Mo Goes Hollywood

by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor

Since 2003, the Cavaliers have gotten their share of nationally-televised exposure. And, naturally, that trend will continue this season.

So it’s fair to say that the Cavaliers are pretty comfortable in front of the camera. LeBron James is featured in a documentary that’s about to get a national release. You can see Shaquille O’Neal each week on ABC’s “Shaq Vs.”

But there’s another Cavalier who’s recently made his Hollywood debut – and unlike the aforementioned players – he had to get into character. That character is “Fog Raw” the Jheri-curled, polydactyl baller from Nike’s hilarious “Hyperize” commercials – and he is played to perfection by Cleveland’s All-Star guard, Mo Williams.

Together with Andre Iguodala (Chief Blocka), Rashard Lewis (Ice-O) and Kevin Durant (Velvet Hoop), Mo’s “Fog Raw” walks the streets of East L.A., rapping about Nike’s new Hyperize men’s basketball shoe. had a chance to catch up with the Cavaliers’ most recent thespian about his rapping skills, his sixth finger and what it was like to have his own Hollywood trailer …

How and when did this all come together? How were the four guys cast?
Mo Williams: Well, we’re all a part of Nike, and I was just blessed to be one of the four that were chosen to do the commercial. They thought enough of our personalities – and what people thought of us – that we could sell the product. So, we were definitely truly blessed to be a part of it.

As far as how they chose us, we all have outgoing personalities and in that commercial – as you can see – you have to have a personality to make it work. And I thought all four of us did a great job. We turned into rappers overnight.

Was it filmed right in Hollywood? How long did shooting take and how much fun was it?
Williams: It was Hollywood. It was definitely Hollywood. We were movie stars.

It took us three days to shoot. We’d start in the morning around 9-ish or 10 a.m. and shooting didn’t end until about midnight or 12:30 in the morning. And that was three days straight.

But the good thing about it: We each had our own trailer. We had our X-Box 360s with all our games. We had catering – whatever we wanted. So I put them to the test on the first day. They said, ‘Anything you want, you got it.’ And I said, ‘Anything I want? Cool. Let me get a bucket of Popeye’s chicken.’ And they brought it!

How much creative input did you have?
Williams: That’s the thing: there was a $3 million budget on the commercial, and we had input on it!

I felt that was very flattering, but at the same time, it was surprising. We had input on what we wanted to wear, how we wanted to look. Obviously, they had the final print, but we free-styled a lot of things – especially the basketball stuff. So I think we did a great job of being creative. That was one of our strengths.

Tell us about the character, “Fog Raw.” Does he really have six fingers?
Williams: Well, Fog Raw definitely has his Jheri curl going on. Nike came up with the names and I thought the name was pretty hot, so I chose Fog Raw – mostly because I thought that kind of fit my alter-ego.

And yes, he does have six fingers because his handle is so crazy that it takes all six digits.

It was fun. I still have the finger right now. And I might break out the Jheri curl one night this season. I think we need to have a “Fog Raw Night” (at The Q) this year.

Can we expect a “Hyperizers” sequel?
Williams: I think any time you’re doing something with movies or anything like that, those sequels come when something – the original – is bigger than what they thought. And I think those commercials could be something like that.

Nike’s very happy with the commercial, so I would think they’d capitalize on it.

Any possibility of a future in rap? (Former Cavalier) Joe Smith said that you’d come over and record tracks at his place and that you had some talent.
Williams: No. No future in rapping – that’s for sure. But I did have fun doing it. And I do think all those countless hours in the studio with Joe really helped. It made me feel comfortable in the studio, doing that commercial.

With Joe, you never know what your future may hold, but I never once thought that I would get the opportunity to be shooting a video where I’m rapping – and actually be serious
about it.

You seem totally comfortable in front of the camera (and you’re a big Mafia movie fan). What about a future in acting?
Williams: Yeah, as long as we can get a movie producer to come up with the script.

I don’t want to do any kind of audition. I just want to do the part. Just show up – like Denzel.