Former Auburn DL Carl Lawson recalls how watching anime led to him playing football
Every NFL player has their own “why I play football” story. Carl Lawson’s story is one of the more unique stories you’ll hear.
The former Auburn Tiger, now a Cincinnati Bengal, recently stopped by the NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” show and told the hosts how being a fan of the anime show “Dragon Ball Z” inspired him to become an aggressive defender on the gridiron.
“’Dragon Ball Z’ … literally, just all it is is fighting, eating and training as hard as you possibly can, and that’s football,” Lawson said, per AL.com’s Mark Inabinett. “So instead of tearing up the stuff in my house, my dad was like, ‘All right, you need to stop watching this show and go play football, go do something.’ I feel like ‘Dragon Ball Z’ is definitely a main contributor to why I play football. It’s a gladiator-type mentality on that show, and it’s a gladiator-type mentality on the field.”
It wasn’t just the fighting that inspired Lawson.
“Anime backstories are probably one of the most saddest things you’ll ever see, but it teaches you a different type of perseverance, never giving up,” Lawson added. “That’s kind of the main thing for these characters. They’ve been through so much, and you get choked up when you see them finally have a type of victory, as opposed to the Justice League where Superman is just, ‘I’m Superman. I’m out here.’ I don’t want to get too dark, but maybe one of the main characters lost his whole family, was treated badly and then he’s got to sit there and go through a journey where he gets his powers and rises to the top.
“Even though it’s Japanese, America loves the underdog, and that’s what most anime’s about — the underdog.”
Lawson citing anime as his inspiration might strike football fans as unusual, but Auburn fans are certainly happy with what they got from him during his time on the Plains.