks, and the Knicks stink, and then they come back and win the NBA championship.
10. Last but not least, the big question -- what's your all-time favorite video game system and video game?
Muniz: Only because I like Gran Turismo for Playstation 2, Playstation 2 is my favorite. I love that game more than anything.
10a. Better than the NBA one?
Muniz: Actually my favorite game is NBA Live '95 for Super Nintendo. I play that nonstop.
Todd Gallagher is a screenwriter and journalist, living in Los Angeles. He was the youngest coach and director of player personnel in the history of the USBL.