Sports talk with Jon Hamm

US-OSCARS-VANITY FAIR PARTY-ARRIVAL
Cardinals fan Jon Hamm will host the ESPYS.

Jon Hamm isn’t taking “Mad Men” questions. He’s only talking sports, be it his hosting gig at this year’s ESPYS — ESPN’s equivalent of the Oscars or Grammys — or his starring role in “Million Dollar Arm,” in which he plays real-life sports agent J.B. Bernstein as he looks for new baseball pitchers among India’s cricket champs. He’s about to wrap the latter, after which he’ll fly back to America to take the stage among athletes.

“It’s not going to be ‘The Jon Hamm Show,’ nor should it be,” he says, adding that he won’t be the only one trying to crack wise. “It’s been my experience through various dealings with ESPN through the years and stuff I’ve done with ‘Saturday Night Live’ that athletes are desperate to crack eachother up and make fools of themselves.”

Hamm is a giant sports fan; he’s most rooting for his team, The Cardinals, though his schedule doesn’t always permit him to watch them, even when they’re in the World Series. But his respect extends to everyone. “There used to be a saying — or maybe I made it up — that all athletes want to be movie stars, and all movie stars want to be rock stars, and all rock stars want to be God,” Hamm says. “I think it’s basically that no matter how good you are at what you do, whenever you look at some one else who’s excellent at what they do, you can’t help but be jealous. I’m definitely like that when I see athletes.”

He was an athlete himself, at least in high school. “Most of what it was was I hated working out. And I still do. Sports provided a way to actually get some exercise and work out while not doing something dumb and repetitive like lifting weights.”

As for “Million Dollar Arm,” it’s his chance to star in a genre he adores: The sports movie. It’s one where he doesn’t mind the cliches. “I think the formula is the good thing about sports films, honestly,” he argues. “What makes a great sports film is sticking to it — that I knew what’s coming and it got me again. With the story told in “Miracle” — I watched that game live! I knew how it was going to end! You know how it’s going to end but it still gets you. That’s the best part.”

When asked what famous athlete he’d like to play, he replies with Gordie Howe. “I can’t skate a lick. But old time hockey I find absolutely fascinating. He played hockey for four decades. Some of those may have been minor league, and maybe with his kids or grandkids. That would be pretty cool. Or I could just play Paul Newman’s character in ‘Slap Shot.’”

Inevitably his personal life comes up, and how with George Clooney once again single, some eyes are on men who haven’t married. Hamm remains unwed, though he’s been with his girlfriend, the actress and filmmaker Jennifer Westfeldt, since 1997. “I just can’t manage any sort of fascination with anyone’s personal life. It’s silly, Jen and I have been together for many years. It’s constantly mind-boggling to me that people care,” he says, with a laugh.

 

Jon Hamm’s favorite sports movies:

“The Natural”
“Bull Durham”
“Miracle”
“North Dalls Forty”
“Caddyshack”
“Hoosiers”

Maura Mandt, ESPYS executive producer, on Hamm:
Jon was a die hard sports fan growing up in Missouri — a three-sport athlete in high school. There are two main things we want: Talent — and Jon has that, and he’s proven he has comic chops by doing “SNL” —but also he’s an authentic sports fan. You can’t put someone up on this night in this room who does not have knowledge of sports this year.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…