Behind The ScenesFirst TakeStudio Shows

Actor Boris Kodjoe, a former collegiate tennis star, reviews the year in sports on First Take

Boris Kodjoe on the set of First Take (Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)
Actor Boris Kodjoe in the ESPN Green Room before appearing on “First Take” (Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

Actor Boris Kodjoe (“Real Husbands of Hollywood,” “Undercovers,” “Soul Food”) is a former Virginia Commonwealth tennis star and a big sports fan. He’s also a fan of First Take and serves as a guest host for the show’s “Year in Review” special airing today (10 a.m. ET, ESPN2).

Taking into account his German/Ghanaian heritage and American residency, soccer buff Kodjoe embodies three nations in FIFA 2014 World Cup’s “Group Of Death” draw. He spoke to Front Row about his sports interests, the advice he got from a previous First Take celebrity guest host and more.

Your “Real Husbands of Hollywood” co-star Kevin Hart was also on First Take. What advice did he give you and what are your thoughts about the show?
He just said not to mention his name [laughs]. I love First Take. I love the forum of just having a discussion. It’s great because we are passionate about sports and we have opinions and perspectives and they need to be discussed.

Boris Kodjoe and XXX (Joe Faraoni/ESPN)
Boris Kodjoe and ESPN NFL analyst
Damien Woody (Joe Faraoni/ESPN)

You received a tennis scholarship to Virginia Commonwealth University. What is your favorite tennis event?
My favorite major without question is Wimbledon. It just carries an air of immense history and tradition. I was a serve-and-volley player. The faster the serve is the better for me. I used to love playing on the grass.

Who will you root for during the World Cup?
I’ll be there for about two weeks. I have to root for Germany, obviously, and then Ghana slides in right before the U.S. But the [United States] coach is Jurgen Klinsmann [also a former German national team manager], so my German ties to the U.S. team are also very strong. It’s really tough for me to discuss this matter without getting extremely emotional, so before I do shed a tear let’s just talk about this later.

What were your favorite sports games/events of 2013 and what are you looking forward to in 2014?
The U.S. Open with Serena [Williams]. It was one of her two majors she won this year. Her incredible season, 78 wins, that moment was great. I love seeing her succeed and I love seeing her happy and she’s really enjoying her life and success. I’m looking forward to the World Cup in Brazil which is going to be a huge, gigantic event. I’m looking forward to the NBA All-Star Game. I’m going to see a bunch of tennis this year, probably going to Wimbledon and the French Open. It’s going to be a good year.

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