You’ll pardon me if this is widely known already, but in watching an episode of Ballers tonight, I couldn’t help but notice that Ricky Jarret — the hot-headed wide-receiver who was sleeping with his teammates mother — had a familiar-sounding voice. It nagged at me for a few minutes until I realized, “Hey! He sounds just like Denzel Washington!” Then I realized he also looked a lot like Denzel, and after looking it up and confirming it, it turns out, he actually is the son of Denzel.
His name is John David Washington. He attended Morehouse College on a football scholarship. In fact, he was so good he was signed by the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent. It didn’t work out for him in the NFL, but he did play for the European Football League for Germany’s Hamburg Sea Devils. He then played four years for the UFL, until it folded in 2012.
In fact, in 2010, after John David Washington scored a touchdown, his mother Paula Washington was celebrating on the sideline and got drilled by an opposing team’s player, as Denzel relays to David Letterman here.
Ballers is his first major acting role (he played a glorified extra in Malcolm X).
Here’s a brief interview with him from his football-playing days. The similarities in voice are obvious.