Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament: Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love Once Teased Me for Playing Basketball
Pearl Jam‘s Jeff Ament has enjoyed a pretty good career playing bass for one of rock’s most successful bands, but that wasn’t always his chosen career path. The musician tells ESPN that he had hopes of enjoying a sports career at a young age, but he began to see the writing on the wall in college.
The rocker, who attended the University of Montana to play basketball, recalls, “Mike Montgomery was the coach. He sat me down and said, ‘If you work really hard, by the time you’re a senior, you’ll get some minutes on varsity.’ I remember thinking, ‘There’s no way I’m going to work this hard for four years to maybe get some garbage time when I’m a senior.’”
During the same period, Ament began to pick up music but admits it was a little bit of a culture clash being a musician and a jock. He recalls, “There was a period, after I moved [to Seattle], when I had to hide the fact that I played ball from the punk-rock guys … Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love talked trash about the fact that I hooped. I once stopped to say hi before a show, and as I walked away, Courtney yelled, ‘Go play basketball with Dave Grohl!’”
Even though music became his life’s work and passion, he still hit the court when possible. When asked about the best musician ballers, Ament says he wouldn’t consider Justin Bieber among the best and he also didn’t think much of Leonardo DiCaprio‘s game when playing in a celebrity event. He added, “You know who’s a good player? That ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ kid [Frankie Muniz]. But the best musician I ever played with would be a tossup between two drummers — Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Steve Gordon of the Black Crowes.”
All in all, Ament is happy with his career path, admitting that he’s enjoyed a longer period of success with Pearl Jam than he ever would have as an athlete.
For the rest of ESPN’s interview with Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament, click here and watch a video segment with Kenny Mayne below.
Watch Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament with ESPN’s Kenny Mayne