Earlier this year, while taking a break from his relentless blockbuster schedule, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson stopped by the UCLA Health Training Center to give the LA Lakers an inspirational speech about success, which was finally posted online. The speech was part of an ongoing “Genius Series” that brings in non-sport related professionals to give motivational speeches to the team.
During a short introduction, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka discussed the inception of the series, tying together filmmaking and basketball, through an anecdote about Kobe Bryant’s obsession with The Dark Knight. Bryant was so interested in the film because, as Pelinka explains, Heath Ledger was “so locked in to that role [of the Joker],” that Bryant wanted to understand Ledger’s mental preparation and use some of the techniques on the court, so much so that Bryant and Ledger ended up having dinner together.
Johnson’s speech, which was posted on The Rock’s YouTube Channel, unsurprisingly focuses in on not only how to achieve greatness but, more importantly, how to maintain a level of consistency when at the top of your game. One of the biggest pieces of advice Johnson gives to the team is to “remember the hard times,” which Johnson uses to put all of his failures into perspective. As Johnson says, whenever a big movie is about to come out he takes a moment to remember, “I was evicted when I was 14, We were kicked off the island, we couldn’t live in Hawaii. Had no place to live ... I was arrested multiple times by the time I was 16-years-old. I remember that.” By looking back, Johnson is able to realize his successes but, also, constantly views each hurdle as having his “back against the wall.”
Johnson has often been described as one of the hardest workers in show business, and it shows with his constant domination of the box office and continuing appeal. In addition to his consistent movie output, including last year's The Fate of the Furious, Baywatch and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, last month’s Rampage, and the upcoming fourth season of HBO’s Ballers and the film Skyscraper, Johnson has also cultivated a motivational brand. His YouTube channel and Twitter often post multiple workout videos and inspirational messages.
Johnson’s inherent sense of competition is prominent within his talk to the Lakers, but it shows just how serious he takes everything he does. Despite the tepid response of some of his films, notably Baywatch, no one can accuse Johnson of not giving everything his all. If he can sell audiences on being a primatologist fighting alongside a genetically modified gorilla in Rampage, then he can probably do anything.
Johnson will next be seen in Skyscraper, out July 13. Additionally, the fourth season of Ballers is expected to be released later this year.