In his first four seasons as the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson led his team to the Super Bowl in back-to-back years. Now, he’s looking forward to doing something else in back-to-back years: hosting the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards.
This year’s show will air on Nickelodeon on Sunday at 8 p.m ET from UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. The night will be filled with some of the best athletes in sports, and Wilson talked to SI Kids about hosting the show, his favorite pregame music, and what he’s doing this summer.
What are your feelings going into hosting the show?
I’m extremely excited about it. It’s an honor to be the host for the second year in a row. Last year was an absolute blast. Two years before that I was able to win a couple of awards and I had the dream and hope that I could host this show and be a part of this show.
Making the kids smile and laugh is the best. The great part about it too is the fact that there’s so many unbelievable athletes this year who are going to be inspiring kids and be a part of something really, really special.
What did you learn last year that will help you host this year?
Last year was so much fun, so I think just continue to bring the energy, continue to bring the smiles and the passion for making the kids have a good time. That’s what was honestly my singular focus last year, just really focusing on the kids and the energy in the room.
There’ll be a lot of great athletes here again. We’ve got Steph Curry and Klay Thompson doing a three-point challenge. We have a thing called the “KCS 500,” where they’ll be racing around the track. We have Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski doing a special competition effort, so there’s so many great athletes here. People like Ronda Rousey and Cristiano Ronaldo are up for awards. There are so many different things that are going on that are really exciting.
Since you are hosting the Nickelodeon awards, what was your favorite TV show on the channel when you growing up?
I think All That, for sure.
Which song at your wedding made you want to get up and dance?
Earth, Wind & Fire. We had Earth, Wind & Fire play every song. They played the whole night out, and it was awesome. They’re the best band in the land. They had the whole band come play, and it was an amazing, epic night.
Before a game, what music do you listen to?
Before a game I really try to just be grateful and relax my mind, so I listen to a lot of gospel music. A couple of people I listen to are Yolanda Adams, William McDowell, Marvin Sapp, who’s one of my favorite singers too, and actually Marvin sang at our wedding, so that was really cool.
I’m sure you’ve seen the “Pokemon Go” craze that’s going on. Have you played at all yet?
I haven’t. I used to play “Pokemon” back when I was younger, really young. I haven’t had a chance to play yet though. I may just have to try it.
What made you choose football over baseball?
I love both sports. I was grateful to be able to play professionally in both sports. I just love playing football, having the football in my hands, having two minutes left to go in the game. Football is such a great team sport. Playing in front of 80,000 fans when they’re rooting for you or rooting against you is pretty cool.
Do you miss baseball at all?
I love baseball. Any time I go to a baseball field, I wish I was in a jersey, but I’m also grateful that I have the best job in the world. I’m one of 32 men in the world who get to do what I get to do, play starting quarterback in the NFL. I believe I’m in the best organization in the National Football League, so I’m grateful.
On a cheat day, what is your go-to meal?
I always try to eat healthy. I think it’s important to eat my lean protein, and just stay healthy. That way I can stay fast and be at a high performance level. So if I have a cheat day, I love steak and mac and cheese. I also love Italian food.
What are you doing this summer?
Well, I just got married, and now I’m hosting these Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards. I’m certainly going to the ESPYS, and I’m getting ready for football. My main focus is always football training. I train everyday. I run everyday, throw everyday almost. I’m just getting my body ready and mind ready for this season.
Photograph by Kevin Mazur/KCSports2015/WireImage
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.