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Wednesday, May 15, 2002
Ludacris

Special to Page 2

Atlanta-based rapper Ludacris burst onto the national scene with the multiplatinum album "Word of Mouf," which contains the hit singles "Area Codes" and "Roll Out." He was nominated for two Grammys in 2002 -- Best Rap Album and Best Rap/Song Collaboration.

Ludacris
Ludacris
The 24-year-old listened patiently to 10 Burning Questions from Page 2's Todd Gallagher, then moufed some interesting responses on subjects as varied as Shaq's rants on his athletic peers and the perils of being an 90-pound wrestler.

1. Page 2: Who are your favorite celebs to hang out with?

Ludacris: The main athlete I hang out with is Shaq. Yeah, he's really into rap music. He's a really funny guy.

Doesn't everybody say that?

Ludacris: He really is. Yeah, when you're chillin' with him, he's like a big-ass kid, and I'm the same way, with the cars and the fact that we both like big-game hunting. We hang out at his place in Orlando, his place in L.A. He's got crazy cars, all the games. Man, he's got a cook that's off the hook.

What's your craziest Shaq moment?

Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal
Ludacris: He's probably going to get freaked out when he sees this, but the craziest Shaq moment is when he's freestylin' or listenin' to his tapes when he's dissin' other athletes. Of course, those athletes will remain nameless at this time.

You'll give us a couple I'm sure ...

Ludacris: No, I can't, because he hasn't put them out yet. But that is the funniest s--- in the world. He's made, like, all kinds of mix tapes dissin' other players. I don't know who's heard 'em, I've heard 'em, and when he starts playin' a tape makin' fun of all of these guys you see, you can't help but just lose it. It's crazy, because you go over to his place, and he's sittin' there with a whole collection of mix tapes dissin' other athletes that's as funny as hell. Shaq's my man, and I'll tell you what, if you saw some of what he does, you'd start crackin up ...

2. How did you get the name Ludacris?

Ludacris: I made my name up. My first name is Chris, and Ludacris means beyond crazy, ridiculous -- which describes my personality, where I'm comin' from with my music, everything.

Your real name is Chris Bridges. Any relation to Todd or Nash?

Ludacris: It's funny you ask. People have actually come up to me and said Todd before. For the record -- no relation.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant
3. We've heard you talk about longevity and reinventing yourself being important. What athletes have longevity because they've reinvented themselves? Why is it important?

Ludacris: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant. They're the main ones I look to in terms of reinventing themselves. When Jordan went out of the game and came back, he kept things fresh.

Due to adding the turnaround or improving his jumpshooting ...?

Ludacris: I can't really put a finger on it, but it's more a matter of making things feel different. Nobody can expect you to keep doing the same shows over and over again and keep them exciting. During any given show, you kind of have to reinvent yourself.

4. Who were some of your favorite athletes growing up?

Dominique Wilkins
Dominique Wilkins
Ludacris: Michael Jordan, of course, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Walter Payton for his durability and records, Dominique Wilkins. I'm someone who loves to work, and Michael Jordan worked harder than anyone. He was out there every day, practicing and playing hard. That's what you gotta try to do in whatever you choose to do.

5. What sports did you play growing up?

Ludacris: You mean fooling around or seriously?

Seriously.

Ludacris: Baseball was my main sport. That was my thing. I wrestled for my school, too.

What weight did you wrestle at?

Ludacris: I wrestled at the very first level, the lowest weight. I weighed around 90 pounds when I was in high school. A lot of the matches we would have, I wouldn't even have anyone to wrestle against because they didn't have anybody in my weight class.

What made you quit?

Ludacris: Really what happened was I had to move. I was in Illinois and I had to move from high school to high school. It was just something different at each school. Either they didn't have a team or their program wasn't very good, or something. So I kind of just lost interest.

Mark McGwire
Mark McGwire
6. And what brought an end to your interest in baseball?

Ludacris: I had all kinds of trophies and was a big baseball fan growing up. I played shortstop, was fast, could do it all. I kind of got tired of it then and quit when I was about 12. It really wasn't my passion. I was always about music.

7. Would you rather be able to hit with the power of Mark McGwire, run like Rickey Henderson, field like Ozzie Smith, or hit for average like Ichiro?

Ludacris: Hit for power like McGwire. You don't have to be fast, if you can hit homers -- and your average isn't important either. He's a home run hitter, and that's what I'm looking to do every time -- hit a home run.

8. This one's for your hard-core fans: What's something about you that no one knows?

Ludacris: I snore, but only when I'm really tired. When I'm exhausted I snore away, but if I'm well-rested, everything's normal.

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan
9. If you could make only one movie -- and not of your life -- what would it be?

Ludacris: It would definitely be "The Mack." I'd play The Mack. I'd update it, and make it from 2002, with all of the stuff that was created in the '70s updated. I wouldn't make any crazy changes, so basically it would just be a new version of "The Mack."

10. What's the most Ludacris moment in sports history?

Ludacris: When MJ jumped up over that dude (Ehlo) in the playoffs and hit that game-winning shot against Cleveland and everything went nuts. That would have to be it.