Q&A: Phillippi Sparks
Posted: Thursday May 31, 2007 1:11PM; Updated: Thursday May 31, 2007 1:11PM
Last week SI writer Richard Deitsch interviewed Phillippi Sparks for the magazine's Q&A.The former NFL star is the father of American Idol winner Jordin Sparks. Here are additional excerpts from their interview:
SI: It used to be "Jordin Sparks, daughter of former NFL player Phillippi Sparks." Now it's "Phillippi Sparks, father of American Idol winner Jordin Sparks."
Sparks: What you want as a dad is for your kids to outdo you, and that's what happened. Being Jordin Sparks' dad is going to last a lot longer than being Phillippi Sparks the football player.
SI: Were you nervous at the finals?
Sparks: Not really. I told her to look at it like a football season. I told her this is her Super Bowl. She said, "Dad, don't worry about it. I got it."
SI: Did the cornerback in you want to drill Simon Cowell?
Sparks: I love him, bro. It's a show, and I understood that. At the beginning we were interviewed by psychologists to make sure if someone said something to our daughter we wouldn't snap [laughs].
SI: Your daughter said that Tony Dungy was her American Idol. Why?
Sparks: More than anything, it was because of who he is as a man and his character, and the stuff that has affected him. He stayed the same as a good Christian man. I think that was how Jordin looked at. His character and how he fought through so much. That's what she loves him and I love him. He's an awesome man.
SI: Was there anything in your football career that compares to this?
Sparks: No. This is like 20 Super Bowls. You are talking about being the No. 1 most recognizable young lady in the world right now. I'm still dreaming.
SI: Can you sing?
Sparks: I sang from third grade to 12th grade. My mom had us in choir. I can hold a tune. Maybe that's where Jordin got her rhythm from [laughs].
SI: You were in the audience when they announced she won. What's it's like to witness your child accomplish her dream?
Sparks: I was overwhelmed. I was crying like a little baby. That's how overjoyed my wife and I, and her little brother (P.J.) were. We are a tight knit family and to see that moment, she had to work harder compared to the other contestants. She had to get up 4 or 5 every morning to do homework, and do stuff the none of the other contestants had to do. For her to pull through was remarkable.
SI: When did you know Jordin could sing?
Sparks: The age of three. She was singing and talking in full sentences. She had a raspy voice like Mariah Carey so we called her Mariah.
SI: Can your wife sing?
Sparks: No, not a bit (laughs). She cannot hold a note. But she's brilliant and she can play the piano.
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