Dhani Jones is big and fast and strong. But, beyond that, he doesn't much resemble an NFL linebacker. It's not just his fondness for bow ties, haiku, and Eastern philosophy. The Cincinnati Bengals standout has a working relationship with Al Gore through climate change educator 350.org, a sporty Travel..
Dhani Jones is big and fast and strong. But, beyond that, he doesn't much resemble an NFL linebacker. It's not just his fondness for bow ties, haiku, and Eastern philosophy. The Cincinnati Bengals standout has a working relationship with Al Gore through climate change educator 350.org, a sporty Travel Channel series ("Dhani Tackles The Globe" which debuted this week and airs Mondays at 9 p.m. EST), and a fixed gear bicycle that he much prefers to his old fleet of very fast-and very unsustainable-cars. He is, in a word, progressive. And how refreshing that is. GOOD talked to Jones about Barack Obama's first month in office, why he rides a bike, climate change, and rival TV host Bear Grylls.GOOD: So I hear you've been traveling the world learning new sports, like Russian sambo and muay thai, for your show. Aren't you supposed to practice football during the off-season?DHANI JONES: Probably, but all these exotic sports and fighting techniques are making me a more well-rounded athlete. I just got off a sailboat that Team New Zealand will race in the Vuitton Cup. I was their 18th man. Before that, I was playing rugby in England and hurling in Ireland. It's all cultural cross-training. Most of my Bengal teammates workout in a gym during the off-season, travel around to second homes, relax, do whatever they wish. But I love to see the world and experience new cultures, to push myself and learn. I like to let things get a little crazy and unconventional. This show is just a televised version of what I'd be doing anyway. Instead of Dhani the wanderer, I'm Dhani the host.G:What TV hosts do you admire? DJ: I always loved Bob Barker. Larry King is good. And Andrew Zimmern [of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods] ... Who eats things like that? I actually had bird's nest soup, made with real bird saliva, before the San Francisco game last year. I played horribly. But, really, there are a lot of incredible hosts out there. I'll say this: I could hang with Bear Grylls on Man Vs. Wild. The question is whether or not he could hang with me and do what I do in other countries.Image courtesy of Travel Channel.G:President Obama has been in office for a month now, during which time you've mostly been out of the country. How has Obama been talked about abroad?DJ: It's funny. Not long ago I was in Angkor Wat, where Tomb Raider was filmed, and these kids selling postcards on a dusty little street saw me and said, "Mr. Obama! I know your Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger!" It's amazing to me that Obama has gotten the attention of so many people-people you might not expect-overseas. It's almost all positive attention, but folks in Europe and Africa and Asia are also genuinely curious what will have been accomplished a year or two from now. And so am I. This is just the beginning. If he can maintain his level of realness though-doing things like having a beer at an NBA basketball game-I'm sure he'll maintain the high approval he's gotten thus far.Image courtesy of Travel Channel.G:Tell me about your hipster bike.DJ: It's a fixie, made by Surly, and I ride it everywhere-even to practice, which some guys find funny. I also have a Cannondale, for when I need gears-like going straight up the two-mile hill to my house in Cincinnati. Riding is a great workout, but I mostly do it because it's fun, and it's better for the planet than my sports cars were. I've sold most of them.G:What do you do for Al Gore'sBill McKibben's 350.org project?DJ: I travel the country telling people my story, explaining how I've lived and how I live now. The message is basically one of sustainability, and how the average person can make little changes in lifestyle that add up, and help fight climate change. Al has been a hero of mine for a while now, and I'm very proud to help spread his message. My next stop is a panel discussion at Middlebury College, in Vermont, on April 4th.G:Any parting wisdom? I know you're fond of aphorisms.DJ: Live, see the world, and be born anew. It is but a short time we have here. And remember that not all who wander are lost. I forget who said that.(Header courtesy of Travel Channel.)