Playing a different game

This was published in the November 30, 2011 print and online editions of the City Pulse.

Playing a different game

by Nicole LaChance

In the high-pressure world of college sports, it’s easy for players to become consumed by the game and for a career-stopping injury to seem like the end of the world. This September, Michigan State University senior Delvon Roe chose to end a promising basketball career due to chronic knee pain. But he’s found there is life beyond the court.

After his decision not to play in his senior year, Roe decided to pursue an acting career. The theater major has already been cast in two films, “AWOL,” with Liam Hemsworth, and “Gametime,” with Danny Glover and James Brolin, both set to be released next year.

He is also in the running to play Earvin “Magic” Johnson in “Magic/Bird,” a Broadway play inspired by the friendship between Johnson and fellow basketball legend Larry Bird.

“I love the ability to step outside yourself as a person and become someone totally different,” Roe said. Another great thing about acting is the ability to put aside your personal problems and dive into a character, he added.

Unlike basketball, which he has been playing since childhood, acting was not always an interest for Roe. In fact, it was not until he came to MSU that the thought even crossed his mind. As a criminal justice major, Roe was required to take two theater classes. His teachers noticed his natural acting ability and urged him to become a theater major, which he refused. It was not until a tutor really pushed him to enter theater that he decided to make the switch, he said.

““I’m so glad that she pushed me to start acting,” he said. “I really feel like I have a lot of opportunities in the future.”

Roe auditioned for the theater program and was accepted. He was also required to audition for the spring plays, and was subsequently cast a wrestler in “As You Like It.” Roe enjoyed this role because it gave him a chance to experience wrestling, which he had never done before.

His acting experience at MSU led him to sign with manager Nadia Sellers of Okemos Modeling. Earlier this year, he played a supporting role in his first movie, the war film “AWOL,” an experience that he says he greatly enjoyed.

““In movies each day is something different,” Roe said. “The last scene of a movie is really the first scene of shoot. To see that transform into a movie is really special.” He would prefer to focus more on movies in the future, but will always love the art of a theater production, he added.

If it weren’t for his chronic knee problems, however, he would never have pursued those opportunities and would of instead focused on a career in the National Basketball Association.

“That’s why I really believe everything happens for a reason,” he said. “If I had been playing I would not have been able to do ‘AWOL.’ I wouldn’t have had the time.”

Basketball will always be a part of Roe’s life. He still hangs out with his former teammates and frequently watches their games, he said, adding that they are enjoying his career as well.

““They’re glad I’m doing something that I love to do and that I have the opportunity to do,” he said. “Most people love to do two different things but never get to explore that second opportunity. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do two things I love in my life.”

There are many parallels between basketball and acting, Roe said. In basketball, you have to have confidence and learn to be calm, just as in acting.

After his graduation next May, Roe would like to pursue acting full time and has set ambitious goals for himself.

“I would like to work my way up to becoming one of the best actors there is,” he said, adding that he has a long day to go. “I feel if I put my mind, and heart and everything I have into it, one day I could possibly get to those goals.”

In acting and basketball, Roe believes in pursuing things with all your heart — and that’s advice he would like to pass onto others.

“Really believe in what your abilities are,” he said. “Believe that you are meant to do what you are doing, and if you want to do it go out and do it 100 percent.”

For more information about Delvon Roe, visit his page at the Internet Movie Database at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4615544/.

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