It's quite a sight watching a strapping 6-foot-5 superstar forward of the Los Angeles Lakers sitting poolside at the trendy W Hotel in Westwood singing. But that's exactly what Rick Fox is doing: a full-throttle, shake-the-umbrellas and startle-the-starlets serenade. We've been together for exactly five minutes, and he's already so pumped about discussing his birthplace that he's crooning a song from his childhood.
Come to the Bahamas
We have 700 islands in the sun
You'll have a real good time
Lots of fun.
We're here to talk fun and sun, but Fox immediately swims out to Oprah waters.
"The Bahamas have healing powers," he says.
"Yeah, right," I say, shooting him a skeptical stare.
"What are your favorite restaurants?" I ask, hoping to lure him back into my net of stock questions. But Fox doesn't seem to hear me.
"I can only speak from personal experience from having grown up there," he continues. "Every chance I've had to get home, I find myself on the beach or in the water, and in a period of three or four days, I've always felt better. I can't explain why. I just know it has healing properties. I think the fountain of youth is somewhere in those islands."
I pull out the guidebook and unfurl the map. Fox points out his home isle of Nassau, a 21-by-7-mile speck in the middle of the Bahamian chain of islands, atolls, cays, and reefs, 700 in all as the song goes, littering the ocean between Florida and Cuba.
"We claim anything that sticks out of the water," Fox says. "Of the 700 islands, only 30 are inhabited. You're not talking about great numbers of people. Nassau may have 200,000 people. Maybe."