In honor of this sports-themed edition, we gathered together some of the best of the best of PLAYBOY interviews with sports icons. Here they talk about their careers, whether they have sex before the big day, and how they’d like to be remembered.

Wrestler turned actor, DWAYNE “THE ROCK” JOHNSON, interviewed by Michael Fleming for the March 2005 issue.

ON KISSING A MAN [IN A MOVIE ROLE]
“It would depend on a few variables. What kind of toothpaste is he using? Is he ruggedly handsome like me? Does he have nice lips? Then he might have a shot. A wise man once told me that a warm pair of lips is a warm pair of lips.”

ON LOVE SCENES [IN A MOVIE ROLE]
“I like to think the vicarious thrill that comes with doing love scenes with gorgeous actresses is one of the spoils of being a leading man. No complaints, but it is awkward with 100 people standing around. Most of the crew will look away during love scenes, but you know a couple of freaks will be staring, hoping to see a nipple or something.”

ON BEING A GOOD ACTOR
“My goal was always to get better with every movie and one day become really good. And always to be honest with myself. It’s a progression in confidence. I’ve surrounded myself with good actors and directors who will help me raise my game. I have driven people crazy by being a complete sponge on the set. I’ve worked with very good acting coaches. I now understand exactly what I want to do with my character in a scene and that I have to execute and own it on the day.”

ON CHOOSING BETWEEN WRESTLING AND ACTING
“I grew up in wrestling. I am proud that my grandfather and dad wrestled. But when I filmed The Scorpion King I worked through the week, and on Sunday I would fly somewhere to do Raw or a pay-per-view. I had no days off, and it almost killed me. I wanted to give 110 percent to acting, and after that I realized I’d have to choose.”

ON TEENAGE ANGST
“[My anger] wasn’t like a blackout. The thing is, I never started trouble, but I had no problem finishing it. And I was with the wrong crowd when I was younger. It’s a good thing we left Hawaii. I wasn’t getting arrested in college, but I kept getting into fights. I fought my own teammates. Kevin Patrick – who I’m good friends with today – I tried to pull his tongue out. I don’t advise that, because tongues are very slippery. You can’t get a good grip.”

ON LOOKING GOOD
“I get up at 5:30 every morning and train for an hour or more. I love that. I watch my diet, too, though I am a big junk food junkie. I don’t fuck around. One day a week I’ll eat two large pizzas and two dozen doughnuts. But to do that you have to train religiously so your metabolism is conditioned enough that when you eat that stuff, the carbs, fat and sugar get absorbed. If I kept eating pizza and doughnuts on the second and third days, that would be trouble.”

ON TATTOOS
“In Polynesian culture tattooing is a big emotional and spiritual thing. This is not some anchor with my wife’s name wrapped around it or a heart with a dagger through it. It’s meaningful because you’re telling your story. I have a Polynesian warriors face that covers my heart. My life, struggles, loyalties and family are here. My daughter is here, my ancestors. God is here.”

Published in Playboy South Africa May 2013