Actor Titus Makin Jr. is currently playing the role of Jackson West on ABC's The Rookie, but he was not always featured on a popular show. Before becoming a full-time actor, Makin dabbled in sports performance. He even spent two years with the New York Knicks.
Speaking with Pop Culture in an exclusive interview, Makin detailed his history with the NBA franchise. He grew up in a military family and was frequently on the move during his formative years, but the future actor eventually landed in New York to attend college. This is when he stumbled across a unique opportunity with the Knicks, one that was particularly relevant due to him participating in gymnastics during his younger years.
"Well, that's a fun story, but the short version is, [I] was living in New York, going to the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts," Makin explained. "And I was looking in Backstage for acting opportunities, and I saw this casting for the New York Knicks acrobat tumbler. 'If you've had training as a gymnast or are comfortable tumbling, come to this audition.'
"So I was like, 'oh well I could use income. I'm in college, that sounds great.' So I went and just looked up the skills that I've had from nine years of gymnastics, got on the team. We'd perform at all the Knicks home games, at the halftime shows, and timeouts at Madison Square Garden. And I did that for two years."
As a college student at the time, Makin used this experience with the New York Knicks as an opportunity to earn some extra income. He had the skills, and it was a more entertaining way to bring in the money than some of the other options available. And while performing didn't open up any doors for Makin to break into acting, so to speak, it did give him the opportunity to do something very unique.
"It opened the door for me to sing the national anthem at Madison, at one of the games. But other than that, no, it was more just, literally one of the most fun ways to make income as a college student," Makin said.
He may have spent two years with the Knicks as a performer, but that doesn't mean that Makin is a diehard fan of the franchise. Yes, he has love and respect for the organization and the players that were there during his time, but the actor actually grew up as a fan of the Miami Heat. Still, he appreciates the Knicks, even if he isn't cheering for them on a routine basis.
The Rookie is currently midway through the 20-episode second season. New episodes air every Sunday at 10 p.m. ET.
(Photo Credit: Byron Cohen/Getty)