Hank Baskett says he’s “not looking in the rear-view mirror” when it comes to his former NFL career. The reality TV star is now focussing on important projects such as partnering with the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation to tackle this No. 1 cancer killer. With his father, Hank Baskett II, undergoing treatments for lung cancer, Hank III says teaming up with the foundation has been “one of the greatest decisions” he’s ever made.
The former athlete opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about his father’s battle with cancer and his “extremely positive” outlook that has kept them going. He also talks about his beautiful 2-year-old son “Little Hank,” a full-on “mama’s boy” who “gets mad” if he goes in to hug or kiss his wife Kendra Wilkinson. The doting daddy goes on to talk about the possibility of baby No. 2 and how motherhood has caused him to ”fall more and more in love” with his gorgeous wife.
CBS: Tell us about teaming up with the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. Tell us all about the fundraiser.
HB: “Teaming up with Bonnie and her foundation has been one of the greatest decisions of my life. I am very fortunate that they reached out to me and invited me to their gala a year ago. This was the foundation to a relationship that will continue to grow for many years to come. It has already impacted my family’s life in such a way that cannot be described in words.
Another great attribute of the foundation is that they are dedicated to proving the misconception that all lung cancer victims smoke. That is why there is not enough awareness because the first question asked to a lung cancer patient is, ‘Do/did you smoke?’
This year I created the Hank Baskett Classic golf event which was held at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. I partnered with the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation because I truly felt that they are a foundation that is 100% dedicated to finding a cure and helping all those that they can along the way. What else I love about their foundation is the fact that they understand that to change the lives of millions, you must first change the life of one! And that they have done numerous times.”
CBS: Why did you get involved with this cause? Have you ever smoked? Are you against people smoking? What would you do if Little Hank smokes one day?
HB: “I became involved with the fight against lung cancer because in April of 2011 my family found out that my father, Henry ‘Hank’ Baskett II, had be diagnosed with lung cancer. This came as an unbelievable sucker punch to us all. Although it was the worst news my father had ever heard, he still remained his extremely positive self. And that right there was what got my family through the beginning stages.
The battle against cancer starts with your attitude and my father has the greatest one of all. He told us day in and day out that he would not let cancer beat him and that his only wish was to see Little Hank, my son, at least once a month. So he decided to receive his treatments out here in Los Angeles.
I have never smoked cigarettes. I guess the fact that I grew up with severe asthma gave me a good excuse not to. I can’t say that I’m against people smoking because this is America and we all have our freedoms and rights. As with everything, if you’re respectful of those around you there’s a way to make almost everything coexist. It’s all about respect. At the end of the day we make our own decisions, yet with smoking your decisions do not only affect you. A majority of the time it’s not the ones smoking that are affected, but more so those that are standing nearby.
If I found out Little Hank ever smoked we would have a very long conversation. If it’s while he’s an adult all we can do is talk to him and let him know the consequences of smoking. If he tries before he’s 18 there’s definitely some consequences that will occur that he probably won’t like!”
CBS: How’s Little Hank doing? What is he into these days? What does he do to make you laugh?
HB: “Little Hank is doing amazing! He is currently going to school everyday and the strides he’s making in life are incredible. His vocabulary grows by the day and so do his social skills.
There are so many things he does to make us as parents laugh, yet to others we get that funny look as we try to explain it. The thing that makes me laugh the most though is that now he is so protective of Kendra, that he won’t even let me give her a hug or kiss! Only he can do that to his mama! He gets mad if I get to close to her. Its frikkin’ hilarious!”
CBS: How has fatherhood changed you? Are you hoping to have another baby soon? Would you like to have a girl the second time around?
HB: “Fatherhood has given me an entire new sense of why I was put on Earth. When I married Kendra, I knew that I was dedicating my life to her and her happiness. But when you have a child you truly understand what it means to put yourself last. Whatever it takes, I’m going to make it happen for Little Hank to never have to go without, yet understand the importance of earning his way. Too many kids now are not taught that you must earn things in life and that it doesn’t always just come easy. The sense of entitlement is handed out relatively too often.
The thought of another baby crosses our mind often. We just want to make sure that the timing is right for our lives. We are both making major career moves and we want to ensure that a new addition to the family would receive the rightful amount of attention, support, and most importantly love that the baby would deserve. I think it will be sooner than later, but who is decided when sooner begins?!
Girl or boy, we would just pray for healthy. Yet as a father, a little girl will make me lose the remaining hair I have left, especially if she looks like Little Hank!”
CBS: In your eyes, what kind of mother is Kendra? Have you fallen even more in love with her since she became a mother?
HB: “Kendra is an amazing mother and I knew she would be. That is why I decided to ask her to marry me, because I knew all she truly wanted in life was a family and to be a mother is something she always wanted. She is very hands on and has been instrumental in Little Hank’s early developments.
Watching her grow as a mother has no doubt caused me to fall more and more in love with her. There’s nothing like watching the woman you love spend time with your child. She gets mad at me when I sit back and just stare at them. A mother’s love cannot be compared to anything. No matter how much I may love Little Hank, there’s just a uniqueness between Kendra and Little Hank. This is coming from a mama’ boy himself!”
CBS: What can we expect in the upcoming season of Kendra on Top? Will there be lots of footage with you and Little Hank?
HB: “This season of Kendra on Top has been a lot of fun. We are on a new network, WEtv, and the show has grown to new measures. You’re getting to follow Kendra in her new ventures as a successful businesswoman. You get to see me and my arc of moving on from a professional football player to businessman, which hasn’t been the easiest thing at times. And most of all you get to see Little Hank’s newest milestones. He is his own character and pesonality now and that’s what fans have fallen in love with. He is a little star.”
CBS: What’s up next for you? What are your hopes and plans for football in the future?
HB: “I have moved on from the NFL and it has been a great transition – I’m not looking in the rear-view mirror. I fully enjoyed my time playing in the NFL but there comes a day that it comes to an end. And I’m not one of the players that is going to try and hold on for 1, maybe 2 more years while other opportunities are coming my way.
When you spend too much time looking at the door that’s closing you lose track of the many more that are opening up. That’s what I’m trying to do, stick my head in as many of them doors that I can until I find out what’s the next best step for myself. This can all be seen on this season of Kendra on Top. I wanted to let people see that there are plenty of NFL players that will continue to work once their careers are over.”
CBS: Little Hank was voted one of our favorite celebrity toddlers in our recent Readers’ Choice Awards. How does it make you feel that Little Hank has ‘fans?’ Is he scared by the paparazzi?
HB: “I find it pretty funny that Little Hank has fans. Definitely never expected this when I thought of having children. But it’s been good. What’s funny is he doesn’t mind the paparazzi at all. In fact there are times where he will notice them even before we do.
Most of the paparazzi that have shot Little Hank have been very understanding and respectful. They know not to come between us and him and to keep the proper distance.”