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SIMPLY JESSICA: Donovan Carter discusses his role on HBO’s ‘Ballers’

Welcome to the magical world that exists in the NFL. The players make tons of money, date pretty girls, drive fast cars, live in fancy houses and help their families with money.

It would be a dream come true to be in the NFL.

What could be almost as thrilling as being in the NFL?

You could play a NFL football player on HBO’s TV show “Ballers.”

Donovan Carter was in Miami to shoot the first episode “Ballers” opposite Dwayne Johnson when his mind went blank leading him to forget his lines. He was now in the clouds.

It was up to Johnson to bring Carter back to Earth.

“Everything just hit me at once,” Carter said. “It wasn’t until Dwayne said to me, ‘You are good and we believe in you’ that I snapped out of my trance. It was such a surreal moment.”

In 2012, Carter graduated from UCLA with a degree in history. He had been playing football since he was a 9-year-old boy growing up in the San Fernando Valley with dreams of going into the NFL after graduation.

His dreams of going to the NFL did not work out.  He was cut. Carter was depressed about it.

The 25-year-old football player was determined to find another way to live out his dream of playing in the NFL.

“Spencer is a big brother to Vernon on the show,” Carter said. “He tries to keep Vernon from making the same mistakes he made in football with his friends.”

Carter brings his football expertise to the role.

“Vernon is struggling in a lot of ways,” Carter added. “He needs to learn to take care of himself. He’s taking care of his family and friends. He is young and immature, but making grown-man money. He needs to grow up and learn that money doesn’t last forever and neither does football.”

Carter did a few football commercials before his acting role.

“I went to acting classes prior to shooting,” Carter said. “I am familiar with football but not with the terminology of acting. I had to look the part so I worked out.”

It is contagious hearing Carter talk about football.

“It is a collection of things that I like about football,” Carter added. “I like the comradery and the team spirit. The other guys on the team become like brothers to you.”

It is the life lessons that Carter treasures about football.

“I enjoy the discipline that football gives you,” he added. “It teaches you a good work ethic and it teaches you to work hard. It allowed me to travel and meet new people. No one is better than anyone. But in sports, people put you on a pedestal which makes you feel superior.”

He was born in Washington, D.C., so his favorite football team is the Washington Redskins. He moved to Atlanta with his mother when he was 2. Then at 8, he moved to North Hills.

Carter has a humble spirit about himself.

He pushes past any fears he feels on a daily basis.

“Ballers” began shooting in November 2014.

“The first episode was challenging because I had to get past my fears and all the butterflies,” Carter said. “There is no ego on this show and that is what I enjoy the most.”

“Ballers” is shot in Miami. Carter had never been there.

“I wake up everyday thanking God that I have a job that I love to do,” Carter said. “My relatives work, but they do it to pay the bills. I love what I do and I’m excited about going to work. The whole experience is amazing.”

Carter has things in common with Vernon.

“I’ve gone through many of the same things as Vernon,” Carter said. “You get a lot of money fast. No one can teach you how to experience that. You have to go through it and learn life lessons and make mistakes. There is no blue print. There is no way to learn. You hope you will make the right decisions but if you don’t then you have to learn from it.”

He has one grandmother left that he hopes to spend as much time with her as possible. He is passionate about raising awareness on autism for children.

“I am passionate about being a good person and treating people like you want to be treated and loving everyone,” Carter said. “We need to make the world a better place.”

He describes himself as a funny and silly guy who loves to have fun and enjoy life. He loves playing dominoes, going to the movies and the beach and hanging out with friends.

“You get a blessing by being humble,” Carter said. “I’m a man of my faith. You have to work hard, be easy to work with, never complain and be a team player.”

Be yourself! I’m Simply Jessica JcAden. You can reach me at jess.gosnell@gmail.com.