Jamie Foxx and his entourage were looking for a game of pickup basketball in Washington Tuesday afternoon.
His hotel for the D.C. stay, The Four Seasons on M Street is only blocks away from the L.A. Sports Club, which boasts two full-sized basketball courts, where the District elite sweats. He probably could’ve enticed any number of the Washington Wizards into a game of hoops.
The Academy Award-winning actor instead packed his Louis Vuitton messenger bag and headed to the Lerner Health and Wellness Center and faced a group of college gym rats for an afternoon competition.
Foxx was joined by three friends at HellWell, including Dave Brown, who is also appearing in “The Kingdom,” a movie that has filmed in Washington for the past week. Brown, who said he played college ball at Morehouse College (Ga.) in the mid-1990s, said they were looking for college kids to run with. The crew got in touch with Darrell Brooks, an assistant on the GW men’s basketball team, to escort them into the building. How they know one another is unclear.
“I’m Larry Blackbird,” Foxx said after finishing a game in which he nailed three shots.
In actuality, Foxx was a smidge better than mediocre on the hardwood. He nailed about four of six jump shots and took the ball to the basket once on an impressive drive.
“You saw that on the run, you saw all of that right?” Foxx said of his jazzed-up layup. “I heard a couple of people say ‘God damnit, he’s just a comic.'”
Maybe that’s true. Foxx’s performance on the court was more “Any Given Sunday” than “Ray.” Closer to “Miami Vice” than his prowess on the hook of the Kanye West hit “Gold Digger.”
Foxx suited up for his Foggy Bottom debut in a navy blue GW basketball t-shirt, blue GW shorts and grey Air Jordan’s. Brooks gave Foxx the GW outfit, none of which is for sale to the general public. He kept his blue New York Yankee hat on during the game, which covered a blue doo-rag. Foxx’s large diamond studs stayed planted in his ears during the contest, which included former GW basketball player Dior Toney.
But Foxx’s intra-game garb choice was slightly confusing. After watching a match in his game clothes from a courtside window seat on one court, Foxx rose and fully redressed in True Religion jeans, a baby blue t-shirt and sweater vest, appearing as though he was ready to leave the building. He walked across the room, with all eyes fixed on his every step, to the second court and dressed back into his playing outfit, all within a span of about three minutes.
Despite the somewhat random wardrobe change, Foxx’s antics in the G Street edifice were as eccentric as the regulars who suit up for daily pickup games. At times, he yelled at teammates for a lack of defense, boxed out and fought for rebounds and took ill-advised shots that flirted with success but ultimately rattled out.
After his last game, Foxx stayed around and signed autographs and snapped photos with fans before heading into a black Lincoln Navigator waiting outside the gym.
Foxx and Brown said they planned to leave for Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday morning to continue filming “The Kingdom,” which co-stars Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman and Jeremy Piven. In Washington, Foxx and friends partied at Play, a club often promoted by 202 Productions, a GW-based promotion company. Foxx was spotted at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., taking in the Monday Night Football game between the Redskins and Minnesota Vikings from the owner’s box with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Brown said. The Foxx entourage spent a lot of time with Daniel Snyder, the Redskins’ owner, Brown said.
Celebrities, or quasi-famous athletes, have a history of appearances in the building. Members of the GW basketball team frequently play with University commoners on the third-floor hardwood. Richard “Rip” Hamilton, the Detroit Piston swingman and former University of Connecticut standout for GW men’s head coach Karl Hobbs, has been known to play with the GW basketball team on the HellWell courts.
The appearance of Foxx in the building seems a bit more odd. The actor has no direct connection to GW, he said, which may violate zoning regulations.
When asked if he planned to make any return to GW for more ball, Foxx seemed confident this would be his only appearance.
“I think they’re going to retire my number after this one,” Foxx said with a smile.