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Original Issue

Q+A John Mellencamp

The 53-year-old die-hard Indiana sports fan recently released Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits.

SI: You have a workout area on your property in Bloomington, Ind., called "the sports barn," which houses a basketball half-court. Anybody famous ever play there?

Mellencamp: Oh, yeah. I once outshot Reggie Miller there. We had a best-of-10 free throw shooting contest, and I beat him. I don't remember the score, but I remember he wasn't happy.

SI: Reggie says one of his favorite songs is Jack & Diane. We know Reggie can talk, but can he sing?

Mellencamp: I had him sing on stage with me one night. He sounded pretty good. Kind of like Froggy from the Little Rascals.

SI: The John Mellencamp Pavilion is a training facility for nearly every varsity sport at Indiana. Since you donated a lot of the money for it, can you use it whenever you want?

Mellencamp: Yes. I still do periodically. My friends and I play flag football on Sundays.

SI: What's your proudest athletic achievement?

Mellencamp: This is really Al Bundy time now. When I was a freshman running back in high school, I scored five touchdowns in one game for my freshman team.

SI: Your sons, Hud and Speck, play peewee football. How bad a sideline dad are you?

Mellencamp: I think I'm pretty good. I don't scream at the kids. And I try not to criticize them when the game is over, even if they get beat or play lousy.

SI: Janet Jackson raised the bar for memorable halftime performances. Anything special planned when you perform at the Thanksgiving Day game between the Lions and Colts?

Mellencamp: I think that's probably exactly why they asked me. Because I won't be doing anything like that. [Laughs.] --Richard Deitsch